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The Third Stasimon:
The Chorus: “Love unconquered in fight”
The Chorus sings an ode in praise of love. Love is described as a warrior, who is “never conquered in fight.” Love wreaks havoc on the wealthy and the famous. Love is personified as a human being, or a lover, who keeps watch the whole night long in order to make advances towards a young maiden. Love roams over seas and resides in lonely dwellings in the forest. Nobody can avoid the thrills and pains of love. Humans, as well as the gods, are overcome by love and experience its frenzy.
Love, in a light and frivolous manner, leads “righteous minds” into wrong. Thus love brings about the ruin of those who were once good people. The Chorus blames love for causing the “unkindly quarrel” to erupt between Creon and Haemon. The Chorus asserts that even kings and makers of mighty laws are subordinate to the “heart-compelling eye of winsome bride.”
The Chorus ends with the line, “Madly thou mockest men, dread Aphrodite.” The leader of the Chorus now speaks. He is unable to restrain his tears, for he sees Antigone making her way to her final resting place.
Haemon’s appearance in the previous scene and his quarrel with Creon has had its effect on the Chorus. The Chorus now sings about love and its ability to rule over all. Love is compared to a soldier who destroys rich, established people. Love keeps watch all night in order to seduce a young maiden. Love exists in every corner of the world and rules over everyone, both mortal and immortal. According to Greek mythology, even the gods had love affairs.
The Chorus sees love as a distraction which draws righteous men to their doom. It conveys the belief that Haemon’s love for Antigone has caused a rift between Creon and Haemon. The Chorus maintains that a beautiful bride can possess more power than a mighty king. Therefore, the Chorus concludes that men are helpless under the spell of the all-powerful emotion of love. Aphrodite, the goddess of love, rules over men’s hearts and sways men so that they are led towards disaster. She is aptly described as “dread Aphrodite.”
The leader of the Chorus is deeply moved when he sees Antigone walking to her place of execution. As a citizen of Thebes, he sympathizes with Antigone and is unable to distance himself from what is happening. Like the Chorus, the audience begins to pity Antigone. They respect and admire her for her fascinating courage.