The Open Collections website will be unavailable July 27 from 2100-2200 PST ahead of planned usability and performance enhancements on July 28. More information here.

UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

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

Your browser doesn't seem to have a PDF viewer, please download the PDF to view this item.

Notice for Google Chrome users:
If you are having trouble viewing or searching the PDF with Google Chrome, please download it here instead.

Item Metadata

Download

Media
831-UBC_1976_A1 C35.pdf [ 16.7MB ]
Metadata
JSON: 831-1.0093819.json
JSON-LD: 831-1.0093819-ld.json
RDF/XML (Pretty): 831-1.0093819-rdf.xml
RDF/JSON: 831-1.0093819-rdf.json
Turtle: 831-1.0093819-turtle.txt
N-Triples: 831-1.0093819-rdf-ntriples.txt
Original Record: 831-1.0093819-source.json
Full Text
831-1.0093819-fulltext.txt
Citation
831-1.0093819.ris

Full Text

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