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The composition of the Oedipus coloneus Cahill, Judith Anne Jane 1976

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THE COMPOSITION OF THE OEDIPUS COLONEUS by J u d i t h Anne Jane C a h i l l B-A. (Hons.), U n i v e r s i t y of L e i c e s t e r , 1970 M-A., U n i v e r s i t y of Western O n t a r i o , 1971 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY i n THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (C l a s s i c s ) He accept t h i s t h e s i s as conforming t o the re q u i r e d standard The U n i v e r s i t y Of B r i t i s h Columbia September, 1976 ©Judith Anne Jane C a h i l l , 1976 In p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s in p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t o f the r e q u i r e m e n t s f o r an advanced degree at the U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a , I a g r e e that the L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e and s t u d y . I f u r t h e r agree t h a t p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e c o p y i n g o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y p u r p o s e s may be g r a n t e d by the Head o f my Department o r by h i s r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . It i s u n d e r s t o o d tha t c o p y i n g o r p u b l i c a t i o n o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l g a i n s h a l l not be a l l o w e d w i t h o u t my w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n . Department o f CLASSICS The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Co lumbia 2075 Wesbrook Place Vancouver, Canada V6T 1W5 Date 1"^ Sfcpfouiloev iTJk ABSTRACT Although Sophocles, a c c o r d i n g to t r a d i t i o n , d i e d before the Oedipus Coloneus, h i s l a s t work, was performed, there i s no/.reason to b e l i e v e t h a t h i s i n t e n t i o n i n composing the p l a y was fundamentally d i f f e r e n t from h i s l i f e ^ l o n g p r a c t i c e , t h a t i s , ,to c r e a t e a drama to be presented before a contemporary audience, and to win the p r i z e i n the c o n t e s t f o r t r a g i c poets at the F e s t i v a l of Dionysus i n Athens. • In P a r t I of t h i s study I have attempted to d e s c r i b e the manner i n which Sophocles c o n s t r u c t e d h i s drama. I have d i v i d e d the p l a y i n t o twenty manageable s e c t i o n s and devoted a chapter to each. W i t h i n each chapter each l i n e , group of l i n e s and, f i n a l l y , each s e c t i o n , has been examined with a view to determining how i t c o n t r i b u t e s to the process of changing the s i t u a t i o n at the beginning of the drama, where Oedipus, a t i r e d and wretched beggar, a r r i v e s i n Colonus, to the s i t u a t i o n at i t s end, when h i s l i f e i s over. At every stage the requirements of the dramatic circumstances, the demands of the p l o t , the c o n s t r a i n t s of the medium and the a r t i s t i c e f f e c t s f o r which the p l a y w r i g h t aimed have been examined. The d i s c u s s i o n takes the form of a commentary i n t h a t each p o i n t , r e g a r d l e s s of i t s nature, has been d e a l t with as i t a r i s e s i n the t e x t of the p l a y . The reader w i l l f i n d h i m s e l f c o n f r o n t e d i n turn/ as Sophocles must have been, with 1 1 c o n s i d e r a t i o n s of the r e a c t i o n s of the audience, t h e a t r i c a l e f f e c t s , p l o t p r o g r e s s i o n and so f o r t h . T e x t u a l d i f f i c u l t i e s have been d i s c u s s e d o n l y when t h e i r r e s o l u t i o n i s c r u c i a l f o r determining the c o n t r i b u t i o n of a c e r t a i n passage t o the c o n s t r u c t i o n of the p l a y . From t h i s d i s c u s s i o n a view of the p l a y as an experience shared by the p l a y w r i g h t and h i s audience emerges. The o r i g i n a l audience was able to a p p r e c i a t e t h i s p l a y without the a i d of a commentary. T h e r e f o r e , no i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of a l i n e , passage or scene which c o u l d not have been r e a d i l y understood d u r i n g performance can be c o r r e c t . F u r t h e r , the o r i g i n a l audience was t r e a t e d to a u r a l and v i s u a l e f f e c t s of which our t e x t , w i t h i t s complete l a c k of stage d i r e c t i o n s , bears only i n d i r e c t t r a c e s . I have t r i e d t o determine what these e f f e c t s may have been. I t i s hoped t h a t the r e s u l t i n g o b s e r v a t i o n s w i l l enable the reader b e t t e r to understand the p l a y , as the f i r s t s p e c t a t o r s must have done - not p r i m a r i l y as an a b s t r a c t t r e a t i s e w i t h a s i g n i f i c a n t message f o r our times, but as a crowd-pleasing performance, complete i n i t s e l f . In P a r t II of t h i s study I have examined the q u e s t i o n of the d i s t r i b u t i o n of the r o l e s i n the Oedipus Coloneus among the l i m i t e d number of a c t o r s which the p l a y w r i g h t was allowed. I have f i r s t reviewed v a r i o u s suggestions f o r the d i s t r i b u t i o n of the r o l e s among three speaking a c t o r s . Every known scheme, however, has s e r i o u s drawbacks which would have marred the q u a l i t y of the performance of the p l a y . I l l I have t h e r e f o r e proceeded to examine v a r i o u s schemes wherein the r o l e s are d i s t r i b u t e d among fou r a c t o r s . None of these, however, f u l l y accounts f o r the complex system of entrances and e x i t s and the o c c a s i o n a l awkward s i l e n c e s . These phenomena can be e x p l a i n e d o n l y i f Sophocles knew, when he wrote h i s p l a y , how many a c t o r s were t o be a l l o c a t e d to him and who they were to be. I have shown t h a t t h i s i s a ^.reasonable p o s s i b i l i t y . A ccording to the d i s t r i b u t i o n of the l l f r o l e s . here proposed, Sophocles wrote h i s p l a y to s u i t the s p e c i f i c t a l e n t s of f o u r speaking a c t o r s , and a l s o employed a mute. The i d i o s y n c r a c i e s of the Oedipus Coloneus are thus adequately e x p l a i n e d . i v TABLE OF CONTENTS INTRODUCTION ^ PART I. The Process of Composition 2 8 CHAPTER I 1-116 29 II 117-253 41 I I I 254-309 58 IV 310-509 64 V 510-548 85 VI 549-667 90 ;' VII 668-719 103 V I I I 720-886 106 IX 887-1043 137 X 1044-1095 148 XI 1096-1149 153 XII 1150-1210 160 XIII 1211-1248 167 XIV 1249-1446 173 XV 1447-1499 202 XVI 1500-1555 214 XVII 1556-1578 226 XVIII 1579-1669 229 XIX 1670-1750 245 XX 1751-1779 255 PART I I . The D i s t r i b u t i o n of the Roles 258 BIBLIOGRAPHY 3 1 2 APPENDIX 320 V AC KNOWLE DGMENT S I should l i k e to thank P r o f e s s o r H.G. Edinger f o r the i n v a l u a b l e advice and encouragement he has o f f e r e d i n the d i r e c t i o n of t h i s t h e s i s , and f o r the time and e f f o r t he has devoted to the c r i t i c a l a p p r a i s a l of i t , I should a l s o l i k e to thank P r o f e s s o r A.J. P o d l e c k i , who read:'the t e x t i n both i t s e a r l y and advanced forms, f o r h i s many c o n s t r u c t i v e suggestions, and P r o f e s s o r E.A.E. Bongie f o r her help i n the f i n a l stages. My thanks are a l s o due to my f e l l o w Graduate Students i n the Department of C l a s s i c s , U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, f o r h i n t s and ideas which have been f r e e l y o f f e r e d . In the p r o d u c t i o n of t h i s t h e s i s , much use has been made of the Computing Centre of the U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia. The g r e a t e r p a r t of the c o s t has been borne by the F a c u l t y of A r t s . I should l i k e to thank a l l those members of the Geophysics Department, U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, who were w i l l i n g t o e x p l a i n the v a g a r i e s of the Computer t o a benighted C l a s s i c i s t , and e s p e c i a l l y John C. Davies, who, having undertaken to share the task of producing t h i s t h e s i s with me, has spent c o u n t l e s s hours t y p i n g , c o r r e c t i n g and p r o v i d i n g i n s p i r a t i o n , 1 INTRODUCTION. A. C r i t i c i s m - . "The understanding of Greek tragedy has s u f f e r e d immeasurably because too o f t e n the a n c i e n t p l a y s are t r e a t e d by c r i t i c s as poems, p h i l o s o p h i c a l t r a c t s , or t r e a t i s e s on m e t r i c s and syntax. There has been a corresponding n e g l e c t of the essence of the genre, i t s importance as drama to be performed before audiences."1 The important words here are "drama" and "audiences," and each must be d e a l t with s e p a r a t e l y . The drama-I t must never be f o r g o t t e n t h a t Aeschylus, Sophocles and E u r i p i d e s wrote p l a y s t o be acted i n c o m p e t i t i o n at a drama f e s t i v a l . C r i t i c i s m of a p l a y should be s u b s t a n t i a l l y d i f f e r e n t from c r i t i c i s m of a novel or a poem, because the c r e a t i v e process i s so d i f f e r e n t , We c o u l d wish t h a t the Greek p l a y w r i g h t s had p r e f a c e d each of t h e i r t r a g e d i e s with an "examen" i n the s t y l e of C o r n e i l l e ' s so t h a t the c r i t i c s c o uld b e t t e r a p p r e c i a t e the nature of the p l a y w r i g h t s ' task, and t h e i r own. B r i e f l y , a n o v e l i s t can span many years or t r a v e l many m i l e s w i t h a s i n g l e phrase. A p l a y w r i g h t must c o n t r i v e to b r i n g a l l h i s c h a r a c t e r s together a t the same pla c e at the same time. Coincidence and compression n e c e s s a r i l y r e s u l t , and must be understood to have no s i g n i f i c a n c e beyond the f a c t t h a t they allow the p l a y w r i g h t to w r i t e the p l a y . Whereas a n o v e l i s t can use f i r s t or •"•Calder (1958) 237. 2 t h i r d - p e r s o n n a r r a t i v e , d e s c r i p t i o n , d i a l o g u e , the i n n e r thoughts of a c h a r a c t e r and numerous other w r i t i n g techniques, a p l a y w r i g h t i s e s s e n t i a l l y l i m i t e d t o d i a l o g u e , although Greek tragedy does allow unabashed e x p o s i t i o n i n prologues and lengthy n a r r a t i v e messenger - speeches, A p l a y w r i g h t must f r e q u e n t l y present us w i t h an u n l i k e l y s i t u a t i o n so t h a t h i s p l a y can begin, - an Argos, f o r i n s t a n c e , where, although Agamemnon has been dead some twenty y e a r s , the c h a r a c t e r s a l l behave as i f the murder had happened a day or two p r e v i o u s l y ( i n Aeschylus' Choephori), or a Thebes where f o r s i x t e e n years no one has bothered t o d i s c o v e r who murdered the King at the c r o s s r o a d s ( i n Sophocles' Oedipus Tyrannus). He must o f t e n r e s o r t t o 2 compromise so t h a t h i s p l a y can end, f o r he cannot -wait f o r the long-term r e s u l t s of h i s c h a r a c t e r s ' a c t i o n s . None of the departures from a c t u a l l i f e caused by the nature of h i s a r t , "the essence of the genre," must be seen as a shortcoming. "The p l a y ' s the t h i n g , " Every l i n e i n the p l a y , every e x p r e s s i o n of f e e l i n g or i n t e n t i o n , every a c t i o n , has f i r s t and foremost a r e l e v a n c e to the p l a y - a duty to perform w i t h i n i t . When Medea^s'ays .."We• women must buy at f a r too high V O K . O a p r i c e , a husband, a'"master f o r our b o d i e s , " E u r i p i d e s may w e l l be a t t a c h i n g the Athenian t r a d i t i o n s of dowries and 4 arranged marriages (though why E u r i p i d e s alone of a l l 2 A r i s t o t l e , P o e t i c s , 145,4a, o b j e c t e d to the use of a deus ex  machiria to secure the denouement. 3 E u r i p i d e s , .Medea , • 23 2-23 4 . 4 See, f o r example, Ferguson (1972) 250, a f t e r numerous c r i t i c s . 3 Athenian men should r e p u d i a t e an i n s t i t u t i o n of long and t r o u b l e f r e e standing i s hard t o understand). F i r s t and foremost, however, the words r e v e a l Medea's anger, her f r u s t r a t i o n at a s i t u a t i o n i n which she has a p p a r e n t l y no choice but to do as her husband b i d s . When Andromache says "You most h a t e f u l of a l l people to a l l people, d w e l l e r s i n Sparta, treacherous c o u n s e l l o r s , makers of f a l s e h o o d s , craftsmen of e v i l , t w i s t e d , devious a l l your thoughts, r o t t e n 5 to the core, so u n f a i r l y do you prosper i n Greece," she may w e l l be r e f l e c t i n g E u r i p i d e s ' own o p i n i o n s of Spartan p e r f i d y . I t i s not, however, at a l l unreasonable t h a t Andromache should hate Spartans on her own account, f o r she has s u f f e r e d Hermione's abuse and Menelaus 1 t e r r o r i s m , and she would want to make some such speech whatever E u r i p i d e s f e l t about Spartans., That the p l a y s were acted i n com p e t i t i o n i s not an i n s i g n i f i c a n t f a c t o r i n t h e i r composition (and hence the c r i t i c i s m o f them), A l l p l a y w r i g h t s must abide by c e r t a i n conventions, though they are aware of them t o v a r y i n g degrees, but Aeschylus, Sophocles and E u r i p i d e s were a l s o bound by r u l e s . They had to prepare a s e t combination of p l a y s , to be acted w i t h i n the space of the d a y l i g h t hours of a s i n g l e day. The lengths of the p l a y s were thus governed by 5 E u r i p i d e s , Andromache, 445-449. 6 K i t t o (1961) 22 8,; b e l i e v e s t h a t the Andromache i s "not i n c i d e n t a l l y but fundamentally, a v i o l e n t a t t a c k on the Spartan mind, on M a c h t p o l i t i k : i n p a r t i c u l a r on three Spartan q u a l i t i e s , arrogance, t r e a c h e r y and c r i m i n a l r u t h l e s s n e s s . " 4 7 the schedule of the f e s t i v a l . They were allowed, f o r the most p a r t , o n l y three a c t o r s . They were a l s o a f f e c t e d by the g e n e r o s i t y , or l a c k of i t , of the choregus, and, as we s h a l l see, by the t a l e n t s of i n d i v i d u a l a c t o r s . Above a l l , the p l a y w r i g h t s must have been i n f l u e n c e d by a b a s i c d e s i r e to win the competion. To what extent t h e i r honest and a l t r u i s t i c motives gave way to the need to be i n o f f e n s i v e or obsequious we cannot say, but the d e s i r e to win the competition must s u r e l y have caused the r e l u c t a n c e of Aeschylus and Sophocles to a d j u s t the p r e v a l e n t " s e r i o u s " nature of tragedy or to a l t e r the r e l a t i v e importance of i t s component p a r t s or to i n v e n t new t w i s t s t o o l d myths. E u r i p i d e s , who d i d a l l these t h i n g s , won fewer p r i z e s than e i t h e r . The p l a y s were acted, f o r the most p a r t , at the F e s t i v a l of Dionysus at Athens i n the month of E l a p h e b o l i o n . Each poet wrote three t r a g e d i e s and- one s a t y r p l a y on each o c c a s i o n t h a t he competed. Aeschylus wrote, i n a l l , about n i n e t y 7 See Pickard-Cambridge (1968) 79-80 The choregus' major expense was the t r a i n i n g and costuming of the chorus. He had a l s o to pay f o r the p r o v i s i o n and costuming of e x t r a choruses, mutes, and, presumably, f o r s p e c i a l stage e f f e c t s . / . S e e Haigh (1907) 63-66 , That the choregus o c c a s i o n a l l y d i d not perform h i s duty adequately i s t l l l l ^ ^ - v ^ ^ - ^ J l T - . - l . _ i 1 • _ ^ -L A e s ^ y l u s won t h i r t e e n ' (or p o s s i b l y twenty-eight) f i r s t p r i z e s , Sophocles eighteen, (plus a small number at the Lenaea). E u r i p i d e s won only f i v e . See Haigh (1907) 34-35. p l a y s , ^  Sophocles wrote more than a hundred"*""'" and E u r i p i d e s 12 ninety-two. Of a l l these, but t h i r t y - o n e ( e x c l u d i n g the Rhesus) s u r v i v e . These f i g u r e s c o u l d u s e f u l l y be borne i n mind by those c r i t i c s who attempt to e x p l a i n one s u r v i v i n g p l a y i n terms of another, or who i n one p l a y see d e t a i l e d but s u b t l e echoes of another, (There need be no o b j e c t i o n to obvious echoes: i n E u r i p i d e s ' E l e c t r a the parody of the r e c o g n i t i o n scene i n Aeschylus' Choephori i s unmistakable.) 13 The pattern-makers would do w e l l , too, to keep the number of t r a g e d i e s t h a t were w r i t t e n i n p e r s p e c t i v e . Seven may f i t a g e n e r a l i s a t i o n , even seventeen, - but ninety-two? Unless a p l a y was r e v i v e d a f t e r i t s author's death, i t was performed o n l y once at Athens, although the p o s s i b i l i t y of r u r a l performances e x i s t e d . Webster has used t h i s f a c t t o "prove" t h a t the Greek p l a y w r i g h t "took steps to have h i s p l a y p u b l i s h e d soon a f t e r i t s performance and to w r i t e a p l a y which c o u l d be a p p r e c i a t e d by readers as w e l l as spectators....{He} c o n s t r u c t e d h i s p l a y to be an ' e v e r l a s t i n g p o s s e s s i o n , not a p r i z e composition which i s heard and 14 f o r g o t t e n . ' " In f a c t , i t would be more l o g i c a l t o assume Acc o r d i n g to the Suda, s.v. The y i t a A e s c h v l i , 13, records s e v e n t y - f i v e , but we have the names of some e i g h t y of h i s p l a y s . See Haigh (1896) Appendix I I , 473-474. U S e e Haigh (1896) 129 1 and Appendix I I , 474-475. 12 See Haigh (1896) 208 and Appendix I I , 475-476. 1 3Waldock's phrase (1951). 25-36. 14 Webster (1969) 101-102. In answer to t h i s statement ( i n the f i r s t e d i t i o n of Webster's book, p u b l i s h e d i n 1936) C a l d e r wrote the a r t i c l e from which the q u o t a t i o n which begins t h i s i n t r o d u c t i o n i s taken. 6 t h a t , as dance and movement had to be planned, the a c t o r s coached, the chorus t r a i n e d , the f l u t e - p l a y e r i n s t r u c t e d and the s p e c i a l s t a g i n g e f f e c t s arranged, the p l a y w r i g h t would have been adequately occupied i n making h i s p l a y performable and t h a t thoughts of e t e r n a l fame and the app r o v a l of p o s t e r i t y would never have entered h i s head. And would these p u t a t i v e "readers" not have enjoyed t h e i r pastime more i f the p l a y w r i g h t s had been k i n d enough to leave them the m u s i c a l score, or even an o c c a s i o n a l stage d i r e c t i o n , so t h a t they c o u l d a t l e a s t t e l l which c h a r a c t e r s were p r e s e n t f o r a c e r t a i n scene and how they were r e a c t i n g ? The Audience. The p l a y s were w r i t t e n to be acted f o r an audience, i n a t h e a t r e . T h i s audience would have been a mixture of i n t e l l e c t u a l s and a r t i s a n s , c i t y s o p h i s t i c a t e s and country peasants. These were the people f o r whom the p l a y w r i g h t s wrote - t o p r o v i d e them w i t h entertainment and t o win t h e i r approval ( f o r the judges voted openly on the p l a y s , and would n e c e s s a r i l y have been much i n f l u e n c e d by the audience's f e e l i n g s ) . Every word a c h a r a c t e r i n a p l a y u t t e r e d , every movement an a c t o r made, had to be able t o be r e a d i l y understood by every member of the audience. The people who sat a l l day i n the auditorium had no s c r i p t s , they had not had the o p p o r t u n i t y to see the p l a y which was to be presented to them b e f o r e , they had not even been able to read a review of i t . I t i s p l a i n l y i m p o s s i b l e t h a t they c o u l d have 7 performed complex mental f e a t s of d e d u c t i o n or i n t e r p r e t a t i o n , c o l l e c t i v e l y r e t a i n i n g key phrases as the p l a y progressed, which would enable them to understand its,-, t r u e meaning, or making sense of one l i n e i n terms of another, s e v e r a l hundred l i n e s removed from i t . Every l i n e must mean what i t says, not what i t might say i f both author and audience had read and r e t a i n e d a l l the l i t e r a t u r e of the world from time immemorial, and had had a l l e t e r n i t y to ponder i t . The c r i t i c who reads a p l a y as i f only the p l a y w r i g h t and he h i m s e l f have come i n t o c o n t a c t w i t h i t i s g u i l t y of gross presumption. The c r i t i c who chooses to e x p l a i n a p l a y i n terms of works w r i t t e n a f t e r i t or s o c i a l mores of l a t e r ages i s g u i l t y of the l e s s e r s i n of m i s r e p r e s e n t a t i o n , but he i s a more common c r e a t u r e and i s more r e c k l e s s i n h i s e x e g e s i s . Sophocles the V i c t o r i a n C h r i s t i a n Gentleman i s 15 h a p p i l y an out-of-date phenomenon; Now we read t h a t E u r i p i d e s i s connected with the " c r i s i s of c o n s c i e n c e " which occu r r e d i n America i n the 1960's. I t i s perhaps unfortunate t h a t t h i s type of c r i t i c i s m , where Sophocles' Ajax can be compared to E l i o t ' s Magi, h i s J o c a s t a i s Lady Macbeth and Antigone and Ismene are "teenagers i n an a d u l t world," i s 15 In Norwood's view even Sophocles' c h a r a c t e r s shared h i s n o b i l i t y , which l e d to some dubious a s s e r t i o n s . On the scoundrel and the d e l i n q u e n t of the .Oedipus -Coloneus he wrote, "Creon and P o l y n e i c e s , such i s the immense understanding of the aged poet, share too i n t h i s {Theseus'} n o b i l i t y of mind. They can.face f a c t s ; and whether v i l l a i n s or not, they are men of breeding" (1928) 17 0. 8 16 almost always the most d e l i g h t f u l t o read. The p l a y s were w r i t t e n f o r an audience of Athenians of the f i f t h c entury B.C. and i t i s as such an audience t h a t , as f a r as p o s s i b l e , we must r e a c t t o them. An audience presupposes a t h e a t r e and a performance. In performance, the means of communication i s not l i m i t e d to the spoken word. The p l a y w r i g h t who knows t h a t he w i l l produce h i s own p l a y s can leave much unsai d , and use v i s u a l e f f e c t s to convey h i s meaning, or a t l e a s t t o r e i n f o r c e the spoken word. O c c a s i o n a l l y he can use v i s u a l e f f e c t s which c o n t r a d i c t the spoken word, thus l e n d i n g a s p e c i a l k i n d of i r o n y to the performance. The use of innuendo i s d i f f i c u l t , but not i m p o s s i b l e . In c r i t i c i s m , we must be aware, then, of both the a u r a l and the v i s u a l aspects of the p l a y w r i g h t ' s c r e a t i o n : l e t us look i n d e t a i l at the a u r a l aspect f i r s t . I t might appear from a p r i n t e d t e x t t h a t the iambic t r i m e t e r s of d i a l o g u e and the l y r i c meters of c h o r a l odes are d i f f e r e n t i n t e c h n i c a l e x e c u t i o n , but not i n concept. In performance, however, the d i f f e r e n c e between l i n e s spoken by one person and l i n e s sung by f i f t e e n would be a b s o l u t e , and there are v a r i o u s i n t e r m e d i a t e e f f e c t s a t the p l a y w r i g h t ' s d i s p o s a l -" r e c i t a t i v e , " f o r example, or l y r i c monodies and l y r i c "^These examples are a l l from Ferguson (1972) 148; 191; 164, whose words I use f r e q u e n t l y i n t h i s study t o r e p r e s e n t the n o t i o n s of the numerous c r i t i c s of h i s s c h o o l . His work, however, i s p a r t i c u l a i r i l y u s e f u l as a spur to the i m a g i n a t i o n . From the t e x t of a tragedy Ferguson can conjure an e n t i r e performance and make of i t a memorable experience f o r h i s r e a d e r s . -9 d i a l o g u e . M u s i c a l backing f o r c h o r a l odes, f o r a c t i o n s unaccompanied by words and perhaps even m u s i c a l i n t e r l u d e s could be composed by the poet to c r e a t e whatever e f f e c t he d e s i r e d . That we have no knowledge of the nature of t h i s . 17 . music i s no reason to omit i t from the c o n s i d e r a t i o n of a p l a y . By the same token we must always e n t e r t a i n the p o s s i b i l i t y of mechanical sound e f f e c t s and c r i e s , s h r i e k s , groans and the l i k e , not noted i n the w r i t t e n t e x t . The a u r a l f a c t o r most o f t e n n e g l e c t e d i s s i l e n c e - t h a t of a c h a r a c t e r who chooses not to p a r t i c i p a t e i n a c o n v e r s a t i o n , or t h a t of a c h a r a c t e r who f o r a l l the world should speak but does not, or t h a t of the assembled company bef o r e a r e v e l a t i o n or a f t e r a c a t a s t r o p h e . The v i s u a l aspect of a p l a y i n c l u d e s the use and appearance of the space a v a i l a b l e f o r a c t i n g , the use and appearance of the s t a g e - b u i l d i n g , the costumes of the a c t o r s , t h e i r g e s t u r e s , t h e i r movements and, i n analogy to s i l e n c e , t h e i r l a c k of movement. I t i n c l u d e s a l s o the dance movements of the chorus and perhaps of a c t o r s , and mime, i f i t was used. The appearance of Io a t 561 of Aeschylus' Prometheus  V i n c t u s i s an u n e x c e p t i o n a l event f o r the reader of the p l a y , even i f he has r e a l i s e d ' t h a t she i s s i n g i n g as she e n t e r s . I f he pauses to imagine what the audience would have seen, he may f i n d h i s complacency shaken. She i s , of course, a h e i f e r . We might ask whether she i s a l r e a d y c a r r y i n g Zeus' c h i l d . She 17 Of a l l the m u s i c a l scores of a l l the t r a g e d i e s a few notes on l y remain on a papyrus fragment of E u r i p i d e s ' Orestes at 338-344. See Feaver (1960). 10 i s deranged, maddened by the g a d - f l y t h a t pursues her, and she dances a dance i n d i c a t i v e of both the madness and the p u r s u i t . She t h r e a t e n s , a t 747-748, to end her l i f e , t o f l i n g h e r s e l f from " t h i s hard rock." Where i s she st a n d i n g t h a t she could reasonably make such a t h r e a t ? When our armchair c r i t i c has a p p r o p r i a t e l y a d j u s t e d h i s view of l o ' s appearance, he might care t o t u r n back a few pages, i n the same p l a y , and look at Oceanus 1 v i s i t a g a i n . Many c r i t i c s are w i l l i n g to do l i p - s e r v i c e t o the mechanical c o n t r i v a n c e s of the f i f t h - c e n t u r y t h e a t r e , the mechane and ekkyklema i n p a r t i c u l a r . They admit t h a t they e x i s t e d , although they do not l i k e them very much. That they c o u l d be used f o r more than the mere i m i t a t i o n of heavenly t r a n s p o r t or the r e p r e s e n t a t i o n of an indoor scene which co u l d not otherwise be staged has occu r r e d to few. How many have f u l l y a p p r e c i a t e d the " b r i l l i a n t coup de t h e a t r e " at 18 1317 of E u r i p i d e s ' Medea? In order t h a t he may see h i s c h i l d r e n ' s b o d i e s , the chorus t e l l s Jason t o open the doors of the house. He g i v e s the order , "unfasten the b o l t s . " T h i s i s the cue f o r the ekkyklema, and the audience waits f o r i t to appear. Instead, Medea i s swing out over the scene-b u i l d i n g on the mechane, triumphant and i n v i o l a b l e . T h i s passage was not w r i t t e n f o r a reader! To r e t u r n to the q u o t a t i o n with which we began, pure l i t e r a r y or " p h i l o s o p h i c a l " c r i t i c i s m i s not without v a l u e . Both processes i n v o l v e the s e l e c t i o n and c r y s t a l l i s a t i o n of 18 The phrase i s A r n o t t ' s (1962) 86, and r e f e r s to t h i s e f f e c t . 11 s i g n i f i c a n t elements of the p l a y w r i g h t ' s a r t , and,the e x c l u s i v e i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of those chosen, and "performance" i s not among them. However, a c r i t i c i s or should be bound t o ensure t h a t h i s i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of a l i n e , passage or scene does not q u a r r e l w i t h the c h a r a c t e r s ' i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of i t w i t h i n the c o n f i n e s of the p l a y o r i t s obvious s i g n i f i c a n c e f o r the f i f t h - c e n t u r y Athenians seated i n the au d i t o r i u m at the t h e a t r e of Dionysus. No doubt the p l a y w r i g h t s ' words have deeper meanings than these b a s i c , immediate ones, but they must not be i r r e c o n c i l a b l y d i f f e r e n t from them. Those c r i t i c s who d e a l w i t h m e t r i c s and syntax are j u s t i f i e d i n so doing as long as they do not a t t r i b u t e to the pl a y w r i g h t s g r e a t e r pains than they c o u l d reasonably have taken i n m e t r i c a l and r h e t o r i c a l composition. I t i s d o u b t f u l t h a t tragedy can a c t u a l l y " s u f f e r " i n t h e i r hands, B. The Process of the Composition of The Oedipus Coloneus. In P a r t I of t h i s study the composition of the Oedipus  Coloneus i s examined. An attempt has been made to e x p l a i n Sophocles' thoughts and i n t e n t i o n s as he wrote the p l a y . What impressions d i d he i n t e n d c e r t a i n l i n e s of passages t o make? What emotions d i d he expect them t o arouse? By what t h e a t r i c a l e f f e c t s d i d he wish them to be accompanied? In the absence of a statement of purpose from Sophocles we must n e c e s s a r i l y look at the r e s u l t s - a t the impressions made, the emotions aroused, and the t h e a t r i c a l e f f e c t s which c o u l d reasonably accompany the t e x t of the p l a y as i t was w r i t t e n . 12 We can assume t h a t , i n a p l a y w r i g h t of Sophocles' c a l i b r e and sta n d i n g , g o a l and achievement w i l l be s i m i l a r i f not i d e n t i c a l . A f u r t h e r , and major, q u e s t i o n i s "How d i d Sophocles put h i s p l a y t o g e t h e r ? " We must d i s c o v e r how i t i s t h a t the c h a r a c t e r s are manipulated, how t h e i r words to one another and t h e i r a c t i o n s b r i n g about the r e q u i r e d events (or how, when events are imposed upon them by e x t e r n a l f o r c e s , they respond) and how any changes i n t h e i r circumstances come about. T h i s n e c e s s i t a t e s an i n v e s t i g a t i o n of the developments t h a t occur i n t h e i r a t t i t u d e s and the meanings of t h e i r words to one another, s t r i p p e d (temporarily) of a l l thematic re l e v a n c e and a l l e x t r a - d r a m a t i c s i g n i f i c a n c e , i n the s i t u a t i o n s i n which they f i n d themselves. Again, we cannot help but t a c k l e the q u e s t i o n from a p o i n t of view q u i t e d i f f e r e n t from Sophocles'. We must d i v i d e the whole p l a y with which we are presented i n t o manageable u n i t s and then examine each l i n e or group of l i n e s and see how they c o n t r i b u t e t o the process of changing the s t a t e of a f f a i r s w i t h which the p l a y begins to t h a t with which i t ends. I t has been assumed t h a t , w i t h a b a s i c scheme i n mind, Sophocles wrote the l i n e s of the p l a y i n the order i n which they now appear, although of course he was f r e e t o a l t e r an e a r l y passage i n view of a l a t e r one. The p l a y i s d i v i d e d , f o r convenience, i n t o twenty p a r t s and a chapter i s devoted to each p a r t . The d i v i s i o n s are the t r a d i t i o n a l ones: prologue, parodos, episodes, stasima. Episodes are f u r t h e r d i v i d e d i n t o "scenes," the d i v i s i o n s being marked by the 13 a r r i v a l or departure of a c h a r a c t e r or by a s i g n i f i c a n t change of mood. The d i s c u s s i o n takes the form of a commentary i n t h a t each p o i n t , r e g a r d l e s s of i t s nature, i s d i s c u s s e d as i t a r i s e s i n the t e x t of the p l a y . We may thus f i n d o u r s e l v e s moving from the d e s c r i p t i o n of a s p e c i a l t h e a t r i c a l e f f e c t t o the d i s c u s s i o n of the rel e v a n c e of a c e r t a i n c h a r a c t e r ' s remarks at a c e r t a i n p o i n t and on to a r e c o n s t r u c t i o n of the expected r e a c t i o n s of the audience t o a s p e c i f i c a c t i o n or statement. Sophocles, however, was co n f r o n t e d w i t h a l l these c o n s i d e r a t i o n s a t once, and coped admirably w i t h them. At the end of each chapter, there i s an attempt t o j u s t i f y the presence and e x p l a i n the u s e f u l n e s s of the e n t i r e s e c t i o n of the p l a y w i t h which the chapter d e a l s . L e t us f i r s t examine the s t r u c t u r e of the p l a y : "The p l o t i s e p i s o d i c , c o n s i s t i n g of a s e r i e s of i n c i d e n t s which, except t h a t they i n v o l v e a s i n g l e hero, and are d e r i v e d from the p r e v i o u s h i s t o r y of t h a t hero or h i s a n c e s t o r s , are 19 u n r e l a t e d , " " T h i s i s a t y p i c a l judgement, but i t i s q u i t e i n c o r r e c t . Each of the episodes i s c o n s t r u c t e d with the others i n view, and each i s p a r t of a balanced and i n t e r c o n n e c t e d whole. The s t r u c t u r a l skefeton of the p l a y c o n s i s t s of a c o n f l i c t between Thebes and Athens. Oedipus can g i v e b e n e f i t s to one of these c i t i e s , but not both. The Thebans d e s p e r a t e l y want him to r e t u r n to h i s own c i t y ; the Athenians are w i l l i n g , f o r the.most p a r t even eager, to keep him i n A t t i c a . 19 C o l c h e s t e r (1942) 21. The word"plot" here seems t o mean "scheme," or " s t r u c t u r e . " 14 We must not see Oedipus as the centre of the c o n f l i c t , t o r n between the two c i t i e s . T h i s would upset the balance of the pl a y , f o r the Athenians are not, f o r themselves, as determined to keep Oedipus as the Thebans are to capture him. I t i s onl y i n answer t o Oedipus' i n s i s t e n t requests t h a t he be allowed t o stay i n A t t i c a t h a t the Athenians h e l p him t o do so. Oedipus must not be seen as the "rope" i n the "tug-of-war." He i s very d e f i n i t e l y one of the t u g g e r s . The "rope," i f there i s one, i s h i s body a f t e r death, or h i s grave, Creon and P o l y n e i c e s r e p r e s e n t the Thebans, Oedipus and Theseus the Athenians. (Oedipus i s made an honorary Athenian c i t i z e n . ) Ismene and Antigone are a c t i v e l y on Oedipus' s i d e , as w e l l as 20 being the u n w i l l i n g hostages, f o r a time, of the Thebans.' Step by step, Oedipus a t t a i n s h i s g o a l , h i s death and b u r i a l i n A t t i c a . On o c c a s i o n he i s f o r c e d to take a step towards Thebes, when he encounters s t r o n g p e r s u a s i o n from a Theban or h o s t i l i t y from Athenians or i s g i v e n i n s u f f i c i e n t p r o t e c t i o n . By l o o k i n g at the s t o r y - l i n e which Sophocles superimposed upon the s t r u c t u r a l frame-work we can see the "tug-of-war" t a k i n g p l a c e : Oedipus d i s c o v e r s from the s t r a n g e r t h a t he i s i n the r i g h t p l a c e - the p l a c e where he w i l l r e c e i v e the s i g n a l s t h a t h e r a l d h i s death - a grove of the Eumenides. He i s allowed t o stay t h e r e t e m p o r a r i l y . His f i r s t setback i s 20 S t o e s s l (1966) f i n d s a s i m i l a r , but not i d e n t i c a l , s t r u c t u r e i n the Oedipus' Coloneus. He sees Oedipus being p u l l e d by two c o n f l i c t i n g f o r c e s - the m i s e r i e s of l i f e , i n p a r t i c u l a r the t r o u b l e s at Thebes, and the promise of p e a c e f u l death i n A t t i c a . A c c o r d i n g to S t o e s s l , Ismene i s on the Theban s i d e , though not i l l - d i s p o s e d to Oedipus. 