The messenger informs Adrastus that the bodies of the seven commanders are currently on their way. As for the rest of the dead, they’ve been buried in the “dells of Cithaeron.” According to the messenger, Theseus buried them himself beneath the “shadow of Eleutherare’s cliff.” Adrastus assumes that slaves prepared the savaged bodies for burial. Yet the messenger tells Adrastus that Theseus himself washed the bodies and wrapped them in the appropriate cloth.
When the bodies arrive, Theseus asks Adrastus to say a few kind remarks about the dead. These words should help the “younger citizens” understand the bravery of the warriors and why their courage and character is worthy of emulation.
The first dead person Adrastus mentions is Capaneus. According to Adrastus, Capaneus stayed humble and modest despite his great wealth. He was not greedy nor did he think he was better than a poor person.
The second fallen warrior Adrastus mentions is Eteoclus. Adrastus praises Eteoclus for refusing offers of gold so as not to become a “slave” to wealth. Next up is, Hippomedon, whom Adrastus extolls for his dedication to masculine activities. Then there’s Parthenopaeus, whom Adrastus describes as a “youth of peerless beauty,” and Tydeus, whom Adrastus commends as an excellent war strategist.
When Adrastus asks the mothers of the slain to approach their sons, Theseus countermands him. He doesn’t think they should see such mutilation. As for Evadne, Capaneus’s wife, she leaps into the pyre as an act of loyalty.