causing or marked by grief or anguish
To me, Antigone, no word of friends
Has come, or glad or
grievous, since we twain
Were reft of our two brethren in one day
By double fratricide;
a cry of sorrow and grief
No man may bury him or make
put a law into effect by formal declaration
Such is the edict (if report speak true)
Of Creon, our most noble Creon, aimed
At thee and me, aye me too; and anon
He will be here to
promulgate, for such
As have not heard, his mandate;
"Mandate" and "edict" are synonyms for a law that King Creon is soon arriving to promulgate. This formal declaration of a law emphasizes the power of a king's speech, which will be challenged later by the speech of a young girl. Keep in mind that this is a play where all the conflicts and power shifts are developed through dialogue rather than action.
act in disregard of laws, rules, contracts, or promises
'tis in sooth
No passing humor, for the edict says
transgresses shall be stoned to death.
assist or encourage, usually in some wrongdoing
Say, wilt thou aid me and
Bethink thee, sister, of our father's fate,
Abhorred, dishonored, self-convinced of sin,
Blinded, himself his executioner.
Ismene reminds Antigone of their father's fate, because she does not want that to happen to them. But as the daughters/sisters of a man who'd killed his father and married his mother, they already carry some of the abhorred dishonor of Oedipus's life and death.
How sweet to die in such employ, to rest,—
Sister and brother linked in love's embrace—
A sinless sinner, banned awhile on earth,
But by the dead commended; and with them
abide for ever.
Although Antigone starts her speech by saying she will not try to urge Ismene anymore, these lines about sweetly abiding with brothers who will love and praise her forever are meant to both shame Ismene and let her know what she'd be missing out on.
maintain, uphold, or defend
Against our land the proud invader came
vindicate fell Polyneices' claim.
detect with the senses
Yet 'tis no easy matter to
The temper of a man, his mind and will,
Till he be proved by exercise of power;
a person without moral scruples
But for the
miscreant exile who returned
Minded in flames and ashes to blot out
His father's city and his father's gods,
And glut his vengeance with his kinsmen's blood,
Or drag them captive at his chariot wheels—
For Polyneices 'tis ordained that none
Shall give him burial or make mourn for him,
the act of coming before in time or order or rank
never by my will
Shall miscreants take
precedence of true men,
But all good patriots, alive or dead,
Shall be by me preferred and honored.
But in the end the forward voice
To face thee. I will speak though I say nothing.
For plucking courage from despair methought,
'Let the worst hap, thou canst but meet thy fate.'
Another definition of "prevail" is "use persuasion successfully"--on the surface, the guard is simply saying that his forward voice prevailed over his cowardly silence, but throughout his speech, he is hoping that he could persuade Creon not to kill him for bringing him bad news.
place in a grave or tomb
The corpse had vanished, not
interred in earth,
But strewn with dust, as if by one who sought
To avert the curse that haunts the unburied dead:
Of hound or ravening jackal, not a sign.
Antigone could not physically inter her brother's body, but she did so symbolically by sprinkling dust, and somehow, the dust was enough to turn away the hungry hounds and jackals.
the abode of Satan and the forces of evil
Our quest was at a standstill, when one spake
And bowed us all to earth like quivering reeds,
For there was no gainsaying him nor way
For fifth century BC Greeks, Satan did not exist. The force of evil suggested in the word "perdition" seems to lie more within Creon and the use of his power to sentence people to death.
give as a gift
Is it not arrant folly to pretend
That gods would have a thought for this dead man?
Did they forsooth award him special grace,
And as some benefactor bury him,
Who came to fire their hallowed sanctuaries,
To sack their shrines, to desolate their land,
And scout their ordinances? Or perchance
bestow their favors on the bad.
in a habitual and longstanding manner
inveterate babbler! get thee gone!
fraught with danger
Many wonders there be, but naught more wondrous than man;
Over the surging sea, with a whitening south wind wan,
Through the foam of the firth, man makes his
made of or resembling brass, as in color or hardness
Anon she gathered handfuls of dry dust,
Then, holding high a well-wrought
Thrice on the dead she poured a lustral stream.
Another definition of "brazen" is "face with defiance or impudence"--while the example sentence is using "brazen" as an adjective to describe the urn, the verb "brazen" could be used to describe how Antigone is deliberately and openly disobeying Creon's mandate.
keep in mind or convey as a conviction or view
Take it all in all, I
A man's first duty is to serve himself.