15 caused by the chorus' a t t i t u d e to h i s t r e s p a s s i n g , h i s appearance and h i s name, but f i n a l l y the o l d men are p l a c a t e d and a l l o w him to stay i n Colonus a t l e a s t u n t i l t h e i r k i n g a r r i v e s . When Ismene appears Oedipus l e a r n s t h a t the Thebans are l i k e l y t o t r y to thwart him i n h i s d e s i r e t o remain i n A t t i c a . There i s nothing he can do but wait f o r them. R i t e s i n honour of the Eumenides which Ismene i s to perform, w i l l , i t seems, s a n c t i o n h i s oc c u p a t i o n of t h e i r grove. I n e x p l i c a b l y , the chorus grows h o s t i l e a g a i n , but Theseus, when he f i n a l l y a r r i v e s , accepts Oedipus as a guest and promises him b u r i a l . The chorus welcomes him to i t s g l o r i o u s country, but Theseus, d e s p i t e Oedipus' p r o t e s t s , has l e f t . Creon a r r i v e s . Oedipus r e s i s t s and i s not removed, but Antigone and Ismene are l o s t to the enemy. Theseus a r r i v e s , Creon i s f o r c e d to abandon h i s attempt t o take Oedipus to Thebes and the g i r l s are rescued. When a l l seems p e a c e f u l , P o l y n e i c e s a r r i v e s t o ask Oedipus to r e t u r n t o Thebes w i t h him. Theseus i s absent again. Oedipus r e s i s t s h i s p l e a s and dis m i s s e s him. The sign s of Oedipus' approaching death are seen and heard. The chorus i s h o s t i l e a g a i n , f r i g h t e n e d by the curse and the thunder. I t seems t h a t Theseus might not a r r i v e i n time t o hear what Oedipus must t e l l him. He a r r i v e s at l a s t and the hero i s able t o promise him p r o t e c t i o n and swear him to secrecy on the s i t e of h i s (Oedipus') grave. With peace of mind Oedipus i s able t o walk to the pl a c e appointed f o r h i s death and to d i e . He reaches h i s g o a l , the 16 setbacks overcome. The Creon- and P o l y n e i c e s - s c e n e s , the r e l e v a n c e of which t r o u b l e s so many commentators, can thus be seen to be i n t e g r a l p a r t s of the s t r u c t u r a l framework and the s t o r y - l i n e of the p l a y . (The o r a c l e s , the o l d o r a c l e g i v e n to Oedipus w h i l e he s t i l l b e l i e v e d h i m s e l f to be a C o r i n t h i a n p r i n c e , and the new o r a c l e , about which Ismene comes to inform him, and which Creon and P o l y n e i c e s have a l s o heard, are used by the c h a r a c t e r s as ammunition i n t h e i r s t r u g g l e . Oedipus b e l i e v e s { r i g h t l y } t h a t he i s j u s t i f i e d because of the o r a c l e s i n remaining i n A t t i c a . Creon b e l i e v e s {wrongly} t h a t he i s a u t h o r i s e d by the new o r a c l e to take Oedipus back t o Thebes, P o l y n e i c e s b e l i e v e s {wrongly} t h a t the new o r a c l e supports h i s c l a i m to the Theban throne. Sophocles took the t r o u b l e to t h i n k out the p r e c i s e i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s of these o r a c l e s which the c h a r a c t e r s h o l d , the assumptions they make and the r e s u l t a n t e f f e c t s on t h e i r p l a n s . However, these d e t a i l s need not be understood i n order t h a t the p l a y be a p p r e c i a t e d . In f a c t , i t i s d o u b t f u l t h a t an audience c o u l d a s s i m i l a t e so many unvoiced thoughts from watching a s i n g l e performance. For t h i s reason the d i s c u s s i o n of the o r a c l e s i s i n c l u d e d not i n the body of t h i s study, where audience comprehension i s a 21 P o r t e r (1971) 484-488, acknowledges the v i c t o r y , but undervalues the setbacks. He sees one o v e r a l l upward movement from Oedipus' wretchedness to h i s e l e v a t i o n m i r r o r e d by a run of s m a l l e r upward movements, each s t a r t i n g and f i n i s h i n g a l i t t l e c l o s e r to the f i n a l g o a l than the one b e f o r e i t . The low p o i n t s of the s m a l l e r movements are not seen as caused by the thwarting of Oedipus' major d e s i r e , but by the r e f e r e n c e s of other c h a r a c t e r s to h i s misery. 17 prime requirement f o r any e l u c i d a t i o n of the t e x t , but i n the Appendix.) I t s framework and s t o r y - l i n e having been s e t t l e d by the p l a y w r i g h t , i t seems t h a t f o u r s e t s of c r i t e r i a govern the l i n e - b y - l i n e composition of the p l a y . These must be analysed here so t h a t examples of them given i n the t e x t of t h i s study can be r e a d i l y r e c o g n i s e d and c l a s s i f i e d . The four c a t e g o r i e s of reasons f o r the i n c l u s i o n of s i n g l e l i n e s , passages or whole scenes a r e : -1. Dramatic, 2. P l o t - a d v a n c i n g . 3. F u n c t i o n a l , 4. A r t i s t i c . 1. When some e s t a b l i s h e d c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of one of the p a r t i c i p a n t s or some f a c t or n a t u r a l c o r o l l a r y of the s t o r y n e c e s s i t a t e s the i n c l u s i o n of a c e r t a i n passage, the reason f o r i t s i n c l u s i o n i s dramatic. Thus, when the C o l o n i a t e s are unable t o defend Oedipus adequately a g a i n s t Creon a t 720-347 there i s a dramatic reason - they are o l d and Creon i s h e a v i l y guarded. When.Creon and Theseus depart t o g e t h e r a t 1043 the dramatic reason i s t h a t Creon knows where the W kidnapped g i r l s are andi*Theseus wants to f i n d out. In a p e r f e c t p l a v there would' be a dramatic reason, a reason a r i s i n g n a t u r a l l y from the data of the p l a y , f o r every l i n e and occurrence. In p r a c t i c e t h i s does not happen. Sometimes a p l a y w r i g h t needs to i n c l u d e an event which cannot l o g i c a l l y 18 be e x p l a i n e d i n terms of the i n t r i n s i c dramatic s i t u a t i o n . With t h i s o b s e r v a t i o n we move to the second category. 2. "...the pressure of p l o t may sometimes put the d r a m a t i s t i n a d i f f i c u l t y . , He may need a t h i n g to be done or s a i d - may need i t very much f o r the sake of h i s a c t i o n - and y e t i t may be very hard to make t h i s t h i n g seem n a t u r a l . In the end, the problem may d e f e a t him. What r e s u l t s then i s q u i t e a common t h i n g i n drama and may be d e s c r i b e d as a s o r t of transparency. We c a t c h the d r a m a t i s t , so to speak, at h i s game." 22 T h i s i s Waldock's o b s e r v a t i o n . When one occurrence must be c o n t r i v e d so t h a t another can take p l a c e i n the f u t u r e the reason f o r i t i s one of p l o t advancement. Thus, Ismene must leave the grove a t 509 so t h a t she can be captured by Creon bef o r e he reaches i t . The s t r a n g e r , an i n s i g n i f i c a n t i n h a b i t a n t of Colonus, must come upon Oedipus i n the grove of the Eumenides so t h a t he can a l e r t o t h e r , more important people, n o t a b l y the King, to Oedipus' presence, and give: 23 Oedipus i n f o r m a t i o n which he needs. I t can be seen t h a t the word " p l o t " here means no more than "the chosen s t o r y - l i n e " -the sequence of events which changes the s i t u a t i o n with which the p l a y begins to the s i t u a t i o n with which i t ends. There are no A r i s t o t e l i a n c o n n o t a t i o n s , nor any of the c o m p l i c a t i o n s embodied i n h i s use of the word j x u ^ , g e n e r a l l y t r a n s l a t e d i n t o E n g l i s h as " p l o t . " 2 2Waldock (1951) 91. 2 3 ~ For the sake of completeness I i n c l u d e e x p o s i t i o n i n p l o t advancement, f o r a c e r t a i n amount of e x p o s i t i o n must take p l a c e before the p l o t can be s e t i n motion. The s t r a n g e r imparts h i s i n f o r m a t i o n as much to the audience as to Oedipus. 19 In many cases, i f an occurrence i s i n c l u d e d so t h a t the p l o t may p r o g r e s s , i t i s g i v e n a c o v e r i n g "dramatic" reason. In some cases, as Waldock has noted (above), no " n a t u r a l " , t h a t i s "dramatic", reason can be found, and the r e s u l t i s somewhat embarrassing. T h i s r a r e l y happens i n the Oedipus  Coloneus. The most t r a n s p a r e n t case occurs a t 667, when, d e s p i t e Oedipus' p l e a d i n g , Theseus d e p a r t s , so t h a t Creon can e f f e c t i v e l y t e r r o r i s e Oedipus without h i s immediate i n t e r v e n t i o n . I f any member of the audience i s i r r i t a t e d by t h i s transparency and cannot f o r g e t i t , he may convince h i m s e l f , when Theseus r e t u r n s at 887 and speaks of the s a c r i f i c e t o Poseidon t h a t he has been performing, t h a t the s a c r i f i c e was of g r e a t importance t o Oedipus' cause. Sometimes, a p l a y w r i g h t i s o b l i g e d t o omit what would have been a d r a m a t i c a l l y f i t t i n g speech, c o n v e r s a t i o n or occurrence so t h a t the p l o t can advance a t the r e q u i r e d r a t e - f o r economy, i n f a c t . Thus Theseus i s never d i r e c t l y t o l d why i t i s t h a t the Thebans are so eager t o take Oedipus back to Thebes when he cannot l i v e w i t h i n the c i t y , f o r the e x p l a n a t i o n i s gi v e n before he a r r i v e s and i s too lengthy to repeat. I t must be made c l e a r t h a t the use of the words " p l o t advancement" i s not always, or even o f t e n , p e j o r a t i v e . When, f o r example, Theseus accepts Oedipus as an Athenian, or the heavenly s i g n s t h a t Oedipus' death i s approaching are seen and heard, the p l o t i s advancing as of course i t must. The d i f f e r e n c e i s t h a t i n these cases there i s simple p r o g r e s s i o n 20 f o r i t s own sake. One occurrence i s not being invented so th a t another can be c o n t r i v e d . 3. A f u n c t i o n a l reason i s one connected w i t h the c o n s t r a i n t s of the medium, the necessary conventions of a p l a y w r i t t e n t o be performed i n the A t t i c t h e a t r e . When Theseus leaves the grove a t 1210 the reason i s l a r g e l y , though not p u r e l y , f u n c t i o n a l . The Theseus-actor i s to p l a y the p a r t of P o l y n e i c e s , who a r r i v e s at 1254. When the chorus sin g s about the imaginary b a t t l e between Thebans and Athenians a t 1044-1095, the reason i s f u n c t i o n a l . Some stage-a c t i o n must occupy a l e n g t h of time r e p r e s e n t a t i v e of t h a t which the rescue of the g i r l s would take *~ too long a time, c l e a r l y , f o r the event to be shown on stage, though i t c o u l d be r e a d i l y d e s c r i b e d i n a no v e l without d i s t u r b i n g the time-s c a l e . A competent d r a m a t i s t i s i n f r e q u e n t l y so t r o u b l e d by the c o n s t r a i n t s of h i s medium t h a t he leaves the demands they have made on him v i s i b l e . In the Oedipus Coloneus there i s one area only where some awkwardness i s f e l t . Between 1099 and 1555 Ismene has to remain s i l e n t because no a c t o r i s a v a i l a b l e to p l a y her; there i s no p l a u s i b l e dramatic reason f o r her s i l e n c e . She i s s i l e n t a g a i n , though l e s s n o t i c e a b l y , f o r s i m i l a r reasons a t 1751-1779. 4. Often a p l a y w r i g h t ^ w r i t e s a l i n e , i n c l u d e s a passage or i n v e n t s a scene simply because he chooses t o , and we cannot censure him f o r doing so. He may wish t o enhance h i s 21 drama by adding embellishments - a b e a u t i f u l song, such as Antigone's a t 237-253, or a stunning v i s u a l e f f e c t , such as the p r o c e s s i o n l e d by a "rejuvenated" and e x u l t a n t Oedipus a t 1540-1555. He may wish to e n r i c h i t by experimenting w i t h new and e x c i t i n g d e v i c e s , or s u r p r i s i n g h i s audience w i t h a new t w i s t to an o l d custom. A l l these t h i n g s he does f o r a r t i s t i c reasons, and, because h i s i s a c r e a t i v e t a l e n t , the e f f e c t s he 24 can o b t a i n " f o r a r t i s t i c reasons" are innumerable. C. The Text of the Oedipus Coloneus. I have chosen to d i s c u s s some of the p l a y ' s t e x t u a l problems. Nowhere have I suggested a new r e a d i n g - t h i s would be presumptuous. I have examined the suggestions of t e x t u a l c r i t i c s with two c r i t e r i a i n mind. F i r s t , however b r i l l i a n t an emendation i s , i t must make sense w i t h i n the context of the drama. I t must produce a phrase which can s e n s i b l y be s a i d by i t s p a r t i c u l a r speaker a t the p a r t i c u l a r time i t i s s a i d . Second, i t must produce a phrase which i s immediately i n t e l l i g i b l e t o the v a s t audience, the meaning of which does not need to be e x p l a i n e d i n copious s c h o l a r l y notes. I have chosen on a l l o c c a s i o n s the r e a d i n g which b e s t combines the 24 A s m a l l s u b d i v i s i o n of t h i s category I should l a b e l Competitive, reasons. O c c a s i o n a l l y there i s l i t t l e or no j u s t i f i c a t i o n of a passage to be found i n the p l a y , and we must conclude t h a t the p l a y w r i g h t i n c l u d e s i t to produce a s p e c i a l e f f e c t on the members of the audience which w i l l i n g r a t i a t e him w i t h them. The r e f e r e n c e s i n t h i s p l a y to the graciousness of Athens and Athenians, w h i l e not a t a l l u n s u i t e d to the dramatic c o n t e x t , are d o u b t l e s s intended to make the s p e c t a t o r s f e e l proud and somewhat smug. In t h i s p l a y , however, there i s no example of a passage i n c l u d e d s o l e l y f o r c o m p e t i t i v e reasons. 22 . p r i n c i p l e s of sound t e x t u a l c r i t i c i s m , dramatic a p p l i c a b i l i t y and audience comprehension. T e x t u a l problems are d e a l t with 25 i n P a r t I of t h i s study, as each occurs i n the t e x t . D. The D i s t r i b u t i o n of the Roles. Part I I of t h i s study d e a l s w i t h the a l l o c a t i o n of the p a r t s among the a c t o r s . Schemes f o r the use of three a c t o r s are reviewed f i r s t , as three i s the norm. However, s i n c e every one of these schemes must be d i s c a r d e d because of i n t o l e r a b l e burdens p l a c e d upon the a c t o r s , gross awkwardness or simple i m p o s s i b i l i t y , schemes i n v o l v i n g the use of four a c t o r s are examined. None of the u s u a l such schemes adequately accounts f o r the fr e q u e n t a r r i v a l s and departures of the c h a r a c t e r s and t h e i r o c c a s i o n a l s i l e n c e s . I t must be admitted t h a t the Oedipus Coloneus i s a s p e c i a l case, Sophocles knew, when he wrote i t , who h i s a c t o r s were l i k e l y t o be (he d i d , i n f a c t , use four speaking a c t o r s ) and wrote t h e i r p a r t s a c c o r d i n g l y . A l l " o d d i t i e s " i n the t e x t are accounted f o r and no e x c e p t i o n a l measures, beyond the use of a f o u r t h a c t o r , are necessary, E, The Theatre. A conscious e f f o r t has been made throughout t h i s study to imagine the t h e a t r i c a l e f f e c t s f o r which Sophocles s t r o v e . T h i s i s s i g n i f i c a n t l y more simple with v i s u a l e f f e c t s than 25 A l l q u o t a t i o n s from the t e x t of the Oedipus Coloneus are from Pearson, Sophocles, u n l e s s otherwise s p e c i f i e d . 23 w i t h a u r a l ones, f o r so l i t t l e i s known about music and sound e f f e c t s g e n e r a l l y . However, i t i s necessary to use the i m a g i n a t i o n even to d i s c u s s v i s u a l e f f e c t s , and t h i s e x e r c i s e must be based, i f not on f a c t , a t l e a s t on l i k e l i h o o d . Pickard-Cambridge has d e s c r i b e d the l a y - o u t of the " P e r i c l e a n " Theatre of Dionysus i n Athens, and provided, a 2 6 diagram. A wooden s c e n e - b u i l d i n g was supported by beams which f i t t e d i n t o the grooves found on the n o r t h e r n w a l l of 27 the H a l l (HH), f i v e on e i t h e r s i d e of the p l a t f o r m , T. On the vexed q u e s t i o n of whether or not there was a r a i s e d stage i n the Theatre of Dionysus i n the f i f t h century B.C., I am i n c l i n e d t o agree w i t h A r n o t t 1 s c o n c l u s i o n t h a t there was a low r a i s e d stage l i n k e d t o the o r c h e s t r a by 2 8 s t e p s , 1 though f o r the most p a r t I have avoided the problem. be r e f e r r i n g to the "stage-area," which i s to be c o n s i d e r e d 29 to mean "the area occupied by the stage i f there was one," I f t h e r e was a stage i t seems to me t h a t i t s h e i g h t i s r e l a t i v e l y unimportant, as long as i t was r e a d i l y a c c e s s i b l e to a c t o r s who entered v i a the p a r o d o i , and, on o c c a s i o n , to 2 6 P i c k a r d - C a m b r i d g e (1946) 15-29. See e s p e c i a l l y f i g . 7. A l l r e f e r e n c e s here are to t h i s f i g u r e . 27 The word " s c e n e - b u i l d i n g " i n t h i s study r e f e r s t o t h i s wooden s t r u c t u r e o n l y . The " f r o n t scene" i s the w a l l of t h i s b u i l d i n g which f a c e s the a u d i t o r i u m . Thus an a c t o r who i s "behind the front s c e n e " i s i n s i d e the s c e n e - b u i l d i n g . 2 8 A r n o t t (1962) 1-41. 29 T h i s i s not the same as the " a c t i n g a r e a , " which c o n s i s t s of a l l the space a v a i l a b l e to the p l a y e r s , i n c l u d i n g the o r c h e s t r a . The e x p r e s s i o n s "on-stage" and " o f f - s t a g e " are used, f o r convenience, with t h e i r modern c o n n o t a t i o n s . They mean " i n view of the audience" and "not i n view of the audience" r e s p e c t i v e l y . 24 the chorus. As f o r permanent stage f i t m e n t s , I am t o t a l l y convinced 3 0 by A r n o t t ' s permanent stage a l t a r , although i t s proposed p o s i t i o n ( i n f r o n t of the c e n t r a l doors of the scene-b u i l d i n g ) might be troublesome. D i f f i c u l t i e s i n the manoeuvring of the ekkyklema or i n s t a g i n g p r o c e s s i o n s which enter through or leave by the c e n t r a l doors can be imagined. There were probably no other permanent f i x t u r e s , T h i s i s c o n v e n t i o n a l t h e a t r e and there i s no r e a l i s t i c scenery. The f r o n t scene i s p a i n t e d to resemble a p a l a c e f r o n t , but t h i s i s f o r d e c o r a t i o n o n l y . A l l p l a y s are acted b e f o r e t h i s p a l a c e f r o n t , whether they take p l a c e i n a c i t y , 31 i n the country or on the sea shore. Those who f i n d t h i s unacceptable should bear i n mind the s i m i l a r c o n d i t i o n s of the Noh Theatre of Japan, where a l l the p l a y s are acted i n 32 f r o n t of a p i c t u r e of a pine t r e e . By a s i m i l a r token there w i l l be no bushes, or r o c k s , r e a l or otherwise, p l a c e d i n the a c t i n g area f o r those p l a y s which are to be supposed to take p l a c e somewhere other than o u t s i d e a p a l a c e . The scene i s s e t with words, and the presence of canvas bushes or even r e a l 3°Arnott (1962) 43-65. 31 For arguments i n support of these a s s e r t i o n s see A r n o t t (1962) 93-96. Hourmouziades (1965) 35-57 r e j e c t s t h i s extreme view of A r n o t t ' s and suggests t h a t the wooden s c e n e - b u i l d i n g had genuine a r c h i t e c t u r a l f e a t u r e s , not p a i n t e d ones. P a i n t e d panels c o u l d be attached to the f r o n t scene to modify i t s appearance and c o u l d suggest, w i t h no attempt t o reproduce a c c u r a t e l y , v a r i o u s d i f f e r e n t l o c a t i o n s . Those who p r e f e r Hourmouziades' view w i l l f i n d n o t h i n g i n t h i s study which i s incompatible w i t h i t . 3 2 S e e Keene (1966) 19 and 23 and A r n o t t (1969) 84. 25 "token" bushes would d e s t r o y , r a t h e r than enhance, the e f f e c t . The audience can imagine the scene and the surroundings p r o v i d e d t h a t the p l a y w r i g h t p r o v i d e s s u f f i c i e n t v e r b a l i n f o r m a t i o n about them, which the Greek p l a y w r i g h t s c o n s i s t e n t l y do, and which, as the p o t e n t i a l d i s s e n t e r s might 33 remember, Shakespeare does a l s o . F. Costume. R e a l i s t i c costume i n c o n v e n t i o n a l t h e a t r e would be a developmental i m p o s s i b i l i t y . There are s i g n s , i t i s t r u e , t h a t E u r i p i d e s was moving away from the c o n v e n t i o n a l and p r e s e n t a t i o n a l aspects of t h e a t r e p r o d u c t i o n towards r e a l i s m , or at l e a s t i l l u s i o n , He seems to have d i f f i c u l t y i n i g n o r i n g the s c e n e - b u i l d i n g and s t a g e - a l t a r when they do not correspond p e r f e c t l y to h i s imaginary scene. He t r i e s t o r a t i o n a l i s e them, e x p l a i n i n g why, f o r example, Proteus' tomb i n the Helena (the stage a l t a r ) i s so c l o s e to the p a l a c e doors. For him, the r o o f of the s c e n e - b u i l d i n g i s more l i k e l y to r e p r e s e n t the r o o f of a b u i l d i n g than the abode of the 34 gods, which i t r e p r e s e n t s f o r e a r l i e r p oets. E u r i p i d e s may have dressed some of h i s heroes, those reduced to poverty or h a r d s h i p , i n r a g s , presumably i n a 3 3 TovX rrjTrc>-n\v KOAU>YOV a t 5 9 of the Oedipus Coloneus suggests t h a t a statue of the horseman Colonus might have been v i s i b l e . Arnott. (1962) 65-69, argues t h a t the t h e a t r e ' s equipment would have i n c l u d e d a s e t of s t a t u e s of the v a r i o u s gods, and one or two o t h e r s , 34 These examples are A r n o t t ' s (1962) 118-119, He i n c l u d e s an a p p r o p r i a t e excursus on the p o s i t i o n of the watchman i n Aeschylus' Agamemnon. 26 s i m i l a r stand a g a i n s t c o n v e n t i o n . J D Sophocles may have fol l o w e d s u i t . I f he d i d , Oedipus i n the Oedipus Coloneus i s an obvious candidate. The p l a y i s Sophocles' l a s t , and Oedipus, perhaps w i t h the ex c e p t i o n of P h i l o c t e t e s , i s the c h a r a c t e r who has f a l l e n to the lowest l e v e l of h a r d s h i p . On the whole, however, costume was c o n v e n t i o n a l . T h i s does not mean, i t cannot mean, t h a t a l l c h a r a c t e r s were dressed e n t i r e l y a l i k e r e g a r d l e s s of age, sex, n a t i o n a l i t y and s t a t i o n . The mask co u l d p r o v i d e some i n f o r m a t i o n , of course - the age and sex of a c h a r a c t e r , f o r example, but i t i s d o u b t f u l t h a t i t c o u l d p r o v i d e s u f f i c i e n t f o r a c h a r a c t e r to be i n s t a n t l y r e c o g n i s a b l e , or f o r two c h a r a c t e r s of l i k e age and sex t o be d i f f e r e n t i a t e d . The "tokens" by which a c h a r a c t e r ' s age and sex ( i f the d e t a i l s of the mask d i d indeed need r e i n f o r c e m e n t ) , n a t i o n a l i t y , household and p o s i t i o n w i t h i n t h a t household 35 P o l l u x (IV. 117) r e l a t e s t h a t a Telephus and a P h i l o c t e t e s were dressed i n rags. That these were E u r i p i d e s ' c h a r a c t e r s i s i n f e r r e d from A r i s t o p h a n e s , Acharnians, 412-449, where E u r i p i d e s i s ap p a r e n t l y mocked f o r d r e s s i n g h i s c h a r a c t e r s i n rags, and these two names are mentioned. Webster (1970) 39 b e l i e v e s t h a t he "imagined but d i d not i n f a c t dress h i s c h a r a c t e r s " i n rags. Of course, P o l l u x may have know h i s Ar i s t o p h a n e s . In t h i s case, i f Webster i s c o r r e c t , there i s no evidence t h a t t r a g i c a c t o r s ever wore rags, 36 On the nature of t h i s c o n v e n t i o n a l costume we know l e s s than we l i k e to t h i n k . L i t e r a r y evidence i s c o n f u s i n g and u n r e l i a b l e . Even w i t h i n the t r a g e d i e s , the evidence i s d i s a p p o i n t i n g . No p l a y w r i g h t ever d e s c r i b e s the normal dress of a t r a g i c a c t o r - why should he? P i c t o r i a l evidence i s an i n v i t a t i o n to e r r o r . I t can r a r e l y be dated a c c u r a t e l y , and we cannot s a t i s f a c t o r i l y u n r a v e l the conventions which are p e c u l i a r l y the a r t i s t ' s . The g e n e r a l c o n c l u s i o n s u s u a l l y accepted on the nature of the t r a g i c a c t o r ' s costume w i l l be accepted here. The a c t o r s were masked, wore lon g , r i c h robes, and boots of some s o r t . See Pickard-Cambridge (1968) 177-209. 27 were denoted must have been as c o n v e n t i o n a l as the costumes themselves. S t r i p e s on garments, badges, "f a v o u r s " of some s o r t a t l e a s t , may have imparted the r e q u i s i t e i n f o r m a t i o n . Thus Oedipus and Antigone would wear i d e n t i c a l "tokens" to i n d i c a t e "Thebes," "House of Labdacus" and "of r o y a l b i r t h . " T h e i r poverty would a l s o have to be i n d i c a t e d , p o s s i b l y by rags, as noted above, or p o s s i b l y by e x t r a "tokens." P o l y n e i c e s would wear the same "House of Labdacus" and "of r o y a l b i r t h " "tokens," but the "token" which denotes h i s c i t y , now t h a t he has abandoned Thebes and adopted Argos as h i s home, would not be the same. A s i n g l e "token" may have i d e n t i f i e d a man who i n r e a l l i f e would wear c l o t h e s which would r e a d i l y make h i s circumstances known - a fancy hat f o r a f o r e i g n e r , perhaps, or a g a r l a n d f o r a messenger. Such an arrangement would seem odd only to those who d i d not know the code. S i m i l a r arrangements are found a t a horse r a c e , where the jockeys wear i n i t i a l l y incomprehensible combinations of c o l o u r s , i n the armed f o r c e s , where s t r i p e s and d i f f e r e n t shaped hats denote rank, and i n the q u a i n t conventions of B r i t i s h grammar s c h o o l uniforms, where a p u p i l ' s age, c l a s s and "house" can f r e q u e n t l y be determined by the s t y l e of h i s t r o u s e r s and the c o l o u r and number of the s t r i p e s on h i s t i e . Those who r e q u i r e a t h e a t r i c a l p a r a l l e l can t u r n again to the Noh Theatre of Japan, where a l i k e arrangment has e x i s t e d f o r g e n e r a t i o n s . 3 7 S e e Keene (1966) 73-74 and A r n o t t (1969) 213-214. 28 PART I The Process of Composition 29 CHAPTER I. 1-116. The Prologue. The prologue of a Greek tragedy i s always, to some extent, expositional. It must f a m i l i a r i s e the audience with the t a le to be t o l d , explain the antecedents of the action which i s to take place, i d e n t i f y the s i t e of the action and introduce at least those characters which appear i n i t . I t may also predict events which w i l l take place i n the play, i d e n t i f y other characters, furnish the audience with pr i v i l e g e d information which w i l l enable i t to understand c e r t a i n parts of the action which i t would not otherwise understand,"'" set the p l o t i n motion and even advance i t . The prologue i s not written, however, for a t o t a l l y ignorant audience. The playwrights for the most part take their s t o r i e s from t r a d i t i o n a l myths, and change only 2 d e t a i l s . Before a play i s even performed i t s producer has appeared with his actors i n the Proagon and announced the 3 t i t l e s and subjects of the plays he intends to stage. Thus, i n the case of the Oedipus Coloneus, before the f i r s t word i s spoken, the audience knows the outlines of the "'"For example, i n Sophocles' Philoctetes, i t i s stated i n the prologue that deceit i s to be used to persuade Philoctetes to surrender his bow, so that the audience w i l l not believe what Neoptolemus t e l l s him. The true i d e n t i t y of the "Merchant captain" i s also explained, so that the audience w i l l not be misled. 2 The author of the second argument to the Oedipus Coloneus writes that i t was produced i n 402 B.C. by the grandson and namesake of the playwright (who was recently deceased), Sophocles, son of Ariston. It i s generally assumed that t h i s was the f i r s t performance of the play. 3For d e t a i l s of the Proagon, see Pickard-Cambridge (1968) 67-68. 30 4 s t o r y of Oedipus, from g e n e r a l knowledge and p a s t f e s t i v a l s , and, from the Proagon, t h a t the a c t i o n i s to take p l a c e i n some p a r t of Colonus, and t h a t Oedipus and perhaps other members of the r o y a l house of Thebes w i l l appear. I t i s d o u b t f u l t h a t the unoccupied o r c h e s t r a and stage-area w i l l o f f e r any c l u e to the p r e c i s e l o c a t i o n of the a c t i o n , f o r there i s no r e a l i s t i c scenery. When the f i r s t c h a r a c t e r s appear they are probably i n s t a n t l y r e c o g n i s a b l e by t h e i r masks and costumes as Oedipus, ex-king of Thebes, and one of h i s daughters. The v i s u a l i n f o r m a t i o n i s immediately r e i n f o r c e d by the v e r b a l : from the f i r s t l i n e we d i s c o v e r t h a t the g i r l i s Antigone; and audience would know t h a t Antigone was Oedipus' daughter, and thus t h a t the b l i n d o l d man who c a l l s her T£{voV (l) i s 5 indeed Oedipus. In the second l i n e we l e a r n t h a t the p a i r are t r a v e l l i n g i n u n f a m i l i a r t e r r i t o r y ; i n the t h i r d , t h a t the o l d man i s , as surmised, Oedipus (with l e s s s u b t l e r e i n f o r c e m e n t a t 14). I t t r a n s p i r e s t h a t they are beggars. 4 Sophocles was not the o n l y p l a y w r i g h t to use the s t o r y of Oedipus as m a t e r i a l f o r h i s t r a g e d i e s , Aeschylus wrote a t r i l o g y on the r o y a l house of Thebes, and from E u r i p i d e s we possess the Phoenissae, one of s e v e r a l p l a y s on t h i s s u b j e c t . 5 There are s i g n s t h a t the p l a y w r i g h t was aware t h a t he had to "compensate" with words f o r the vastness of the t h e a t r e and the consequent i n a b i l i t y of every member of the audience t o see e v e r y t h i n g . Whatever e l s e may have been shown by a c h a r a c t e r ' s costume, we know t h a t h i s mask c o u l d r e p r e s e n t o l d age, f o r the masks i n P o l l u x ' l i s t (IV. 133-142) are c l a s s i f i e d by the age of the c h a r a c t e r , and b l i n d n e s s , f o r P o l l u x l i s t s a s p e c i a l mask f o r the b l i n d Phineus (IV, 141). There i s no evidence i n i t s support, but i t i s an a t t r a c t i v e p o s s i b i l i t y to imagine t h a t the a c t o r who p l a y e d the p a r t of Oedipus i n Sophocles' Oedipus Tvrannus changed h i s mask a f t e r Oedipus b l i n d e d h i m s e l f i n the p a l a c e . 31 T h i s i n f o r m a t i o n i s g i v e n i n a d r a m a t i c a l l y s u i t a b l e manner. Antigone i s named by being addressed. Oedipus names h i m s e l f , not i n the formal manner of the Oedipus Tyrannus, "I who, known to a l l men, am c a l l e d Oedipus" (8), but by a s k i n g a q u e s t i o n , which i s p e r f e c t l y compatible with h i s weariness, of no one i n p a r t i c u l a r , "Who w i l l welcome the wandering Oedipus today with p a l t r y g i f t s ? " Even the d e s c r i p t i o n which Oedipus a p p l i e s to h i m s e l f i n these f i r s t l i n e s i s not " f o r audience consumption"^ o n l y . Oedipus might have spoken i n t h i s way even i f he had not been a c h a r a c t e r i n a p l a y . T h i s seems to be merely the c o n t i n u a t i o n of a c o n v e r s a t i o n which f a t h e r and daughter have been having before they a r r i v e here, Oedipus wishes to stop, s i t down and f i n d out where he i s (11-12). We can guess, though there i s no e x p l i c i t statement, t h a t he w i l l s i t on sacred ground (10), and t h a t someone w i l l come to t e l l him where he i s and what to do (12-13). 7 Antxgone addresses her " t o i l - w o r n " f a t h e r . As the s i g h t e d guide of a b l i n d man she can n a t u r a l l y d e s c r i b e the surroundings. I f she appears to s t r e s s h i s b l i n d n e s s , t h i s must not be c o n s i d e r e d c h a r a c t e r - r e v e a l i n g , or even thematic; i t i s simply necessary to make Antigone's d e s c r i p t i o n d r a m a t i c a l l y j u s t i f i a b l e . She can see the towers of a c i t y i n T h i s ugly but e x p r e s s i v e phrase i s Hulton's (1969) 51. Tuzpos i s another a d j e c t i v e which complements or compensates f o r the v i s u a l e f f e c t . The Oedipus-actor probably wore rags or at l e a s t something to i n d i c a t e poverty and ha r d s h i p . 32 the d i s t a n c e , so we know t h a t they are not i n a c i t y . 8 She f e e l s t h a t the p l a c e i s sacre d . I t i s heavy with greenery, 9 and the n i g h t i n g a l e s i n g s . We know now, though we have suspected i t b e f o r e , t h a t we can ign o r e the ' p a l a c e - f r o n t ' of the s c e n e - b u i l d i n g , and imagine o u r s e l v e s i n the c o u n t r y s i d e . Antigone guides her f a t h e r to an unhewn rock, and, a t 21-22, seats him on i t . " ^ She has r e c o g n i s e d the c i t y i n the d i s t a n c e as Athens (the f i r s t i n d i c a t i o n w i t h i n the p l a y of the s i t e of the a c t i o n ) , but does not know t h e i r p r e s e n t whereabouts. She i s about to leave him to f i n d an i n h a b i t a n t of the area so t h a t they can d i s c o v e r where they are when she sees a man approaching (28-29). The next l i n e s 30-32, are n e c e s s i t a t e d by the c o n s t r a i n t s of the medium - the a c t o r of the new c h a r a c t e r has t o be g i v e n time t o approach the o l d man and h i s daughter, f o r Antigone has s i g h t e d him i n the d i s t a n c e . I t i s hard to see the dramatic p o i n t , i f there i s one, of 30. I t may be t h a t Oedipus does not wish t o q u e s t i o n another t r a v e l l e r . (We can see from 25 t h a t he has been g T h i s need not mean t h a t they were p a i n t e d on a b a c k c l o t h ; the audience can use i t s i m a g i n a t i o n . 9 Oedipus does not, d r a m a t i c a l l y , need t o be t o l d t h i s , f o r he can hear p e r f e c t l y w e l l . Perhaps some s p e c i a l sound e f f e c t allowed the audience to hear i t too, and Antigone i s here i d e n t i f y i n g the sound. Jebb, u n n e c e s s a r i l y but n i c e l y , d i s c o v e r e d t h a t n i g h t i n g a l e s do indeed s i g n i n A t t i c a , f o r the f i r s t time of the year, a t the time of the Greater D i o n y s i a (Coloneus, x i i , note 2.) ^This i s a s t r i k i n g p i e c e of r e a l i s m . In Greek tragedy, c h a r a c t e r s do not, as a r u l e , s i t down. I f they do, i t i s u s u a l l y f o r sanctuary at an a l t a r . Oedipus s i t s down because he i s t i r e d . (At l e a s t , t h i s i s the dramatic reason. In f a c t he s i t s down so t h a t Sophocles can achieve a tremendous t h e a t r i c a l e f f e c t by having him stand up again at 1540.) 33 q u e s t i o n i n g t r a v e l l e r s a l l day and has r e c e i v e d no u s e f u l i nformation.) So, he asks whether the man has j u s t s t a r t e d walking ( e. ^ o ^ t O / ^ V G v )' I f he has, he i s presumably a l o c a l man who was otherwise engaged u n t i l he saw Oedipus and A n t i g o n e , 1 1 31-32 are d r a m a t i c a l l y a c c e p t a b l e , as Oedipus cannot otherwise know when the newcomer i s c l o s e enough to be addressed. The man c a l l e d ^ £ v c \ 5 i n the manuscripts and by O e d i p u s 1 2 i s a c o l o u r l e s s c h a r a c t e r whose business i s to r e c e i v e and g i v e i n f o r m a t i o n without emotion. His a r r i v a l i s not motivated, u n l e s s we are to t h i n k t h a t he has seen the s t r a n g e r s i n the d i s t a n c e and has come to warn them o f f the hallowed ground. He has been c r e a t e d f o r two purposes: f i r s t t o f u r n i s h i n f o r m a t i o n about the ^fipOS i both f o r Oedipus and, not i n c i d e n t a l l y , f o r the audience, and second, to motivate the a r r i v a l s of the chorus and.the King of Athens. However, before the necessary exchange of q u e s t i o n s and answers begins, t h i s c h a r a c t e r r e a c t s to Oedipus 1 presence n a t u r a l l y . He i n t e r r u p t s Oedipus' prepared speech and b i d s him leave the hallowed ground (36-37). Oedipus does not move. Instead, he d i v e r t s the s t r a n g e r and asks where they a r e . We l e a r n t h a t 1 1 T h i s g i v e s an e a s i e r sense than Jebb's "Is he coming f o r t h towards us, - so t h a t i t i s r e a l l y needless f o r thee to move?" (Coloneus, 16, note to 30), and we need not f e a r an unacceptable 'prothysteron', as the two q u e s t i o n s "Is he coming t h i s way?" and "Has he j u s t now s t a r t e d walking?" are q u i t e separate. 12 The word seems to mean l i t t l e more, i n t h i s p l a y , than "one of two p a r t i e s meeting." Oedipus and the s t r a n g e r address one another thus (33,75); Oedipus uses the word of the chorus (174) and of Theseus (1119). Antigone even uses i t of her b r o t h e r (1249). 34 t h i s i s ground sacred t o the Eumenides, but cannot understand Oedipus' i n s i s t e n c e t h a t he w i l l never leave i t . The of the manuscripts at 45 must be wrong, although the l i n e i s i n t e l l i g i b l e i n i t s e l f , because the i s s u e has nothing t o do, at p resent, w i t h whether Oedipus w i l l s t ay i n the land or not, but with whether he w i l l stay i n the e n c l o s u r e or not. I t i s the f a c t t h a t the en c l o s u r e i s sacred to the Eumenides t h a t i s important to Oedipus. The audience does not y e t know t h i s , but Sophocles knew i t when he wrote the l i n e , and i t would s u r e l y not have occu r r e d t o him to w r i t e • The str a n g e r i s somewhat b a f f l e d a l s o , e s p e c i a l l y as Oedipus begins to t a l k m y s t e r i o u s l y of a " s i g n " of h i s f a t e , and, not wishing to take r e s p o n s i b i l i t y h i m s e l f f o r removing the mysterious man from the grove, r e s o l v e s t o r e p o r t to the Athenians (47-48), (The manuscripts read hfcJ a t 48, which must 14 t r a n s l a t e as "what I am doing." But why should i t be important f o r the st r a n g e r to r e p o r t h i s own a c t i o n s ? To make an €vhtC^,\S i s to l a y i n f o r m a t i o n a g a i n s t a wrong-doer. The stra n g e r intends t o r e p o r t t h a t Oedipus i s t r e s p a s s i n g and has not responded t o a request t o move. We should read 6f>oi. 5 , 13 ~ Pearson j u s t i f i e s h i s ^6 f o r tf+\S i n a manner s i m i l a r to t h i s (1930), 155. Radermacher\s p l e a f o r the r e t e n t i o n of Y*Y5" (1950), 163 , r e s t s on the assumption t h a t the T v y r ^ belongs not to tf*\5 , which would be the obvious and reasonable assumption i f the t e x t were t o stand, but t o <ei.o1(0o<5 , which would not be i n t e l l i g i b l e even wi t h the gesture which Radermacher imagines the Oedipus-actor t o g i v e . The p a r a l l e l s f o r the phrase €e)p6is Y*?S a r e u n s a t i s f a c t o r y . 