Second Choral Ode in Sophocles' Antigone

1153 Words5 Pages
The second choral ode in the Greek Tragedy Antigone by Sophocles is often referred to as the ‘Ode to Man’. As this title indicates, the chorus praises the humans and their achievements on earth. The ode however takes a turn in the last section and a warning to man is expressed in which man is reminded of the importance of reverence for the gods and ones city’s law. The use of very powerful language supports this speech by appealing to the reader’s senses and painting vivid images. Sophocles addresses issues, conflicts and images that are rooted within humans both in Ancient Greece as well as today. The use of archetypes strongly appeals to the reader and enforces the effects of the otherwise very powerful and pictorial language. The first two lines are an example for the use of powerful language. The word “wonderful” is used in the first line already in relation to the humans and is repeated in the second line, which enforces the effect it has on the reader. Literally translated “wonderful” means mirculous. With the use of this adjective the ode is given a supernatural touch in the first section already. Instead of using a more mundane adjective to describe man, Sophocles uses the effect of the supernatural (especially in combination with the word ‘strange’) to alarm the reader. It furthermore puts the humans closer to the gods. This first statement is followed up by a number of metaphors, which explain and illustrate the idea of the ‘strangely wonderful’ man. Images that are painted like the ‘white-capped’ seas immediately let a feel of danger arise within the reader. The white caps represent the foam on the waves in a stormy sea, which is a picture, which certainly was a very powerful one in ancient Greece and still is for the audience today. The section is continued with further use of wording that provokes alarm within the reader. Words like ‘surging’,
Open Document