Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Prologue and Section One edits by Lindsey:

Antigone: Come, Ismene, my own dear sister, come! There is no sorrow left,
no single shame, no pain, no tragedy, which does not hound us, you and me,
towards our end. Do you know? Have you heard? Or are you sheltered from
the news that deals a death blow to our dearest?
Ismene: Our Dearest, Antigone? I've heard no news either good or bad, ever
since we two were stripped of two brothers in a single day, Each
dismissing each by each other's hand. And since that Argive army fled last
night, I've heard no more-either glad or sad.
Antigone: That's what I thought, that's why I've brought you here beyond
the gates that you may hear my news alone.
Ismene: What mischief are you hinting at?
Antigone: I think you know...Our two dear brothers: Creon is burying one
to desecrate the other. Eteocles, they say, he has dispatched with proper
rites as one judged fit to pass in glory to the shades. But Polyneices,
killed as piteously, an interdict forbids that anyone should bury him or
even mourn. That's what they say our good and no ble Creon plans: plans
for you and me, yes, me; And now he's coming here to publish it and make
it plain to those who haven't heard. Anyone who disobeys will pay no
trifling penalty but die by stoning before the city walls. There's your
chance to prove your worth, or else a sad degeneracy.
Ismene: You firebrand! Could I do a thing to change the situation as it is?
Antigone: You could. Are you willing to share danger and suffering and...
Ismene: Danger? What are you scheming at?
Antigone:...take this hand of mine to bury the dead?
Ismene: What! Bury him and flout the interdict?
Antigone: He is my brother, still, and yours; though you would have it
otherwise, but I shall not abandon him.
Ismene: What! Challenge Creon to his face?
Antigone: He has no right to keep me from my own.
Ismene: SIster, please, please! Remeber how our father died: hated, in
disgrace, self-dismantled in horror of himself, his own hand stabbing out
his sight. And how his mother-wife in one twisted off her earthly days
with cord; And thirdly how our two brothers in a single day each achieved
for each a suicidal nemesis. And now, we two are left. Think how much
worse our end will be than all the rest if we defy our sovereign's edict
and his power. Remind ourselves that we are women and as such are not made
to fight with men.
Antigone: I will not press you anymore. I would not want you as a partner
if you asked. Go to what you please. I go to bury him. How beautiful to
die in such a pursuit! To rest loved by him whom I have loved, sinner of a
holy sin, With longer time to charm the dead than those who live, for I
shall abide forever there.
Ismene: You know I don't do that. I'm just not made to war against the state.
Antigone: Make your apologies! I go to raise a tomb above my dearest brother.
Ismene: You foolhardy thing! You fighten me.
Antigone: Don't fear me. Be anxious for yourself.
Ismene: At least tell no one what you do, but keep it dark, and I shall
keep it secret too.
Antigone: Oh, tell it, tell it, shout it out! I'd hate your silencemore
than if you told the world.
Ismene: So fiery-in a business that chills!
Antigone: Perhaps, but I am doing what I must.
Ismene: Yes, more than must. And you are doomed to fail.
Antigone: Why, then, I'll fail, but not give up before.
Ismene: Don't plunge me into such a hopefuless enterprise.
Antigone: Urge me so, and I shall hate you soon. He, the dead, will justly
hate you too. Say that I'm mad, and madly let me risk. The worst that I
can suffer and the best: A death that martyrdom can render blest.
Ismene: Go then, if you must toward your end: Fool, wonderful fool, and
loyal friend.

Antistrophe II
Chorus: Now that this triumph, the loudest of triumphs, Oh joy'bearing
triumph! has come to our Thebes The proud city of chariots, why now let us
chase the memory far away of the wars that are blessedly past. Come call
on the gods with song and with dance all through the night at the groves
and the shrines, and Bacchus shall led the round- shouting and shaking all
Thebes with his revels.
Leader: But look who comes, the lucky Son of Menoeceus: The man of gods
have made our king. What new vicissitudes of state Vex him now? Why has he
sent A herald to our summons?