14 "Je l u i e x p o s e r a i l e s f a i t s e t l u i d i r a i 'Que d o i s - j e f a i r e ? ' " (Dain and Mazon, Sophocle I I I , 80) i s a d i s h o n e s t t r a n s l a t i o n . There i s no n o t i o n of asking i n the Greek. 35 15 "what you are doing." So Sophocles ensures t h a t Oedipus w i l l not be removed too soon from h i s seat and i n t r o d u c e s the p r o b a b i l i t y t h a t others w i l l a r r i v e t o d e a l w i t h him. Oedipus d i v e r t s the s t r a n g e r again and o b t a i n s more i n f o r m a t i o n , f o r h i m s e l f and f o r the audience. The s t r a n g e r e x i s t s , a t t h i s p o i n t , f o r the e x p o s i t i o n alone. The whole surrounding area, i t seems, i s sacred. Poseidon and Prometheus are both i n 16 r e s i d e n c e . The area i s c a l l e d the Brazen T h r e s h o l d , the 17 s t r o n g h o l d of Athens. The people who l i v e nearby take t h e i r name from the horseman Colonus, who i s t h e i r guardian hero. (An Athenian audience c o u l d immediately deduce, of course, t h a t the deme was Colonus and the people the C o l o n i a t e s . ) 15 As does Pearson, Sophocles, ad l o c . 16 We need not imagine the t h e a t r e d i v i d e d i n t o p r e c i n c t s of va r i o u s gods. There i s probably no i n d i c a t i o n of the presence of Poseidon and Prometheus a t a l l . Sophocles i s g i v i n g h i s audience an id e a of the whole area, of which the grove of the Eumenides and i t s immediate e n v i r o n s , r e p r e s e n t e d by the t h e a t r e , are but p a r t . 17 f 'v ' \ / A / ^ o t A < 6 0 s 0c)&5 was t r a d i t i o n a l l y the entrance to Ha^es. The t r a d i t i o n dates a t l e a s t y to ^ Horner , kv&&d<£ <3~vd*\ pe-<<* L - f€ TrOMi X^-^*^0* o ' o 3 o 5 . I l i a d . V I I I . 15. I t would seem as though t h i s must be the same spot as the c a r e f u l l y describedT^ T^ PPAICT^  o ^ o f 1590, which i s c l e a r l y the entrance to the underworld. Yet t h a t spot, where Oedipus d i e s , i s not r e p r e s e n t e d on stage. I t i s d e s c r i b e d o n l y i n a messenger speech. Without imagining a change of scene, f o r which there i s no p r a c t i c a b l e gap i n the a c t i o n , how can we r e c o n c i l e these two r e f e r e n c e s , a p p a r e n t l y to the same p l a c e , when one concerns a spot p o i n t e d out on stage and the other a spot which i s never seen? The s i m p l e s t e x p l a n a t i o n , and the b e s t , i s t h a t the whole area, i n c l u d i n g the grove of Eumenides and p o s s i b l y the p r e c i n t s of Poseidon and Prometheus a l s o , i s g e n e r a l l y r e f e r r e d t o as the X ^ * £ ° 5 or XCLXKOTTOOS o b o S , t a l k i n g i t s name from the s m a l l spot which i s a c t u a l l y the o3o_5 / a c l e f t i n the rock which i s i n a p a r t of the area not r e p r e s e n t e d on stage. When the s t r a n g e r c a l l s the p l a c e where he and Oedipus are t a l k i n g the AkX^oTTooS a o ^ o j , the audience and Oedipus would know t h a t the very spot where Hades i s entered i s very c l o s e . 36 Sophocles n e a t l y avoids pedantry i n h i s prologue by making the s t r a n g e r name the p l a c e i n t h i s manner, as he p o i n t s , probably, to a statue of the horseman i n the t h e a t r e , though t h i s does nothing to make him a more "o r g a n i c " c h a r a c t e r . Oedipus' q u e s t i o n at 64, "Are there r e a l l y people l i v i n g i n these p l a c e s ? " , might seem s u p e r f l u o u s , as he has j u s t been t o l d t h a t there are, but i t i s tempting to t h i n k t h a t he i s i n t e r e s t e d i n t h i s because he knows t h a t on h i s death he w i l l 18 bestow b e n e f i t s on the people who are h i s hosts (92). I t i s e s t a b l i s h e d t h a t Theseus, son of Aegeus, i s k i n g of Athens (66-69), and Oedipus would l i k e a messenger sent to him (70), t h a t "by performing a s m a l l s e r v i c e he may make a g r e a t g a i n " (72). These c r y p t i c words, i f r e l a y e d to Theseus, w i l l ensure t h a t he w i l l be i n t e r e s t e d enough to come. They a l s o have the advantage of e x c i t i n g the c u r i o u s i t y of the audience. Oedipus seems determined to confound the s t r a n g e r w i t h r i d d l e s and a f t e r y e t another a t 74 the s t r a n g e r r e s o l v e s t o r e p o r t Oedipus' presence, not, a f t e r a l l , t o the Athenians, but to the people of Colonus, so t h a t they may d e c i d e how to d e a l with him. Thus the p l a y w r i g h t prepares f o r the a r r i v a l of the chorus, and d e f e r s t h a t of Theseus, to the detriment only of the s t r a n g e r ' s i n t r a n s i g e n c e , although i t l a t e r t r a n s p i r e s t h a t Theseus i s sent f o r as a d i r e c t r e s u l t of t h i s c o n v e r s a t i o n (297-298), The u n i n q u i s i t i v e s t r a n g e r has not even d i s c o v e r e d Oedipus' name. He leaves the grove at 80, and does not r e t u r n . He has f u l f i l l e d the f i r s t of h i s two 18 T h i s i s the o p i n i o n of Jebb, Coloneus, 22, note 50 64. 37 f u n c t i o n s , t o dispense i n f o r m a t i o n about the area, and the second, to summon other c h a r a c t e r s , he i s prepared t o perform d i r e c t l y . There has been some s a c r i f i c e of dramatic c r e d i b i l i t y , f o r the st r a n g e r has not behaved as a normal man would behave when con f r o n t e d with the odd p a i r of t r a v e l l e r s , but i n r e t r o s p e c t , once we have s u f f e r e d the h y s t e r i a of the chorus, h i s very i n s e n s i b i l i t y i s g r a t i f y i n g . When the str a n g e r has gone, and Antogone, who d i d not speak d u r i n g the i n t e r v i e w f o r she c o u l d not have c o n t r i b u t e d anything the Oedipus would not c o n t r i b u t e , has informed Oedipus t h a t they are now alone, Oedipus proceeds t o e x p l a i n p a r t of the mystery. He does so i n the form of a prayer to the Eumenides, which i n the l i g h t of i t s c o n t e n t , and the f a c t t h a t Oedipus i s , a f t e r a l l , seated i n t h e i r h o l y t e r r i t o r y , i s d r a m a t i c a l l y a p p r o p r i a t e . When Phoebus A p o l l o gave Oedipus the o l d o r a c l e t h a t f o r e t o l d t h a t he would murder h i s f a t h e r and wed h i s mother, he a l s o t o l d him t h a t i n l a t e r y e a r s , when he found a spot sacred to the Eumenides, and found a welcome t h e r e , he would soon end h i s l i f e (87-91). A s i g n a l from Zeus, e i t h e r an underground rumble or thunder of l i g h t n i n g , would inform him when the time approached (94-95), As one mystery i s s o l v e d , we are conf r o n t e d with another - Oedipus' death i s t o b r i n g b e n e f i t s , K€pdv\ , t o h i s h o s t s , and ruin,o?\ry , t o those who drove him away (92-93). (This i s the f i r s t i n d i c a t i o n , i n c i d e n t a l l y , t h a t Oedipus i s i n enfo r c e d e x i l e from Thebes.) We are reminded of h i s c r y p t i c message to Theseus at 72, but 38 no e x p l a n a t i o n i s forthcoming. I t i s not d r a m a t i c a l l y unacceptable f o r Oedipus to g i v e t h i s i n f o r m a t i o n to the Eumenides, so t h a t i t can, i n f a c t , be g i v e n t o the audience. As has been noted, "Oedipus i s not addr e s s i n g the all - k n o w i n g God of a m o n o t h e i s t i c f a i t h . The r e v e l a t i o n had come to him from Phoebus, and, i n the circumstances of a m u l t i t u d i n o u s p o l y t h e i s m , there was no reason t o suppose t h a t the Eumenides of Colonus were aware of i t . Greek gods d i d not u n i t e i n common plans f o r the d e s t i n i e s o f men. I t i s onl y n a t u r a l t h a t Oedipus should b r i n g the o r a c l e of Phoebus, i n which the Eumenides have been named, to the a t t e n t i o n of the Eumenides themselves and beseech them f o r t h e i r a i d i n i t s f u l f i l l m e n t . " 1 9 Oedipus senses t h a t the Eumenides are a l r e a d y f a v o u r a b l y disposed towards him, f o r some s i g n a l form them must have l e d him to t h e i r grove (96-98). In the l a s t words of Oedipus' p r a y e r , Sophocles i s no longer concerned w i t h e x p o s i t i o n . Oedipus i s e x p r e s s i n g h i s d e a r e s t wish - to d i e . He i s i n t e r r u p t e d by an entrance-announcement, and the i n t e r r u p t i o n i s d r a m a t i c a l l y a p p r o p r i a t e , f o r the s i t u a t i o n changes. Antigone h u r r i e d l y s i l e n c e s him, f o r she sees a group of o l d men approaching, a p p a r e n t l y t o i n v e s t i g a t e Oedipus' p o s i t i o n (111-112). The atmosphere of calm and benevolence i s a t once exchanged f o r one of f e a r . Antigone leads her f a t h e r a s i d e so t h a t he can h i d from the newcomers, but hear what they say. A l l necessary i n f o r m a t i o n has been g i v e n . The audience knows t h a t the t a l e i s to concern Oedipus' stay i n A t t i c a , and t h a t Oedipus i s reduced t o t r a v e l l i n g as a beggar, but 1 9 L i n f o r t h (1951) 133. t h a t h i s l i f e i s soon to end, as the words of an o l d o r a c l e seem to be coming t r u e . The audience a l s o knows t h a t the scene i s the grove of the Eumenides i n Colonus, and t h a t the c h a r a c t e r s so f a r i n t r o d u c e d are Oedipus, Antigone and a n a t i v e of Colonus. In a d d i t i o n , i t has been suggested t h a t some more l o c a l s w i l l a r r i v e . There has a l s o been p r e p a r a t i o n f o r Oedipus' death, or a t l e a s t f o r the s i g n s from Zeus which w i l l h e r a l d i t . The p l o t has begun. The next scene, the parodos, and the f i r s t Theseus-scene (549-667), grow from the prologue, f o r i t i s the s t r a n g e r who sends the e l d e r l y C o l o n i a t e s , the chorus, to the grove of the Eumenides and arranges f o r the a r r i v a l o f Theseus, and he does so as a r e s u l t of h i s encounter with Oedipus. Only i n the p o r t r a y a l of the s t r a n g e r does Sophocles succumb to the needs of the prologue a t the expense of r e a l i s m . Although the s t r a n g e r o c c a s i o n a l l y behaves n a t u r a l l y (his f i r s t r e a c t i o n i s to order Oedipus to leave the sacred ground, and he i s b a f f l e d by Oedipus' obscure words), he seems t o take a c t i o n and make d e c i s i o n s w i t h a m o t i v a t i o n which s p r i n g s from the need t o have other c h a r a c t e r s brought to the scene. He i s more than normally communicative when asked about h i s n a t i v e t e r r i t o r y , so t h a t maximum e x p o s i t i o n can be g i v e n . He i s l e s s than normally c u r i o u s about Oedipus' i d e n t i t y so t h a t the drama can proceed s w i f t l y and so t h a t the chorus can a r r i v e without knowing who Oedipus i s and can be informed, to g r e a t t h e a t r i c a l e f f e c t , on stage. Oedipus and Antigone behave n a t u r a l l y thoughout. 40 The atmosphere of the prologue i s best a p p r e c i a t e d i n r e t r o s p e c t when the chorus comes n o i s i l y i n and s h a t t e r s the ominous, but not malevolent, s i l e n c e . I t w i l l not be f e l t again u n t i l Oedipus takes h i s f i n a l steps out of the grove (1555), w i t h no accompaniment but the n i g h t i n g a l e ' s song. 41 CHAPTER I I , 117-253. The Parodos. Antigone leads the b l i n d Oedipus f u r t h e r i n t o the grove so that he w i l l not immediately be seen. The audience i s ab l e to watch Oedipus respond to the chorus' screeches, see him prepare to i n t r o d u c e h i m s e l f , and can thus f u l l y a p p r e c i a t e the chorus' h o r r i f i e d r e a c t i o n t o i t s f i r s t s i g h t of him. The t h e a t r i c a l e f f e c t of the s u s t a i n e d t e n s i o n thus achieved would be f a r g r e a t e r than i f the Oedipus- and A n t i g o n e - a c t o r s h i d behind rocks e r e c t e d i n the a c t i n g area and Oedipus' appearance a t 13 8 was a s u r p r i s e to both chorus and audience. The chorus need not see the t r a v e l l e r s u n t i l the poet r e q u i r e s t h a t i t see them."'" A group of o l d gentlemen rushes towards the grove. They are s i n g i n g i n a g i t a t e d , broken phrases, and moving t h r e a t e n i n g l y towards Oedipus' h i d i n g p l a c e . The a r r i v a l of the chorus was prepared f o r i n the prologue, and i s w e l l motivated. The s t r a n g e r has t o l d the i n h a b i t a n t s of Colonus t h a t an o l d man and a g i r l are t r e s p a s s i n g on the land sacred to the Eumenides, and a detachment has been sent to f e r r e t them out, Sophocles has been c a r e f u l to leave a reasonable p e r i o d of time between the ^ S i m i l a r l y i n Sophocles' P h i l o c t e t e s b e f o r e 974 the audience can see Odysseus approaching along the parodos, though Neoptolemus, P h i l o c t e t e s and the chorus are too preoccupied to n o t i c e him. In the same way, Odysseus' appearance at 1293 i s no shock t o the audience, because he has stayed on stage between 1258 and 1293, v i s i b l e to the audience but " i n v i s i b l e " to the other c h a r a c t e r s . For the opposite view see T a p l i n (1971) 27-29. 42 s t r a n g e r ' s departure and the chorus' a r r i v a l . z The chorus d i s t u r b s the t r a n q u i l l i t y of the prologue i n such a way t h a t we r e a l i s e t h a t the s t r a n g e r was u n n a t u r a l l y unperturbed i n h i s r e a c t i o n t o Oedipus' appearance, and u n n a t u r a l l y l e n i e n t i n a l l o w i n g him to stay w i t h i n the c o n f i n e s of the sacred grove, and, much worse, t h a t there w i l l be o p p o s i t i o n and d i f f i c u l t y b efore Oedipus' d e a r e s t d e s i r e , to d i e i n Colonus, i s accomplished. In the f i r s t strophe, the C o l o n i a t e s urge one another to f i n d the o l d man. T h e i r q u e s t i o n s and e x h o r t a t i o n s , with marked asyndeta, d i s p l a y t h e i r own t e r r o r as w e l l as t h e i r 3 h o s t i l i t y towards Oedipus, The s e r i o u s n e s s of h i s o f f e n c e i s e v i d e n t from t h e i r words at 125-132. I t i s the h e i g h t of i n s o l e n c e t o wander on the ground which they themselves f e a r to pass and only do so with t h e i r eyes downcast, i n s i l e n c e , and engrossed i n r e v e r e n t thought. 131-132 need not be troublesome. <JTO/AOI must be taken f i g u r a t i v e l y , to mean " v o i c e , " 4 so t h a t the phrase ^A-o^ooi To T<*5 / {.olpd^ou crTOf*-^ 2 He has l e a r n t h i s l e s s o n . s i n c e w r i t i n g the A i a x , where the chorus a r r i v e s a t 134, immediately a f t e r Odysseus has l e f t a t 13 3 t o r e t u r n to the Greek camp.and spread a r e p o r t about Ajax' a c t s of madness. I t i s t h i s r e p o r t which has brought the chorus t o Ajax' t e n t (148-149). There i s an improvement i n the Oedipus Tvrannus. where Oedipus o r d e r s t h a t the people of Thebes be summoned at 144. They a r r i v e , i n the shape of the chorus, a t 151, but the crowd of s u p p l i a n t s must f i r s t d i s p e r s e and t h i s may take some time. See Webster (1932) 148. 3 The members of the chorus may d i v i d e the l i n e s between them; t h i s would be more . ' r e a l i s t i c than i f they spoke i n unison, but p o s s i b l y l e s s menacing. There i s no evidence to show how such a passage was managed. 4 As the s c h o l i a s t on 131 says i t can; De Marco, S c h o l i a , 14. Cf, Sophocles, Aiax, 651. <£>po \rtibos J \'d VTfc5 means " l e t t i n g f o r t h the v o i c e of r e v e r e n t thought without words," t h a t i s , " t h i n k i n g i n s i l e n c e . " The no t i o n t h a t the phrase i s to be i n t e r p r e t e d " h o l d i n g thought i n abeyance f o r r e l i g i o u s reasons," o r , r a t h e r , "with the mind a b l a n k i n v o l v e s a v o i d i n g the obvious sense Cin t h i s context) of o<At>^w5 , "without words" and s u b s t i t u t i n g "without thoughts."^ To pass by the grove with not a thought i n one's head would be, anyway, a strange k i n d of reverence I As the strophe ends, and the C o l o n i a t e s are s a t i s f i e d t h a t they have searched everywhere, Oedipus r e v e a l s h i m s e l f . He shows l i t t l e s i g n of embarrasment, and, s u r p r i s i n g l y , l i t t l e s i g n of f e a r , but we must be wary of i n t e r p r e t i n g h i s words as a s o r t of merry q u i p , as i n "Le v o i c i , c e t homme, c' e s t moil M e s ' o r e i l l e s a moi, ce sont mes yeux, comme on 7 d i t ! " Oedipus i s merely e x p l a i n i n g how he knows what i s happening. He says "I am the man you seek, I can see you by hea r i n g you, as they say b l i n d men can," adding with T O qpo.7 l^Oyw-tvov "a c e r t a i n g e n t l e p a t h o s " 8 to the statement of h i s b l i n d n e s s . He chants i n anapaests, and the C o l o n i a t e s howl and answer him i n the same metre. His appearance r e p e l s 5 L i n f o r t h (1952) 70. When tx^oflOS i s connected with reason, r a t h e r than words, i t normally has the con n o t a t i o n " i r r a t i o n a l ; without reason," r a t h e r than " t e m p o r a r i l y d i s m i s s i n g thought." Cf. A r i s t o t l e , Nicomachean E t h i c s , 1102a; P l a t o , R e p u b l i c , 439d, 7 Masqueray, Sophocle, 159, g Jebb Coloneus, 33, note to 138. 44 9 them. I t i s noteworthy t h a t the s t r a n g e r d i d not comment on h i s h o r r i b l e d e f o r m i t y , but merely remarked t h a t he looked " ^ 6Wouo^ " (76) . Oedipus grows more d e f e r e n t i a l , and the chorus somewhat l e s s d i s t r a c t e d . The chorus asks ( r h e t o r i c a l l y ) who the o l d man i s , but Oedipus does not v o l u n t e e r h i s name. He knows, perhaps, the r e a c t i o n i t w i l l provoke. He attempts to win sympathy by harping upon h i s b l i n d n e s s ( 1 4 4 - 1 4 8 ) . The chorus begins to s i n g the a n t i s t r o p h e and to q u e s t i o n Oedipus. There i s some doubt about the a c t u a l q u e s t i o n s asked. Why should the chorus ask Oedipus whether he has been b l i n d from b i r t h ? What c o u l d be gained from i t s knowing? Yet the s c h o l i a s t wrote cVtto fi6.VL<rts*5> "Wi. £ ^ *(°X^5 T o 4 ^ . 5 ^ U>VJKot.<; ; 1 0 and many c r i t i c s have accepted t h i s and even j u s t i f i e d i t : "Oedipus has spoken of h i s own i l l f o r t u n e as i f i t c o n s i s t e d p r i m a r i l y i n h i s b l i n d n e s s . The Chorus then ask: 'Ah! And wast thou b l i n d from thy b i r t h ? ' " 1 1 But even i f Oedipus has spoken of h i s b l i n d n e s s i n t h i s way, the q u e s t i o n i s s t i l l i l l o g i c a l . I t s i l l o g i c a l i t y cannot be a t t r i b u t e d to the f o r m a l i t y of the kommos, and the 9 The s c h o l i a s t (on 1 4 0 , De Marco, S c h o l i a , 1 4 . ) t h i n k s t h a t the chorus has not y e t been a f f e c t e d by the v i s i b l e s i g n s of Oedipus' b l i n d n e s s , "ouVw rfKpif3uoc £u/>^<oTt^ O/UT&V I O O T O <b<x«-<-V. " In t h i s case, i t s h i e s away, we must presume, from the mere p r o x i m i t y of such a r e p r o b a t e . Since Oedipus has a l r e a d y v e r b a l l y r e v e a l e d t h a t he i s b l i n d ( 1 3 8 - 1 3 9 ), t h i s n o t i o n seems u n l i k e l y , and i t would a l s o e l i m i n a t e the t h e a t r i c a l e f f e c t of the sheer r e v u l s i o n of the chorus a t the s i g h t of Oedipus' i n j u r i e s . Note to 1 5 0 , De Marco, S c h o l i a , 1 5 . 1 1 J e b b , Coloneus, 3 5 , note to 1 4 9 , 45 suspension, d u r i n g i t , of dramatic p e r s o n a l i t y and i n t e l l e c t . 12 When i l l o g i c a l i t y i s accounted f o r i n t h i s way, there i s some purpose i n i t . Some i n f o r m a t i o n must be g i v e n , or a p a t t e r n f o l l o w e d , and a d r a m a t i c a l l y unnecessary q u e s t i o n i s t h e r e f o r e asked. In t h i s case n e i t h e r chorus nor audience b e n e f i t s from knowing whether or not Oedipus has been b l i n d s i n c e b i r t h and the scheme of the parodos i s i n no way enhanced by the q u e s t i o n . I f the mask of the Oedipus-actor showed t h a t Oedipus' b l i n d n e s s was the r e s u l t of a h o r r i b l e 13 i n j u r y , the q u e s t i o n would be y e t more f u t i l e . I t i s e q u a l l y u n l i k e l y t h a t the chorus asks " A l a s , and a r t thou 14 then b l i n d ! " f o r i t i s s u r e l y Oedipus' m u t i l a t e d appearance 15 which so r e v o l t s the C o l o n i a t e s a t 140. I t seems p r e f e r a b l e t o punctuate c^poi *o<\ l^<r&oi. {^TilA /A io . s ^ U o - o ^ (150-151) 1 6 so t h a t the sense i s "Alas f o r your unseeing eyes. Have you l i v e d such a wretched l i f e s i n c e b i r t h ? " I t i s q u i t e reasonable to ask Oedipus whether he i s a beggar of long s t a n d i n g , or has r e c e n t l y f a l l e n to such depths of 1 2 S e e Ch. XV, 208-209 and Ch, XIX, 246-247/ 13 In Sophocles' own Oedipus Tvrannus. Oedipus put out h i s eyes w i t h the pin s of J o c a s t a ' s brooches, The r e s u l t must have been somewhat unpleasant to behold, and the Oedipus-a c t o r ' s mask i n t h i s p l a y , the Oedipus Coloneus, d o u b t l e s s re p r e s e n t e d i t adequately. 14 "The i n t e r r o g a t i v e has the f o r c e of an exclamation," Campbell, Sophocles, 303, note to 149,50, 15 See note 9, t h i s chapter. As Pearson does, Sophocles, ad l o c . 46 misfortune. Perhaps the chorus sees the same signs of n o b i l i t y i n Oedipus that the stranger saw at 76. With t h i s choice of punctuation, some s u b s t i t u t i o n must be made f o r a t 152, f o r cioffoH-tav andyAcWr,°i<-<'JV are not, now, taken together and cannot be j o i n e d by \L . There i s c l e a r l y something amiss, anyway, as TeS i s impossible and 152 i s not , as i t stands i n the manuscripts, the m e t r i c a l twin of the corresponding l i n e i n the strophe, 120, The s u b s t i t u t i o n r 17 of ff**^ i s acceptable. The chorus i s determined not to allow Oedipus to add f u r t h e r curses to h i s t r o u b l e s by c o n t i n u i n g to trespass on the sacred ground. Tcp^s fl<£f>/ ^ <^ «* 5 (155-156) means simply "you are over the boundary," t h a t i s , "you are t r e s p a s s i n g . " The chorus has not yet t o l d Oedipus t h i s to h i s face. There i s no advantage i n rendering "thou a r t going too f a r ( i n t o the grove)," and e x p l a i n i n g "Oedipus, not reassured by t h e i r 18 cry (141), has moved some steps back." I f Oedipus had been d i s t u r b e d by the cry at 141 he would have moved back then, and the chorus would not remark on i t fourteen l i n e s l a t e r . The chorus orders Oedipus to leave the grove at 162, and says, s t r a n g e l y , according to the manuscripts, TVoA^f^ K^A^uOqj £p<*T"06i. f "a great d i s t a n c e separates (you from us) "(163). That the chorus i s t a l k i n g to i t s e l f and not Oedipus, and i s not sure whether he has heard the order to 17 Pearson (1930) 157. He w r i t e s "I suppose the c o r r u p t i o n to have been due o r i g i n a l l y t o the common confusion of ^6 and J"o<p. 6' was not o r i g i n a l , and r e arose from tfb. >^5 was an explanatory a d d i t i o n . , . . " Some may th i n k t h i s over-ingenious. 18 Jebb, Coloneus, 36, note to 154. leave the grove,"1"' i s a n o t i o n which c o u l d not be s a t i s f a c t o r i l y expressed i n the t h e a t r e . The words are p l a i n l y addressed t o Oedipus. The chorus t e l l s him t h a t he i s too f a r away f o r them t o be able to hear one another. To prove i t s p o i n t , i t r a i s e s i t s c o l l e c t i v e v o i c e t o shout "Do you hear, much s u f f e r i n g wanderer?" (164-165), and c o n t i n u e s , " I f you have anything to d i s c u s s w i t h us, come away from the fo r b i d d e n ground and speak where a l l may speak,., (and then we s h a l l be able to hear you)" (166-169), There i s no need to change the t e x t and read £f<=4 \ u O l f which y i e l d s the f a r st r a n g e r sense of " l e t a g r e a t d i s t a n c e separate you from the grove": when Oedipus does leave the sacred area, he remains very c l o s e t o i t . We can reasonably ask why a g r e a t space does separate Oedipus from the chorus. The dramatic reason f o r the f a c t t h a t the C o l o n i a t e s do not search f o r him more thoroughly, or ac c o s t him p h y s i c a l l y when he prese n t s h i m s e l f , i s t h a t he i s on ground on which they f e a r t o t r e a d , but there may a l s o be a reason t o be found among the c o n s t r a i n t s of the t h e a t r e , namely t h a t the chorus cannot reach Oedipus, e i t h e r because there i s a high stage which i t i s unable t o climb onto, or because i t i s o b l i g e d , by convention, to remain i n the o r c h e s t r a , and keep i t s d i s t a n c e from the a c t o r s , u n l e s s some 19 "Jebb, Coloneus, 37, note t o 164. 20 As Pearson, Sophocles, does, ad l o c . , f o l l o w i n g Musgrave. 21 Ziobro (1969) 126 t r a n s l a t e s "a pathway separates us" and appears to c o n s i d e r the l i n e a d i r e c t i o n to the stage manager to make a d i s c e r n i b l e pathway between Oedipus and the chorus, robbing the l i n e of a l l dramatic s i g n i f i c a n c e . 48 s p e c i a l t h e a t r i c a l e f f e c t i s d e s i r e d . " T h i s stanza c o n c e a l s , w i t h the d r a m a t i c a l l y f i t t i n g n o t i o n s t h a t Oedipus must speak on l y where i t i s l a w f u l and where he can be heard, the need f o r the Oedipus-actor t o move to a p o s i t i o n where he i s c e n t r a l and prominent and able to converse comfortably with a l l those who w i l l come to v i s i t . The needs of the p l o t are i n evidence too. Oedipus must be v u l n e r a b l e , f o r Creon and P o l y n e i c e s are to come to harass him, and he would be f a r too safe on i n v i o l a b l e ground. An a n a p a e s t i c system, which bears no m e t r i c a l l i k e n e s s to the f i r s t a t 138-149, f o l l o w s the f i r s t a n t i s t r o p h e . Oedipus and h i s daughter converse and i t i s deci d e d t h a t they must do as the C o l o n i a t e s b i d them. Oedipus asks f o r a guarantee of s a f e t y i n r e t u r n f o r h i s obedience (174-175), and the chorus, i t s h o s t i l i t y r e p l a c e d by lukewarm p i t y , g i v e s i t , i n the f i r s t l i n e of the second strophe. The second strophe i s sung by Oedipus, the chorus and Antigone, I t covers very n a t u r a l l y the attempts of Antigone t o move her o l d and h e l p l e s s f a t h e r from the sacred t e r r i t o r y , and h i s own r e l u c t a n c e to move f u r t h e r than i s a b s o l u t e l y 22 On the p r i n c i p l e of actor - c h o r u s d i v i s i o n , see A r n o t t (1962) 34-40. The o l d e r view t h a t the a c t o r s and chorus remain separate because of the d i f f i c u l t i e s the chorus would have i n mounting the stage i s ( t h a n k f u l l y ) no longer f a s h i o n a b l e . I t i s ac c e p t a b l e now to reason t h a t the chorus i s unable t o enter the stage-area, which i s r e s e r v e d f o r the a c t o r s , by a convention a r i s i n g n a t u r a l l y from i t s dual nature as e x t e r n a l commentator and i n t e g r a l p a r t i c i p a n t i n the drama; i t must p o s i t i o n i t s e l f midway between a c t o r s and audience. 49 23 necessary. T h i s p a i n f u l s t r u g g l e i s intended to be r e c a l l e d when Oedipus leaves the r e g i o n of the grove f o r ever a t 1555, walking s t r a i g h t and unaided, and eager to go. The t h i r d system of anapaests (188-191) and the second a n t i s t r o p h e (192-206) cover the s e a t i n g of Oedipus on a rock c l o s e to the grove. At 192 he steps o u t s i d e the grove and reaches the t^vl (TTIT^OV ^ y ^ < * 2 4 or the e*VroYr6Tf ^  f^nyAA , 2 5 2 6 There i s no shortage of p o s s i b l e meanings f o r the former. 27 I f "adosse au r o c h e r " i s c o r r e c t , the stage arrangements are d i f f i c u l t to v i s u a l i s e - the phrase i s not s p e c i f i c enough f o r the audience to be able to p l o t , m e n t a l l y , the v a r i o u s rocks and ledges i n the bare t h e a t r e . I f c/vT.TrfcTf o v means "rocky," the audience i s not c a l l e d upon to attempt anything so complicated, and t h i s simple meaning seems the 28 3 / most reasonable. c*UTo^fcTjoov means "of n a t u r a l rock," which 23 I t i s p l e a s i n g to imagine t h a t Oedipus moves g i n g e r l y down the steps of the stage as 178-180 are spoken. He moves down one step and asks o^V; " s t i l l f u r t h e r ? " , down another and asks again - t T ( ;, " f u r t h e r ? " 24 o ' A l l the manuscripts read &<v"nTYt^ft)V. 25 Pearson, Sophocles, ad l o c . , and most e d i t o r s , f o l l o w i n g Musgrave. 2 6 See Jebb, Coloneus, 41, note to 192ff, 27 Masqueray, Sophocle, 161. 2 8 Campbell, Sophocles, 306, note to 192,3, t r a n s l a t e s "rocky" or " r o c k - l i k e , " but h i s note i s otherwise d i f f i c u l t to f o l l o w . How can the phrase mean "t h a t w h i l e Oedipus remains on t h i s narrow r e s t i n g p l a c e h i s f o o t i s p l a c e d immovably on the rock," and why should i t suggest to the audience a " p e c u l i a r i t y i n the basement of the low seats at the entrance to the grove?" 50 would s u i t the context adequately. There i s l i t t l e to choose between the two words. The chorus t e l l s Oedipus t h a t , now t h a t he has reached the ledge, he need go no f u r t h e r . He may s i t down. Antigone guides him to a s u i t a b l e seat and he i s seated by 203 ( oT£ vo v X 5^ ? 5" They cannot walk normally along the ledge (the s t e p ) , f o r i t i s too narrow, and the o l d man i s b l i n d . They face the chorus, and edge along i t sideways. As Antigone moves her l e f t f o o t , Oedipus moves h i s . As she moves her r i g h t f o o t t o j o i n her l e f t , Oedipus does the same. T h i s must be the meaning of f^"'^ 1-^ttfn.V y*A.o<To*A . . . (198). Antigone need not t e l l her f a t h e r to match h i s second step to h i s f i r s t , and the n o t i o n t h a t $>d*.0~t< 31 i s a "stone support f o r the f o o t attached to the s e a t " i s absurd. The chorus i s not now u n f r i e n d l y , but i s c u r i o u s , and at 203-206 begins to ask the q u e s t i o n s Oedipus dreads. The l y r i c d i a l o g u e which f o l l o w s covers the attempts of the 29 But the word was a p p a r e n t l y coined by Musgrave, though there are comparable forms, such aso-vroZuXo^ and «C U T 6 I T O K O . S . 30 Attempts to p l o t Oedipus 1 path from h i s f i r s t to h i s second seat have y i e l d e d w idely d i f f e r e n t r e s u l t s . See Pickard-Cambridge (1946) 51; A r n o t t (1962) 35; Dale (1969) 125-126; Zio b r o (1969) 126-128. My own view b r i e f l y , i s t h a t Oedipus' f i r s t seat (21-22) i s the stage a l t a r . Oedipus and Antigone r e t i r e to the back of the stage-area, i n t o one corner, c l o s e to the s c e n e - b u i l d i n g , a t 116. When they leave t h e i r h i d i n g p l a c e , they move to the f r o n t of the s t a g e - a r e a , s t i l l to one s i d e of i t . At 178-191 they move down the steps of the stage. At 192 they stop on one of the lower s t e p s . Oedipus' second seat i s on t h i s same step ( i t may simply be the s t e p ) , and he and Antigone edge along i t (197-202), and Oedipus s i t s down. 31 Campbell, Sophocles, 307, note t o 197, a f t e r the s c h o l i a s t on 197, De Marco, S c h o l i a , 17. 51 chorus to e x t r a c t i n f o r m a t i o n from Oedipus, and i t s r e s u l t a n t change i n a t t i t u d e when he u n w i l l i n g l y g i v e s i t . L i t t l e of t h i s i s f o r audience consumption, f o r the chorus d i s c o v e r s o n l y t h a t the t r a v e l l e r i s Oedipus, son of L a i u s , and the crimes o f h i s youth are not d e t a i l e d , but merely "understood." The chorus has heard the s t o r y of Oedipus b e f o r e . The chorus must f i n d out who the o l d man i s , so the passage i s d r a m a t i c a l l y a c c e p t a b l e , but i t s r e a l purpose i s s u r e l y to e n r i c h the drama. The chorus' c r i e s of h o r r o r mingle with Oedipus' w a i l s and p l e a s , and when the whole cacophony s u b s i d e s , the chorus' a t t i t u d e has undergone a d r a s t i c t r a n s f o r m a t i o n , and i t s f i r s t d e l i b e r a t e u t t e r a n c e (226) i s not, as we might have hoped, one of p i t y , but one of seemingly i n e x o r a b l e h o s t i l i t y : -€£<w -\\-opcrco vfcTd X^P^S The promise o f 176-177 has been o v e r r i d d e n . The chorus f e e l s t h a t i t can withdraw i t with impunity f o r Oedipus was d e c e i t f u l i n e x t r a c t i n g i t b e f o r e r e v e a l i n g h i s name (229-233) . "And now Sophocles does a b e a u t i f u l t h i n g . Antigone moves toward them {the C o l o n i a t e s } and pleads w i t h them i n 33 words of g r e a t beauty, not spoken but sung." The o r i g i n a l i t y of 237-253 i s r a r e l y a p p r e c i a t e d . The parodos has alr e a d y taken an unusual form, and the impasse reached a t 236 32 Jebb notes t h a t t h i s l i n e i s the chorus' f i r s t a r t i c u l a t e u t t e r a n c e s i n c e Oedipus' d i s c l o s u r e of h i s i d e n t i t y , and remarks on i t s r e s u l t a n t impact. (Coloneus, 46, note to 224). 3 3 F e r g u s o n (1972) 217. would most n a t u r a l l y be f o l l o w e d by a spoken b a t t l e between Oedipus and the chorus. Antigone's song, u n l i k e the r e s t of the parodos, does not cover any stage b u s i n e s s - Oedipus i s seated immutably b e f o r e i t begins; nor does i t cause the p l o t to advance, f o r the chorus i s not persuaded by i t to allow Oedipus to s t a y . I t i s pure song. Antigone f e e l s t h a t , although the chorus has no mercy f o r her f a t h e r , i t should p i t y her when she pleads on her f a t h e r ' s b e h a l f . A l l h i s hopes r e s t i n the C o l o n i a t e s , and by a l l t h a t i s dear to them she begs them t o a l l o w 'Oedipus t o s t a y . So, f i n a l l y , ends the parodos. T h i s parodos i s a t once one of the most a r t l e s s and one of the most complex i n e x t a n t tragedy, q u a l i t i e s which are i n no way i n c o m p a t i b l e , Sophocles has chosen to make h i s chorus behave, as much as convention a l l o w s , as a c h a r a c t e r i n the drama. The chorus i s a group of s e n i o r C o l o n i a t e s whose a c t i o n s are guided by t h e i r p o s i t i o n s and r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s as w e l l as by the dramatic s i t u a t i o n b e f o r e them. I t would be i m p o s s i b l e f o r such a chorus to march i n t o the arena i n formation and d e l i v e r an ode on a theme or matter r a i s e d i n 34 the prologue. Instead, the C o l o n i a t e s e n t e r w i t h a s p e c i f i c purpose of t h e i r own (to l o c a t e the i n t r u d e r ) i n mind, converse w i t h the newcomers, and remain i n r e c e p t i v e s i l e n c e w h i l e Oedipus and Antigone speak to them. I f t h i s were to be accomplished i n spoken iambic d i a l o g u e , there would be noth i n g d i f f i c u l t or unusual about i t , but i t i s to be 34 See Pickard-Cambridge (1968) 239-244 on the formation of the chorus and i t s behaviour i n the parodos. 53 accomplished i n the t r a d i t i o n a l chanted anapaests and sung l y r i c metres of the parodos, and the r e s u l t i s a complicated 35 c h a i n of passages of unprecedented v a r i e t y . The parodos c o n s i s t s of two symmetrical p a i r s of stanzas, separated by three systems of anapaests and fo l l o w e d by an a s t r o p h i c l y r i c passage. The f i r s t strophe and a n t i s t r o p h e , sung by the chorus alone, show s i m i l a r i t i e s i n form i n a d d i t i o n t o the correspondence i n metre. O TTc^vTcoV,/ o TfoWToDv .... 119-120, i s matched i n the a n t i s t r o p h e by do<r<*Ctov -y J y A t A K ^ i oJV ., . . 