39 pages 1 hour read


The Seven against Thebes

Fiction | Play | Adult | Published in 467

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Lines 792-1078Chapter Summaries & Analyses

Lines 792-1004 Summary (Third Episode, Third Stasimon, and Antiphonal Dirge)

A Messenger enters to report that the city “has escaped the yoke of slavery” (793). At six of the seven gates, the attackers have been defeated; at the seventh gate, however, Eteocles and Polynices have killed each other in single combat.

In the third stasimon, the Chorus wonders whether they should rejoice or mourn: The city has been saved, but the sons of Oedipus have died without issue, meaning that the royal line has come to an end.

Antigone and Ismene, the sisters of Eteocles and Polynices, enter to mourn over their brothers’ bodies. The Chorus breaks off into two half-choruses and sings an antiphonal dirge, a dirge in which the stanzas alternate between the two half-choruses. The Chorus laments the ruin of the house of Oedipus, viewing the deaths of the two brothers as the final fulfillment of the Curse of Oedipus. Now the whole city is in mourning.

Lines 1005-1078 Summary (Exodos)

After the Chorus sings their dirge, a Herald enters. He announces an edict that has been passed by the city: Eteocles is to be given an honorable funeral for his defense of the city, but Polynices, who attacked his own fatherland, is to be left unburied.