In Sophocles' Antigone,  what does the Chorus mean in Ode 3, after Creon and Haemon's argument?

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Tamara K. H. | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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During the fight between Creon and Haemon, Creon accuses Haemon of being persuaded by Antigone and enslaved by his love for her, as we see in Creon's line, "You're the slave of a woman, don't chatter at me" (769). In other words, one reason why Creon is disregarding Haemon's perspective is because he thinks he has allowed himself to be corrupted by a woman, one who is weaker than he is. Therefore, the chorus's ode following this fight is all about how overpowering the emotion of love is.

The first line of the ode describes love as being unconquerable, even in battle, "Love, unconquered in battle" (795). The chorus continues further to argue that no man can escape love and that the lover, like Haemon, is insane, as we see in the lines:

There is no escape from you for immortals
or men who live but for a day;
he who has you is mad. (799-801)

The chorus also argues that love has the power to corrupt people, such as making just men unjust. Finally the chorus ends by confessing that they feel overcome with love for Antigone as well and feel like weeping as they see her being led to her "bridal chamber," meaning tomb (813).

Hence, we see that in this ode the chorus is agreeing with Creon in believing that Haemon has been corrupted by love and also feeling love and loss for Antigone themselves.


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