151-152; -vTAD*V^ T=tS,, / TTAcWotTolS 123-124, by T\6f>*S ^ j T\6p5s 155-156. There i s a l l i t e r a t i o n of TT i n these corresponding phrases. T h i s l e t t e r r e c u r s elsewhere; f o r example, ^^oa h 6^ fc-OO a n < ^ "flpoo-Trto So\j (121; 122) are echoed and matched by ^^ocrSr^cr^^ (154), and -uTpO<r&(3©< (125) by TTfocTTJ-fcJ\c, (157). The th r e e n e g a t i v e adverbs a t 130-131 are matched by the t h r e e i m p e r a t i v e s at 162-163. The second strophe and a n t i s t r o p h e are kommatic. Each i s sung by the chorus, Oedipus and Antigone. The a n t i s t r o p h e 35 There are other complex p a r o d o i . In Sophocles' own E l e c t r a , E l e c t r a h e r s e l f begins the parodos w i t h a s o l o i n anapaests (86-120), which i s fo l l o w e d by a kommos between E l e c t r a and the chorus (121-250). In E u r i p i d e s ' Medea, the chorus begins with anapaests (131-134), breaks i n t o l y r i c s (135-137), and remains s i l e n t d u r i n g an an a p a e s t i c c o n v e r s a t i o n between Medea (who i s not i n view) and her nurse (139-147). The l y r i c strophe and a n t i s t r o p h e of the chorus, which f o l l o w , are punctuated by anapaests from Medea and the nurse (148-184), and a s t r o p h i c l y r i c s from the nurse and the chorus complete the p i e c e (185-213). 54 o s u r v i v e s e n t i r e , a l t h o u g h t h e m a n u s c r i p t s g i v e OOTUJ^ ; a t 194 and J^OK a t 199 ( w h i c h t h e y p l a c e , i n f a c t , b e f o r e (3>oto"fc,t. a t 198) t o A n t i g o n e when t h e s e n s e demands t h a t t h e s e w o r d s be s u n g by O e d i p u s . U n l e s s no s t r o p h i c r e s p o n s i o n was i n t e n d e d , f o u r l i n e s a r e m i s s i n g f r o m t h e s t r o p h e . S i n c e t h e l i n e s a l l o t t e d t o A n t i g o n e i n t h e s t r o p h e w h i c h s u r v i v e , 6-rrto JLKC* V) e TT4 w o u -f>w KuXcg; Tr^ T d ^ , £ cr' l<tf<^ (182-183) c o r r e s p o n d m e t r i c a l l y b o t h t o 197-198 and t o 2 0 0 - 2 0 1 , we c a n 3 6 p o s i t a f o u r - l i n e l a c u n a a f t e r t h e m, o r t h r e e m i s s i n g l i n e s 37 b e f o r e them a n d one a f t e r them. A p a r t f r o m t h e i n t r i n s i c l i k e l i h o o d t h a t t h e f o u r l i n e s w o u l d f a l l o u t e n b l o c , i t i s r e a s o n a b l e t o assume t h a t a f t e r t h e c h o r u s 1 o r d e r t o A n t i g o n e a t 1 8 0 , TTf o ^ p ^ d , £oo^><* •> J Tfop5-co . s h e w o u l d r e s p o n d w i t h £TTeo y*oiV ( 1 8 2 ) , a d d r e s s e d t o h e r f a t h e r , w i t h o u t f u r t h e r a d o ; t h u s t h e l a c u n a i s t o be m a r k e d , i n i t s e n t i r e t y , a f t e r 1 8 2 -183. The s e c o n d s t r o p h e and a n t i s t r o p h e do n o t show t h e v e r b a l p a t t e r n s and s i m i l a r i t i e s w h i c h a r e a p p a r e n t i n t h e f i r s t . They show some c o r r e s p o n d e n c e i n s u b j e c t m a t t e r , i n t h a t b o t h c o v e r t h e a t t e m p t s o f A n t i g o n e t o l e a d h e r f a t h e r t o a s u i t a b l e s e a t and t h e c h o r u s ' a t t e m p t s t o g u i d e them. B u t t h e f i r s t l i n e s o f t h e s e c o n d s t r o p h e , 1 7 6 - 1 7 7 , b e l o n g , 36 As d o e s P e a r s o n , S o p h o c l e s , a d l o c . 3 7 As d o e s J e b b , C o l o n e u s , 38-40. ( A n t i g o n e ' s f i r s t u t t e r a n c e i n t h e l a c u n a i s d i v i d e d i n ^ two by f o u r s y l l a b l e s f r o m O e d i p u s , c o r r e s p o n d i n g t o ' *o _/*oi yu.o i i n t h e a n t i s t r o p h e , w h i c h J e b b l e a v e s b e f o r e A n t i g o n e ' s |3&<r6i /5^ .riv <K p,u o Ccf i - n a c c o r d a n c e w i t h t h e m a n u s c r i p t s . ) ' i' 55 i n sense, to the p r e c e d i n g system of anapaests, f o r they c o n s i s t of the c h o r u s 1 promise of i n v i o l a b i l i t y which Oedipus requested a t 174-175. The l a s t l i n e s of the a n t i s t r o p h e , 203-206, belong i n sense to the f o l l o w i n g l y r i c a l i n t e r r o g a t i o n of Oedipus. The a n a p a e s t i c systems show no correspondence w i t h one another. Oedipus, Antigone and the chorus, o r , more probably, the chorus l e a d e r , are a l l g i v e n a n a p a e s t i c l i n e s . A l l t h r e e 3 8 engage a l s o i n the sung a s t r o p h i c l y r i c s (207-253). The parodos has i n c l u d e d c o n s i d e r a b l e advancement of the p l o t : the hidden Oedipus has shown h i m s e l f and l e f t h i s sanctuary w i t h i n the grove, thus making h i m s e l f approachable by l a t e r v i s i t o r s . He has r e v e a l e d h i s name to the C o l o n i a t e s . T h i s i n f o r m a t i o n , we l e a r n a t 554, has been conveyed t o Theseus. He has been ordered to leave A t t i c a , and h i s p o s i t i o n now i s f a r l e s s s t r o n g than i t was a t 110, and h i s hopes l e s s h i g h . Although the parodos f o r m a l l y ends a t 253, f o r the c h a r a c t e r s now r e v e r t t o spoken iambics, the a c t i o n proceeds r e g a r d l e s s . The debate between the Theban t r a v e l l e r s and the chorus on whether or not the t r a v e l l e r s should be p e r m i t t e d to remain i n Colonus c o n t i n u e s . Why has Sophocles chosen to use s e n i o r c i t i z e n s of Colonus as h i s chorus? They are, of course, f a r more d r a m a t i c a l l y manageable than, f o r example, Athenian men attached t o Theseus would be, f o r the l a t t e r c o u l d not 3 8 See Jebb, Coloneus, l x i v - l x v i i i f o r the d i v i s i o n i n t o s e c t i o n s , a c c o r d i n g t o the metre, of t h i s passage. 56 r e a l i s t i c a l l y remain on stage (as the chorus u s u a l l y does) w h i l e t h e i r l e a d e r was elsewhere. Theban f o l l o w e r s of Oedipus would a l t e r the balance of the p l a y - one of i t s p r e r e q u i s i t e s i s Oedipus' very d e f e n c e l e s s n e s s , No other group c o u l d be i n c l u d e d i n the p l a y as i t stands. Only i f the p l o t were r e o r d e r e d c o u l d Sophocles use, f o r example, Theban 39 f o l l o w e r s of Creon, or A r g i v e f o l l o w e r s of P o l y n e i c e s . There are p o s i t i v e advantages i n u s i n g e l d e r s of Colonus as the chorus. F i r s t , they can appear n a t u r a l l y , because they i n h a b i t the area i n which the a c t i o n o c c u r s . More important, they can remain there n a t u r a l l y , f o r they have a r e s p o n s i b i l i t y to keep the peace i n t h e i r neighbourhood. There i s s t i l l some awkwardness. The Ismene-scene and the Po l y n e i c e s - s c e n e , which both d e a l with f a m i l y matters, r e q u i r e p r i v a c y but cannot be granted i t , but any chorus would be troublesome here. In the Creon-scene, when Antigone i s kidnapped, the chorus stands lamely by and we f e e l somewhat uncomfortable f o r i t , but s i n c e the kidnapping i s a datum of the p l o t no one can stop i t , and t h i s chorus at l e a s t has an excuse ( i t s advanced age) which a chorus of Athenian guards, f o r example, would not have. Second, t h i s chorus can e a s i l y g i v e and r e c e i v e i n f o r m a t i o n . Oedipus and the o l d C o l o n i a t e s are unacquainted, and the C o l o n i a t e s have a g r e a t e r knowledge of A t t i c a than he and l e s s knowledge of 39 We need not c o n s i d e r a chorus of women. I t would have l i t t l e t o say. The Oedipus Coloneus i s a very unfeminine p l a y . The u s u a l t r i a l s of the t r a g i c female - s p i n s t e r h o o d , marriage, c h i l d b i r t h , abandonment - are s c a r c e l y mentioned. The capture of Antigone and Ismene may be very poignant, but i t has l i t t l e t o do with the f a c t t h a t they are women. 57 Thebes. They can t h e r e f o r e r e a l i s t i c a l l y i n f o r m and a d v i s e one another, f o r dramatic purposes and f o r audience consumption. T h i r d , the a t t i t u d e of the chorus, which has no preformed l o y a l t i e s , can veer from h o s t i l i t y towards Oedipus to f r i e n d s h i p and sympathy and back again, The v a r i e t y i s i n i t s e l f r e f r e s h i n g , but more important i s the knowledge t h a t , when the chorus f i n a l l y accepts Oedipus wholeheartedly, i t i s not because he i s i t s master or i t s f e l l o w - s u f f e r e r , but because he m e r i t s acceptance. F o u r t h , although t h i s chorus, e a r l y i n the drama, has no c o n n e c t i o n with Oedipus ( t h i s very f a c t allows i t to be unbiased), there i s a g r a d u a l r e a l i s a t i o n t h a t t h e i r f a t e s a r e ' i n e x t r i c a b l y i n t e r t w i n e d . Oedipus' s p i r i t , a f t e r h i s death, w i l l safeguard Athens and her people, i n c l u d i n g these o l d gentlemen. I t i s u l t i m a t e l y s a t i s f y i n g t h a t t h i s r e a l i s a t i o n c o i n c i d e s w i t h the development of a bond of r e s p e c t and r e s p o n s i b i l i t y between Oedipus and the chorus. 58 CHAPTER I I I . 254-309. The chorus l e a d e r responds, i n iambics, t o Antigone's p l e a . He i s sympathetic, but immovable. Oedipus cannot s t a y . Oedipus begins to speak i n h i s own defence. The o l d gentlemen have not behaved as one would expect Athenian c i t i z e n s , renowned f o r t h e i r h o s p i t a l i t y and t h e i r p i e t y , t o behave (258-264). They need not be a f r a i d of him. The f e a r f u l a c t s were s u f f e r e d , r a t h e r than committed, by him (265-267). What e x a c t l y i s Oedipus' excuse here? Is i t t h a t he d i d h i s deeds not w i l l i n g l y , but p a s s i v e l y , under compulsion, or i s i t t h a t worse t h i n g s were done to him than were ever done by him? The l a t t e r view needs some e x p l a n a t i o n : h i s parents exposed him at b i r t h , i n t e n d i n g t h a t he should d i e . T h i s one s i n a g a i n s t him l e d t o h i s d e s t r u c t i o n , f o r , having never been owned as t h e i r son, he c o u l d not r e c o g n i s e the man he k i l l e d , nor the woman whose husband be became. I f t h i s i s Oedipus' excuse, why can he not say what he means? Why i s i t not p e r m i s s i b l e to speak of T<=*yU»\TfoS ywv. 'W<jCYpD5 (268) i f the exposure i s meant? I t would s u r e l y be q u i t e p e r m i s s i b l e t o speak of i t , f o r i t i s not, i n i t s e l f , the most gruesome or p e r v e r s e of the crimes of the house of Labdacus, e s p e c i a l l y i f to do so would exonerate Oedipus i n the eyes of the C o l o n i a t e s ? F u r t h e r , Oedipus must know t h a t h i s parents acted i n the best i n t e r e s t s of a l l i n exposing the son who should never have been born. Nowhere e l s e does Oedipus demonstrate anger on t h i s account. I t i s d o u b t f u l t h a t he i s doing so here."1" His excuse i s simply t h a t he had no choice i n h i s a c t i o n s . "Tot yav^TpoS V U L are the murder and the marriage, and of course Oedipus does not want to t a l k about them! Quite apart from the d i s t r e s s i t would cause him to do so, any d e s c r i p t i o n of such t e r r i b l e t r a v e s t i e s of n a t u r a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s would a l i e n a t e the chorus s t i l l f u r t h e r . The excuses c o n t i n u e : Oedipus was a c t i n g i n r e t a l i a t i o n (271) (he k i l l e d h i s f a t h e r because h i s f a t h e r a t t a c k e d him f i r s t , as he suggests at 992-994) and i n ignorance (271-273). The i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of 274 depends on the meaning of 267-268. I f Oedipus r e f e r s t here to h i s exposure as a c h i l d , then he r e f e r s here to h i s parents as the agents of a c t s t h a t caused him s u f f e r i n g - the exposure i t s e l f and the p i e r c i n g of h i s 2 f e e t w i t h an i r o n pm, or the b i n d i n g of h i s a n k l e s . I f he r e f e r s above to h i s crimes as an a d u l t , then here he must r e f e r t o the s i n s of Creon, E t e o c l e s and P o l y n e i c e s , who drove him out and caused him, as becomes g r a d u a l l y more apparent, t e r r i b l e d i s t r e s s . The very f a c t t h a t the e x p u l s i o n becomes a p o i n t of c o n t e n t i o n i n t h i s p l a y and t h a t the exposure i s i r r e l e v a n t suggests t h a t the second i n t e r p r e t a t i o n i s c o r r e c t . From excuses f o r h i s crimes, Oedipus turns to arguments "'"Jebb b e l i e v e s t h a t he does blame h i s parents f o r h i s crimes; Coloneus, 52, note to 266-270, though i t seems i n c o n s i s t e n t w i t h t h i s view to equate T » ? ^AA - T ^ O S * O U T T ^ T ^ O S w i t h the p a r r i c i d e and the i n c e s t alone, as Jebb does, and not w i t h the exposure. 2 On t h i s p o i n t see Maxwell-Stuart (1975). 60 f o r h i s acceptance i n Colonus: s i n c e the C o l o n i a t e s honour the gods (by r e s p e c t i n g the s a n c t i t y of the grove) (277) , they should not a c t as though the gods are f o o l s by r e j e c t i n g 3 Oedipus (278). The gods, we must understand, would punish him themselves f o r h i s s a c r i l e g i o u s behaviour i n r e q u e s t i n g sanctuary while g u i l t y of murder and i n c e s t i f indeed i t were s a c r i l e g i o u s . Oedipus should be p e r m i t t e d to s t a y , a l s o , because, i f the C o l o n i a t e s expel him, they w i l l t a r n i s h the r e p u t a t i o n of Athens (282-286), F u r t h e r , he i s a s u p p l i a n t , he i s r e s p e c t f u l (287) , and he b r i n g s b e n e f i t s to the Athenians (287-288). T h i s i s the f i r s t the chorus has heard of b e n e f i t s , f o r Oedipus and Antigone were alone when the vague a l l u s i o n t o f u t u r e p r o f i t f o r Athens was made at 92. Oedipus has gained i n confidence d u r i n g h i s speech, as i f he knows t h a t i t w i l l a l t e r the chorus' d e c i s i o n . (Of course i t must, f o r the p l o t demands t h a t Oedipus stay i n Colonus.) He b o l d l y a s s e r t s t h a t he w i l l speak more c l e a r l y ^Pearson (1930) 159 , reads ^u.£>poos f o r the i m p o s s i b l e yA<up«u5 of the manuscripts, and p l a c e s a c o l o n a f t e r Tlo£7o'0£ , leavingjA<\6dj*u>5 to stand alone. He w r i t e s s e n s i b l y , "A hasty or s u p e r f i c i a l view found f a u l t w i t h the gods of m i s f o r t u n e s or a c t s of i n j u s t i c e which they appeared to have s a n c t i o n e d , and charged them with f o l l y , ignorance or i n s e n s i b i l i t y . . . . B u t t r u e p i e t y r e p u d i a t e s such charges...." The gods do not s a n c t i o n i r r e g u l a r a c t s ; thus, i f an a c t i s s a n c t i o n e d , i t must be l e g i t i m a t e . See Jebb, Coloneus, 53, note to 278, and 277-278, note t o 277, f o r o t h e r p o s s i b l e emendations of these l i n e s . W i l l i g e ' s f>™ ?-^Sophokles , 961, f o l l o w i n g Nauck, y i e l d s the a c c e p t a b l e "Do not render the gods i n s i g n i f i c a n t , " but i t should be noted t h a t t h i s form i s f i r s t found i n Herodian (Herodiani T e c h n i c i R e l i q u i a e , Lenz, I. 193), a grammarian of the second century A.D. 61 when the r u l e r of the land has arrived."* He c l e v e r l y implants the n o t i o n i n the o l d men's minds t h a t t h e i r k i n g would wish them to allow him (Oedipus) to remain. The chorus admits to being impressed by Oedipus' understanding of r e l i g i o u s matters and the weight of h i s arguments (292-294). I t may a l s o be i n t e r e s t e d i n the p r o s p e c t of reward and w o r r i e d by a p o t e n t i a l reprimand from Theseus. I t makes not the d r a m a t i c a l l y expedient d e c i s i o n , which would be to g i v e i t s consent f o r Oedipus' continued stay i n Colonus, but the d e c i s i o n necessary f o r the advancment of the p l o t and the i n t r o d u c t i o n of another major c h a r a c t e r : i t announces t h a t Theseus w i l l judge Oedipus' c l a i m . We l e a r n t h a t Theseus has a l r e a d y been summoned. The who sent the chorus t o the grove has gone t o f e t c h i , • 5 him. Oedipus i s not s a t i s f i e d t h a t s u f f i c i e n t measures have been taken to ensure the king's a r r i v a l . He knows t h a t the i n c u r i o u s s t r a n g e r d i d not ask who he was; the message t h a t 4 I t i s odd that^Oedipus c a l l s the king o ^ i e s / . . . ^ V w V oo-ns "kff-riV rS^-fe/ACJV (288-289) , s i n c e he has been t o l d , at 69, t h a t the k i n g i s c a l l e d Theseus. Campbell notes "Oedipus has heard the name of T h e s e u s b u t he speaks c a u t i o u s l y , as i f he depended on the chorus f o r i n f o r m a t i o n . " (Sophocles, 315, note to 288,9.) I t may be t h a t he wishes to ensure t h a t a messenger i s sent t o Theseus, and so pretends t h a t he has had no d i s c u s s i o n on the s u b j e c t with the s t r a n g e r , i n the hope t h a t the chorus w i l l see f i t to d i s p a t c h one. (The d i s c u s s i o n t h a t he d i d have ended somewhat u n s a t i s f a c t o r i l y w i t h the s t r a n g e r e x p r e s s i n g an i n t e n t i o n t o inform the C o l o n i a t e s , r a t h e r than Theseus, of Oedipus' p r e s e n c e ) . 5 ' The irKoTTO^ i s probably the s t r a n g e r , f o r i t was i n the c a p a c i t y of a scout t h a t he d i s c o v e r e d Oedipus, but he may have d e t a i l e d another man to a l e r t the c i t i z e n r y and f e t c h Theseus, 6 2 has gone to Theseus i n t i m a t e s only t h a t a b l i n d o l d t r a v e l l e r has assumed sanctuary i n the grove of the Eumenides. L e s t the audience, too, be w o r r i e d t h a t i n s u f f i c i e n t i n f o r m a t i o n has been sent t o Theseus to motivate h i s coming, the poet e x p l a i n s : tha chorus assures Oedipus t h a t Theseus w i l l come to the grove w i t h g r e a t haste as soon as he hears Oedipus' name., and t h a t he w i l l l e a r n i t from the words of t r a v e l l e r s on the way. The o l d gentlemen assume t h a t Theseus w i l l have l e f t Athens i n answer to the o r i g i n a l summons (301-307). How are we to suppose t h a t the t r a v e l l e r s w i l l know Oedipus' name? I t has been spoken but t w i c e . At 222, Oedipus announced i t h i m s e l f , and a t 254 the chorus c a l l e d Antigone T6\WoV ^hb'T^vj. i t has been thought t h a t passersby (en route to Athens) are to be supposed to have heard the chorus' uproar at 222 and to have spread the r e q u i s i t e rumours on t h e i r 6 way. T h i s can be the only answer, We d i s c o v e r , l a t e r , t h a t c h o r a l uproar can be heard i n the v i c i n i t y , i n areas not r e p r e s e n t e d i n the t h e a t r e (887; 1500). At 303, the v ' 7 manuscripts' yiAciK^ o< should s u r e l y be emended to y t M K f e * . A rumour i s more l i k e l y t o t r a v e l a s h o r t d i s t a n c e e f f i c i e n t l y than a long one. To t e l l Oedipus t h a t the road i s long would g h a r d l y be to r e a s s u r e him! Oedipus i s s a t i s f i e d t h a t Theseus 6 Jebb, Coloneus, 56, note to 303ff, 7 As Blaydes, f o l l o w i n g Musgrave, suggests. (Sophocles, 254, note to 3 03. 8 The d i s t a n c e from Colonus to t h e ^ D i p y l o n gate of Athens i s a l i t t l e more than one m i l e . yUo(\<poc. t r o u b l e s Masqueray. He w r i t e s "...n'oublions pas que ce sont des v i e i l l a r d s q u i p a r l e n t " I (Sophocle, 166, note 1.) 63 w i l l come. The episode i s not over, but a new movement begins a t 310, Oedipus has been g i v e n p e r m i s s i o n by a chorus which i s now i n awe of him t o remain i n Colonus u n t i l Theseus decides what i s to be done. Theseus, we are now c e r t a i n , w i l l a r r i v e , and, u n l i k e the chorus, w i l l a r r i v e with f u l l knowledge of the o l d man's i d e n t i t y . 64 CHAPTER IV. 310-509. The Ismene-scene. At 308 Oedipus has r e i t e r a t e d h i s c r y p t i c message f o r Theseus, but he i s not f o r c e d to expand upon i t here. Antigone's c r y and the s u r p r i s e of Ismene's a r r i v a l make an abrupt but q u i t e n a t u r a l t r a n s i t i o n from Oedipus' unpromising c o n v e r s a t i o n with the chorus to the exchange of f a m i l y news. Antigone's excitement and u n c e r t a i n t y (accented by the i n t e r j e c t i o n s at 315 and 318) are more s t i r r i n g than a b a l d announcement from the chorus would have been. P r e p a r a t i o n f o r Ismene's appearance has been l i m i t e d . Only the audience's knowledge t h a t the c h i l d r e n of Oedipus come i n p a i r s w i l l have suggested t h a t Ismene might a r r i v e . The e a r l i e s t a c t u a l p r e p a r a t i o n i s Antigone's s i g h t i n g of Ismene at 310, the weakest form of p r e p a r a t i o n . 1 However, the s u r p r i s e , though not s h a t t e r i n g , i s a t l e a s t p l e a s a n t , and seems to be d e l i b e r a t e , c o n s i d e r i n g t h a t u n t i l 310 Sophocles has l e d us, and Oedipus, to expect t h a t the next a r r i v a l w i l l be A c c o r d i n g to Webster (1933), who w r i t e s " P r e p a r a t i o n by s i g h t (the c h a r a c t e r i s seen or heard coming) i s a weak form, e s p e c i a l l y when used alone, but i t i s perhaps the most i n t e r e s t i n g . . . . The announcement i s only dramatic i f the person who makes i t can see the a r r i v a l and the person to whom i t i s made cannot, or i f the announcement i s made i n such a way as to change the course of the a c t i o n . . . " (119). Both c o n d i t i o n s are f u l f i l l e d here. Webster a l s o notes t h a t an announcement l i k e t h i s can be made more dramatic by a description of the c h a r a c t e r a r r i v i n g , or by the e x p r e s s i o n o f doubt. Again, both c r i t e r i a are a p p l i c a b l e here. 65 Theseus." Weak p r e p a r a t i o n i s u s u a l l y combined with s t r o n g 3 mo t i v a t i o n . ' Ismene's m o t i v a t i o n i s indeed s t r o n g . She has not chanced upon these people. She came to look f o r them, and has been l o o k i n g f o r some time. Only she can b r i n g the news she b r i n g s - news she knows Oedipus must r e c e i v e . He must be t o l d t h a t the Thebans are p l o t t i n g t o kidnap him, so t h a t he w i l l not be deceived by Creon's "concern" l a t e r , and he must know t h a t P o l y n e i c e s i s g a t h e r i n g f o r c e s i n Argos so t h a t he w i l l be able to d e a l with him a c c o r d i n g l y i f they should meet. Ismene, then, i s d r a m a t i c a l l y i n d i s p e n s a b l e . The i n t r o d u c t i o n of Ismene i s an example of s k i l l f u l b l e n d i n g of d r a m a t i c a l l y c r e d i b l e m o t i v a t i o n w i t h advancement of the p l o t . I t i s not o n l y necessary f o r Oedipus' w e l f a r e t h a t he r e c e i v e the news from Thebes; i t i s a l s o necessary f o r the p r o g r e s s i o n of Sophocles' p l a y . Oedipus must be put i n such a frame of mind t h a t he r e s i s t s Creon, i s i l l -d i s p o s e d t o P o l y n e i c e s , and s t a y s i n Colonus. Sophocles c o u l d have i n t r o d u c e d another nameless c h a r a c t e r , l i k e the s t r a n g e r , who would have e x i s t e d s o l e l y t o manipulate the 2 When the p l a y i s produced i t w i l l be q u i t e c l e a r t o the audience at 310 t h a t i t i s not Theseus who i s approaching, although Ismene's name i s not mentioned. The A n t i g o n e - a c t o r w i l l look, not along the Athens-bound parodos, but along the oth e r . Even i f , i n the f i f t h c entury, there was as y e t no convention which decreed where each of the paro d o i was to be supposed t o l e a d , i t i s reasonable to assume t h a t i n t h i s p l a y , f o r c l a r i t y , one parodos would l e a d t o Thebes (and would be used f o r the e n t r i e s of Oedipus and Antigone, Ismene and Creon) and the other t o neighbouring areas and Athens. For a f u l l d i s c u s s i o n of the p a r o d o i , see Hourmouziades (1965) 128-136, where P o l l u x ' c o n t r o v e r s i a l statement i s examined. 3Webster (1933) 118. 66 p l o t by p r e p a r i n g the ground f o r the Creon- and P o l y n e i c e s -scenes. How much more i n t e r e s t i n g , and d r a m a t i c a l l y sound, to use Ismene, who has her own reasons f o r a c t i n g as messenger. The long entrance-announcement, 310-323, covers the approach of the Ismene-actor along the parodos and across the 4 a c t i n g area to where Oedipus i s seated. Oedipus' b l i n d n e s s i s dramatic j u s t i f i c a t i o n f o r the d e s c r i p t i o n of Ismene, 5 though much of i t i s f o r audience consumption. A f t e r tender g r e e t i n g s , Oedipus asks Ismene why she has come. She r e p l i e s crK^Ti^Tdp > T V f t y ^ © C ( 3 3 2 ) . When TXfvSv/j^d was s u b s t i t u t e d f o r T l ^ t y A ^ S ^ f the meaning of her words was misunderstood.^ I t i s e q u a l l y i n c o r r e c t t o take the 4 I t s unusual l e n g t h might i n d i c a t e t h a t the a c t o r has to dismount from the horse mentioned a t 312-313 i n view of the audience. (Ismene has an attendant (333-334) with whom she c o u l d leave the horse. ) Few modern s c h o l a r s b e l i e v e t h a t the a c t o r came i n t o the o r c h e s t r a r i d i n g i t (though Bates (1940) 23 and Ziobro (1969) 132, are e x c e p t i o n s ) . To b r i n g the horse i n t o the arena c o u l d serve no u s e f u l purpose. To b r i n g i t i n t o the parodos, b e a r i n g the Ismene-actor, but to a l l o w i t no f u r t h e r , seems more l i k e a c r i t i c ' s compromise than a producer's. I t would serve no purpose a t a l l . On the q u e s t i o n of animals g e n e r a l l y , A r n o t t ' s a r t i c l e (1959) i s thoroughly s e n s i b l e . The c o n c l u s i o n i s t h a t horses might w e l l have been used to p u l l c h a r i o t s - t h i s i s what horses spent t h e i r l i v e s doing, and there would have been no untoward occurrences -but t h a t , where an animal was r e q u i r e d as an a c t o r , the Greeks would r e s o r t to convention of impersonation. 5 I f the horse i s nowhere v i s i b l e , and the Ismene-actor wears no " T h e s s a l i a n t r a v e l l i n g - h a t " (314) some v e r b a l i n d i c a t i o n must be g i v e n to the audience t h a t Ismene has been t r a v e l l i n g . I f the audience can see both horse and hat, Antigone's words are e x p l a n a t o r y , or compensatory. There i s very l i t t l e more evidence f o r the hat than there i s f o r the . horse, though there are contemporary vase p a i n t i n g s showing c h a r a c t e r s i n tragedy wearing h a t s , e.g. Pickard-Cambridge (1968) f i g s . 60a-60b. We might ask how the hat and mask co u l d have been worn to g e t h e r . ^Wecklein, Ars S o p h o c l i s emendandi, 1869, c i t e d i n Jebb, Coloneus, 6 0. 67 manuscripts' words to mean "out of concern f o r you," although there i s nothing i n h e r e n t l y troublesome i n supposing t h a t 0~(\ stands f o r the o b j e c t i v e g e n i t i v e , 0~Q\J . Ismene f e e l s g o o d w i l l and sympathy towards Oedipus, of course, but she has a more concrete reason f o r coming. The meaning of her words i s , q u i t e l i t e r a l l y , " f o r your forethought"; t h a t i s , "to put you i n the p i c t u r e so t h a t you w i l l r e a c t a p p r o p r i a t e l y should any Theban come to f e t c h you." Oedipus asks "Did you come because you wanted to see me or f o r some other reason?" His "TToTd (333) shows t h a t he has r e a l i s e d from Ismene' s words t h a t something beyond concern has prompted her to come, but t h a t he has not understood q u i t e what. Ismene's answer i s t a c t f u l , and more p r e c i s e t h i s time. "Yes, I wanted to see you, and I a l s o wanted to be the one to b r i n g you news." B r i n g i n g news i s not a g i r l ' s t a s k . Oedipus demands to know where h i s sons were when messengers were needed. Ismene's e v a s i v e r e p l y , €.\ar ouTYfc P c ^ t . f i s designed t o make the audience b e l i e v e t h a t one or other of them may soon appear, and Oedipus' assumption t h a t h i s sons are s i t t i n g l a z i l y at horre l i k e g i r l s or Egyptians (337-343), heavy i n i r o n y as i t i s , w i l l r e i n f o r c e the e f f e c t . A c o n t r a s t between the two s i s t e r s by which Antigone seems the more h e r o i c has been seen by some f a n c i f u l commentators. A t y p i c a l statement i s : "Sophocles p o i n t s a c o n t r a s t between the s i s t e r s . The one has stayed i n the luxury of the p a l a c e , the other has faced d e s t i t u t i o n and hardship; the one i s w e l l d ressed, the other i n rags; the one wears a broad-brimmed hat 68 to keep o f f the sun, the other i s exposed to the elements; the one i s c a r r i e d , the other trudges on her f e e t . The v i s u a 7 a n t i t h e s i s i s p o w e r f u l l y e f f e c t i v e . " I f we a l l o w t h a t costume i s c o n v e n t i o n a l , the v i s u a l a n t i t h e s i s w i l l be minimal. The v e r b a l c o n t r a s t i s not as g r e a t , e i t h e r , as her i m p l i e d . Ismene has not been having an easy time. She i s e v i d e n t l y i n mortal danger at Thebes, f o r she i s the o n l y member of the r o y a l household who i s l o y a l t o the e x i l e d .king (355-356). She has o n l y one t r u s t w o r t h y s e r v a n t (333-334), and i s f o r c e d t o come h e r s e l f to b r i n g news to her f a t h e r . Her t r a v e l l i n g s t y l e , on horseback w i t h one companion, s c a r c e l y b e f i t s a r o y a l p r i n c e s s and must be o n l y m a r g i n a l l y more comfortable than walking. She has s u f f e r e d many t r i a l s d u r i n g her search f o r Oedipus (361-363), and she has made t h i s type of journey more than once (353-354). There i s c e r t a i n l y no c o n t r a s t between the s p i r i t of the s i s t e r s . When Oedipus 1 t i r a d e on the s i n s of h i s sons and the v i r t u e s of h i s daughters i s over, Ismene i s g i v e n an o p p o r t u n i t y to t e l l her news and the p l o t begins to progress once more. For the b e n e f i t of the audience, Sophocles makes her g i v e Oedipus i n f o r m a t i o n t h a t he must a l r e a d y know - t h a t her b r o t h e r s o r i g i n a l l y decided t h a t Creon should r u l e , so t h a t Thebes would be spared f u r t h e r p o l l u t i o n from the curse 7Ferguson (1972) 218. S T h e r e i s no need to t r y to determine what the yWcfcvTe'Tot. "SWVTO1. (354) s a i d and when they were g i v e n . As Jebb suggests, they were probably "invented merely to c r e a t e a pious o f f i c e f o r Ismene." (Coloneus, 64, note to 3 5 4.) 9 As Jebb notes, Coloneus, 59, note to 324f. of the Labdacids (367-370). The new i n f o r m a t i o n i s t h a t the b r o t h e r s have q u a r r e l l e d . E t e o c l e s has s e i z e d the throne and d r i v e n h i s e l d e r b r o t h e r out of Thebes. I t i s thought t h a t P o l y n e i c e s has gone to Argos to r a i s e support f o r h i m s e l f (371-381). At the c l o s e of her speech, Ismene d e c l a r e s t h a t she cannot t e l l when the gods w i l l begin to p i t y Oedipus. Oedipus, without even commenting on the e x p l o i t s of h i s sons, (an omission which i s necessary f o r the unimpeded p r o g r e s s of Ismene's p a r t and which would be s c a r c e l y n o t i c e a b l e i n performance), asks whether she b e l i e v e s he w i l l ever f i n d r e s p i t e . She r e p l i e s t h a t , on the s t r e n g t h of a new o r a c l e , she does, thus g i v i n g h e r s e l f an approach to the s u b j e c t of the o r a c l e . The t r a n s i t i o n between t o p i c s i s clumsy. Why does Sophocles not merely make Ismene say "There i s a second p i e c e of news; the D e l p h i c o r a c l e says...."? The awkwardness i s not Sophocles', but Ismene's. L i n f o r t h has n o t i c e d t h a t Ismene speaks about the o r a c l e "with u n c e r t a i n t y and some r e l u c t a n c e , p a s s i n g from the more g e n e r a l and more u n o b j e c t i o n a b l e aspect of the o r a c l e to the o f f e n s i v e i n t e r p r e t a t i o n put upon i t i n Thebes." 1^ But the r e l u c t a n c e begins at 382 - before she embarks on the s u b j e c t of the o r a c l e . Ismene knows t h a t i t has been hard f o r Oedipus to l e a r n about the disagreement between h i s sons, but t h a t i t w i l l be harder s t i l l f o r him to hear about the r e a c t i o n t o the new o r a c l e i n Thebes, and she i s t r y i n g to break the news 1 0 L i n f o r t h (1951) 137. 70 g e n t l y by suggesting to Oedipus t h a t the new o r a c l e should l e a d him to hope t h a t he w i l l e v e n t u a l l y f i n d peace, .presumably i n t h a t i t r e f e r s to h i s death, f o r , as w i l l be seen, she does not b e l i e v e t h a t he w i l l be r e s t o r e d to a h e a l t h y p o s i t i o n i n Thebes. The i n f o r m a t i o n gleaned by Oedipus from h i s q u e s t i o n i n g of Ismene i s t h i s : an o r a c l e has d e c l a r e d t h a t Oedipus w i l l be sought, dead or a l i v e , by the. Thebans f o r t h e i r w e l l - b e i n g (389-390)."'"''' People say t h a t 12 power i s c e n t r e d i n Oedipus (392) . Creon w i l l soon a r r i v e and attempt to take Oedipus back to Thebes, although he w i l l not a c t u a l l y allow him i n s i d e the c i t y (396-397; 399-400). The o r a c l e has a l s o r e v e a l e d t h a t , i f the Thebans do not g a i n c o n t r o l of Oedipus' tomb, they w i l l have cause f o r sorrow 13 when they f i g h t by i t a t some f u t u r e date (402; 409; 411). "'""'"Ismene' s use of r e p o r t e d speech suggests t h a t t h i s i s what the o r a c l e a c t u a l l y s a i d . I t d i d not merely t e l l the Thebans "Find Oedipus." 12 j / I assume t h a t "people g e n e r a l l y " are the s u b j e c t of cp^cri. r a t h e r than the &«fo( of 413. A commentatory can supply a word from a l a t e r l i n e . A s p e c t a t o r cannot. 1 3 T h e meaning of JucrTu'Xo3 V a t 402 i s d i s p u t e d . It c o u l d mean, f o l l o w i n g the s c h o l i a s t on 402 (De Marco S c h o l i a , 26), " i f i t i s s i t u a t e d i n a f o r e i g n l a n d , " or " i f i t does not r e c e i v e due honours" (so Jebb, Coloneus. 71, note to 402), or a combination of both. But none of these p o s s i b i l i t i e s e x p l a i n s Oedipus' r e p l y . Campbell suggests "happening i n a way u n f o r t u n a t e f o r them" Sophocles, 324, note to 402), so t h a t the l i n e means "Your tomb, i f i t i s u n f o r t u n a t e f o r the Thebans, w i l l be b a n e f u l to them," and both ^ u r f u ^ w V and (3<*pfj5 govern the d a t i v e K^^VO 1$ , The word i s c l e a r l y ambiguous, not j u s t f o r l a t t e r - d a y t r a n s l a t o r s , but f o r Oedipus and Ismene a l s o . Oedipus r e p l i e s s a r c a s t i c a l l y a t 403 " I t needs no god to t e l l us t h i s , " t o an o b s e r v a t i o n t h a t Ismene d i d not r e a l l y make. She s a i d "Your tomb, i f i t i s  u n f o r t u n a t e f o r you (that i s , i n a f o r e i g n l a n d , l a c k i n g due honours), w i l l be b a n e f u l to them." He understands, or pretends to understand, "unfortunate f o r them." The Thebans want to keep Oedipus near Thebes, so t h a t they can have c o n t r o l of him a f t e r h i s death (404-405). They w i l l not bury him i n Theban s o i l , f o r h i s b l o o d - g u i l t makes t h i s 14 i m p o s s i b l e (407). I t i s not Ismene's business to i n t e r p r e t the o r a c l e , and she does not do so. She does, however, b r i n g her own emotions t o bear on her r e p o r t of the o r a c l e and the s i t u a t i o n a t Thebes. L i n f o r t h w r i t e s "Knowing a l l t h i s (the terms of the o r a c l e and the plans of the Thebans), and not t a k i n g i n t o account her f a t h e r ' s p r i d e and h i s animosity toward the c i t y t h a t had d r i v e n him out, Ismene f i n d s i t p o s s i b l e t o b e l i e v e 15 t h a t the p r o s p e c t i s b r i g h t f o r him." T h i s i d e a seems to be founded on Ismene's words at 394 , v u v fiok^ deoK cr ^  of doo o~(, T\poo-0£ £ u>/^\\j<rd<\/ , which L i n f o r t h renders "the gods, who caused your r u i n i n the p a s t , are now about to r e s t o r e you to a p o s i t i o n of d i g n i t y , " and, i n the l i g h t of t h i s , the news t h a t Creon i s d e i g n i n g to take an i n t e r e s t i n Oedipus' whereabouts becomes a compliment to Oedipus. T h i s would seem to c o n t r a d i c t L i n f o r t h ' s n o t i o n of Ismene's r e l u c t a n c e to speak and the f a c t t h a t the i n f o r m a t i o n i s dragged from her by Oedipus' q u e s t i o n s . A l s o , the r e n d e r i n g of 394 i s somewhat ove r - b o l d . " P o s i t i o n of d i g n i t y " i s d o u b t l e s s suggested by Qf>Ooocr{, and i n another context c o u l d h a p p i l y be i n c l u d e d i n a t r a n s l a t i o n of the word, but Ismene, knowing what she 14 For a more thorough d i s c u s s i o n of Ismene's o r a c l e , w i t h an account of Creon's i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of i t , P o l y n e i c e s ' i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of i t , Oedipus' understanding of i t and i t s r e l a t i o n t o h i s e a r l i e r o r a c l e , see the Appendix, 322-329. 