"Make Straight Your Own Path to Destiny"1 A Reading of Sophocles' Antigone

JVF Conference Papers

"Wisdom is far the chief element in happiness and, secondly, no irreverence towards the gods. But great words of haughty men exact in retribution blows as great and in old age teach wisdom.” This is the closing passage of the play, Antigone, spoken solemnly by the chorus as the defeated and weary Creon exits the stage. In their terse eloquence, these lines capture any of the crucial themes of the text: the intellectual struggle of reconciling religious and civic allegiances, the danger of human hubris and the denial of limits, the inescapability of fate, the need for wisdom in order to achieve eudiamonia and the tendency for this wisdom to come in old age after years of errors and suffering...

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