Creon: Gentlemen, the gods have graciously steadied our ship of state,
which storms have terribly toseed. And now I have called you here
privately because of course I know your loyalty to the House of Laius.
Now, naturally, there is no way to tell the character and mettle of a man
until you've seen him govern. Nevertheless I want to make it plain: I am
the kind of man who can't and never could abide the tounge-tied ruler who
through fear backs away from sound advice. ANd I find intolerable the man
who puts his country second to his friends. For insatnce, if I saw ruin
and danger heading for the state, I would speak out. Never could I make my
country's enemy my private friend, knowing as I do. she is the good ship
that bears us safe. So there you have my principles by which I govern. You
see the kind of man I am! You'll not catch me putting traitors up on
pedestals beside the loyal and true.
Leader: Your disposition is quite clear, Son of Menoeceus, Creon, touching
friend or enemy of this city our city. We know you have the power, too, to
wreak your will upon the living and the dead.
Creon: Then see to it my injunctions are performed.
Leader: Put the burden on some younger men.
Creon: No. Sentries are already posted on the corpse.
Leader: Then what exactly do you want us to do?
Creon: Merely see there's no infringments of the law.
Leader: No man is mad enough to welcome the dead.
Creon: And death it is. But greed of gain has often made men fools.
Sentry: King, I won't pretend I come at breakneck speed, all out of
breath. I kept on stopping in my think...and turning back. So
I've come scurrying at a snail's pace by the long shortcut, the "forward"
voice in charge. Are 'ere I am, with a tale to tell that makes no sense,
which any'ow I'll tell, cos I do believe nothing bad can 'appen that isn't
on one's ticket.
Creon: Come to the point, man! What are you dithering about?
Sentry: First, sir, if I may slip in a word about meself. It in't me that
done it, and I dunno who darned done it neither; so it in't fair to make
me take the rap.
Creon: Done it? Done it? You're a great marksman-hit the target the first
time! You must have something very odd to say.
Sentry: It's awfully off-putting, sir, to bring bad news-especially to
you, sir.
Creon: Then get on with it and go.
Sentry: Right! I'll tell you straight. The body-it's buried like. I mean
someone's just gorne and sprinkled dust on it-right proper thirsty dust-
and gorne...done the ritual, sir, you see.
Creon: What are you saying, man? Who would have dared?
Sentry: Don't ask me, Sir! There ain't no mark of pick of mattock,
ground's all 'ard, unbroken, no wheel tracks neither: Not a sign of 'uman
'hands. When the sentry of the morning wacth pointed to it, there it was
at dawn, the corpse, as ungly mystery that struck us dumb. T'weren't
exactly buried, just sprinkled with earth, ritual like as if someone
wanted to set it free. No marks of dog of jackal neither-not a scratch.
Then we flew at one another, guard accusing guard. It came near to blows.
There weren't no clue to end the quarrel. Any one of us coulda done it.
See! No evidence to disprove any one of us-not a shred. So 'ere I am,
unwelcome I can tell, and un'appy too. For there ain't no one likes the
bringer of bad news.
Leader: Sire, I've had misgivings from the first: could this be more than
purely natural work.
Creon: Enough! You make me furious with such senile doddering remarks.
It;s quite insufferable. You really think they give a damn, the gods,
about this corpse? Next you'll say they make it a priority to bury him in
state, and thank him for his burning down their altars, sacking shrines,
scouting laws, and raping all the land. Or are the gods these days
considerate to criminals? Far from it! These are the ones, I'll warrant,
who have suborned my guards with bribes. You there! Get this straight: I
swear by almighty Zeus whom I revere and serve, that either you find the
man who did this burial and stand him here before my eyes, or Hades
himself will be too good for you until you've first confessed to
everything-yes hanging from a cross.
Sentry: Am I allowed a word, sir? Or do I just go?
Creon: Can't you see your very voice gets on my nerves?
Sentry: Hurts your ears, does it sir? Or kinda you conscience?
Creon: What business of yours is it to diagnose my pain?
Sentry: Because I only affect your ears; the culprit, your brain.
Creon: By God, what a born chatterer you are!
Sentry: Maybe, but it weren't me that did the burying. Well, let's hope
he's found. But caught or not (and only chance can tell), one thing's for
sure: you won't catch me coming back again. It's a miracle I got out of
'ere alive.

Antistrophe I

The light-balanced light -headed birds he snares; wild beasts of every
kind. In his nets the deep-sea fish are caught. Oh, mastery of man! The
free forest animal he herds; the roaming upland deer. The shaggy horse he
breaks to yoke the unflagging mountain bull.

Strophe II

Training his agile thoughts volatile as air he's civilized the world of
words and wit and law. With a roof against the sky, the javelin crystal
frosts the arrow-lancing rains; he's fertile in resource provident for
all, healing all disease: all but death, and death-death he never cures.


Post a Comment

<< Home