1 5 L i n f o r t h (1951) 138. 72 knows, and behaving as she does, cannot p o s s i b l y i n t e n d t o imply i t here. To understand Ismene's words we must look a t the q u e s t i o n which i n s p i r e d them. At 393, having been t o l d t h a t he i s thought to be of c r u c i a l p o l i t i c a l importance, Oedipus asks, "When I am no more, then I ' l l be somebody?" T h i s i s not a s e r i o u s q u e s t i o n ; i t i s a wry comment on the a p p a l l i n g l y mistimed h a n d l i n g of Oedipus' l i f e by whatever s u p e r n a t u r a l agency i t i s t h a t looks a f t e r such matters. When he was k i n g he d i s c o v e r e d t h a t he c o u l d f a l l i n a moment. In h e l p l e s s o l d age or death, he i s to be important, Ismene cannot be e l a t e d at the p r o s p e c t of a d i g n i f i e d p o s i t i o n f o r Oedipus i n Thebes. I t i s soon to become q u i t e apparent, from her own words, t h a t h i s p o s i t i o n w i l l be about as d i g n i f i e d as t h a t of a f o o t b a l l . Ismene's remark i s i n simple agreement w i t h Oedipus' o b s e r v a t i o n , "Yes - i s n ' t i t r i d i c u l o u s ; the gods are making you important now; when you were k i n g they destroyed you." Ismene has more grounds f o r gloom than f o r j o y . She knows, and i s about to r e v e a l , t h a t Oedipus w i l l soon be harra s s e d by Creon, t h a t he w i l l s t i l l not be able to s e t f o o t i n s i d e Thebes i f he i s taken back to Theban t e r r i t o r y , t h a t he w i l l not be granted the p r i v i l e g e of being b u r i e d i n s i d e Thebes, and t h a t h i s sons are eager to use him, u n f e e l i n g l y , i n a p o l i t i c a l tug-of-war (420). She cannot reasonably expect Oedipus to be p l e a s e d by any of t h i s news. Her h e s i t a t i o n i n t e l l i n g i t proves t h a t she does not. The ray of hope which 73 she says she has at 387 can r e f e r o n l y t o the f a c t t h a t the o r a c l e mentions Oedipus' death (Ismene was not present f o r Oedipus' death-wish at 101-110, but she can be expected to r e a l i s e t h a t death w i l l be welcome t o him), or p o s s i b l y to the f a c t t h a t the o r a c l e suggests t h a t Oedipus w i l l be avenged a f t e r death. Having heard the content of t h i s new o r a c l e and the r e a c t i o n s t o i t at Thebes, Oedipus d i s c o v e r s , w i t h a s e r i e s of q u e s t i o n s beginning a t 412, t h a t the o r a c l e has come from A p o l l o at D e l p h i (413; 415) (confirming both h i s own and the audience's s u s p i c i o n s ) and t h a t h i s sons have heard i t and in t e n d t o f i g h t f o r the s o v e r e i g n t y of Thebes nonetheless (417-420). 1 6 The thought of h i s sons' s e l f i s h n e s s nudges Oedipus i n t o the u t t e r a n c e of a prelude to h i s famous c u r s e . He prays t h a t E t e o c l e s w i l l l o s e the throne and t h a t P o l y n e i c e s w i l l never 17 g a i n i t . T h e i r p r e s e n t i n a c t i o n reminds him t h a t n e i t h e r t r i e d t o i n t e r f e r e when he was. e x p e l l e d from Thebes. I t has been suggested t h a t at 431 Oedipus speaks c h i e f l y to Ismene, who might suggest t h a t Oedipus wanted t o leave Thebes at the time and t h a t h i s sons thus d i d him no 18 d i s s e r v i c e . That Ismene might be i n c l i n e d t o defend her br o t h e r s i s gleaned from 420,&Xft<^> K.\CbUcr<A T<*u-T 5 %£^> > §i.f>u> ) rv o Oy*co5 ' h e r r e P 1 Y t o Oedipus' query on the b r o t h e r s ' 1 6 0 n 418-419, see the Appendix, 324-325. 17 On 422-423, see the Appendix, 328-329. 18 Jebb, Coloneus, 75, note t o 431. d e c i s i o n to do b a t t l e f o r the throne. The words must r e f e r to Oedipus' " a c c u s a t i o n , " and mean, "I am pained t o hear my 19 br o t h e r s charged with such conduct," but they are s a i d i n agreement, not i n anger. Ismene shows no s i g n of sympathy w i t h her b r o t h e r s a g a i n s t Oedipus elsewhere. I f we assume i t here, i t would be thoroughly d r a m a t i c a l l y i n a p p r o p r i a t e f o r her to remain s i l e n t throughout the Pclyneices-scene, when even Antigone t r i e s to i n t e r v e n e . I t would be i n a p p r o p r i a t e , anyway, f o r her to argue w i t h her f a t h e r . I f Ismene i s not disp o s e d to defend E t e o c l e s and P o l y n e i c e s , Oedipus' words a t 431-444 cannot be addressed to her. In f a c t , Oedipus i s speaking o n l y t o h i m s e l f . T h i s i s 6~n 0 {|>D p o*. - the speaker 20 suggests o b j e c t i o n s t o h i s own t h e o r i e s and r e f u t e s them. Sophocles uses t h i s f i g u r e of speech so t h a t Oedipus can g i v e an account of the treatment he r e c e i v e d i n Thebes, p a r t l y so t h a t the audience can be f a m i l i a r i s e d w i t h the p r e h i s t o r y of the p l a y , but l a r g e l y so t h a t i t can f u r t h e r a p p r e c i a t e the mistiming which has been Oedipus' l i v i n g i r o n y , and the b i t t e r n e s s engendered i n him when h i s sons allowed him to be d r i v e n out of Thebes. Oedipus must not seem to be an unpleasant man, and so condemnation of the b r o t h e r s i s tempered, at 445-447, by an e x p r e s s i o n of g r a t i t u d e to the s i s t e r s . But the very mention of the g i r l s leads back t o the young men. Oedipus maintains t h a t he w i l l never s i d e with e i t h e r and t h a t Thebes w i l l not 19 Jebb, Coloneus, 74, note to 420. 20 Jebb does note t h i s , Coloneus, 75, note to 431. 75 prosper. The combination of the new o r a c l e and the one r e c e i v e d many years ago has assured him t h a t he w i l l remain, 21 or a t l e a s t should remain, m Colonus. At 455 Oedipus turns to the chorus and o f f e r s the o l d men, i f they help him, b e n e f i t s f o r themselves and t r o u b l e 22 f o r h i s enemies. L i k e a pantomime hero asking the audience to help him to deceive the v i l l a i n , he i n c l u d e s the s p e c t a t o r s i n h i s r e q u e s t . The l i n e s are designed to t h r i l l them with p a t r i o t i c f e e l i n g . The chorus l e a d e r makes the o n l y r e p l y t h a t the p l o t w i l l allow (461-464). The chorus now i s calm and sympathetic. The l e a d e r o f f e r s him a d v i c e : he should make atonement to the Eumenides. The d i a l o g u e between Oedipus and the chorus l e a d e r which f o l l o w s (466-492) i s e n t i r e l y concerned with the r i t e s which must be performed. D r a m a t i c a l l y , the l i b a t i o n i s accounted f o r by the need to s a l u t e the gods who are p r o v i d i n g s h e l t e r f o r Oedipus and to atone f o r h i s i n c u r s i o n onto t h e i r t e r r i t o r y . One suspects t h a t Sophocles and h i s audience would f e e l uncomfortable u n t i l Oedipus had done what a r e a l - l i f e t r a v e l l e r would do, and acknowledging the "owners" of sacred t e r r i t o r y must have been the i n e v i t a b l e s equel t o e n t e r i n g i t . The i n v e n t i o n and m a n i p u l a t i o n of t h i s l i b a t i o n are a l s o r e q u i r e d by the p l o t and the c o n s t r a i n t s of the medium, as w i l l be demonstrated. 21 See the Appendix, 327-328. 2 2 A n odd emphasis. ~TV\5 3<£ ^ 5 or TO?s hi 5^5 (both Nauck • s c o n j e c t u r e s , c i t e d i n Jebb, Coloneus, 80-81) would be happier c o r r e c t i o n s of the L a u r e n t i a n manuscript's ToiCd^ il / ^ S S a t 4(50. 76 Yet only the advice to make atonement and the assurance t h a t i t w i l l be made can be accounted f o r by these f a c t o r s . T h e i r needs would be s a t i s f i e d i f Oedipus had sent Ismene to pour the l i b a t i o n s at 465. Why, then, does Sophocles i n c l u d e t h i s long d e s c r i p t i o n of the r i t e s to be performed? There i s c e r t a i n l y no dramatic reason. In f a c t , Oedipus has shown at 100, by c a l l i n g the Eumenides "wineless" goddesses (that i s , goddesses whose r i t e s c a l l f o r no wine to be o f f e r e d ) , t h a t he has some knowledge of the c o r r e c t procedure, although i t i s p o s s i b l e t h a t the " s o b r i e t y " of the Eumenides was w e l l known. A l s o , the grove of the Eumenides ap p a r e n t l y has an attendant (506) , who c o u l d g i v e Oedipus necessary i n f o r m a t i o n o f f - s t a g e . Nor does the l e n g t h of the d e s c r i p t i o n i n any way help to advance the p l o t ; the converse i s t r u e ; the p l o t cannot progress u n t i l the s u b j e c t i s changed. The c o n s t r a i n t s of the t h e a t r e o f f e r s e v e r a l p o s s i b l e e x p l a n a t i o n s f o r so lengthy a d e s c r i p t i o n . The t h i r t y " s t a t i c " l i n e s might be u s e f u l to cover an o f f - s t a g e a c t i o n supposed to take an i m p r a c t i c a l l e n g t h of time, or to ease a l i g h t n i n g change of costume by an a c t o r , but i n t h i s p o s i t i o n they can do n e i t h e r . Lattimore c i t e s s e v e r a l cases where 23 "ceremony i s used to s o l v e an a r t i s t ' s problem." By Homer we are t o l d i n d e t a i l how Odysseus d i g s h i s p i t , s a c r i f i c e s 24 h i s v i c t i m s and f i l l s the p i t w i t h blood. L a t t i m o r e w r i t e s , "the r i t u a l arranges the s p i r i t s i n a l i n e , so t h a t the hero 2 3 L a t t i m o r e (1969) 68. 2 4 0 d y s s e y , XI, 23-88. can i n t e r v i e w them one by one. I f he were the c e n t e r of a 25 swarm, the n a r r a t i v e would be unmanageable." He c i t e s s e v e r a l comparable scenes i n drama, among them the scene i n Aeschylus' S u p p l i c e s , i n which the daughters of Danaus are t o l d where and how to stand to s u p p l i c a t e the k i n g of Argos (186-206; 223-225). At the c l o s e of Sophocles' own Ajax, the chorus and Ajax' son are t o l d what to do and where to stand i n r e l a t i o n t o Ajax' body (1402-1417). They are a l l about to walk out of the t h e a t r e i n p r o c e s s i o n . L a t t i m o r e does not mention the necromancy-scene i n Aeschylus' Persae i n t h i s c o ntext, but i t i s worth examining. At 598 Atossa r e t u r n s from the p a l a c e w i t h the equipment necessary to summon the s p i r i t of her dead husband D a r i u s , She d e s c r i b e s the p r o p i t i a t o r y o f f e r i n g s she b r i n g s . The c h o r a l ode t h a t f o l l o w s i s the Uy/voS c4Vc*vKAv^\\<oj> . The t h e a t r i c a l v a l u e of the ceremony i s e v i d e n t - the ghost of Darius i s t o r i s e from i t s tomb as the climax of the necessary r i t e s . A l l t h i s i s a c t u a l l y r e p r e s e n t e d on stage. As Atossa d e s c r i b e s the l i b a t i o n s she has them i n her hands ready to pour. As the chorus s i n g s , she pours them, or a t l e a s t makes gestu r e s r e p r e s e n t a t i v e of pouring them. The spoken d e t a i l u n d e r l i n e s the mood and o f f e r s a v e r b a l a l t e r n a t i v e to those g e s t u r e s which might be i m p o s s i b l e t o stage or d i f f i c u l t t o i n t e r p r e t , 2 6 i n the t r u e compensatory t r a d i t i o n o f the A t t i c t h e a t r e . 2 5 L a t t i m o r e (1969) 68. 2 6 A r n o t t (1962) 55, f o l l o w i n g Rose (1950) 262, remarks t h a t t h i s i s i n f a c t a condensed form of the u s u a l necromantic ceremony - there i s no p i t , and no blood. T h i s makes i t l e s s l i k e the d e s c r i p t i o n i n the Oedipus Coloneus, which i s s t r e t c h e d t o i t s l i m i t s . 78 Lattimore does l i s t the i n s t r u c t i o n s g i v e n to Oedipus by the chorus i n the Oedipus Coloneus w i t h the scenes from the S u p p l i c e s and the Aiax, but he does not d e s c r i b e how they e n l i g h t e n us with regard to the movements of the a c t o r s on stage. The t r u t h i s t h a t they do not e n l i g h t e n us at a l l , f o r the a c t i o n s d e s c r i b e d are not performed w h i l e the matching 27 words are spoken. The i n s t r u c t i o n s are a complete dramatic dead end. Not only are they not c a r r i e d out on stage, but they do not l e a d to anything e l s e t h a t i s done on stage; we do not hear, and do not need to hear, whether or not the l i b a t i o n s are every poured as d i r e c t e d . In the absence of d r a m a t i c a l l y d i c t a t e d circumstances which render the long d e s c r i p t i o n necessary, we must conclude t h a t Sophocles i n s e r t s i t i n order to e n r i c h the p l a y , and t h a t h i s reasons are p u r e l y a r t i s t i c . He may be attempting to i n t e n s i f y the heavy r e l i g i o u s atmosphere of the p l a y , although i t i s u n l i k e l y t h a t a d i s c u s s i o n of the r e l a t i v e m e r i t s of o l i v e - b r a n c h e s and woven c l o t h as d e c o r a t i o n s f o r bowls would i n c r e a s e any aura of s a n c t i t y . The awesome i s very n e a r l y rendered f a c i l e by t h i s passage. He may merely be engaging i n a s e l f - i n d u l g e n t f a r e w e l l t o a l l t h i n g s l o v e l y , but does a poet d e l i g h t h i m s e l f a t the expense of h i s p l a y 27 There i s a p o s s i b i l i t y t h a t Sophocles wrote t h i s d e s c r i p t i o n with an e l a b o r a t e mime on the p a r t of the chorus l e a d e r or the whole chorus i n mind, but the absence of stage d i r e c t i o n s i n our manuscripts of a l l the p l a y s r a t h e r suggests t h a t the poets d i d not v i s u a l i s e any such t h i n g . 79 and h i s a u d i e n c e ? ^ 0 He may be c a t e r i n g t o contemporary t a s t e . L i n f o r t h , who seems s t r a n g e l y r e l u c t a n t t o d i s c u s s the q u e s t i o n , suggests t h a t "the audience i n g e n e r a l , and Sophocles w i t h them, had a fancy f o r l i t u r g i e s and would accept the l i s t of r u b r i c s both as n a t u r a l l y s u p p l i e d by the man of Colonus under the circumstances and a l s o as 29 i n t e r e s t i n g i n i t s e l f . " I f t h i s i s the case, why i s t h e r e nothing q u i t e l i k e t h i s passage i n any other extant drama? When a comparable s i t u a t i o n a r i s e s i n E u r i p i d e s ' Orestes i t i s d e a l t w i t h q u i t e d i f f e r e n t l y . At 112 Helen c a l l s her daughter Hermione out of the p a l a c e and i n s t r u c t s here to go to Clytemnestra's tomb, make d r i n k o f f e r i n g s and leave a g i f t of Helen's h a i r . The i n s t r u c t i o n s are d r a m a t i c a l l y necessary, as Hermione cannot know why she has been sent f o r u n l e s s they are g i v e n , but the o f f e r i n g s themselves, l i k e the l i b a t i o n s 30 i n the Oedipus Coloneus, are a dramatic dead end. The t e c h n i c a l i t i e s i n Helen's speech are few - the most s p e c i f i c 28 Norwood (1928) 172-173, p i c t u r e s "the boy of e i g h t y years ago" gazing at the s a c r i f i c i a l v e s s e l s i n the glades of h i s n a t i v e Colonus, but the " b i o g r a p h i c a l " e x p l a n a t i o n u s u a l l y owes more t o the c r i t i c ' s i m a g i n a t i o n than to the evidence. S i m i l a r l y , as L i n f o r t h remarks (1951) 141, i t i s d i f f i c u l t to see how the s t r e n g t h of Sophocles' own r e l i g i o u s b e l i e f s can be proved or thought s i g n i f i c a n t . He r e f e r s i n p a r t i c u l a r t o Masqueray's e x p l a n a t i o n of the l e n g t h of the d e s c r i p t i o n , "Sophocle e t a i t un homme t r e s r e l i g i e u x . I I f a u t s'en souvenir pour comprendre comment i l a pu donner t a n t d ' a t t e n t i o n a toutes ces m i n u t i e s r i t u e l l e s " (Sophocle, 174, note 1). 2 9 L i n f o r t h (1951) 141. 3 0 At 1321 i n the Orestes Hermione ente r s and i s asked whether she has completed the ceremony at the g r a v e s i d e , but t h i s i s merely a r e a l i s t i c a l l y d i s g u i s e d entrance announcement f o r Hermione, not an i n d i c a t i o n t h a t the ceremony was d r a m a t i c a l l y motivated. 80 d i r e c t i o n , lij^^c T b v Y lXoTAyxv ^ a - T p ^ T ^ ^ u V lyt/6A\Kf>o».T <i (fytS ^c<Xo<^ToS oWoOTTOV V ^ ^ V ^ V (114-115), i s f a r l e s s p e d a n t i c than those g i v e n to Oedipus. Hermione i s t o l d e x a c t l y what to say i n i t i a l l y i n her prayer to Clytemnestra, but then i s to improvise on g e n e r a l l i n e s . Helen's d i r e c t i o n s l a s t a mere t h i r t e e n l i n e s and are g i v e n most s u c c i n c t l y . I f audiences were so fond of l i t u r g i e s unaccompanied by a c t i o n , why does E u r i p i d e s not i n d u l g e them here? The reason i s t h a t a d e t a i l e d d e s c r i p t i o n of Hermione's f u t u r e g r a v e s i d e performance would be meaningless and u n i n t e r e s t i n g t o an audience of Athenians. A d e s c r i p t i o n of f a m i l i a r p r a c t i c e s , on the other hand, would be enjoyed by a l l , and we must remember t h a t the audience would not be composed on l y of i n t e l l e c t u a l s o p h i s t i c a t e s . D e l i g h t i n the f a m i l i a r i s a time-honoured t h e a t r i c a l phenomenon. A modern audience shows more a p p r e c i a t i o n , f o r example^ when a s i n g e r s i n g s the tune t h a t made him famous, be i t decades o l d , than when he i n t r o d u c e s new' m a t e r i a l . A modern audience concentrates spell-bound when Hamlet int o n e s "To be or not to be," even i f the l e s s well-known speeches d r i f t through i t s consciousness without l e a v i n g an impression. An Athenian audience i n the f i f t h c entury B.C. had the o p p o r t u n i t y to watch any g i v e n p l a y only once i n a l i f e - t i m e . Any passage which was to achieve an e f f e c t s i m i l a r to t h a t of the famous speech from Hamlet had to be f a m i l i a r from everyday l i f e i n 81 31 A t t i c a . The Oedipus Coloneus i s the only s u r v i v i n g p l a y of Sophocles w i t h an A t t i c f l a v o u r . The a c t i o n takes p l a c e i n A t t i c a ; the customs and manners d e p i c t e d are thoroughly A t t i c . The hero c u l t of Theseus has no b e t t e r l i t e r a r y champion, save perhaps E u r i p i d e s ' S u p p l i c e s ; the hero c u l t of Oedipus, promising s e c u r i t y t o Athens, no f i r m e r endorsement. In a p l a y so o b v i o u s l y intended to d i s p e l f e a r about her f u t u r e d e a l i n g s with other Greek s t a t e s , a r e p e t i t i o n of f a m i l i a r r e g u l a t i o n s i s not out of p l a c e . I t strengthens the p l a y ' s c r e d i b i l i t y . I t i s a movement towards audience involvement and hence audience acceptance of the p l a y w r i g h t ' s sug g e s t i o n s . At 488, as the chorus completes i t s i n s t r u c t i o n s to Oedipus, we f i n d the f i r s t c l u e t o the t r u e , non-dramatic reason f o r the i n v e n t i o n of the order to make atonement, P O T O O T o<.o7o5 K.e(. T \ $ «*.M&5 ^ V T ( coo . The d r a m a t i s t wants someone other than Oedipus to leave the grove, and the chorus here g i v e s i t s dramatic p e r m i s s i o n by i n d i c a t i n g t h a t the atonement can be made by proxy. At 493 Oedipus turns to 32 c o n s u l t h i s daughters. He s t a t e s t h a t he cannot perform the ceremony h i m s e l f and g i v e s a p l a u s i b l e dramatic reason - he 31 The Eumenides were worshipped i n A t t i c a . T h i s i s not Sophocles' i n v e n t i o n . There was an e n c l o s u r e sacred to them i n Athens i t s e l f (Pausanias, 1.28.6.) so t h e i r r i t e s would have been f a m i l i a r . 32 Which daughter r e p l i e s a t 494? The L a u r e n t i a n manuscript g i v e s the l i n e to the chorus, which i s c l e a r l y i n c o r r e c t , most other manuscripts to Ismene. Most e d i t o r s give i t t o Antigone (among them Jebb, Coloneus. and Pearson, Sophocles). I t would seem p r e f e r a b l e , s i n c e Antigone has not spoken a word s i n c e Ismene a r r i v e d , f o r the l i n e t o be g i v e n to Ismene. 82 i s weak and he i s b l i n d . He asks t h a t one of h i s daughters perform i t on h i s b e h a l f . He makes the s u b s t i t u t i o n d r a m a t i c a l l y a c c e p t a b l e with 498-499, Sophocles wants on l y one daughter t o l e a v e , and so Oedipus plead s at 500-502 t h a t he i s too weak t o be l e f t e n t i r e l y 34 alone. At 503-504 Ismene v o l u n t e e r s to perform the r i t e s of atonement. The atonement has been i n t r o d u c e d and Ismene s e l e c t e d as agent w i t h two purposes i n view. F i r s t , the p l o t must pr o g r e s s : the p l o t does not allow Oedipus to make h i s own atonement. He must remain i n the grove t o r e c e i v e h i s v i s i t o r s . Ismene i s t o be captured by Creon b e f o r e he a r r i v e s a t the grove and c o n f r o n t s Oedipus. Second, the Ismene-actor must be f r e e t o p l a y the p a r t of Theseus who e n t e r s at 551. For the p r o g r e s s i o n of the p l o t , i t matters very l i t t l e whether i t i s Antigone or Ismene who leaves the grove; e i t h e r c o u l d be h e l d hostage by Creon t o the r e q u i r e d e f f e c t . For 33 F a i l u r e t o r e a l i s e t h a t a p l a y w r i g h t i s sometimes f o r c e d , by the demands of h i s p l o t or the c o n s t r a i n t s of the t h e a t r e , to w r i t e l i n e s which have l i t t l e or no dramatic or thematic meaning has l e d to mistaken n o t i o n s of the s i g n i f i c a n c e of these l i n e s . For example, Lesky sees here a foreshadowing of the C h r i s t i a n d o c t r i n e of v i c a r i o u s s a c r i f i c e (1966) 294-295. 34 E. H a r r i s o n (1924) 55, p o i n t s out t h a t , i f both g i r l s l e f t , Oedipus would not be alone but^would have the " f r i e n d l y chorus" as a guide. Thus the avto of the manuscripts, and the g e n e r a l l y accepted c o r r e c t i o n <K^<* must be d i s m i s s e d . The proposed r e a d i n g i s ooS1 o<|> I ^ J ^ T O O V £ O U or ^.&\o\j , But i t i s easy to see what Oedipus means and we should not q u i b b l e . The chorus i s no s u b s t i t u t e f o r Antigone^ and has shown i n t s e l f to be somewhat f i c k l e . o(jh^ 6^r\j^T0O cKX<* w i l l s u f f i c e . 83 the d i v i s i o n of p a r t s i t matters very much. The Antigone-a c t o r has no other p a r t s to p l a y , but the Ismene-actor must change i n t o the costumes of f i r s t Theseus and then 35 P o l y n e i c e s . ( D r a m a t i c a l l y , i t i s more f i t t i n g t h a t Ismene go, as Antigone has always remained with her f a t h e r as h i s guide.) Ismene asks the chorus where she i s to perform the r i t e s , and i s t o l d . She i s spared the need of asking f u r t h e r q u e s t i o n s by the i n v e n t i o n of a sexton who w i l l t e l l her a l l she needs to know (506), She expects to r e t u r n s h o r t l y and makes no lengthy f a r e w e l l s . At 509 she l e a v e s . What has the Ismene-scene accomplished? F i r s t , i t has s e t the mechanism of the main events i n motion. Oedipus and the Thebans, armed wi t h t h e i r r e s p e c t i v e o r a c l e s , can now 3 6 begin working a g a i n s t one another to achieve o p p o s i t e ends. (Of course, the Thebans were a l r e a d y implementing t h e i r d i r e schemes be f o r e Ismene t o l d Oedipus about them - E v e r e s t was s t i l l the h i g h e s t mountain on the face of the e a r t h even before i t was d i s c o v e r e d - but i n a drama, what the audience has not been t o l d about i s e f f e c t i v e l y , not happening.) Once Ismene has g i v e n her news, we begin to f e e l the p u l l of the o r a c l e s . Second, the scene has prepared both Oedipus and the audience f o r the l a t e r a r r i v a l s of Creon and P o l y n e i c e s , 35 See P a r t I I . The d i s t r i b u t i o n of the r o l e s , 310, Ceadel's d i s t r i b u t i o n of r o l e s , which has both a c t o r s r e t i r i n g at 509 to p l a y other p a r t s (Antigone i s r e p l a c e d i n the parodos by a TM ft J*-1*- ) , makes nonsense of Sophocles' c a r e f u l procedure f o r s e l e c t i n g one daughter as agent. (Ceadel (1941) 146.) 3 6 S e e the Appendix, 329-330. 84 g i v e n Oedipus ammunition (knowledge of t h e i r i n t e n t i o n s ) w i t h which to d e a l with them, and the audience a key to the i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of t h e i r requests when they a r r i v e . As y e t , however, there i s no f e e l i n g of f e a r . The r e a l i t y of the f a m i l y reunion and the h e l p f u l n e s s of the chorus and apparent good w i l l of the Eumenides make a s t r o n g e r impression than the threatened v i s i t s . T h i r d , the i d e a t h a t Oedipus w i l l d i e i n Colonus has been r e i n f o r c e d by the new o r a c l e . F o u r t h , the scene has served t o u n d e r l i n e the c o n t r a s t between Oedipus 1 love f o r h i s daughters and h i s l o a t h i n g of h i s sons, occasioned, the scene makes c l e a r , by the concern of h i s daughters f o r h i s welfar e and the n e g l e c t of h i s sons. The two emotions t h r i v e i n the man with equal s t r e n g t h . Once t h i s ambivalence i s e s t a b l i s h e d , Oedipus can r a n t a g a i n s t h i s sons without l o s i n g the audience's sympathy, except perhaps a t the moment of the u t t e r a n c e of the curse at 1385-1388, and speak t e n d e r l y t o h i s daughters without the audience's f o r g e t t i n g t h a t he i s a man to be reckoned w i t h . 85 CHAPTER V. 510-548. The f i r s t Komraos. Oedipus and Antigone are l e f t by the grove, and there f o l l o w s a komrrios sung by Oedipus and the chorus (or chorus l e a d e r ) . 1 The chorus t r i e s to drag the h i s t o r y o f the Theban r o y a l house from an u n w i l l i n g Oedipus, I t seems t o have no motive other than c u r i o s i t y (510-512). Oedipus appeals t o the i n v i o l a b l e r e l a t i o n s h i p between host and guest (515-516) but the chorus i s not to be d e t e r r e d . Despite Oedipus' obvious d i s t r e s s , i t r e s o r t s to b l a c k m a i l - "Do as I ask. I am doing you a l l the favours you r e q u i r e " (520). In oth e r words, i f Oedipus does not submit t o the chorus' i n q u i s i t i o n , he w i l l l o s e the p r i v i l e g e s of remaining i n Colonus and meeting Theseus. Of n e c e s s i t y , Oedipus i s now more forthcoming. He has s u f f e r e d , he says, though he committed no d e l i b e r a t e s i n (521-523), The chorus wants the d e t a i l s , but s t r a n g e l y , h o r r i b l y seems to be able t o pr o v i d e them i t s e l f . Oedipus' "By a t e r r i b l e marriage the c i t y bound me, a l l unknowing, t o a b a n e f u l b r i d e " (525-526) i s s t i l l vague, but the chorus' words are e x p l i c i t : "Do you mean your mother? I hear you took her to your i l l - f a m e d bed" (527-528), Prompted by the "'"There i s no evidence to show whether the whole chorus sang i n a kommos or whether the l i n e s were gi v e n t o the l e a d e r , i n d i v i d u a l c horeuts, or groups of choreuts. Haigh (1896) 359-361 d i s c u s s e s the q u e s t i o n . I would agree w i t h him t h a t Koa/ok ( A r i s t o t l e , P o e t i c s , 1451b) bears no r e l e v a n c e t o the '  q u e s t i o n , and r e f e r s only to the f a c t t h a t , w h ile a l l dramas c o n t a i n a prologue, episodes, an exodus and c h o r a l odes, some dramas do not c o n t a i n l y r i c s sung by the a c t o r s or kommoi. In t h i s case the kommos would d o u b t l e s s be more e f f e c t i v e i f the e n t i r e chorus d i s p l a y e d i t s l u s t f o r unsavoury knowledge by s i n g i n g i n unison. 86 chorus, Oedipus confesses h i s tr u e r e l a t i o n s h i p t o h i s daughters, and the r o l e s are suddenly r e v e r s e d . With a firmness t h a t i s almost triumphant, Oedipus f i n i s h e s the chorus' t e n t a t i v e "So they are your c h i l d r e n and a l s o . . . " (534) with "my s i b l i n g s ; t h e i r f a t h e r ' s own s i s t e r s " (535). Two words, KocvcU and oCb& § fcdt. , d e s c r i b e the r e l a t i o n s h i p . There i s no d i f f i d e n c e here. The chorus now i s reduced t o gasping, and the kommos degenerates momentarily i n t o a mutual e x p r e s s i o n of anguish. The chorus' compassion, however, soon r e v e r t s to c u r i o s i t y , and then t o a c c u s a t i o n . I t i s the chorus which f i r s t mentions murder (542), and the murder v i c t i m (543) , while Oedipus subsides i n agony. He i s f o r c e d to defend h i m s e l f a g a i n s t these s e l f - a p p o i n t e d judges who bombard him with q u e s t i o n s and the kommos comes t o an abrupt 2 end as he pleads t h a t he k i l l e d L a i u s without understanding. T h i s s e r i e s of o v e r l a p p i n g emotional waves runs independently of the formal p l a n of the kommos, which i s r i g i d , and c o n s i s t s of two symmetrical p a i r s of st a n z a s . A s u b j e c t or mood i s not c o n f i n e d w i t h i n a stanza. In the f i r s t p a i r , although there i s p r e c i s e m e t r i c a l agreement, the l i n e s g i v e n t o the chorus i n the strophe are giv e n to Oedipus i n the a n t i s t r o p h e , and v i c e v e r s a . In the second p a i r , strophe and 2The manuscripts at 547 read K«u ^Wxtvs ^ o y t u o - * * AX 0U5 q u a r r e l s w i t h both the metre and the , sense. Jebb, Coloneus, 94, c o r r e c t s to K«i.c &v,o6.5 kfavtUrJ 6j*.* O<ITCJAfco-oiv, which amounts to a p l e a of s e l f - d e f e n c e not out of keeping with Oedipus' a s s e r t i o n s at 271 and 992-994.. Pearson, however (1930), 163, has p o i n t e d out t h a t ^ I i i ^ t f o L v , s i n c e i t i s not f o l l o w e d by a vowel at the beginning of 548, violate^s the metre. He h i m s e l f p r e f e r s -^oi.p V<vou5 l ^ o v ^ O O " 5 oCTTo Afcff'oi . Oedipus' p l e a i s "ignorance." . 3 . . . a n t i s t r o p h e are i d e n t i c a l . They c o n t a i n i n t r i c a t e , matching v e r b a l p a t t e r n s . In the strophe, a t 536, Oedipus p i c k s up the l o J of the chorus with an iw of h i s own. In the corresponding l i n e of the a n t i s t r o p h e , 544, he p i c k s up onl y the sound, not the sense; h i s TY'ot.'W^  f o l l o w s i t s TT^TpoS . Through the s e r i e s of s t a c c a t o responses i n the strophe Oedipus echoes the chorus, and the a n t i s t r o p h e i m i t a t e s the strophe, i n sense, i n sound, o r i n p a t t e r n . 538 ,^X^0. Wc*9es 0 I /4TTc>.0o V .., ^  i s matched i n the a n t i s t r o p h e by 545 0. C V ^ V ^ S 01. £*<*vov f 539 , ^XTO. " c y ^ S 01 oin «f><^<*, i s matched by 546 , 0. X L Too TO; OI.1\fo5 c)'»-\<AS • The q u e s t i o n f o l l o w i n g i n both stanzas i s the chorus' Tv. fi<*f> j I t i s h i g h l y l i k e l y t h a t t h i s f e a t u r e of the kommos was r e f l e c t e d i n the s t a g i n g , w i t h the chorus' movements d u r i n g the a n t i s t r o p h e complementing those of the strophe. There appears t o be no dramatic reason f o r the i n c l u s i o n of the content of t h i s kommos. The chorus i s as k i n g Oedipus f o r i n f o r m a t i o n which i t al r e a d y has, un l e s s i t has remembered Oedipus' r e f e r e n c e to h i s mother and f a t h e r a t 268 and i s now r e q u e s t i n g t h a t the remark be a m p l i f i e d . In t h i s case i t s u p p l i e s JLKY\jpod&v (527) and "n*<*Tf"D5 (544) f o r i t s e l f from 268, which i s too complex a f e a t f o r c h a r a c t e r s i n drama, who cannot be asked t o glean anything t h a t the audience cannot g l e a n . The chorus' i n t e n s e f e a r at the sound 3 A f t e r c e r t a i n u n i v e r s a l l y accepted c o r r e c t i o n s of the muddle i n the manuscripts: the L a u r e n t i a n manuscript g i v e s 5 34 and 535 to the chorus, at 5 3 6^  to Oedipus,'i«^> ^J\T<* t o the chorus, and j*up\oo^ fj I o-TpcxjjoU W>fCov to Oedipus. The c o r r e c t i o n s cause no s a c r i f i c e i n sense. 88 of Oedipus' name at 222 proves t h a t i t does know something of the s t o r y . I t knows, I t h i n k , t h a t he murdered h i s f a t h e r and was married to h i s mother. I t may be t h a t i t was unaware, u n t i l the p r e s e n t exchange, t h a t Antigone and Ismene were the daughters of J o c a s t a , Oedipus' mother-wife. I t knew, c e r t a i n l y , t h a t they were Oedipus' daughters, f o r the g i r l s have r e f e r r e d to Oedipus as " f a t h e r " s e v e r a l times i n the chorus' h e a r i n g (238; 322; 508). I t may be t h a t the audience, 4 as w e l l as the chorus, needed to be informed on t h i s p o i n t . Sophocles c e r t a i n l y does not i n c l u d e t h i s kommos t o a i d the progress of h i s p l o t ; i n f a c t , the a c t i o n w aits while the c h a r a c t e r s r e a s s e s s o l d knowledge. The kommos has no v a l u e as a prologue, even, because we are a l r e a d y more than f i v e hundred l i n e s i n t o the drama, we can assume t h a t the audience knows the count of Oedipus' crimes a l r e a d y , and, anyway, there are more s t r a i g h t f o r w a r d and coherent ways of d i s c l o s i n g i n f o r m a t i o n than t h i s . The c o n s t r a i n t s of the t h e a t r e account f o r the presence of an i n t e r l u d e of some s o r t here. The Ismene-actor leaves the scene a t 509. I f there were no kommos he would have to emerge as Theseus immediately. He must be g i v e n time to change h i s mask and costume. That the i n t e r l u d e takes t h i s 4 Not every s t o r y about Oedipus a s c r i b e s i s s u e to h i s marriage w i t h J o c a s t a . Pausanias (IX,5.11) remarks t h a t the author of the QldljU &^ fcvj>L c o n s i d e r s one Euryganeia to have been the mother of Oedipus' c h i l d r e n . Pherecydes of Athens, a g e n e a l o g i s t of the e a r l y f i f t h century (Jacoby (1947) 25-48), g i v e s J o c a s t a and Oedipus two sons. P h r a s t o r and Laonytos, both of whom are k i l l e d by the Minyae, but E t e o c l e s , P o l y n e i c e s , Ismene and Antigone are Euryganeia's c h i l d r e n . So, i n c i d e n t a l l y , i s a f i f t h , a namesake f o r J o c a s t a ( S c h o l i a i n Phoenissas, note to 53). 89 shape must be a t t r i b u t e d to Sophocles' t h e a t r i c a l good sense. I t forms an e f f e c t i v e c o n t r a s t to the scenes of r e l a t i v e t r a n q u i l l i t y t h a t precede and f o l l o w i t . The Ismene^scene has ended on a note of calm - the audience has been l u l l e d i n t o t h i n k i n g t h a t , i f the atonement ceremonies are performed, Oedipus w i l l be m i r a c u l o u s l y f r e e of problems t h e r e a f t e r . I t i s with a sharp shock t h a t the audience witnesses these nasty o l d men, these horror-mongers, pro b i n g i n t o the most i n t i m a t e d e t a i l s of Oedipus' l i f e , c a u s ing him new p a i n and f o r c i n g him to shout out f o r the world t o hear what he would r a t h e r keep to h i m s e l f . Then i n t o t h i s tumble of emotions, " t h i s atmosphere of o l d , t e r r i b l e crimes r e c a l l e d , " w i l l come Theseus, not a l l sweetness and l i g h t , but almost so, to b i d Oedipus welcome and show not a glimmer of repugnance or of c u r i o s i t y . The thoroughly d i s t a s t e f u l atmosphere, which he so s u c c e s s f u l l y d i s p e l s , c o n t r i b u t e s to the impression of the goodness of the man because i t i s so a l i e n , t o him. 5 The phrase i s from Knox (1966) 152. He r i g h t l y s t r e s s e s the d i s t a s t e f u l n e s s of the kommos. See Lesky (1952) 99-102, where a f t e r some d i s c u s s i o n of d i f f e r e n t views / ( a s i m i l a r c o n c l u s i o n i s reached. "In unvermitteltem Ubergang f o l g t auf d i e Gesangsszene das A u f t r e t e n des Theseus, jene e i n z i g a r t i g e Szene der Begrussung des b l i n d e n , durch a l l e s Elend g e t r i e b e n e n B e t t l e r s durch den Konig, den Sophokles a l s Trager t i e f e r M e n s c h l i c h k e i t g e s t a l t e t hat, wie keine andere s e i n e r F i g u r e n " (101). 