What is the point of "Ode to Man" (p. 205)? What message is implied? Is man primarily good or bad?

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thanatassa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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The first `stasimon`or `standing song` (song the chorus sings when in the orchestra rather than entering or exiting) of Sophocles `Àntigone` is called the "Ode to Man". It begins with the claim that mankind is the most wonderful (or terrifying – the Greek word carries both meanings) of all things. It attributes much of the greatness of humanity to the ability of ;people to work together in poleis, or cities, which exemplify collaboration and civilization.

The ode reminds us that what is most important should not be individual desires or ego, but what is good for the polis as a whole. In this, the chorus, being the anonymous voice of the elders rather than an individual actor, speaks for the common good.


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