By the end of Antigone, what is the attitude of the Chorus in regards to Creon AND Antigone?

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mstultz72 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

At the end of Antigone the Chorus, being all males, focuses mainly on Creon, the male tragic hero and not Antigone.  Antigone's name is not uttered again after she is carried off by the guards.  Ironically, before her death, the Chorus had supported Creon in his decision to punish Antigone using martial law.

The role of the Chorus is that of the typical male Theban citizen in that they fear disobedience to the tyrant king and choose loyalty to the law above duty to the gods.  As such, they share some of the blame in the death of Antigone, but they do not lament her death as much as Creon.

The Chorus is quick to tell Creon the error of his ways:

Pray thou no more; for mortals have no escape from destined woe.

And the Chorus adds an exemplum to the end of the play:

Wisdom is the supreme part of happiness; and reverence towards the gods must be inviolate. Great words of prideful men are ever punished with great blows, and, in old age, teach the chastened to be wise.

But, the Chorus does not seem to penitent in Antigone's death, and they do not duly suffer for it like Creon.  So says Enotes:

One of the choral passages in the play is called the "Ode to Man," which glorifies humankind's accomplishments but warns against ignoring the gods. The Chorus, however, supports Creon's decisions until it becomes evident that his rule has resulted in tragedy. Creon reminds the Chorus that they too signed Antigone's death warrant by supporting his policies.

Their odes come too little too late, and they seem self-righteous and condescending.  Only Antigone chose to honor the gods through actions and not words.