90 CHAPTER VI. 549-667. The Theseus-scene. The chorus l e a d e r r e v e r t s to spoken iambics t o announce the a r r i v a l of the k i n g , by name, w i t h the much used t<*1 y*"\V formula, q u i t e d r a m a t i c a l l y a p p r o p r i a t e here as Oedipus i s b l i n d and w i l l not r e c o g n i s e Theseus' v o i c e s i n c e the two seem never t o have met previously."'" There has been e l a b o r a t e p r e p a r a t i o n f o r the a r r i v a l of Theseus, and h i s dramatic 2 m o t i v a t i o n c o u l d not be str o n g e r - he has a c t u a l l y been sent f o r , l u r e d here by a c r y p t i c message. We o n l y wonder t h a t he has been so long i n coming. At 66-74 Oedipus and the str a n g e r have d i s c u s s e d and named the k i n g of Athens. Oedipus has asked t h a t he be summoned and has o f f e r e d h i s enigmatic promise as b a i t . At 288-309 Oedipus and the chorus have d i s c u s s e d the a r r i v a l of the k i n g , and the audience has been informed t h a t the k i n g i s s t i l l i n Athens but t h a t a messenger has gone to f e t c h him and t h a t rumours of Oedipus' presence i n Colonus w i l l b r i n g him s w i f t l y to the scene. That he does not come immediately i s Sophocles' ruse to keep the audience i n suspense. The appearance of Theseus w i l l be of p a r t i c u l a r i n t e r e s t 1Webster (1933) 119-120, notes t h a t tot / i V|V can be used as an empty formula, when the announcer has no one i n p a r t i c u l a r to inform of the a r r i v a l of a new c h a r a c t e r , but i n the Oedipus Coloneus, although i t i s used s e v e r a l times, i t always has dramatic s i g n i f i c a n c e , because Oedipus, being b l i n d , must be t o l d who i s a r r i v i n g , 2 What i s here termed "dramatic m o t i v a t i o n " would be termed " p r e p a r a t i o n , " i n t h i s case by name and by command, by Webster (1933). " M o t i v a t i o n " a p p l i e s o n l y to the excuses a c h a r a c t e r g i v e s upon h i s a r r i v a l f o r h i s presence. (Thus Ismene's e x p l a n a t i o n of her a r r i v a l (332-334) would be termed "m o t i v a t i o n . "') 91 to h i s audience, f o r the s p e c t a t o r s are Athenians and he i s the t r a d i t i o n a l guardian of Athens. He was molded i n t o a 3 n a t i o n a l hero i n the s i x t h and e a r l y f i f t h c e n t u r i e s , and the c u l t of Theseus was f i r m l y e s t a b l i s h e d i n Athens when, i n 475, Cimon t r a n s p o r t e d the bones of a g i a n t from Skyros to 4 Athens, b u r i e d them i n the Theseion, which was b u i l t e s p e c i a l l y f o r t h a t purpose, and pronounced t h a t they were 5 the remains of Theseus, Every year, i n the month of Pyanopsion, the Athenians c e l e b r a t e d the r e b u r i a l of Theseus' bones with s i x days of c o n t i n u a l f e s t i v i t i e s , and other 7 days were s e t a s i d e e s p e c i a l l y f o r h i s worship. There i s evidence t h a t the o r d i n a r y c i t i z e n s of Athens c o u l d and d i d ask f o r Theseus' help i n matters too t r i v i a l t o m e r i t a god's g i n t e r v e n t i o n . The hero Theseus w i l l thus be t r e a t e d by both p l a y w r i g h t and audience as no o r d i n a r y c h a r a c t e r , C o n s i d e r i n g the chorus' r e a c t i o n t o i t s f i r s t view of Oedipus a t 140-141, Theseus behaves i n a remarkably c i v i l i s e d 3See Herter (1973) and Ward (1970) 143-157. 4 Not the b u i l d i n g r e f e r r e d t o as the Theseion today, which i s p r o p e r l y a H e p h a i s t e i o n . See T r a v l o s (1971) 261, 234. 5 P l u t a r c h , L i f e of Cimon. V I I I . 3-6. 6See Daremberg and S a g l i o (1877) 238. 7 P l u t a r c h , L i f e of Theseus, XXXVI. 3. 8 There e x i s t s a v o t i v e o f f e r i n g to Theseus of the f i f t h or e a r l y f o u r t h century B.C. (No. 743 i n the Louvre museum Daremberg and S a g l i o (1877) f i g . 6892), which i s taken to be the d e d i c a t i o n of a p r i v a t e i n d i v i d u a l . I t shows Theseus appearing t o a man and a boy. The i n s c r i p t i o n reads: &HtV(t. milTTTTOl A/AYAPXIAO A N E 0 H K E N . Theseus. Sosippos, son of Nearchidos, d e d i c a t e d t h i s . 92 way. He r e c o g n i s e s Oedipus immediately. Sophocles i s c a r e f u l t o ensure t h a t Theseus has enough i n f o r m a t i o n t o be able t o do t h i s , and to e x p l a i n the king's thought-processes. He has heard the s t o r y of Oedipus' s e l f - i n f l i c t e d b l i n d n e s s (551-552), and from the d e s c r i p t i o n g i v e n t o him by the messenger who came to f e t c h him, although i t d i d not i n c l u d e Oedipus' name (the s t r a n g e r d i d not ask f o r Oedipus' name, and the of 297, whether he and the s t r a n g e r are one and the same or not, was sent o f f to Theseus b e f o r e the chorus a s c e r t a i n e d i t ) , Theseus has t e n t a t i v e l y i d e n t i f i e d the o l d t r a v e l l e r w i t h Oedipus, ex-king of Thebes, On h i s journey to Colonus, he heard Oedipus' name, as the chorus promised Oedipus he would at 303-307, and h i s c o n j e c t u r e was confirmed. Now, when he sees the o l d man i n person, there i s 9 no doubt i n h i s mind t h a t he i s a d d r e s s i n g Oedipus. Oedipus' appearance i s used by Theseus o n l y as a means of i d e n t i f i c a t i o n . He shows n e i t h e r r e v u l s i o n nor d i s t r e s s , i n marked c o n t r a s t to the chorus. His address i s sympathetic but unemotional. His words a t 560-561 show an awareness of what has gone be f o r e which i s d r a m a t i c a l l y i m p o s s i b l e , but necessary i n the i n t e r e s t s of economy of d i a l o g u e i n a drama. I t i s as i f he knows t h a t the chorus withdrew i t s promise of support when Oedipus r e v e a l e d h i s name at 222, f o r he assures Oedipus t h a t nothing he can hear w i l l cause him to r e f u s e t o 9 The o l d man's d r e s s and f a c e prove t o Theseus t h a t he i s Oedipus (555) ~ not t h a t he i s an aged beggar. I suspect t h a t the dramatic and c o n v e n t i o n a l aspects of Oedipus 1 costume have become fused, and t h a t Oedipus' costume and mask denote to the audience t h a t he i s Theban and t h a t he i s r o y a l , i n a d d i t i o n t o i n d i c a t i n g t h a t he has f a i l e d upon hard times. 93 h e l p . The dramatic reason f o r Theseus' l i b e r a l i t y i s t h a t he has been an e x i l e h i m s e l f . 1 0 There i s no s i g n t h a t h i s g e n e r o s i t y i s i n s p i r e d by the rewards promised i n Oedipus' strange message. By r e c o g n i s i n g Oedipus, and i n d i c a t i n g t h a t he knows the o l d man's l i f e - s t o r y , Theseus has made i t d r a m a t i c a l l y unnecessary f o r Oedipus t o t e l l h i s s t o r y a g a i n . The p l a y w r i g h t ' s saving becomes the Athenian's v i r t u e , f o r Oedipus remarks t h a t through Theseus' c h i v a l r y he i s spared the agony of r e i t e r a t i o n (569-570), 1 1 At 571-572 one p o i n t i s s l i g h t l y amiss. Theseus has indeed mentioned Oedipus' name (557) and Oedipus' f a t h e r (553), but he has not mentioned Thebes (although he c o u l d not know so much about Oedipus without knowing h i s p l a c e of o r i g i n ) , Common knowledge and dramatic communcation have momentarily fused, e i t h e r through a genuine e r r o r by Sophocles or through an i m p a t i e n t d e s i r e on h i s p a r t t o continue the drama without r e t r e a d i n g o l d ground. Theseus does not q u a r r e l when Oedipus u t t e r s the o l d r i d d l e at 576-578 and r e f u s e s to e x p l a i n i t immediately, and he i s merely p u z z l e d , not antagonised, when Oedipus asks f o r 1 0 A c c o r d i n g to legend, Theseus was not reared i n A t t i c a , but i n Troezen; he t r a v e l l e d t o Athens when he came of age and had to win acceptance t h e r e . P l u t a r c h , L i f e of Theseus, IV-XIV. n P e a r s o n ' s T T ^ W v cotrTe fyc*X£o< «o ^ o - f i U t cj^CToU at 570, (1917) 6 1 0 i s a^ v a s t improvement on the manuscripts ' TM ^  Y^ fev £o<rT& pp 'sXc 1 ^<s?<r6ot| <^ t^f»i,an u n p a r a l l e l e d c o n s t r u c t i o n which was accepted f o r so long w i t h minor a l t e r a t i o n s or none at a l l , because i t appeared t o g i v e the r e q u i r e d sense, namely t h a t Oedipus does not f e e l o b l i g e d t o e x p l a i n h i m s e l f at l e n g t h . 94 b u r i a l . Oedipus knows t h a t he i s to d i e soon, but Theseus does not, and so of course the request makes l i t t l e sense t o him. He t h i n k s i t a very s m a l l favour t o ask, There i s some dramatic t e l e s c o p i n g i n 588. Theseus c o u l d have h i t on any one of s e v e r a l reasons f o r the favour's being not so very s m a l l , but h i t s immediately on the c o r r e c t one - t h a t the sons of Oedipus, who have not been d i s c u s s e d i n t h i s scene, w i l l o b j e c t t o h i s b u r i a l i n A t t i c a . I t has been noted t h a t 12 at 589 Oedipus does not answer Theseus' q u e s t i o n of 588, and t h i s i s c e r t a i n l y t r u e i f we read fc€«-v<u ^S\0~J " ^ f c , ^ O U c r ^ fKi\ . ~*~3 However, i t i s not t r u e i f we r e t a i n the manuscripts' r e a d i n g , fceiVOi K O / M £ « W ££»«r o W c * y K^o<j<r v. 5 and render not "They i n t e n d t o put p r e s s u r e on me, so t h a t they can take me to Thebes," but "They i n t e n d t o f o r c e (my hosts or you) t o take me t o Thebes." There i s no need to read The f l a t n e s s of the d i a l o g u e i s a l l e v i a t e d by Oedipus' b i t t e r "When I wanted t o stay, they (the sons) would not allo w i t " (591), t o which Theseus, t h i n k i n g t h a t Oedipus i s being c h u r l i s h , u t t e r s an i m p a t i e n t , and i m p e r t i n e n t "You f o o l . . . resentment i s improper i n m i s f o r t u n e " (592), o n l y to 1 2 P o s t g a t e (1924) 24. 1 3 W i t h Jebb, Coloneus. 100. 14 As Postgate (1924) 24 suggests. I t i s e a s i e r t o understand "you" or "the Athenians" a f t e r 588, where Theseus has mentioned t r o u b l e between the sons and h i m s e l f , than t o understand "to Thebes" from Postgate's v e r s i o n of 589, w i t h r^67c6 absent, "They w i l l f o r c e even you to convey me..." i s meaningless. The manuscripts' r e a d i n g i s r e t a i n e d by Pearson, Sophocles, ad l o c . 95 subside under a snappy reproach from Oedipus. He becomes again the s a i n t l y c o n f i d a n t , asking a l l the r i g h t q u e s t i o n s l i k e a d i a g n o s t i c p s y c h i a t r i s t . Next comes the i n f o r m a t i o n t h a t Theseus must have, and the audience must bear the r e p e t i t i o n . Oedipus' sons allowed him to be e x i l e d from Thebes. In f a c t , the a c c u s a t i o n here at 599-600 i s s t r o n g e r than at 427-430 - the sons are now the agents of the banishment. He can never r e t u r n , because of the murder of h i s f a t h e r . Theseus' q u e s t i o n a t 602 i s a reasonable one, "Why should they send f o r you i f you must l i v e a p a r t ? " , but i t i s not p r o p e r l y answered. The reason, once again, i s economy, The complex e x p l a n a t i o n of the Thebans' i n t e n t i o n to keep Oedipus under t h e i r c o n t r o l but o u t s i d e the boundaries of Thebes has a l r e a d y been g i v e n to the audience (399-407) and Theseus must manage without i t . Oedipus' sons, i n f e a r of the new o r a c l e from A p o l l o , w i l l t r y to remove him from Colonus, l e s t the Thebans be one day de f e a t e d i n b a t t l e near h i s grave. Theseus cannot conceive of any f u t u r e enmity between Thebans and Athenians. His h e s i t a t i o n does not come from h i s noble c h a r a c t e r ^ but from Sophocles' wish to put the speech t h a t f o l l o w s i n t o Oedipus' mouth. T h i s i s the f i n e s t speech i n a scene which i s s h o r t of speeches, and i t s e f f e c t , i n t e n t i o n a l or not, i s to make Theseus seem very young and h i s humanism very b r i t t l e , "^Oedipus here i n t e r p r e t s the second p a r t of the o r a c l e c o r r e c t l y on h i s sons' b e h a l f , See the Appendix, 324, 1 6 C f . Bowra (1965) 334. Although i t i s d r a m a t i c a l l y f i t t i n g that 607-615 be spoken t o Theseus a t t h i s p o i n t , the l i n e s have connotations t h a t s t r e t c h f a r beyond the immediate circumstances. We should, however, r e s i s t the temptation of seeing complex cosmic t h e o r i e s i n them. The philosophy of the l i n e s c o u l d not be more simple or more t r i t e . Sophocles h i m s e l f has s a i d a l l 17 t h i s b e f o r e . The p r o v e r b i a l q u a l i t y of the l i n e s i s enhanced by the r h e t o r i c a l t r i c k s of s t y l e : the balanced c l a u s e s (610;611;614) the anaphora (610;614), the a l l i t e r a t i o n (613) and the occurrence of s i m i l a r words w i t h i n a l i n e (609;611;613) . ' In 616-623 , where the theme i s l e s s g e n e r a l , the s t y l e i s s i m i l a r . In 617 yO-UpLoS echoesj^O^cA^} i n 618 the o p p o s i t e s V U K T C ^ S and r y ^ f r p ^ S are juxtaposed; 619-620 c o n t a i n t h r e e c o n s e c u t i v e words begi n n i n g w i t h the l e t t e r ^ ; i n 6 22 4 ) 0Xf 0^ i s balanced by the c o n t r a s t i n g c9epyu .T)V ; i n 623 2 6 ^ 5 i s found t w i c e , and i t s g e n i t i v e form, A i 05 once. The p r o t a g o n i s t has a stunning speech to r e c i t e . In a d d i t i o n to emphasising these t r i c k s of s t y l e he can make the audience shudder a t the c h i l l i n g words, T ^ P O S W ? * o T w v Qi-f/Xw OSJJ^ TT iVroM (621-622), 1 8 and intone the next l i n e with i t s weird and s t i l t e d rhythm and i t s dramatic and u l t r a - d r a m a t i c i n e v i t a b i l i t y as i f i n s p i r e d : 1 7 A i a x , 645-646; 670-676. 18 These words would be a l l the more d i s c o n c e r t i n g i f the p l a y was produced f o r the f i r s t time soon a f t e r t h e i r author's death. 6\ Z ^ S %r\\ ) ( u A \ o 5 § 6 $ O S _ <TaL$\S (623). The l a s t l i n e s of the speech (624-628) b r i n g us back to the limnediate concerns of the drama. Oedipus again d e c l i n e s t o e x p l a i n the nature of the b e n e f i t s he w i l l b r i n g t o the Athenians i n death. A f t e r Oedipus' speech the chorus l e a d e r o f f e r s a few words i n h i s support. (This i s the only-c o n t r i b u t i o n t o t h i s scene from the chorus.) These l i n e s are not necessary f o r the p l o t , or f o r the audience's comprehension of i t , but they are d r a m a t i c a l l y necessary f o r Theseus, who has not been a t the grove as long as the other c h a r a c t e r s , and ought to be t o l d t h a t Oedipus has been c o n s i s t e n t i n h i s good i n t e n t i o n s . Because Oedipus i s a f r i e n d and a s u p p l i a n t , Theseus cannot r e f u s e h i s request (631-637). He even makes him an Athenian c i t i z e n (637), which i s an advantage f o r Oedipus i n h i s f i g h t to stay i n A t t i c a . T h i s comfortable agreement leaves Sophocles with something of a problem. How can he make h i s p l o t p r o g r e s s from here i n the r e q u i r e d d i r e c t i o n ? The n a t u r a l consequence of the agreement would be to i n s t a l Oedipus, f u l l y guarded, i n a s t r o n g h o l d i n Athens, or a t l e a s t t o p r o t e c t him i n Colonus. But Oedipus cannot leave the grove, f o r he i s to r e c e i v e more v i s i t o r s t h e r e , and Theseus cannot stay t o p r o t e c t him, f o r , i f he d i d , the v i s i t o r s would p r e s e n t no t h r e a t . In order t o achieve the d e s i r e d end, namely t h a t Oedipus s t a y , unprotected, at the grove of the Eumenides i n Colonus, by d r a m a t i c a l l y a c c e p t a b l e means, Sophocles makes Theseus g i v e Oedipus a c h o i c e . He can e i t h e r r e t u r n (to 98 Athens?) w i t h Theseus, or he can stay i n Colonus, guarded by 19 the chorus (who w i l l prove to be u s e l e s s as a defence). The k i n g does not o f f e r t o remain with Oedipus. " I t i s a l i t t l e s u r p r i s i n g , when we r e f l e c t on i t , t h a t he should choose t o 20 s t a y and meet these people," but Oedipus does g i v e a dramatic reason f o r s t a y i n g , a l b e i t such a weak one t h a t he seems somewhat h e s i t a n t to mention i t (644). He c o n t i n u e s "Here I s h a l l conquer those who drove me out" (646). We had understood t h a t the conquering was to come a f t e r Oedipus' death (621-622). E i t h e r Oedipus' o l d o r a c l e c o n t a i n e d another c l a u s e , h e r e t o f o r e undivulged, which decreed t h a t Oedipus must meet h i s foes i n the sanctuary of the Eumenides b e f o r e h i s death (and he has been warned t h a t Creon i s on h i s way 21 there) o r , as Jebb seems to suggest, Oedipus i s t e l e s c o p i n g two thoughts i n t o one; he knows f i r s t t h a t he w i l l d i e i n Colonus, and second t h a t h i s enemies w i l l be conquered near h i s grave. I t i s strange t h a t Oedipus does not use what would have been a s t r o n g e r dramatic reason f o r remaining i n the grove - namely t h a t he must wait there f o r the s i g n of h i s approaching death to be sent, the s i g n p r e d i c t e d at 94-95. jjJi^ tl\l AtYoi5 3wfy/id lr\-S CvJvoOtf-Us (647) has caused some disagreement, There has been an attempt to r e f e r i t to the 19 &€ at 63 8 cannot be Antigone, f o r she has not spoken to Theseus, and he has not seen f i t - t o address her b e f o r e , although he acknowledged her presence at 559. Nor i s Theseus t a l k i n g t o one of h i s a t t e n d a n t s , as none i s i n evidence d u r i n g the Creon-scene. o - 6 must be the chorus l e a d e r . 2 0Waldock (1951) 223. 21 Jebb, Coloneus. 109, note to 646. 9 9 previous l i n e s , so t h a t i t amounts to "You have suggested a s t r o n g reason f o r your s t a y i n g here, r a t h e r than f o r going w i t h me to Athens," and T>I5 ( r u / o u o - ^ means "from your 2 2 a b i d i n g w i t h the people here (at Colonus)," I f t h i s i n t e r p r e t a t i o n i s c o r r e c t , what would be the oo^fy^A f o r Theseus? He has not been promised a g i f t w h i l e Oedipus l i v e s . I t i s c l e a r from 6 4 8 , 6 ' ^ oiTTe.^  QS^S t/yAtve" -TfcXouvTt yO-tH, t h a t the b(^^Y)j*<*, i s to come a f t e r Oedipus' death, f o r Theseus has to keep h i s promise to bury Oedipus i n A t t i c a i n order to r e c e i v e i t . I f we r e a l i s e t h a t the s u b j e c t i s changed at 6 4 7 , the l i n e p resents no problems. Theseus i s no longer r e f e r r i n g t o Oedipus' d e c i s i o n t o s t a y . i n Colonus, but to h i s presence i n A t t i c a . The l i n e i s almost a q u e s t i o n - at the very l e a s t i t i s a l e a d i n g statement, and the c o r r e c t r e n d i t i o n of i t i s "You seem to i n t i m a t e a g r e a t boon which your abode w i t h us 2 3 w i l l c o n f e r . " Oedipus d e c l i n e s t o be l e d . He does not r e v e a l what the g i f t w i l l be. Thwarted but not i n d i g n a n t , Theseus n e v e r t h e l e s s r e a f f i r m s h i s support. At 6 5 2 Oedipus asks "What w i l l you do?" Presumably he means "What do you have to do t h a t i s so important t h a t you cannot stay here and p r o t e c t me?" Theseus has a l r e a d y made i t c l e a r ( 6 3 8 - 6 3 9 ) t h a t ]}e_ intends to l e a v e , whatever Oedipus decides t o do. Theseus s k i r t s the i s s u e ; he has no good dramatic reason f o r l e a v i n g . He asks what Oedipus f e a r s . Our 2 2 Jebb, Coloneus, 1 0 9 , note to 6 4 7 . The s c h o l i a s t on 6 4 7 , De Marco, S c h o l i a , 3 4 , ^ a l s o l i n k s t h i s l i n e w i t h the p r e v i o u s ones: £ i £()\/dL\o *Cforre?v Twv 3(%Qf>Gv fev<5><*dd /K%.\/oi*,/*ifi*''&<v &cjf>*)pc\ 2 3 Campbell, Sophocles, 3 4 4 , note to 6 4 7 . 100 hero proceeds t o whine and a c t i n a thoroughly unheroic manner (653-656) - h i s u n f i n i s h e d h a l f - l i n e s ( 4vT. ArikjS^ ) a r e i n d i c a t i v e of h i s d i s t r e s s - adding some credence to h i s d r a m a t i c a l l y weak m o t i v a t i o n f o r s t a y i n g at the grove. I f he chooses t o s t a y , he w i l l d o u b t l e s s be f r i g h t e n e d , knowing t h a t Creon and p o s s i b l y h i s sons w i l l come to harass him. I f he were to stay and be t o t a l l y calm, the dramatic i n c o n g r u i t y would be g r e a t e r . In the face of Oedipus' b a b b l i n g , Theseus remains unmoved. He f i r m l y s t a t e s a t 654 "I know what I must 24 do." He thus g i v e s h i m s e l f a vague motive f o r l e a v i n g , namely t h a t he has some d e f i n i t e task t o undertake, presumably i n connect i o n w i t h Oedipus. The ta s k may be the s a c r i f i c e a t Poseidon's a l t a r of which we hear at 887-889, His words at 656-667 are supposed t o be r e a s s u r i n g , and doub t l e s s they do hearten Oedipus, but one of the most e f f e c t i v e forms of p r e p a r a t i o n f o r e n t r y i s t o have one c h a r a c t e r m a i n t a i n t h a t another w i l l not a r r i v e . Theseus appears to have no dramatic reason to leave beyond h i s vague d e c l a r a t i o n t h a t he has t h i n g s t o do at 654. In f a c t , Oedipus' b e s t i n t e r e s t s are d i r e c t l y f r u s t r a t e d by h i s d e p a rture. I t i s not enough t h a t the chorus l e a d e r (63 8) (an o l d man) and h i s f r i e n d s , Antigone (more of a l i a b i l i t y 24 T h i s i s Watlmg's t r a n s l a t i o n , Theban P l a v s f 91. Other t r a n s l a t o r s c l e a r l y b e l i e v e t h a t Oedipus' f a i n t h e a r t e d n e s s has angered Theseus and g i v e v a r i a n t s of "Do not t e l l me what to do," which are e q u a l l y reasonable t r a n s l a t i o n s . I t would be q u i t e f o r g i v a b l e and most n a t u r a l f o r Theseus to show some anger a t Oedipus' weakness, e s p e c i a l l y as no one has t o l d him t h a t Creon i s on h i s way. I t would be u n j u s t , however, to make any judgement on h i s c h a r a c t e r from t h i s . See Ch. X I I , 163-165. 101 than a p r o t e c t r e s s ) and Phoebus (665) (whose t r u t h f u l n e s s may have been proven, i n e a r l i e r y e a r s , but whose concern f o r Oedipus' w e l f a r e has c e r t a i n l y not) are there t o p r o t e c t Oedipus. I t i s a l i t t l e d o u b t f u l a l s o t h a t the mere mention of Theseus' name w i l l i n s p i r e f e a r i n the hearts of would-be a t t a c k e r s (667). .It must be admitted t h a t Sophocles has not made any c h a r a c t e r t e l l Theseus t h a t Creon i s on h i s way al r e a d y , although they a l l know t h i s . The s i t u a t i o n i s r e c t i f i e d when Theseus r e t u r n s a t 887, He says t h a t he has been s a c r i f i c i n g a t the a l t a r o f Poseidon, very c l o s e t o the 25 grove. With the i n t e r m e d i a t e scene i n mind, i t i s easy to see why Theseus does not say where he i s going when he leaves the grove at 667. I f the c h a r a c t e r s and audience know t h a t Theseus i n t e n d s t o remain i n Colonus, w i t h i n e a r s h o t , much of the f e a r and t e n s i o n i n the Creon-scene w i l l be l o s t . We are nowhere t o l d t h a t Theseus' s a c r i f i c e t o Poseidon i s i n any way connected w i t h h i s d e s i r e t o help Oedipus, but, i f i t i s , i t at l e a s t g i v e s him, i n r e t r o s p e c t , a reasonable motive f o r l e a v i n g Oedipus to face danger alone. Sophocles' r e a l reason f o r making Theseus leave the grove i s t o advance the p l o t . J u s t as Oedipus has t o remain where he i s , so he has to- remain unprotected. Theseus cannot be p r e s e n t when Creon makes h i s " f r i e n d l y " approach to Oedipus, argues w i t h him or c a r r i e s o f f Antigone; i f he were, the scene would be over as soon as i t has begun, as Theseus 25 "Very c l o s e " i s i n f e r r e d from the f a c t t h a t Theseus c o u l d hear the chorus' screams from there (887). There was an a l t a r of Poseidon i n Colonus. Pausanias (1.30.4) saw i t . 102 c o u l d prevent a l l t h i s . What has the Theseus-scene accomplished? F i r s t , i t has p l a c e d Oedipus f i r m l y i n the custody of the Athenians. He wishes to stay i n A t t i c a ; Theseus i s w i l l i n g f o r him to do so. He i s ready t o face the attempts of Creon and P o l y n e i c e s to remove him. Second, the scene has p r o v i d e d f u r t h e r p r e p a r a t i o n f o r the a r r i v a l s of Creon and Polyneices, and a l s o f o r Oedipus' death. Now t h a t he has o f f i c i a l l y been allowed sanctuary i n A t t i c a i t does not seem u n l i k e l y t h a t h i s death w i l l occur before the end of the p l a y . T h i r d , the scene has shown Oedipus and Theseus as they are to be co n s i d e r e d t o be f o r the d u r a t i o n of the p l a y . Oedipus, d e s p i t e h i s lapse (652-656), has shown h i m s e l f , w i t h h i s p r o p h e t i c , omniscient speech (607-628), t o be i n s p i r e d a l r e a d y . Theseus has shown h i m s e l f humane and generous. 26 Theseus does not leave so t h a t the Theseus-actor can r e t u r n as Creon a f t e r the f i r s t stasimon. Theseus and Creon cannot meet on stage (yet) because the one would put a stop to the a n t i c s of the ot h e r , not because they are pla y e d by the same a c t o r . They are on stage together between 8 87-1043 when some s c h o l a r s g i v e Theseus' l i n e s t o a d i f f e r e n t a c t o r . See P a r t I I , passim, e s p e c i a l l y 290, 103 CHAPTER V I I . 668-719. The f i r s t Stasimon. When Theseus has departed, the members of the chorus t u r n to Oedipus and welcome him. He has been accepted i n t o t h e i r community by t h e i r k i n g and e n t r u s t e d to t h e i r c a r e . They combine t h e i r dramatic d u t i e s and p e r s o n a l i t i e s as e l d e r s of Colonus with t h e i r t h e a t r i c a l d u t i e s as a chorus and s i n g a g l o r i o u s ode i n p r a i s e of Colonus and A t t i c a . In the f i r s t strophe, a lengthy p e r i o d with s c a r c e l y a b r e a t h i n g space, they d e s c r i b e t h e i r beloved Colonus, where Dionysus roams. In the a n t i s t r o p h e they boast of t h e i r f l o wers and n e v e r - f a i l i n g r i v e r , and the love of Aphrodite and the Muses f o r the r e g i o n . In the second strophe and a n t i s t r o p h e they p r a i s e A t t i c a and s i n g of Athena's g i f t of the o l i v e - t r e e and Poseidon's of the horse. I t has been observed t h a t , i f t h i s ode had been t r a n s m i t t e d t o us i n i s o l a t i o n , i t would have been i m p o s s i b l e to t e l l i t s dramatic co n t e x t , or even t h a t i t belonged i n a p l a y . 1 I t i s tr u e t h a t the ode stands w e l l alone - the t a l e of Sophocles' r e c i t a t i o n of i t i n c o u r t , and subsequent 2 a c q u i t t a l , t r u e or f a l s e , proves t h i s . I t i s e q u a l l y t r u e t h a t the ode does not f u l f i l l some of the f u n c t i o n s t h a t might be expected of i t . I t does not, f o r i n s t a n c e , o v e r t l y l i n k the Theseus-scene which precedes i t to the Creon-scene which f o l l o w s i t , nor does . i t c o n t a i n comment on the "'"Kirkwood (1958) 181. Kirkwood notes the s o l i t a r y " c l u e " t o context i n t h i s ode, the address, ^ eV6. , a t 668. 2 . . C i c e r o , Cato Maior de Senectute, V I I . 22. The charge was incompetence i n the management of h i s a f f a i r s . 104 d e c i s i o n s which have j u s t been made by the c h a r a c t e r s and which seem noteworthy - Theseus' d e c i s i o n to l e a v e , and Oedipus' d e c i s i o n t o s t a y . I t does not cover any p a r t i c u l a r o f f - s t a g e a c t i o n . Despite i t s l i t e r a r y independence and i t s f u n c t i o n a l u s e l e s s n e s s t h i s ode i s d r a m a t i c a l l y and t h e m a t i c a l l y i n t e g r a l t o the p l a y . D r a m a t i c a l l y , the song i s addressed to Oedipus. For the f i r s t time the C o l o n i a t e s are i n complete sympathy with Oedipus. For the f i r s t time they wholeheartedly welcome Oedipus and h i s daughter t o the r e g i o n of which he 3 has j u s t been made an honorary c i t i z e n . The i n f l u e n c e of Theseus' d e c i s i o n upon them has been so g r e a t . They are immensely proud o f t h e i r country and eager t o share i t s d e l i g h t with t h e i r new guest, who, a f t e r a l l , has promised 4 f u t u r e b e n e f i t s f o r A t t i c a . T h e m a t i c a l l y , the ode i s c o n s o l i d a t o r y , even c l i m a c t i c . We have f e l t the austere calm of the grove of the Eumenides, n o t i c e d the r e l i e f w i t h which Oedipus has le a r n e d he i s to 3 Ceadel (1941) 147 o f f e r s , as an a l t e r n a t i v e f o r h i s n o t i o n t h a t the Ant i g o n e - a c t o r i s r e p l a c e d by a T\J*p<*)(0(:'*lXWi' a t 509 (see Ch. IV. note 35), the suggestion t h a t the a c t o r walks away d u r i n g t h i s ode making gestures i n d i c a t i n g t h a t s t r a n g e r s are approaching and t h a t the s u b s t i t u t e d r i f t s back to the stage-area i n h i s p l a c e . T h i s i s t o t a l l y i m p o s s i b l e . The chorus i s not p r o v i d i n g i n c i d e n t a l entertainment. I t i s s i n g i n g a song of welcome to Oedipus and Antigone. I t would be most ungracious f o r her to wander away! (See P a r t I I , 268.) 4 Kirkwood (1958) 196-197 n e a t l y c o n t r a s t s the ode i n p r a i s e of Athens i n E u r i p i d e s ' Medea, 824-865, In the pr e v i o u s scene, Aegeus has o f f e r e d Medea a home i n Athens, and the chorus t h e r e f o r e s i n g s about i t . But t h i s i s a chorus of C o r i n t h i a n women who have no d r a m a t i c a l l y sound reason f o r knowing about Athens or s i n g i n g so movingly about i t s d e l i g h t s . 105 d i e i n A t t i c a , heard h i s statement t h a t Athens i s renowned f o r her p i e t y and her graciousness and witnessed the u n c o n d i t i o n a l welcome given t o him by her k i n g . In the stasimon a l l these experiences are r e l i v e d and combined. As the p l a y c o n t i n u e s , Oedipus w i l l f i g h t t o stay i n h o s p i t a b l e A t t i c a , where the n i g h t i n g a l e s i n g s , and the gods always l i n g e r , and w i l l r e s i s t v i o l e n c e , the abduction of h i s daughters, and the p l e a s of h i s son i n order to do so. As h i s death approaches we s h a l l see how i n s t i n c t w i t h d i v i n i t y A t t i c a t r u l y i s . No doubt Sophocles knew t h a t he would d e l i g h t h i s audience by p r a i s i n g A t t i c a and by d w e l l i n g on f a m i l i a r i n s t i t u t i o n s . I t i s to h i s c r e d i t as a d r a m a t i s t t h a t he was able to i n t e g r a t e h i s ode of g l o r i f i c a t i o n so n e a t l y w i t h h i s drama. 106 CHAPTER V I I I . 720-886. The Creon-scene. The ode over, whom do we expect t o a r r i v e ? Ferguson expects Ismene, or one of her b r o t h e r s , and f i n d s i t "an e x c e l l e n t s u r p r i s e touch" t h a t Creon a p p e a r s . 1 But Ismene d i d not leave the grove t o make atonement t o the Eumenides merely so t h a t she co u l d come back and announce the atonement made. That would be too much l i k e r e a l l i f e , and the audience would not expect i t . Creon i s the obvious c h a r a c t e r t o a r r i v e now. Antigone n e a t l y l i n k s the pr e c e d i n g ode to t h i s episode. She sees an enemy a r r i v e and asks the chorus to l i v e up to i t s c i t y ' s name. The b l i n d Oedipus can t e l l from her words at 720-721 t h a t t h i s i s not j u s t Ismene r e t u r n i n g . The a i Y T t A ^ h at 722 shows t h a t he i s i n a p a n i c much as he was a t 652-656, where he spoke f i v e h a l f - l i n e s i n a row, Creon i s coming, and he i s "not without a t t e n d a n t s , " Attendants are r a r e l y mentioned i n i n t r o d u c t i o n s , but the b l i n d Oedipus must be t o l d t h a t he i s not d e a l i n g w i t h Creon alone and t h e r e f o r e must r e a l i s e t h a t h i s a b i l i t y to r e s i s t i s l i m i t e d . Antigone attempts, w i t h the l i t o t e s , t o inform Oedipus g e n t l y of h i s predicament. In doing so she c r e a t e s an e f f e c t which can bes t be d e s c r i b e d as v i s u a l i r o n y , and which can onl y occur because Oedipus i s b l i n d . Oedipus i s t o l d t h a t Creon has attendants, but not how many or how menacing they a r e . Antigone, the chorus and the audience can see p r e c i s e l y how w e l l equipped Creon i s f o r i n t i m i d a t i o n , and t h e i r h e a rts s i n k , where Oedipus' w i l l not. 1 F e r g u s o n (1972) 222. 107 There i s an ambiguity i n 7 2 4 - 7 2 5 , o> cf><ATot.To\ X&fO v T e S » £ ^ tj^oJyJ To Oedipus, tTo~>l*\^td. does not mean " d e l i v e r a n c e from Theban ag g r e s s i o n . " He i s not asking the chorus to f l i n g i t s e l f C ) > c ^ ^ 2 €y U ^ A O W / i n t o the f r a y to r e p e l Creon' s a t t a c k . He has j u s t been t o l d , anyway, t h a t Creon i s not alone, and can surmise t h a t he must do h i s bes t t o av o i d v i o l e n c e , and not encourage i t . He i s t h i n k i n g f a r beyond the pr e s e n t s i t u a t i o n and u t t e r i n g a v a i n prayer f o r h i s l i f e to be a l r e a d y over and h i s b u r i a l accomplished, knowing t h i s to be i m p o s s i b l e . C(*JTr\o\<< means " d e l i v e r a n c e from t h i s e a r t h , " and the chorus has o n l y t o gi v e i t s reassurance 6y/A>v) t h a t i t w i l l come. The chorus l e a d e r , however, g i v e s the words v££ ^j*c*)\/ and eroJT^^lc*) t h e i r l i t e r a l meanings, and promises a i d i n the coming c o n f r o n t a t i o n , i f not from the e l d e r s themselves, from the young men of Colonus ( 7 2 6 - 7 2 7 ) . U n w i t t i n g l y , he p r o t r a c t s the ambiguity by f a i l i n g t o s p e c i f y the s u b j e c t of TVc< p fe.cr'Tkl. 3 D e l i v e r a n c e i n both senses xs not f a r o f f . The e l d e r s cannot, i n f a c t , p r o v i d e any immediate defence a g a i n s t Creon 2 Although t h i s i s the u s u a l i n t e r p r e t a t i o n , Jebb t r a n s l a t e s "Ah, k i n d e l d e r s , now g i v e me, I pray you, the f i n a l p r o o f of my s a f e t y ! " and i n t e r p r e t s "When the attack has been made and r e p u l s e d , he w i l l f e e l f i n a l l y assured." Coloneus, 1 2 3 , note to 7 2 5 . 3 / The ambiguity i n <r(jSrr\p\<* and r e l a t e d words i n the Oedipus Coloneus i s w e l l i l l u s t r a t e d by Wigodsky (1962) 1 5 5 - 1 5 7 . His purpose, however, i s to show t h a t <rc^^61v can mean, or suggest, "to bury," and there i s no reason f o r him to note t h a t of a l l the uses of Cu/T^/?'o>, i n the Oedipus Coloneus o n l y a t 7 25 i s there any c o n f u s i o n among the c h a r a c t e r s about i t s meaning. 108 and h i s henchmen, f o r , a c c o r d i n g t o the p l o t which Sophocles intends t o f o l l o w , Antigone must be captured, and Oedipus must be i n t i m i d a t e d , and the c r e d i t f o r t h e i r rescue must go to Theseus. The chorus l e a d e r g i v e s what are e s s e n t i a l l y excuses f o r the C o l o n i a t e s 1 f a i l u r e . They are o l d , and they r e l y on the C$€VC>5 of the l a n d , the younger men. But the younger men are not p r e s e n t , and w i l l not a r r i v e i n time t o prevent Creon from making a t l e a s t some m i s c h i e f , The C o l o n i a t e s , a f t e r Theseus' example, are prepared t o support Oedipus, although they have no reason of t h e i r own to be h o s t i l e to Creon. By 728 Creon has a r r i v e d . There has been thorough p r e p a r a t i o n f o r h i s a r r i v a l . At 396-397 Ismene s a i d t h a t he was on h i s way, and he has been on Oedipus' mind ever s i n c e ( c f . 455; 653). He i s motivated by the d e s i r e to take Oedipus back to Thebes, though the p r e c i s e b e n e f i t of t h i s e x e r c i s e f o r Creon i s never made completely c l e a r . L i k e Ismene be f o r e and P o l y n e i c e s a f t e r him, he has come d e l i b e r a t e l y t o t h i s 4 sanctuary t o f i n d Oedipus. We have been l e d t o expect a v i l l a i n . So, although Creon's a r r i v a l i s no s u r p r i s e , h i s apparent f r i e n d l i n e s s i s a s t o n i s h i n g . The f r i e n d l i n e s s , however, i s f a l s e . Creon i s f o r c e d to behave i n t h i s way. He reaches the grove and sees not only the f r a i l Oedipus and the attendant Antigone, but 4 No c h a r a c t e r e x p l a i n s how Oedipus' exact whereabouts was d i s c o v e r e d . Oedipus appears to have been heading f o r Athens (14-15; 24) but.does not know where he i s when he a r r i v e s i n Colonus (23;52). B e t t e r t h i s s l i g h t dramatic blemish than a d u l l y e x planatory speech from each c h a r a c t e r on h i s a r r i v a l . 