Antigone Questions and Answers
by Sophocles

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In Antigone, how does the mood of the chorus change during the play?

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The Chorus in Antigone reflects the attitude of the citizens of Thebes. At first, the Chorus supports Creon’s position, as he is the King of Thebes and is trying to return Thebes to stability after the attempt by Polynices to take Thebes from his brother, Eteocles. Like Creon, the Chorus is in no mood to be lenient on anyone who would honor those who fought, in its eyes, against Thebes.

After Antigone is identified as the one who defied the decree not to bury Polynices, the Chorus seems to waiver in its support for Creon, and thus it urges him to reconsider the punishment announced in the decree. From this, the viewer can see that Creon is losing some of the support of the citizens of Thebes. This loss of support likely contributes to Creon deciding to entomb Antigone alive instead of directly executing her publicly.

The Chorus completes its reversal after Teiresias visits Creon and warns him that the gods see his actions as an affront and thus have abandoned Thebes. This loss of the Chorus’s support coincides with Haemon’s decision to defy his father, showing the audience that Creon has lost not only the support of the citizens, but the support of those closest to him as well.  

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