109 a l s o f i f t e e n s t r a n g e r s , ^ He i s f o r c e d to abandon any pl a n s to pounce on Oedipus immediately, l e s t h i s v i o l e n c e be met wit h v i o l e n c e , or even t o abuse Oedipus v e r b a l l y , l e s t he o f f e n d the n a t i v e s . He can see Oedipus, must be eager t o ac c o s t him, c l a i m him and leave, but addresses h i s u n w i l l i n g hosts f i r s t . He i s e x c r u c i a t i n g l y p o l i t e . He f l a t t e r s them: ^ v ^ p t S , "gentlemen," )(6nvb s Thcrd' > fco^fcvfc'i^ O'I^TO^I £ S , " noble r e s i d e n t s of t h i s country" (728). He knows t h a t men are by nature i n c l i n e d t o be w e l l - d i s p o s e d towards one who c r e d i t s them wit h a rank h i g h e r than they may deserve. He t r i e s t o a l l a y t h e i r f e a r s (729-730). I t seems t h a t something i n h i s appearance or a c t i o n s , or simply the s i z e of h i s r e t i n u e , has caused the C o l o n i a t e s to s h r i n k back from him i n t e r r o r . Though they do not themselves g i v e any v e r b a l i n d i c a t i o n of t h i s , i t i s easy to v i s u a l i s e t h e i r enacted r e a c t i o n when they f i r s t look at him, perhaps at 728, Creon i s a l l innocence. "I see t h a t some i n e x p l i c a b l e ( T\v riL ) f e a r has come i n t o your eyes." The f e a r , of course i s q u i t e e x p l i c a b l e , as Creon w e l l knows. Creon does not i n t r o d u c e h i m s e l f to the C o l o n i a t e s . At 732 there i s the f a m i l i a r r\Ka3 , but, although they are t o l d why he has come and where he plans t o take Oedipus, he g i v e s no name. He may have heard Antigone announce h i s a r r i v a l and name him a t 722-723. At any r a t e , the audience has heard her, 5 There seems to be no doubt t h a t there were f i f t e e n members of a Sophoclean chorus. See Pickard-Cambridge (1968) 234. ^ F a m i l i a r from E u r i p i d e s , t h a t i s , who " l i k e s s trong and r e a l i s t i c m o t i v a t i o n . . . " (Webster (1933) 118). 110 and so f u r t h e r i d e n t i f i c a t i o n i s unnecessary. Creon announces t h a t he comes wit h no i n t e n t i o n of doing anything (732) . He means "anything v i o l e n t " and the euphemism 7 s u i t s the d e c e p t i v e diplomacy of h i s speech. More f l a t t e r y i s concealed i n the assurance of good i n t e n t i o n s which f o l l o w s - Athens i s too g r e a t a c i t y w i t h which to t r i f l e (733-734). Creon emphasises h i s p a s s i v i t y . He i s o l d , y * £ ^ w V (733), and has been sent, a p a s s i v e verb, c^TrfccTJi A *\ v ' a t a n advanced age, Tv^A \ ycoo" (, 6 (735), to persuade, " i T f c i^o iJv (736), Oedipus to r e t u r n to Thebes. I t i s uncanny t h a t he seems to have read the chorus 1 thoughts, or at l e a s t overheard i t s words at 726-727. ^6 /?cov , . , £\JXK at 733 and <r Bd voOf foLV at 734 seem to answer, and mock, ^ f c ^ ^ v fco^>co at 726 and C O t at 727. He does not r e p r e s e n t any p a r t i c u l a r p o l i t i c a l f a c t i o n (737) , but a l l of Thebes (an attempt to make h i m s e l f seem more wholesome), and he has come h i m s e l f because he g r i e v e s f o r Oedipus' t r i a l s more than any other Theban. The chorus makes no r e p l y , and Creon c o n s i d e r s i t p l a c a t e d . He croons to Oedipus i n s i c k l y tones: ^AA ' j J» To. A A l TT/^/ 5 5 0 f < K i r o u $ , K A U C / O V \j*00 \^00 ^ f o S o'\ V-OUS .... (740-741) - the wheedling oO sounds are almost s i n i s t e r . " A l l the Theban people, and I e s p e c i a l l y , i n v i t e you home to your r i g h t f u l p l a c e " (741-742) . On dvK*\u>S at 742 Jebb w r i t e s "with r i g h t , s i n c e Thebes, which had been h i s Tfo^o 's so long (760), 7 . . . The v i s u a l e f f e c t of t h i s l i n e w i l l be almost comic, c e r t a i n l y i r o n i c , i f a squad of strong young men stand at a t t e n t i o n behind him. A s i m i l a r e f f e c t w i l l be achieved by TTeurcOy at 7 36. I l l g has a b e t t e r c l a i m to him than Athens, however h o s p i t a b l e . " But such a judgement i s out of p l a c e here. I t belongs i n the d e l i b e r a t i v e , r h e t o r i c a l p a r t of the speech, 753-760, not i n the c a j o l e r y of 740-747. The word must mean "as you deserve," and be tantamount t o an apology f o r ever as k i n g him to leave - a fake apology, of course. Creon has an assortment of pe r s u a s i v e t a c t i c s a t hand: t h i s r e p o r t of a u n i v e r s a l d e s i r e f o r Oedipus' r e t u r n , w i t h the apology i t c o n t a i n s ; s e l f - d e n i g r a t i O n (743-744); p i t y f o r Oedipus (745-746); concern f o r the undeserved p l i g h t of Antigone (747-752) (designed t o make Oedipus f e e l g u i l t y ) ; an appeal to Oedipus' sense of p r o p r i e t y (753-758) ( i t i s shameful t o have a member of the Theban r o y a l f a m i l y wandering around the country l i k e a beggar) and, f i n a l l y , a reminder of Oedipus' r e s p o n s i b i l i t y to the s t a t e which was h i s home i n days gone by (759^760). But a l l t h i s i s empty t a l k . The words have flowed too f r e e l y (between 741 and 752 Creon s c a r c e l y pauses f o r b r e a t h ) . They are the words of .a man who does not wish t o be i n t e r r u p t e d l e s t the s u b j e c t change from the safe to the " s t i c k y . " Creon has not d e a l t with the r e a l i s s u e s - why Oedipus i s r e q u i r e d at home, what h i s p o s i t i o n there i s t o be, or why, a f t e r so many y e a r s , the order f o r h i s e x i l e should have been, a p p a r e n t l y , unanimously revoked. Creon's words are spe c i o u s . As readers w i t h the b e n e f i t of h i n d s i g h t we know t h i s , but can the audience be expected to r e a l i s e i t ? A drama r a r e l y r e q u i r e s t h a t an audience g Jebb, Coloneus, 125, note to 742. 112 d i s b e l i e v e the words of a c h a r a c t e r , f o r i t hears the words but once, and cannot e v a l u a t e them at i t s l e i s u r e . A c r i t i c who l o s e s s i g h t of t h i s f a c t and s i f t s through speeches f o r falsehoods i s apt to mislead h i m s e l f . In some cases a c h a r a c t e r t e l l s planned u n t r u t h s , but the audience has been made p r i v y t o the p l a n . Thus, i n Sophocles' E l e c t r a , when the Paedagogus informs Clytemnestra t h a t Orestes has been the v i c t i m of a f a t a l a c c i d e n t (680-763) , the audience knows t h a t he i s l y i n g , because i t has heard Orestes, a l i v e and w e l l , i n s t r u c t the o l d man to f a b r i c a t e j u s t such a s t o r y (44-58). In the Oedipus Coloneus the poet uses a s i m i l a r , but l e s s e x p l i c i t p l o y . The audience does not hear Creon h i m s e l f o u t l i n e h i s p l a n , but i t does hear Ismene's v e r s i o n of i t : having heard the new o r a c l e , Creon plans to f i n d Oedipus and take him back to Thebes, but not al l o w him to come i n t o the c i t y (396-397); 399-400). 1 0 Creon has no genuine concern f o r Oedipus' w e l f a r e . Thus, when Creon a r r i v e s i n Colonus and proceeds t o pretend t h a t he has Oedipus' best i n t e r e s t s at hea r t , the audience w i l l know t h a t he i s m i s r e p r e s e n t i n g h i s motives, and w i l l enjoy n o t i n g h i s s t u d i e d omissions. No re f e r e n c e i s made to the o r a c l e or t o the v i c t o r y i t seems to promise, the s t a t e of near c i v i l war i n Thebes or the f a c t 9 See Waldock (1951) 11-24, f o r some p r i z e examples; e s p e c i a l l y 18-22, on V e r r a l l and the Hercules Furens. 1 0 T h e r e i s no q u e s t i o n , as there might be i n the modern t h e a t r e , of whom we should b e l i e v e . Ismene i s a good c h a r a c t e r and t h e r e f o r e b e l i e v a b l e . I f she and Oedipus say t h a t Creon i s wicked, then he i s wicked. We cannot expect of the Greeks the e l a b o r a t e c h a r a c t e r i s a t i o n which our own t h e a t r i c a l conventions allow - t h e i r dramas were w r i t t e n t o be performed i n the open a i r before a v a s t audience. 113 t h a t Oedipus w i l l not be allowed to s e t f o o t i n s i d e the c i t y . The t h e a t r i c a l value of h i s f r u i t l e s s d e c e i t has not o f t e n been appreciated. 1"'" How c o n v i n c i n g t h i s h y p o c r i s y would have been i f the audience and Oedipus had not known b e t t e r ! How f o r t u n a t e t h a t Ismene a r r i v e d before Creon! Creon does not know, of course, t h a t Oedipus has been prepared f o r h i s a r r i v a l nor t h a t he has i n f o r m a t i o n on the 12 new o r a c l e g i v e n to the Thebans. Nor does he know t h a t Oedipus has a f i r m i n t e n t i o n of remaining i n Colonus t o wa i t 13 f o r the s i g n a l f o r h i s death, or t h a t Theseus has granted him sanctuary and agreed to h i s request f o r b u r i a l , He b e l i e v e s t h a t h i s words w i l l be e n t i r e l y c r e d i b l e , Oedipus, of course, i s not deceived, but he i s r i l e d to i n t e n s e anger by the e f f r o n t e r y of h i s b r o t h e r - i n - l a w . He f e e l s t h a t Creon grants him h i s wishes when they are no longer h i s wishes -d e t e n t i o n i n Thebes when he longed to l e a v e , enforced e x i l e when he had come to f i n d comfort t h e r e , and no r e p a t r i a t i o n - a r e t u r n to Thebes on the very day t h a t he has been awarded sanctuary i n another c i t y . He launches i n t o a s o p h i s t i c sermon on i l l o g i c a l i t y and the i r o n y of mistiming which so 1 1 B u t see Adams (1953) 142, where the e f f e c t on the audience i s w e l l analysed. 12 I f t h i s were r e a l l i f e , we co u l d say t h a t , as Creon has captured Ismene i n the v i c i n i t y , he could have surmised t h a t she had al r e a d y reached Oedipus and t o l d him e v e r y t h i n g . But t h i s i s a p l a y . The audience cannot f o r e s e e f u t u r e scenes. T h e r e f o r e , nothing which has not y e t been r e v e a l e d can have a r e t r o a c t i v e e f f e c t on the present scene. 13 Oedipus kept t o h i m s e l f the p a r t of h i s o l d o r a c l e which p e r t a i n e d to t h i s u n t i l 87-95 of t h i s p l a y . See the Appendix, 320. 114 confounds him. T h i s speech i s d r a m a t i c a l l y d i r e c t e d a t 14 Creon, but i t a l s o p r o v i d e s the p r o t a g o n i s t , once again, 15 w i t h an o p p o r t u n i t y to d i s p l a y h i s r h e t o r i c a l a b i l i t i e s . Oedipus proceeds to t e l l Creon what Creon omitted to t e l l him - the reason f o r the r e c a l l and the t r u t h - t h a t Oedipus i s not to be taken home to Thebes a c c o r d i n g to Creon's p l a n , but i s to be h e l d and b u r i e d o u t s i d e Thebes but under Theban 16 c o n t r o l . The triumphant moment i s worth w a i t i n g f o r . Oedipus' wrath overwhelms him and he f a l l s t o c u r s i n g : -o u * fcerTi croc T*uT> <*M<k croi T^c) <<(rT\ 6fc6| X ^ ^ S ^Art<rT60p OUyAOS IxVolCcOV U 6^1 £ <TT|V at '\V<*t<ri TOUS £ ^ 0 L < f ( Tr>5 6yi/»V|S X^ovos A ^ e i V TO«J<DoTO^P dVcpoCvfetvyUOV^V (787-790) . In the f i r s t l i n e the balanced phrases both c o n t a i n the words >/ 17 <To( and £.<rT| . The sounds T and °" predominate. I t i s followed by a l i n e of resounding O J ' S" , wherein each word i s more t e r r i b l e than the l a s t : There... i n your land...the 14 Oedipus i s fond of the argument "ad hominem," Cf, 992-996. 15 Note i n p a r t i c u l a r the i n t r o d u c t o r y j u x t a p o s i t i o n , of o p p o s i t e s a-t-X^f^ p^8<K*-£>$ 774, the use of the word X<£ f ' s twice i n one l i n e , 779, i n two d i f f e r e n t senses, the a n t i t h e s i s at 782, A6^ojj^Afcv 6 (T0 A £ , T o? r i. ^ d ^ O CO" i v KeiK*., the two uses of Jc3 Yfccv at 784. * "^Adams (1953) 142 again r e c o g n i s e s the e x p e c t a t i o n of the audience as a f a c t o r to be considered i n the composition of a p l a y . He w r i t e s of the s a t i s f a c t i o n f e l t "when Oedipus, armed by t h i s knowledge and by knowledge gi v e n i n the o l d o r a c l e , answers Creon as we would have him do...." 1 7 B o t h K i t t o (1961) 383 and Ferguson (1972) 223 note the l i k e n e s s between t h i s l i n e and Oedipus' taunt of T e i r e s i a s a t Oedipus Tvrannus 370-371, o/AA' *<£<rTi T^vy 0*0v ' <rol c i f c j r o o T 1 o o * £<rT\ 115 curse...my c u r s e . . . r e s i d i n g . . . f o r e v e r . The i n e v i t a b i l i t y of the l a s t word, , i s overwhelming. Not only i s i t r e q u i r e d t o balance of 7 87 - i t a l s o "rhymes" with i t . The rhyme i s d e l i b e r a t e f o r there are other examples otAier-Toop, T"o7s <r/«Ao?o"i,Tns, , and, most remarkably, )(&ovo5 . . . Too-OUTOV • • • yu.DvaV a n d >^)(6?v • - • 6V/0oW6?v • Oedipus' 18 h e r i t a g e to h i s sons i s death i n h i s l a n d , and t h i s curse i s footnoted with the a u t h o r i t y of A p o l l o and Zeus (792-793) as was h i s p r e v i o u s prophecy to Theseus (616-622, wi t h the r e f e r e n c e to the gods at 623). The speech ends with the request t h a t Creon l e a v e . Creon does not go, of course, but h i s facade of f r i e n d l i n e s s i s l i f t e d . "You w i l l h u r t y o u r s e l f more than you h u r t me" i s the t h r e a t e n i n g g i s t of 800-801. In Oedipus' r e p l y , "I w i l l be q u i t e happy i f you f a i l to persuade these men as you have f a i l e d to persuade me" (802-803), the a n t i t h e s i s (to p a r r y Creon's) i s more important than the meaning, although there are s i g n s t h a t Oedipus i s concerned about the support of the chorus. He s p e c i f i c a l l y addresses h i s d e n u n c i a t i o n of Creon to the C o l o n i a t e s at 783, and i t i s c l e a r t h a t he i s dependent upon t h e i r moral, i f not t h e i r p h y s i c a l , support (811; 872-873). Creon's p e r s u a s i o n becomes ma l i c e - i t i s c r u e l t o taunt a man whose youth was g r i e v o u s l y misguided with being no wiser i n h i s o l d age (804-19 805). M a l i c e turns to b i c k e r i n g a t 806-810, 18 L i k e 421-427 t h i s i s s t i l l o nly a prelude to the true curse a t 1385-1388. 1 9 T h e a l l i t e r a t i o n of <i>u«c«.3 ^ v v j A?f6.Vc».S i s i n t e r e s t i n g . Is Creon laughing? (Not i n amusement, of course, but i n mockery.) 116 The second order to depart comes at 811, but Creon does not obey. B i c k e r i n g becomes menace:- " I f I get my hands on you...." (814). The sentence i s incomplete, but Oedipus does 20 not i n t e r r u p t Creon's t h r e a t . Creon chooses not to f i n i s h i t . A t h r e a t i s more t e r r i b l e i f i t i s i n e x p l i c i t . 813-814 have been much a l t e r e d . Most manuscripts, i n c l u d i n g the L a u r e n t i a n manuscript, read and the r e s u l t a n t "These men - not thee - c a l l I to witness: but as f o r the s t r a i n of t h i n e answer 1to thy k i n d r e d , i f 21 ever I take thee " makes adequate sense. Some manuscripts have TTpoS ^pc a t 813, which must a f f e c t the p u n c t u a t i o n and leads to the c o n t o r t e d "I c a l l these men, not you, to witness what answers you make to your f r i e n d s , i f 22 ever I c a t c h you...." P r e f e r a b l e to t h i s i s the d i f f e r e n t l y punctuated "I c a l l these men, not you, to witness what answers you make t o your f r i e n d s . I f I ever c a t c h you...," achieved from AAeyru poj*J>\ T O U t T d , 0 o c s ~ i ) TT^oj) X f e TOOS q H A O v S / oi oivToLyUti. p 6( ply* eft" ' o (for the manuscripts ' 'SV o - the new e / \ ' 2 3 p u n c t u a t i o n demands the change) 6/cO T\"oTfc. However, the 20 As Campbell, Sophocles, 358, note to 813, t h i n k s he does. 21 Jebb's t r a n s l a t i o n , Coloneus. 135-137. 22 T h i s i s my t r a n s l a t i o n of Pearson's t e x t . The manuscripts w i t h t h i s r e a d i n g are B, T, Vat. and Farn, See Pearson, Sophocles, ad l o c . and x x i i - x x i i i . 23 Musgrave, r e p o r t e d by Jebb, Coloneus, 13 5. We can supply trt as the o b j e c t of the verb eA c O . 117 improvement i n sense over the reading of the L a u r e n t i a n manuscript i s marginal. The f i r s t p a r t of 813, even g i v e n t h a t i t s r a i s o n d ' e t r e i s to p r o v i d e a snappy r e p l y to Oedipus'"for I s h a l l speak f o r these men too" at 811, seems to mean the wrong t h i n g . We should expect Creon to snap "I am not t a l k i n g to them. I am t a l k i n g t o you." but he snaps the 2 4 o p p o s i t e . No r e a d i n g i s e n t i r e l y s a t i s f a c t o r y . Oedipus' words a t 815, "Who c o u l d take me a g a i n s t the s t r e n g t h of these a l l i e s of mine?", are i n s e r t e d f o r t h e i r i r o n y , both v e r b a l (these o l d men have no strength)•and v i s u a l (Creon i s c o p i o u s l y attended). Oedipus cannot see the s p e c t a c l e of the s h r i n k i n g chorus f a c i n g the a g g r e s s i v e Thebans which the other c h a r a c t e r s and the audience can a p p r e c i a t e . The answer to h i s q u e s t i o n , of course, i s "Creon - whenever he chooses." D r a m a t i c a l l y , Creon can e a s i l y remove Oedipus. He has l i t t l e to f e a r from the chorus, g i v e n t h a t he i s not alone. However, Creon cannot be allowed to attempt the abduction y e t f o r Theseus would have to rush i n and the scene would be over b e f o r e the f u l l gamut of C r e o n 1 s v i l l a i n y has been run. In order t h a t the p l o t can progress as r e q u i r e d , there must now be a d i v e r s i o n . I t comes from Creon h i m s e l f : "There are other t h i n g s I can do t o h u r t you" (816). I t t r a n s p i r e s t h a t 24 Jackson (1912) 160 suggests / which, although "former f r i e n d s " i s an a r t i s t i c improvement upon " f r i e n d s " and the e l i m i n a t i o n of TTf 9** <^t i s welcome, does l i t t l e to ease the o v e r a l l awkwardness. 118 Ismene has a l r e a d y been captured and sent away. Sophocles has d e l i b e r a t e l y allowed h i s c h a r a c t e r s and the audience to f o r g e t Ismene, so t h a t the news w i l l be the more s t a r t l i n g . Antigone i s to be removed immediately. Oedipus f a l l s i n t o h i customary a g i t a t e d h a l f - l i n e s ( c f . 652-656; 722). He turns t the chorus f o r support: " F r i e n d s , what w i l l you do?" He senses t h a t not one of them i s moving. " W i l l you f o r s a k e me? W i l l you not d r i v e t h i s reprobate from t h i s land?" The chorus' i n a c t i o n r e p r e s e n t s not d e s e r t i o n , but h e l p l e s s n e s s . The chorus l e a d e r can o n l y ask Creon to leave and suggest t h a t h i s a c t i o n s are m o r a l l y unacceptable. Creon i s p a s t the n i c e t i e s of c i v i l i t y . He does not r e p l y t o the chorus l e a d e r but g i v e s the order f o r Antigone to be s e i z e d and l e d away, with a v i l l a i n o u s leer,<S« c3eAooo%< T\-o^ eo creToM (826-827 are addressed to two or more of h i s attendants.) Menace has turned t o v i o l e n c e . Antigone screams and the chorus leader, e x c e l s h i m s e l f i n f e e b l e n e s s to enquire T I d^S ) > 6 vfc *^  (829) There i s no need to strengthen t h i s i n t r a n s l a t i o n to "Stop, 25 Jebb, Coloneus, 137, note to 818, w r i t e s "Creon may have s e i z e d her, as a hostage, before h i s entrance at 728, or may have signed to one of h i s guards to go and do so, when he found t h a t Oedipus was stubborn..,." The former p o s s i b i l i t y i s c e r t a i n l y the c o r r e c t one. There i s no s i g n i n the t e x t t h a t any guard has l e f t the grove s i n c e Creon has entered i t . How would the audience, unaware the Creon planned to capture Ismene, i n t e r p r e t the s i g h t of a guard wandering out of the th e a t r e ? We cannot, anway, ask t h a t an audience i n t e r p r e t past events i n the l i g h t of new i n f o r m a t i o n , but, even i f t h i were o c c a s i o n a l l y p o s s i b l e , i t i s u n l i k e l y here t h a t i n the excitement and shock generated by the statement of 818-819, the audience would c o l l e c t i v e l y r e c o l l e c t the guard. F u r t h e r how c o u l d Creon p o s s i b l y convey to a guard, i n dumb show, t h a t he wanted him to l o c a t e Oedipus' second daughter and remove her from the neighbourhood? 2 6 s i r . " Creon answers the q u e s t i o n "What are you doing?", a l b e i t a weak one, as be s t he can, gi v e n t h a t he i s not y e t doing anything h i m s e l f . He says "I s h a l l not touch t h a t man (Oedipus), only the g i r l who i s mine" (830). T h i s l i n e has been somewhat o v e r - e x p l a i n e d . I t has been suggested t h a t Creon f e e l s t h a t he cannot touch Oedipus because "there i s 27 something numinous about him." I t i s more probable t h a t Creon i s making a statement of pure f a c t . His prese n t p l a n i s to remove Antigone, not Oedipus. The second h a l f of the l i n e has been e x p l a i n e d by the n o t i o n t h a t Creon "considers h i m s e l f as now the guardian of h i s n i e c e s , - t h e i r f a t h e r 2 8 having f o r f e i t e d a l l r i g h t s at Thebes." This i s unnecessary. Antigone i s Creon's because h i s men have hol d of her. Oedipus c r i e s , a t 831, to the r u l e r s of the land, to Theseus, whose whereabouts he does not know. His c r y i s of d e s p a i r , not hope. The chorus leader again t e l l s Creon t h a t h i s a c t i o n s are wrong, and the two o l d men begin t o squabble. Creon's T O O 5 6^ouS ^ f i 0 ^ i s a triumphant "She's mine," but, again, Antigone i s h i s because he now has h o l d of her 29 h i m s e l f . There i s no moral j u s t i f i c a t i o n f o r h i s words. We have witnessed, between 728, when Creon a r r i v e d , and 833, an i n e x o r a b l e movement from p e r s u a s i o n to v i o l e n c e , c u l m i n a t i n g i n the s e i z u r e of Antigone by Creon. At the 2 6 Watling, Theban P l a y s , 96. 2 7 F e r g u s o n (1972) 223, 2 8 Jebb, Coloneus, 137, note t o 830. 29 The Creon-actor probably shouts "she's mine" as he snatches her from h i s guards. 120 height of t h i s movement, abandoning the iambics of speech, which have grown n o t i c e a b l y fragmentary i n the excitement, Sophocles i n s e r t s a l y r i c passage. The chorus, Oedipus and Creon are p a r t i c i p a n t s i n the s i n g i n g of the dochmiacs at 833-843 (with r e g u l a r spoken iambic t r i m e t e r s a t 837-840). A n t i s t r o p h i c to these l i n e s are 876-886. Oedipus's w a i l a t 833 , 'w "vTaA..^ ., i s o f t e n i n t e r p r e t e d as 30 c a l l to Athens, and f o r h e l p . However, the c i t y c o u l d be Thebes, and l<*> co u l d be a c r y o f agony as i t i s a t 19 9 and 876. T h i s i s one of Oedipus' lowest moments; a l s o a cr y of de s p a i r best accompanies the stage e f f e c t which must have 31 been obtained from these l i n e s . The chorus repeats i t s l e a d e r ' s e a r l i e r q u e s t i o n , "r<-d, 5 } 32 I t requests p o l i t e l y t h a t Creon l e t Antigone go,ouK <*.<p^ <r6t5) , and nerv o u s l y t h r e a t e n s t h a t there w i l l soon be a f i g h t unless he does so. The o p e r a t i v e word i s "Tv)^. - th a t i s , "not now" - the o l d men are b l u f f i n g . There can, of course, be no f i g h t . The chorus i s o l d and outnumbered. These are i t s dramatic excuses f o r the f a c t t h a t the p l o t demands t h a t Antigone not be r e l e a s e d , Creon r e p l i e s simply - £ \ ^ ^ 0 U , "keep 30 The l i n e i s a t t r i b u t e d i n the manuscripts to Antigone, but i s r i g h t l y r e s t o r e d t o Oedipus i n a l l e d i t i o n s , The corresponding words i n the a n t i s t r o p h e , iw T<£ ,\<j» s , 876 , undeniably belong to Oedipus, as Antigone has l e f t the scene. 31 Creon, chorus, Antigone and guards are t o t a l l y engrossed with one another i n the o r c h e s t r a . Oedipus, alone on h i s rock behind them l i f t s h i s b l i n d eyes to heaven and howls." '» "vToA\5." The ^  l a s t s f o r f o u r beats. The assembled company begins to s i n g a kommos i n which Oedipus takes l i t t l e p a r t . There i s something very t r a g i c about a b l i n d " s p e c t a t o r . " 32 The q u e s t i o n may be i n s p i r e d by some movement. Perhaps Creon hands Antigone back to the guards. 121 away" (836), a s i n g u l a r i m p e r a t i v e , as i f on l y one man i s 33 moving and speaking. The attempt to a l l e v i a t e the impasse by t r a n s l a t i n g t h i s as a taunt, "come i f you dare," i s 34 misguided. The chorus p i c k s up the 0 u sound and h u r l s i t back at Creon, <rooy^,v oo^Ade J^^JKI VO O (836). Creon, who 35 never i n i t i a t e s the s h r i e k i n g , r e v e r t s to iambics to t h r e a t e n war between Thebes and Athens, and Oedipus and the chorus f o l l o w s u i t . The a l l o c a t i o n of 837-840 now g e n e r a l l y accepted i s l e s s troublesome than t h a t of the manuscripts. The manuscripts' a l l o c a t i o n shows no correspondence with the a l l o c a t i o n i n the l i n e s a n t i s t r o p h i c to them, 880-883. I t must be noted, however, t h a t these l i n e s are spoken iambic t r i m e t e r s . They are not s t r i c t l y p a r t of the l y r i c passage, and i t may be t h a t no correspondence was r e q u i r e d . The manuscripts g i v e the t h r e a t of war (837) to Oedipus, and the d u l l " d i d n ' t I say so?" (838) to the chorus. The context makes t h i s arrangement d o u b t f u l , 6 1 T v "TVy^ckvevS makes l i t t l e sense coming from Oedipus a t t h i s p o i n t , f o r no one i s touching him. The t h e a t r i c a l e f f e c t of these l i n e s depends l a r g e l y upon h i s i s o l a t i o n . 3 ^ TYoAfcl g-dtp c o u l d 33 I f only one man i s moving now, and more members of the chorus move toward Creon i n the l i n e s t h a t f o l l o w , l e s s i n c o n g r u i t y would be f e l t over the deadlock between chorus and Creon which the p l o t n e c e s s i t a t e s , f o r there would be some development at l e a s t . 34 Watling, Theban P l a y s , 97. 3 5 S e e Part I I , 297. 3 6 See note 31, t h i s chapter„ 122 come from Oedipus i f the c i t y i s Athens, The s c h o l i a s t , who e x p l a i n s TToAfc1 by T«u5 ® ^ ^ » U S , 3 7 c l e a r l y c o n sidered the words to be Creon's. He i s on the p o i n t of being attacked by the chorus, and the a t t a c k must be s i d e t r a c k e d , so the t h r e a t "You w i l l have the whole of Thebes to d e a l with i f you l a y a f i n g e r on me," i s both d r a m a t i c a l l y sound and u s e f u l f o r the c o n s t r u c t i o n of the scene, oo>fs r^optoov TokUT C^f 0 0 > more s u i t a b l y comes from Oedipus than from the chorus - Oedipus has indeed maintained t h a t there would be war (614-623), 3 8 though not because of the man-handling of Creon. The manuscripts g i v e j^-Bts X^f^\T^V ^ ^ ^ ^ BZ.ra-ov (838-839) to Creon,/>\ T.Tol<r<r <* y*v\ Y^osTfci S (839) to the chorus, X ^ ^ V Ae ^tO cro( (840) to Creon, and crcu d ooo(TTop6l V (840) to the chorus. T h i s a l l o c a t i o n i s acceptable i f i t i s assumed t h a t one of the choreuts has been able to l a y hands on Antigone, i s told to r e l e a s e her by Creon, and i n t u r n demands t h a t Creon go h i s way, but there i s a d i f f i c u l t y i n the t r a n s i t i o n from 840 to 841 i f both l i n e s are assigned to the chorus. There i s a change i n metre from iambics to dochmiacs (and thus a change from speaking to singing) and there i s an i n e x p l i c a b l e change from triumph (the d e f i a n t order to Creon to l e a v e , without, a p p a r e n t l y , Antigone as a p r i s o n e r ) to h e l p l e s s n e s s (the c a l l f o r a i d f o r a ravaged c i t y ) with no d i s c e r n i b l e a c t i o n i n between. 37 Note to 837, De Marco, S c h o l i a , 42. 3 8 Contrary to Jebb's a s s e r t i o n , Coloneus, 138, note to 838 , t h i s l i n e does not r e f e r to 587 and 653 which are concerned with the people who w i l l come to t r y to take Oedipus back to Thebes. T h i s i s a l r e a d y happening - Creon i s one of them. 123 Modern e d i t o r s r e v e r s e the a l l o c a t i o n of 838-840 which a f f o r d s a d o u b t f u l improvement, although i t g i v e s a d e s i r a b l e correspondence with the a n t i s t r o p h e . I t i s not c l e a r whether Creon and the chorus are addressing one another, or t a l k i n g independently to a t h i r d p a r t y . In Jebb's view the chorus' "Let the g i r l go immediately" (838-839) i s addressed to Creon. Creon's r e p l y i s addressed t o the chorus. "Let her go, I t e l l you" (840) i s again addressed t o Creon, and "And I t e l l you to be on your way" (840) i s d i r e c t e d by Creon at one of h i s guards, and i s an order f o r the guard to depart w i t h Antigone. I t i s t h i s l a s t phrase from Creon which i s probl e m a t i c . Jebb r i g h t l y d i s c a r d s the n o t i o n t h a t i t i s addressed t o the chorus and means "And I t e l l you t h a t (she) i s to go," because i t i s " i m p o s s i b l e . " I assume he means t h a t i t would be d i s t o r t e d Greek. He a l s o d i s c a r d s the p o s s i b i l i t y t h a t i t i s addressed t o the chorus and means "And I t e l l thee to begone" because t h i s would not be " i d i o m a t i c . " I presume he i s t r o u b l e d by the verb O^OtlTO^e^v which means "go on a journey" and does not c o n s t i t u t e an a p p r o p r i a t e command f o r 39 the chorus t o be g i v e n . I t i s s c a r c e l y more a p p r o p r i a t e , however, when gi v e n t o a guard, without mention of Antigone, 40 e s p e c i a l l y i f the guard i s not even h o l d i n g Antigone, because the meaning of the command would not be immediately obvious e i t h e r to the guard or to the audience. Audience 39 Jebb, Coloneus, 139, note to 840. 40 A c c o r d i n g to Jebb h i m s e l f , Creon took ho l d of Antigone a t 832, Coloneus, 138, note t o 833-886, and has y e t to l e t her go. 124 i n t e r p r e t a t i o n i s , i n f a c t , the f a c t o r which most q u a r r e l s with Jebb's i n t e r p r e t a t i o n . Would the audience understand the supposed "mocking echo" of the chorus 1 0"ot i n Creon' s <ro ( ? Would the audience know who was being spoken to by Creon, when no word has been spoken to a guard s i n c e 826? I t i s d o u b t f u l t h a t the e f f e c t which Jebb imagines c o u l d be achieved i n so v a s t a t h e a t r e with so many s p e c t a t o r s . In Campbell's view, "Let the g i r l go immediately" i s addressed t o a guard who i s h o l d i n g Antigone, Creon r e p l i e s to the chorus "Do not command where you are not master" (839). T h i s i s the only i n t e r p r e t a t i o n which f u l l y e x p l o i t s the meaning of t h i s l i n e . Creon is_ the master of the man whom the chorus i s commanding. At 840 the chorus and Creon g i v e 41 c o n t r a d i c t o r y orders t o the guard T h i s arrangement would be simple to stage. At 841-843 the chorus c a l l s t o the younger men of Colonus f o r hel p . 842 , TToAlS IvoupfcToU.-noA*3 4 / A £ <r6evfct i n the manuscripts, i s not completely s a t i s f a c t o r y , The sense must be "The c i t y , my c i t y , i s being destroyed by s t r e n g t h , " which i s more d r a m a t i c a l l y then s e m a n t i c a l l y apt. The c o r r e c t i o n which best s o l v e s the t e x t u a l c r i t i c ' s problems, 6fl&ifi>ToCll ~Y\6M$ <r5£v6( , "Athens i s r i s i n g , Athens i s 42 s t r o n g ! " i n c r e a s e s those of the commentator, f o r such a c o n f i d e n t shout would be out of keeping with the chorus' present p o s i t i o n and mood. No help i s forthcoming. 41 Campbell, Sophocles, 360, notes to 830 and 840. 4 2 J a c k s o n (1955) 184-185. Although the l y r i c passage ends a t 843, the iambics which f o l l o w are not s e t t l e d - four c o n v e r s a t i o n s take p l a c e at once: Antigone to the chorus (844), Oedipus and Antigone to one another (845-846), Creon to the guards (the f i n a l order f o r the removal of Antigone) (847), and Oedipus to h i m s e l f or the chorus or the audience (847). Antigone, who has not spoken, except to c r y f o r h e l p , s i n c e Creon a r r i v e d , i s c a r r i e d away from the grove of the Eumenides and a l l the guards leave with her (Creon d e s c r i b e s h i m s e l f as y u o o V05 a t 43 875). The a c t i n g area i s now occupied e n t i r e l y by o l d men. At 848 Creon turns to Oedipus and reminds him t h a t he i s now alone and t h a t he w i l l f i n d t h a t he has r e s i s t e d to h i s own c o s t . His words do not r e v e a l h i s p r e s e n t p l a n , but i t must be to use the g i r l s as a means to g a i n b a r g a i n i n g power to ensure t h a t Oedipus e v e n t u a l l y leaves Colonus, f o r p o s s e s s i o n of the g i r l s i n i t s e l f does not s a t i s f y the terms of the new o r a c l e . At any r a t e i t seems t h a t he i s about to lea v e . The chorus ' <fTT\crve5 « * U T O O > V 6- (856) suggests t h a t he has made a move to depart, His speech i s the s o r t which o f t e n ends a scene- c o n t a i n i n g a judgement and a p r e d i c t i o n - and we expect the chorus to s l i p i n t o a c o n s o l a t o r y lament f o r Oedipus or an angry condemnation of Creon's v i o l e n t a c t s . With a minor dramatic coup, Sophocles continues the scene, r e v e r t i n g t o iVv""\A*vp4 at 856 t o mark the new movement. The p l o t now demands t h a t Creon, who wishes to leave, s t a y , and so the chorus must ensure t h a t he does. 43 Creon i s even o l d e r than Oedipus. He i s the b l i n d man's mother's b r o t h e r . 126 One of the dramatic reasons f o r the i n a c t i v i t y of the chorus i n t h i s scene, namely the presence of the guards, i s now i n v a l i d . The guards have a l l l e f t w i t h Antigone. T h i s a p p a r e n t l y s e n s e l e s s d i s m i s s a l by Creon of the men who p r o t e c t him i s necessary f o r the p l o t i f the chorus i s to hi n d e r h i s departure. The C o l o n i a t e s are s t i l l o l d , of course, but f i f t e e n o l d gentlemen can overpower one who i s e q u a l l y o l d . The chorus l e a d e r f o r b i d s Creon to leave and announces t h a t he w i l l not l e t him go u n t i l he has r e l e a s e d the g i r l s (856-857). (Obviously the i l l o g i c a l i t y of t h i s statement w i l l pass unnoticed i n performance.) Creon 1s p l a n cannot go forward, so he allows i t to go backwards. "Then I w i l l take something b e s i d e s the g i r l s " (859) i s h a r d l y sound reasoning, but i t i s the n a t u r a l r e a c t i o n of a thwarted man. Then Creon, whom we have seen on the p o i n t of departure, having l a i n no hand on Oedipus, turns back to menace him. The chorus' i n t e r v e n t i o n has turned a bad s i t u a t i o n i n t o a worse one At 861 Creon boasts t h a t he w i l l soon have Oedipus i n h i s c o n t r o l . In the manuscripts 862 reads and the l i n e i s given to Creon. I t was a l t e r e d to " W < r o ^oLsV^v by P i d e r i t and g i v e n t o the chorus. Dindorf and Nauck f o l l o w e d s u i t , Wecklein a l t e r e d JA to Y' , s t i l l g i v i n g the l i n e t o the chorus. Jebb has s i n c e agreed w i t h Wecklein, 44 Pearson wxth P i d e r i t . Jebb f e e l s t h a t Creon cannot mean to 44 Pearson, Sophocles, ad l o c . : Jebb, Coloneus. 142. express genuine r e s p e c t f o r the views of Theseus, and t h a t , i f the words are intended to be i r o n i c , they are f e e b l e . He f e e l s t h a t i f the words are g i v e n to the chorus they are q u i t e a p p r o p r i a t e , as the chorus knows t h a t Theseus has promised h i s h e l p , and they c o n s t i t u t e p r e p a r a t i o n f o r the 45 reappearance of Theseus. In i t s e l f , J e b b 1 s e x p l a n a t i o n i s f a u l t l e s s , but 863 c a s t s some doubt on i t , Oedipus c r i e s "Oh shameless v o i c e - would you touch me?" T h i s has t o be taken as r e f e r r i n g to the l a s t l i n e but one, C r e o n 1 s "The deed w i l l soon be done" (861), which i s not a p a r t i c u l a r l y shameless u t t e r a n c e . F u r t h e r , although r e f e r e n c e s to l i n e s other than the immediately p r e c e d i n g l i n e are q u i t e a c c e p t a b l e to a reader, I doubt t h a t a s p e c t a t o r would f u l l y understand them, e s p e c i a l l y i f there i s some d i f f i c u l t y , as there must have been i n the t h e a t r e of Dionysus, i n g r a s p i n g who i s speaking to whom. How c o u l d Oedipus i n d i c a t e t h a t he was r e f e r r i n g to Creon's l a s t u tterance? I t i s d i f f i c u l t t o understand why P i d e r i t f e l t compelled .' t o change the manuscripts' t e x t and a t t r i b u t i o n a t 863. Campbell accepted i t , as d i d Blaydes and, more r e c e n t l y , 46 Masqueray and Dain and Mazon, Blaydes quoted Schneidewin, who wrote "To keep up the show of law, Creon e x p r e s s l y d e c l a r e s t h a t he w i l l g i v e over, i f commanded to do so by the only r i g h t f u l a u t h o r i t y , the r u l e r of the l a n d . " Blaydes' own view was m i l d e r . He f e l t t h a t Creon t r u l y intended to abandon 45 Jebb, Coloneus, 142, note to 862. 46 Campbell, Sophocles, 362; Blaydes, Sophocles, 323; Masqueray, Sophocle, 189; Dain and Mazon, Sophocle I I I , 114. 128 h i s attempt i f Theseus appeared, but onl y because he had no 47 p r o t e c t i o n . Schneidewin 1s view of Cre o n 1 s c h a r a c t e r was too generous, Blaydes' too l o g i c a l . The l i n e should indeed be give n to Creon, but he i s not s i n c e r e . He does not know th a t Theseus has been to v i s i t Oedipus, or t h a t he i s a t presen t i n the neighbourhood. The chorus' l a s t c r y f o r help (841-843) was of no a v a i l . As f a r as Creon can see, there i s no chance t h a t Theseus w i l l come t o i n t e r f e r e . He s c o f f s a t Oedipus' h e l p l e s s n e s s with a s a r c a s t i c remark, but the i r o n y i s soon to rebound on Creon h i m s e l f . The l i n e p r o v i d e s p r e p a r a t i o n f o r Theseus' next appearance whoever says i t , but to have a ch a r a c t e r u n w i t t i n g l y prepared f o r by one who has no i d e a t h a t he w i l l a r r i v e i s a neater d i s p l a y of dramtic a r t than to have him prepared f o r by one who t h i n k s and hopes t h a t he might, namely the chorus, as i n Jebb's view, Oedipus' words at 863 are c o n s i s t e n t w i t h t h i s i n t e r p r e t a t i o n , §®*=-)$J* ofv«Mr)fe5 r e f e r s as much to Creon's s c o f f i n g remark about Theseus as to the t h r e a t to c a r r y o f f Oedipus, Oedipus u t t e r s a curse a g a i n s t Creon (864-870), who i s so angered t h a t he makes a move to capture Oedipus, The p l o t demands t h a t t h i s attempt, u n l i k e the attempt on Antigone, be u n s u c c e s s f u l . Oedipus i s to stay i n the grove, and Creon i s to be sent away thwarted. Sophocles has f u l f i l l e d the needs of h i s p l o t without d i s t u r b i n g the p l a y ' s dramatic c r e d i b i l i t y too much by having the guards l e a v e , emphasising Creon's age and i s o l a t i o n (874-875) and keeping Theseus 47 Blaydes, Sophocles, 32 3, not to 862. 129 w i t h i n e a r s h o t , to a r r i v e at the c r u c i a l moment. At the p o i n t of c r i s i s , before Theseus a r r i v e s , Sophocles i n s e r t s the l i n e s which correspond to the dochmiacs and iambics of 833-843. The music and movement must have c r e a t e d the r e q u i r e d excitement, f o r these l i n e s are 48 s i g n i f i c a n t l y d e f i c i e n t i n content. A f t e r Oedipus' w a i l (876), the chorus screeches as i t i s wont t o do, but the l a c o n i c Creon sings but one word, doy-^ (879). He r e v e r t s to iambics to g l o a t on the obvious r i g h t e o u s n e s s of h i s intended act of v i o l e n c e . At 882 there i s a lacuna. Only p a r t of an iambic l i n e , ~Z.€.^*S T ^ T ' <ro h 0 0, remains, In the L a u r e n t i a n manuscript <r T A O T ' i s i n an er a s u r e . A c c o r d i n g t o the l i n e which corresponds to t h i s i n the strophe, 839, we must change 49 speakers a f t e r the f i r s t s y l l a b l e of the t h i r d f o o t . Yet the remaining p a r t of 882 occupies four iambic f e e t . Some assume t h a t i n t h i s l i n e there i s l e s s than p e r f e c t correspondence w i t h the l i n e i n the strophe, and w r i t e 2_6uS 48 T h i s i s not to say t h a t Sophocles f e l t o b l i g e d to i n c l u d e an a n t i s t r o p h e , or t h a t the audience would n e c e s s a r i l y have expected i t . I t i s c l e a r t h a t he i s f o l l o w i n g no " r u l e s . " He simply chose to repeat an oustanding p i e c e of music at a d r a m a t i c a l l y s u i t a b l e moment. 49 I t i s s u r e l y c o r r e c t t o assume t h a t t h e r e should be correspondence i n the d i v i s i o n between speakers, Of the other iambic l i n e s , at 838 and the l i n e a n t i s t r o p h i c to i t , 881 thaspeaker changes a f t e r the f o u r t h f o o t ; a t 840 and 883, a f t e r the f i r s t s y l l a b l e of the t h i r d f o o t , and a t 837 and 880 there i s no change of speaker. In a passage s i m i l a r to t h i s i n the Oedipus Ty-rannus, 649-696 (a pseudo-kommos w i t h i n t e r s p e r s e d i a m b i c s ) , at 655, and iambic t r i m e t e r , the second s y l l a b l e of the t h i r d f o o t and the f i r s t s y l l a b l e of the f o u r t h f o o t are g i v e n to the chorus, and the remainder of the l i n e to Oedipus. The l i n e a n t i s t r o p h i c t o i t , 684, has the same d i v i s i o n s though Oedipus' p a r t i s taken by J o c a s t a . 130 T ^ U T ' tw <£•'d £ L . <3"o ^ ( 9 0 as the second h a l f of the l i n e -Creon's w o r d s . ^ Most c r i t i c s t r y somewhat harder to achieve u n i f o r m i t y X6' ' 6TM )Z^ 5. K P T W iv 6'36^,<ro 6* 5 1 i s p l e a s i n g , but i m p o s s i b l e , s i n c e the manuscripts of the Oedipus Coloneus g i v e the speakers of l i n e s and Creon's name 2 / 52 £u_S . The o r i g i n a l r e a d i n g of the L a u r e n t i a n manuscript seems to have occupied three and a h a l f iambic f e e t , which would match Cr e o n 1 s words at 83 9, 53 Consequently some s c h o l a r s r e v e r t t o i t or a form of i t . The two and one h a l f f e e t at the b e g i n n i n g of the l i n e must then have comprised the c h o r u s 1 c o n t r i b u t i o n . The c o n j e c t u r e /~> J, ^ \ 54 crupuiS ^ f ^ * d g i v e s the r e q u i r e d sense p e r f e c t l y . I t f o l i o s •) from the end of 881 and accounts f o r the cro h 0 0 a t the end of 882. However i t i s hard to see why these words would have dropped out. N e i t h e r of them i s s u f f i c i e n t l y l i k e any other nearby to cause them to be omitted because a s c r i b e thought he had a l r e a d y w r i t t e n them. The p l e t h o r a of c o n j e c t u r e s c o n t a i n i n g the word us a l l o f f e r reasonably good sense. Z.6vj> JKOK ^ O V (cr TOO p 5 5 and 26ui" JLK.0\. 50 So Pearson, Sophocles, ad l o c . 5 Hermann's c o n j e c t u r e , r e p o r t e d i n Jebb, Coloneus, 145. 52 In f a c t , t o judge from Campbells g r a p h i c method of r e p o r t i n g manuscript r e a d i n g s , the L a u r e n t i a l manuscript i n i t s c o r r e c t e d form reads £4uo-T*" > T O<V... w i t h no break a f t e r the o- (Sophocles. 36 3.) Campbell t h i n k s i t was ^ftocrT^dv , Sophocles, 363; Jebb merely avers t h a t i t was not "Ztfu S T'4} v , Coloneus, 144. 54 Spengel, adopted by Masqueray, Sophocle, 19 0, and Dain and Mazon, Sophocle I I I , 115. 55 Campbell, Sophocles, 363, note to 882. 131 / 56 (jv\o-Toj, both t e n t a t i v e l y o f f e r e d , s a t i s f a c t o r i l y account N ,) >' f o r Creon's o~o Q ou with JA.O( . I t i s easy to see how the lacuna would have occ u r r e d with e i t h e r r e a d i n g , asZ'fiuj would have been the f i r s t word of the l i n e and the s c r i b e ' s eye would have moved s t r a i g h t to the word f o l l o w i n g the second 2 1 6 • Both of these two readings are more accep t a b l e than those which do not e x p l a i n C r e o n 1 s r e t o r t or which have 2 ^ ^ 5 as second or t h i r d word i n the o r i g i n a l l i n e . At 883 the chorus l e a d e r c r i e s " s a c r i l e g e . " " S a c r i l e g e t h a t you must bear," r e t o r t s Creon, on the verge of triumph, i t seems. The chorus begins to s i n g a gain. I t c a l l s f o r help a second time, not to the people of Colonus, who are nearby and d i d not respond to the e a r l i e r c a l l , but, more d e s p e r a t e l y , to a l l the people and the r u l e r s of the land. The l a s t words of the l y r i c passage have long been a problem. Most manuscripts have TTfe^V JTTfef <^°~v , which i s m e t r i c a l l y i m p ossible i f 842-843 i n the strophe are c o r r e c t , and the words have been much a l t e r e d and supplemented, Wilamowitz-M o e l l e n d o r f f dispensed with the problem a t one stroke by s u b s t i t u t i n g TIfo j3^T€. f o r TT^ojSol© wc) £ y^O \ at 843 . Tff 0 co D t appears a t 841, so a s c r i b a l e r r o r of t h i s s o r t i s e x p l i c a b l e . With t h i s t i n y a l t e r a t i o n , the manuscripts' rea d i n g a t 8 86 i s m e t r i c a l l y a c c e p t a b l e . The stunning s i m p l i c i t y of t h i s s o l u t i o n seems t o have gone 5 6 Jebb, Coloneus, 144 ( i n the t e x t with angled b r a c k e t s ) . 5 7 W i l a m o w i t z - M o e l l e n d o r f f (1921) 404, note 4. 132 unrecognised. Pearson's rea d i n g f o r 885-886 i s ITep^jT^f ^ °" ' 6 ^ ^  • Jebb's (he was of course w r i t i n g b e f o r e Wilamowitz-Moellendorf f ) i s Tte^olv|Tfepooff' Oi^fc 6^ • N e i t h e r i s p r e f e r a b l e to the r e t e n t i o n of the manuscript r e a d i n g , but whichever of the three i s c o r r e c t there i s s t i l l a problem with the meaning of 59 the words. Jebb t r a n s l a t e s "'yonder men' (with a g e s t u r e i n the d i r e c t i o n taken by Creon's guards) 'are a l r e a d y p a s s i n g towards the other s i d e . ' " He has the border between A t t i c a and Boeotia i n mind. Before Jebb wrote, Campbell had al r e a d y p o i n t e d out t h a t t h i s was not f e a s i b l e , as the guards have 6 0 only j u s t l e f t the stage, (The border was twenty m i l e s from Colonus i n Sophocles' day. Anyway, why should the guards rush to Thebes, l e a v i n g t h e i r commander, Creon, and the o b j e c t of t h e i r m i s s i o n , Oedipus, s t i l l i n Colonus?) Jebb must have had t h i s i n mind when he f a b r i c a t e d the e x p l a n a t i o n " TT'6f>£jc'* i m p l i e s o n l y t h a t the f u g i t i v e s are on t h e i r way to the border, - not t h a t they are a c t u a l l y c r o s s i n g i t . " I t i s d i f f i c u l t to see why the chorus should be i n t e r e s t e d i n the whereabouts of the guards when i t s ward i s about to be dragged away. I t s d i s t r e s s stems from the a c t i o n at the grove 5 8 Pearson, Sophocles, ad l o c , notes Wilamowitz-M o e l l e n d o r f f ' s r e a d i n g , but does not accept i t . 59 ^ <• "The d i f f e r e n c e between "><ip<*-v and TT6 , d e s p i t e Jebb's e l a b o r a t e note (Coloneus, 145 note to 885f.), seems to me to be minimal. Both convey the sense of "beyond," and f o r both we have t o ask "beyond what?" ^°Campbell, Sophocles, 363, note to 885. 133 of the Eumenides. I f the phrase means "They are p a s s i n g a l l bounds," t h i s i s an odd way to express the idea and a s t r a n g e l y m e t a p h o r i c a l u t t e r a n c e at such a time of c r i s i s . The phrase must r e f e r t o Creon's contemporaneous a c t i o n s , but the p l u r a l verb, IT<=pCo<r\ , i s a problem, as Creon i s n e c e s s a r i l y alone and has j u s t s a i d , a t 875, t h a t he i s alone. I t seems t h a t Oedipus i s i n c l u d e d , The only "boundary" i n the area represented by the t h e a t r e i s the edge of the sanctuary of the Eumenides. Oedipus has been s i t t i n g very c l o s e to i t , but on the l e g i t i m a t e s i d e of i t (the chorus so p o s i t i o n e d him at 192-196) , At 155-156 the verb T T 6 ^ i c o was used. The chorus c a l l e d t o Oedipus TT6pC">S ^ d t p JTV6o^5 and the sense was "you are over the boundary / you are t r e s p a s s i n g , " and the r e f e r e n c e was to the sacred grove. At 8 86 Creon and Oedipus are engaging i n some a c t i v i t y which i s t a k i n g them too c l o s e t o , or over, the boundary of the sanctuary, presumably a p h y s i c a l s t r u g g l e . The l y r i c passage i n t h i s scene i s not a normal kommos, The strophe i s separated from the a n t i s t r o p h e by t h i r t y - t h r e e l i n e s of iambic d i a l o g u e , and w i t h i n strophe and a n t i s t r o p h e there are l i n e s of iambic t r i m e t e r s . I t s c l o s e s t c o u n t e r p a r t i s the l y r i c c o n v e r s a t i o n between Oedipus, J o c a s t a and the chorus at Oedipus Tyrannus 649-696, where the f i r s t strophe and a n t i s t r o p h e are punctuated by l i n e s of iambic t r i m e t e r s , and a passage of iambic d i a l o g u e (with Creon p a r t i c i p a t i n g here also) i n t e r v e n e s between the second strophe and the 134 f i r s t a n t i s t r o p h e . u x Yet even t h i s unusual passage has the f e e l i n g of a complete kommos; i t s shape i s readily-d i s c e r n i b l e . The apparent formlessness of the l y r i c passage, the pseudo-kommos, i n the Oedipus Coloneus b e l i e s the extreme care which has been taken i n i t s composition. The s t r o p h i c correspondence between l i n e s , although each l i n e i s separated from i t s mate by t h i r t y - t h r e e l i n e s , i s most i n t r i c a t e . In the l i n e s of dochmiacs the metre i n strophe and a n t i s t r o p h e i s i d e n t i c a l (except f o r -^C^ou (—) a t 836 and do^^ (u-) at 879). The two l i n e s which are d i v i d e d between two speakers, 836 and 879, are d i v i d e d at the same p o i n t . Corresponding l i n e s are s i m i l a r i n sound or s t r u c t u r e or meaning: ~ "TCoA*5 (833) and "\v^ ToiA<^$ (876) and T V ^ o p ^ T d / * 0 l (841-843) and 'to T\J>5 Afcws, ^ co T V ^ O / A O . ., TT(;p(2o-L (884-886) , 6 2 where the f i r s t l i n e of each passage c o n t a i n s rhymes and r e p e t i t i o n s , and the second l i n e of each passage co n t a i n s 61 I f o l l o w the t r a d i t i o n a l scheme of the passage, odd though i t i s : 1st strophe 649-659, 2nd strophe 660-668 (iambic i n t e r l u d e ) , 1st a n t i s t r o p h e 678-688, 2nd a n t i s t r o p h e 689-697. But the passage c o n s i s t s e s s e n t i a l l y of a l y r i c passage (649-668), d i v i d e d from the l i n e s a n t i s t r o p h i c to i t (678-697) by a s e t of iambic t r i m e t e r s . 6 2 Wilamowitz-Moellendroff's re a d i n g of both passages (1921) 404, note 4. 135 symmetric anaphora. There i s even a marked degree of correspondence between the iambic l i n e s of the strophe and those of the a n t i s t r o p h e . The l i n e s do not correspond e x a c t l y i n metre, but, i n the l i n e s where there i s a d i v i s i o n between two speakers, the d i v i s i o n occurs at the same p o i n t i n each p a i r of matching 6 3 l i n e s , even when i t occurs mid-foot. There are echoes a l s o i n the p a t t e r n s of the words - e s p e c i a l l y a t 840 Throughout the l y r i c passage the same c h a r a c t e r i s gi v e n the 64 same l i n e s i n both strophe and a n t i s t r o p h e . Both strophe and a n t i s t r o p h e are i n s e r t e d a t a p o i n t of c r i s i s : the former when Creon i s about t o remove Antigone, and the l a t t e r when he i s about to move Oedipus, On each oc c a s i o n the mood of the pr e v i o u s l i n e s i s i n t e n s i f i e d and brought to a climax, which i s r e s o l v e d immediately by the abduction of Antigone a f t e r the strophe and by the a r r i v a l of Theseus a f t e r the a n t i s t r o p h e . * ^ The Creon-scene i s not over, but i t s mood and balance change w i t h Theseus 1 a r r i v a l . In h i s f i r s t c o n f r o n t a t i o n w i t h 6 3 But see the d i s c u s s i o n of 882, t h i s chapter, 129-131. 64 But see the d i s c u s s i o n on the a l l o c a t i o n of 837-840, t h i s chapter, 121-122. 6 5 L i n f o r t h apparently f e e l s t h a t the excitement i s ch a n n e l l e d o f f i n t o the l y r i c s - t h a t they ease the t e n s i o n r a t h e r than cap i t . T h i s I take to be the meaning of h i s r e f e r e n c e to the a c t i o n being " c o n t r o l l e d " and "adjusted to the rhythem of l y r i c v e r se" (1951) 149. and 8 83 136 a scheming Theban, Oedipus has remained immovable. He has r e f u s e d t o leave Colonus and has damned Thebes. I f he has gone two steps forward i n t h i s , he has gone one step back i n l o s i n g Antigone and Ismene t o Creon. The b a t t l e to stay i n A t t i c a i s underway i n e a r n e s t . 137 CHAPTER I X . 887 -1043 . The A g o n . "And t h e n t h i s most a c t i o n - p a c k e d scene i n t h e whole o f Greek t r a g e d y comes t o i t s c l i m a x as Theseus r e t u r n s i n t h e n i c k o f t i m e , a t t h e e l e v e n t h h o u r , and w i t h a l l t he o t h e r c l i c h e s o f melodrama i n a s i t u a t i o n t h a t was n o t y e t a c l i c h e and was u n d e n i a b l y and s u p e r b l y e x c i t i n g . " D r a m a t i c a l l y , Theseus i s n o t e x p e c t e d , C r e o n has no i d e a t h a t he has b e e n , o r i s , i n t h e n e i g h b o u r h o o d . Oed ipus and t h e c h o r u s do n o t know t h a t he has r ema ined w i t h i n e a r s h o t . H i s a r r i v a l i s t r u l y a s u r p r i s e t o the a u d i e n c e a l s o . P r e p a r a t i o n has been l i m i t e d t o 862 , w h i c h s e r v e d t o r e m i n d t h e a u d i e n c e t h a t Theseus e x i s t s , b u t i s n o t a s t r a i g h t f o r w a r d s u g g e s t i o n t h a t he w i l l r e t u r n . The s u r p r i s e i s augmented, f o r a l l c o n c e r n e d , by the f a c t t h a t when the c h o r u s f i r s t c a l l e d f o r h e l p a t 841-843 no one r e s p o n d e d , T h e s e u s ' m o t i v a t i o n i s s t r o n g . He has hea rd s h o u t i n g f rom t h e d i r e c t i o n o f h i s g u e s t ' s abode a n d , s i n c e he has o f f e r e d h i s p r o t e c t i o n , comes t o i n v e s t i g a t e and t o h e l p . From T h e s e u s ' f i r s t words we d i s c o v e r t h a t he has been o f f e r i n g a s a c r i f i c e a t t he a l t a r o f P o s e i d o n n e a r b y . The i n v e n t i o n o f t he s a c r i f i c e d e m o n s t r a t e s S o p h o c l e s ' c o n c e r n w i t h d r a m a t i c c o n t i n u i t y , even i n e v e n t s n o t d e s i g n e d t o t a k e p l a c e on s t a g e . He has g i v e n Theseus a m o t i v e f o r s t a y i n g c l o s e a t hand when he w o u l d n o t n o r m a l l y have done s o . He has a l s o g i v e n him a m o t i v e , i n r e t r o s p e c t , f o r h i s u n e x p l a i n e d d e p a r t u r e a t 667 . He has g i v e n h i m s e l f a c o n v e n i e n t means t o 1 F e r g u s o n (1972) 224 . 138 avoid the d i s p a t c h of a messenger whenever Theseus i s r e q u i r e d . Time has been compressed here. In r e a l i t y , s e v e r a l minutes at l e a s t would have passed a f t e r the c h o r u s 1 shout before Theseus could abandon h i s s a c r i f i c e and dash to the grove of the Eumenides, but the drama cannot wait and Theseus a r r i v e s before the chorus has even f i n i s h e d shouting, (He may, of course, be responding to Oedipus' c a l l a t 831 or the chorus' c a l l at 841-843.) I t i s d o u b t f u l t h a t a s p e c t a t o r would be t r o u b l e d by such a minor i m p r o b a b i l i t y . For Theseus' f i r s t speech, Sophocles uses t r o c h a i c t e t r a m e t e r s , which are most o f t e n used i n melodramatic 3 s i t u a t i o n s . Sophocles seems to have been s p a r i n g i n t h e i r use, but t h e i r occurrence here suggests t h a t Theseus' eleventh-hour entry may not have been completely u n c o n t r i v e d . Theseus i n c l u d e s both Oedipus and the chorus i n h i s f i r s t words. Oedipus answers him i n iambics, calm now t h a t h i s b e nefactor i s here. He e x p l a i n s , i n the absence of Antigone who u s u a l l y i n t r o d u c e s newcomers, how i t i s t h a t he knows t h a t i t i s Theseus who has a r r i v e d : he r e c o g n i s e s the king's v o i c e . He says t h a t he has been wronged "by t h a t man" Tood U'K* ojv'bpo^ (892) but the l i n e i s wasted, f o r Theseus does not know who Creon i s or what he has done. Theseus' impatient q u e s t i o n s at 893, now addressed to Oedipus alone, seek to 2 As the s c h o l i a s t p e r c e p t i v e l y remarks, note to 887, De Marco, S c h o l i a , 43. 3 Norwood (1928) 334, notes t h a t the l o n g e s t passages of di a l o g u e i n t r o c h a i c s appear i n the Orestes and the I p h i g e n e i a i n A u l i d e of E u r i p i d e s - both "melodramas." 139 r e c t i f y t h i s . Now Oedipus speaks more c l e a r l y : the man i s Creon and he has taken the g i r l s (894-895) . A f t e r an '--\ u n c e r t a i n TTcoj &vTO$'(896) Theseus s w i f t l y reviews the s i t u a t i o n and gi v e s orders f o r i t s r e c t i f i c a t i o n . D r a m a t i c a l l y , he needed to ask the q u e s t i o n s which he asked. He c o u l d not have known what had happened (although the scene he comes upon at 887 looks d i f f e r e n t from the scene he l e f t a t 667 - Creon has r e p l a c e d A n t i g o n e ) , However, s i n c e the audience does know what has happened, Sophocles has l i m i t e d Theseus' e n q u i r i e s t o a minimum. (In f a c t , Theseus understands more than he d r a m a t i c a l l y should from t h i s b r i e f i n g . He i s able to d i v i n e from o^ f r T o i i , with Creon as s u b j e c t (894), t h a t i t i s Creon's guards who have the g i r l s and who might at t h i s very moment be removing them from Colonus.) Sophocles has managed to make Theseus' s w i f t comprehension of events, n e c e s s i t a t e d by a r t i s t i c economy, seem a v i r t u e . The k i n g demonstrates h i s d e c i s i v e n e s s and h i s w i l l i n g n e s s to help h i s guest, Theseus orders one of h i s attendants to r e t u r n to the a l t a r of Poseidon and t e l l the people there to leave the s a c r i f i c e and to stop the abduction of the g i r l s . Everyone i s to go - those with horses and those without. The i n v e n t i o n of the s a c r i f i c e to Poseidon has f o r t u i t u o u s l y p r o v i d e d a manageable group of people i n the immediate neighbourhood. They are to go to the p l a c e where the "double-mouthed roads 140 meet" (900-901) and i n t e r c e p t the g i r l s and t h e i r c a p t o r s . 4 There i s no v e r i f i c a t i o n t h a t the attendant performs h i s task as ordered, f o r the crowds from the a l t a r of Poseidon do not appear at the grove on t h e i r way to the c r o s s r o a d s , although they are mentioned again a t 1023. These men do not, i n f a c t , perform the rescue. At 9 04 Theseus turns from remedial a c t i o n to t r i a l and punishment of the m i s c r e a n t . There i s a formal agon between Creon and Oedipus, w i t h Theseus a c t i n g as chairman, and i n i t i a l l y as spokesman f o r Athens a g a i n s t Creon, Theseus' speech to Creon (909-936) i s not s t r i c t l y r e q u i r e d by the p l o t - Creon's abduction of the g i r l s i s crime enough f o r him t o be punished, and no other charges need be l a i d , I t i s d r a m a t i c a l l y a c c e p t a b l e , however, f o r Creon has wronged Athens and i n s u l t e d Theseus by behaving l a w l e s s l y i n Athenian t e r r i t o r y . But the speech has a prime purpose which i s l e s s c l o s e l y connected w i t h the demands of the drama. I t i s designed to g l o r i f y Athens - to i n s p i r e c onfidence i n her 4 I do not propose to d i s c u s s at l e n g t h the two roads meant or the p r e c i s e l o c a t i o n of the spot where they i n t e r s e c t . Jebb, Coloneus, 146, i n h i s note to 899ff, and 286-288, i n h i s appendix on 1059, d i s c u s s e s these q u e s t i o n s i n g r e a t e r depth than they deserve. Only one of h i s two suggested p o i n t s f o r the c o n f r o n t a t i o n w i t h Creon's men i s p o s s i b l e . T h i s i s A (on the map f a c i n g 287). B, which appears to be a f u s i o n of two roads i n t o one, does not f i t the d e s c r i p t i o n ^i<rToyA.oi ... ddOt (900-901), which c l e a r l y means a c r o s s r o a d s , Theseus wants h i s men to a r r i v e at the crossroads before Creon's men (900-902); i f they a r r i v e a f t e r them, they w i l l not know which road the Thebans have taken. At A, there are two p o s s i b l e routes f o r the Thebans to take, but at B, o n l y one, so there would be no p o i n t i n h u r r y i n g to t h i s p a r t i c u l a r p o i n t . (Jebb does, i n f a c t , d e c i d e t h a t A i s the c o r r e c t p o i n t , f o r other reasons.) I t i s not necessary, however, f o r us to determine where the c r o s s r o a d s r e a l l y was. We have only to comprehend the dramatic s i g n i f i c a n c e of i t . 141 among the s p e c t a t o r s , d u r i n g the t r o u b l e d l a s t years of the f i f t h century. Sophocles p r a i s e s her laws, her system of j u s t i c e . There i s an i m p l i c i t understanding t h a t no Athenian not only Theseus, would behave i n a f o r e i g n country as Creon has behaved i n A t t i c a (924-928). Indeed, no other Theban would behave as Creon has done (919-923) - the poet i s c a r e f u l to ensure t h a t he does not suggest t h a t a l l Thebans are m o r a l l y reproachable, l e s t any extra-dramatic c o n c l u s i o n s be drawn. Although Sophocles' " c o m p e t i t i v e " motives are obvious, t h i s speech i s i n no way at v a r i a n c e with the content of a p l a y i n which Athens i s shown as a haven f o r the wronged, " ^6v\«*. " j _ s a n important theme, and three of the f Thebans i n v o l v e d are p e r f e c t l y decent people. F u r t h e r , some advancement of the p l o t i n w o v e n i n t o the speech, though i t does not g i v e r i s e t o the speech, with Theseus' i n s i s t e n c e t h a t Creon must r e t u r n the g i r l s b efore he can be f r e e to leave the country (909-910; 932-935). There are a l s o charges made a g a i n s t Creon which he answers i n h i s own speech: t h a t he has p e r p e t r a t e d an a c t of v i o l e n c e (916); t h a t he must have considered Athens a c i t y v o i d of men or f u l l of s l a v e s (917); t h a t he must have considered Theseus mindless (918) and t h a t experience has made him (Creon) a w i t l e s s o l d man (931). The chorus l e a d e r , h i s h y s t e r i a , l i k e Oedipus', now past, addresses two l i n e s to Creon - a summation of Theseus' speech. He i s h o s t i l e , but p o l i t e . Creon, who has a l r e a d y demonstrated h i s s k i l l i n forming a p p a r e n t l y p e r s u a s i v e 142 arguments, r e p l i e s t o Theseus w i t h s t u d i e d impertinence. He s t a t e s t h a t he co n s i d e r e d Athens n e i t h e r manless nor l a c k i n g m s e n s i b l e l e a d e r s h i p (939-940) . He suggests t h a t he i s d i s a p p o i n t e d i n the Athenians - t h a t he had not thought t h a t they would harbour a r e l a t i v e of h i s a g a i n s t h i s w i l l (941-943). He suggests t h a t h i s o p i n i o n of t h e i r i n t e l l e c t s has r e c e n t l y d i m i n i s h e d , f o r he had not expected them to welcome a p a r r i c i d e (944-949), I t seems t h a t everyone i s g u i l t y except Creon h i m s e l f . Had Oedipus not proved h o s t i l e to him, Creon would not have been f o r c e d to t r y to remove him v i o l e n t l y . He o f f e r s no excuse f o r the f a c t t h a t he had taken Ismene hostage before ever he and Oedipus met. He f e e l s t h a t h i s anger was understandable - he p i c k s up Theseus' taunt of 931 (that he i s aged and devoid of wit) and, without a c t u a l l y answering i t , a s s e r t s t h a t only death, and not o l d age, i s proof a g a i n s t anger (954-955), Most c r i t i c s see a t h r e a t i n Cre o n 1 s l a s t words, "He h i n t s t h a t , though he cannot r e s i s t now, he w i l l take s t e p s , when he r e t u r n s to Thebes, fOr o b t a i n i n g r e d r e s s by f o r c e of arms." Yet Creon's s t r a t e g y e a r l i e r i n t h i s episode was to r e s o r t to t h r e a t s of v i o l e n c e only when pe r s u a s i o n has f a i l e d , and so f a r , i n t h i s c o n f r o n t a t i o n with Theseus, per s u a s i o n has not f a i l e d . These l a s t l i n e s are r a t h e r an ^With Jebb, Coloneus, 152, note to 939f, I am i n c l i n e d to th i n k t h a t i m p l i e s the "lack of a g u i d i n g mind" and answers w/'«vTw^)tvl i n Theseus 1 speech (918). There i s thus no need t o i n s e r t a r e f e r e n c e t o (3o\»A*A i n Theseus' speech. 3o^nv rvvl (917) was a l t e r e d t o (3ooAi^ <KXok by Wecklein w i t h t h i s need i n mind (see Jebb, Coloneus, 149, note t o 917), Jebb, Coloneus, 154, note t o 957ff. attempt to win sympathy. Creon attempts to d i s p l a y h i m s e l f as a courageous and r i g h t e o u s man: Theseus i s to do whatever he wishes (956) - presumably f o r c e Creon t o r e t u r n the g i r l s . Although he, Creon, i s i n the r i g h t , he i s alone. Yet, d e s p i t e t h i s , and o l d though he i s , he w i l l put up a v a l i a n t r e s i s t a n c e (956-959). We expect the chorus l e a d e r to speak, or Theseus to r e p l y , as Creon has been addressing the Athenian, but Oedipus cannot c o n t a i n h i s anger, and i t transcends the u s u a l f o r m a l i t i e s of an agon. C r e o n 1 s l a s t speech, o s t e n s i b l y d i r e c t e d a t Theseus, c o n t a i n e d s i d e l o n g a c c u s a t i o n s a g a i n s t Oedipus which he f e r v e n t l y answers, although the s u b j e c t of the agon so f a r has been Creon 1s g u i l t , not Oedipus'. Oedipus stands accused of murder and of i n c e s t (962 - i n answer to 7 Creon's words of 944-946). His defence to both charges i s t h a t with the gods a g a i n s t him he acted i n ignorance of the f a c t s , and t h a t h i s a c t i o n s were thus not wholly h i s r e s p o n s i b i l i t y . Such i s Oedipus' a p o l o g i a (960-^990), The theme of Oedipus' g u i l t or innocence i s never developed, and no v i n d i c a t i o n ever takes p l a c e . T h i s simple d e c l a r a t i o n of ignorance, though i t i t s e l f p i c k s up the theme of 270-274 (Oedipus to the ch o r u s ) , i s never r e f e r r e d to by another c h a r a c t e r . D r a m a t i c a l l y , the a p o l o g i a i s r e q u i r e d l a r g e l y as an o u t l e t f o r Oedipus' rage. Theseus never asks f o r i t , and i t s c r e d i b i l i t y i s not a c o n d i t i o n of h i s h o s p i t a l i t y towards 7 The CT^AA^O^OLS of 962 does not r e f e r t o a separate crime. I t simply means "and attendant m i s e r i e s . " 144 Oedipus. Creon i s n e i t h e r d e s e r v i n g of e x p l a n a t i o n s nor i n t e r e s t e d i n them, and anyway, t h i s must be o l d ground f o r Creon and Oedipus, who spent s e v e r a l years i n Thebes together a f t e r Oedipus' d o w n f a l l , Oedipus' i n t e l l e c t i s as much i n evidence as h i s rage. 991-999 are the words of the defence c o u n s e l , not the defendant. " T e l l me, i f someone should approach you as i f to 8 k i l l you - and you were doing no wrong - would you ask whether he was your f a t h e r , or would you d e a l with him immediately?" (992-994). Oedipus' a t t a c k on Creon h i m s e l f i s concerned l e s s w i t h h i s v i o l e n c e (though t h i s i s mentioned at 1008-1009) than with h i s i n d i s c r i m i n a t e tongue (1000-1004). The speech ends with a prayer to the Eumenides f o r a i d . The chorus l e a d e r , as i f i n answer to the p r a y e r , g i v e s h i s v e r b a l support (1014-1015), The c o n t e s t , of course, has not been a f a i r one. The judge has never doubted t h a t Oedipus i s r i g h t and Creon wrong. No formal v e r d i c t i s necessary. Theseus c l o s e s the argument - o?A)J Ao^^ v (1016) . While they have been q u a r r e l l i the g i r l s might have been taken f u r t h e r away. Creon's T\ cK"T ctjtAvpotf 4>wTi TrpotrToLcrorfeij TV0 6*-\/j (1018) does not show an honest d e s i r e to r e t u r n the g i r l s , nor i s i t merely a c o n t i n u a t i o n of h i s pretence of h e l p l e s s n e s s from 956-958. I t has been observed t h a t "the tone i s h a l f s u l k y , h a l f whining. 9 He has g i v e n up the game." T h i s i s s u r e l y not t r u e . Creon I 8 i ' cIcKeUov' (992) i s a n i c e s a r c a s t i c touch - as 1000 c o n f i r m s . 9 Jebb, Coloneus, 162, note to 1018. 145 a t h i s n a s t i e s t when thwarted. He has by no means given up. The l i n e i s i n s p i r e d by the b e l i e f t h a t there i s nothing Theseus can make him do towards the recovery of the g i r l s . In c a l l i n g h i m s e l f an crtyuva,opOS V1^ -5 Creon i s being h e a v i l y s a r c a s t i c . The tone i s l e e r i n g . 1 1 " 1 There i s something Creon can do. He can lead the way, with Theseus as h i s chaperon to the p l a c e where the g i r l s a re, i f they are being h e l d i n the v i c i n i t y . 1 1 However, i f Theseus d i s c o v e r s t h a t the g i r l s and t h e i r c aptors are a l r e a d y w e l l on t h e i r way to Thebes, the "others" (1023) w i l l go a f t e r them. I t i s Sophocles' wish t h a t Theseus be p e r s o n a l l y i n v o l v e d i n the rescue, but Theseus has a l r e a d y sent a band of men, the "others," a f t e r the g i r l s •<-• the only l o g i c a l move he c o u l d have made at the time, given t h a t he had to take some step towards t h e i r r e scue, but t h a t he wished to s t a y , h i m s e l f , to d e a l with Creon (897^902), So, when Theseus now expresses h i s i n t e n t i o n to l o c a t e the g i r l s h i m s e l f . Sophocles, c a r e f u l t o a v o i d d u p l i c a t i o n of r e s o u r c e s , ensures t h a t he d i f f e r e n t i a t e s between what he expects to do h i m s e l f and what he expects those who were sent i n p u r s u i t e a r l i e r t o do. Thus, the command at 897-902 i s not redundant, although nothing, i n f a c t , comes of i t , f o r of 1 (^The (JyA.o-Uf'u s <j>k>_5 must be Creon. I t would be both p o i n t l e s s and dangerous to d e s c r i b e Oedipus i n t h i s way a t t h i s p o i n t . Reading ~T0pT*v d e/At at 1019 with Jebb, Coloneus 162. The manuscripts read n, <)6„Mfc.. TTO^TTOV 6 /A 0 I , Pearson, Sophocles, ad l o c . , "as Theseus' guide" g i v e s the same end r e s u l t , but a d i f f e r e n t emphasis. I t i s p r e f e r a b l e to t h i n k t h a t Theseus does not t r u s t the Theban, and i s determined to see t h a t Creon i s e s c o r t e d so t h a t he cannot escape. course i t i s Theseus and h i s few attendants who make the rescue, not the crowds whom we never see. The pompous proverbs which Theseus now u t t e r s (1025-1027) would be most accep t a b l e i f they were the c l o s i n g remarks of a scene, but i n s t e a d Theseus' speech t a i l s o f f i n t o a vague i m p l i c a t i o n t h a t Creon has A t t i c accomplices (1028-1035). Jebb w r i t e s "The a n c i e n t Greek was quick to e x p l a i n d i s a s t e r by t r e a s o n . . . . Theseus had no d e f i n i t e ground f o r h i s s u s p i c i o n , but i t s u t t e r a n c e serves to p l a c e him ( f o r 12 a Greek audience) on the proper l e v e l of wary s a g a c i t y . " I t seems more l i k e l y t h a t the u t t e r a n c e would leave the audience as confused as i t has l e f t the commentators. The i m p l i c a t i o n s are never e x p l a i n e d . Despite h i s a s s e r t i o n t h a t he w i l l i n v e s t i g a t e (1032), Theseus does not, a p p a r e n t l y , d i s c o v e r or even look f o r any t r e a s o n d u r i n g the time covered by the events of t h i s p l a y , and there has been no evidence, before now, t h a t Creon has had help from w i t h i n the c i t y . Thus the l i n e s are d r a m a t i c a l l y i s o l a t e d , and form a dead end i n p l o t development. They seem to m i l i t a t e a g a i n s t the p i c t u r e of a h e a l t h y Athens which Sophocles has t r i e d so hard to p a i n t . Creon cannot r e f u s e to take Theseus to the p l a c e where the g i r l s are being h e l d , f o r he i s outnumbered, but h i s l a s t words are a t h r e a t of revenge when he i s i n a s t r o n g e r p o s i t i o n (1036-1037). Oedipus i s t o l d t o remain i n the grove; Theseus and Creon leave to recover the g i r l s . T h e i r departure i s motivated both d r a m a t i c a l l y (Creon i s the only one who 12 Jebb, Coloneus, 164, note to 1028ff. 147 knows where the g i r l s might be and Theseus has promised to rescue them) and by the p l o t (the g i r l s are to be r e t u r n e d to Oedipus so t h a t he can spend h i s l a s t hours with them). N e i t h e r c h a r a c t e r leaves so t h a t h i s a c t o r can p l a y another p a r t . The Creon-actor does not r e t u r n again (unless he p l a y s the p a r t of the messenger (1579-1779), which i s d o u b t f u l ) , The 13 Theseus-actor r e t u r n s as Theseus (1099). T h i s agon has c l e a r l y shown the creeds and moral sentiments of Creon, Oedipus and Theseus. I n c i d e n t a l l y , i t has provided f i n e speeches f o r the a c t o r s of a l l t h r e e p a r t s . I t has "proved" Creon g u i l t y , served t o exonerate Oedipus ( i n the absence of a t r i a l , we must b e l i e v e Oedipus' own testimony t h a t he was not r e s p o n s i b l e f o r h i s c r i m e s ) , and shown Theseus as a man of a c t i o n , a humanitarian and a " f a i r " judge ( t h i s i s c l e a r l y the impression intended, but i n f a c t Theseus has not been i m p a r t i a l , or even r e c e p t i v e to evidence from Creon). The scene has made Oedipus' v i c t o r y over Creon complete, and assured the r e t u r n of the g i r l s t o t h e i r f a t h e r . 1 3 S e e Part I I , 297, 299-300 and 290, 148 CHAPTER X. 1044-1095. The second