This is an odd view to declare to one's king. But the guard, in presenting Antigone as a law breaker, is both serving the king and saving himself from being accused. In risking her own life to serve her brother, Antigone is showing that she deems the guard's view to be wrong.
not subject or susceptible to change or variation
Nor did I deem that thou, a mortal man,
Could'st by a breath annul and override
immutable unwritten laws of Heaven.
an offensive disrespectful impudent act
But this proud girl, in
First overstepped the established law, and then—
A second and worse act of
She boasts and glories in her wickedness.
Now if she thus can flout authority
Unpunished, I am woman, she the man.
deeply agitated especially from emotion
Bring forth the older; even now I saw her
Within the palace, frenzied and
formally reject or disavow a formerly held belief
Say, didst thou too abet
This crime, or dost
abjure all privity?
righteousness by virtue of being pious
O sister, scorn me not, let me but share
Thy work of
piety, and with thee die.
sorrowful through loss or deprivation
What would life profit me
bereft of thee?
overcome or allay
Thy might, O Zeus, what mortal power can
Not sleep that lays all else beneath its spell,
Nor moons that never tire:
worthy of adoration or reverence
untouched by Time,
Throned in the dazzling light
That crowns Olympus' height,
Thou reignest King, omnipotent,
inclined or willing to give in to orders or wishes of others
For 'tis the hope of parents they may rear
A brood of sons
submissive, keen to avenge
Their father's wrongs, and count his friends their own.
to cause to separate and go in different directions
What evils are not wrought by Anarchy!
She ruins States, and overthrows the home,
dissipates and routs the embattled host;
While discipline preserves the ordered ranks.
Notice how Creon is personifying Anarchy with the feminine pronoun "She"--he is trying to equate Antigone's one act of disobedience with the verbs "dissipate," "ruin," and "overthrow". This logic does not work because the kingdom actually sides with Antigone and because Creon himself is creating anarchy by going against the laws of the gods.
wish, long, or crave for
O father, nothing is by me more prized
Than thy well-being, for what higher good
covet than their sire's fair fame,
As fathers too take pride in glorious sons?
discretion in practical affairs
What, would you have us at our age be schooled,
prudence by a beardless boy?
keep company with; hang out with
Think not that in my sight the maid shall die,
Or by my side; never shalt thou again
Behold my face hereafter. Go,
With friends who like a madman for their mate.
something causing misery or death
Mark ye the cruel laws that now have wrought my
extremely wicked, deeply criminal
Thus by the law of conscience I was led
To honor thee, dear brother, and was judged
By Creon guilty of a
assistance in time of difficulty
What ordinance of heaven have I transgressed?
Hereafter can I look to any god
succor, call on any man for help?
Although Haemon arrives too late to succor Antigone, her questions suggest that she did not really believe that she would die for her act. In addition to having divine law on her side, she is the niece of Creon and the intended bride of Creon's son. Antigone's royal background enabled her to argue with Creon, which threatened Creon's sense of self and power, and leads to her needing succor.
a feeling of evil to come
Thy words inspire a dread
Therefore the angry gods
Our litanies and our burnt offerings;
stubbornly persistent in wrongdoing
To err is common
To all men, but the man who having erred
Hugs not his errors, but repents and seeks
The cure, is not a wastrel nor unwise.
No fool, the saw goes, like the
having a preference, disposition, or tendency
Skilled prophet art thou, but to wrong
seize and take control without authority
For that thou hast entombed a living soul,
And sent below a denizen of earth,
And wronged the nether gods by leaving here
A corpse unlaved, unwept, unsepulchered.
Herein thou hast no part, nor e'en the gods
In heaven; and thou
usurp'st a power not thine.
impervious to moral persuasion
Vengeance of the gods
Is swift to overtake the
to gain with effort
He had saved this land
Of Cadmus from our enemies and
A monarch's powers and ruled the state supreme,
While a right noble issue crowned his bliss.
Now all is gone and wasted, for a life
Without life's joys I count a living death.
leave undone or leave out
Dear mistress, I was there and will relate
The perfect truth,
omitting not one word.
Why should we gloze and flatter, to be proved
feeling or expressing pain or sorrow for sins or offenses
We offered first a prayer
To Pluto and the goddess of cross-ways,
contrite hearts, to deprecate their ire.
ask for humbly or earnestly, as in prayer
When the King saw him, with a terrible groan
He moved towards him, crying, "O my son
What hast thou done? What ailed thee? What mischance
Has reft thee of thy reason? O come forth,
Come forth, my son; thy father
So there they lay
Two corpses, one in death. His marriage rites
consummated in the halls of Death:
marked by prudence or modesty and wise self-restraint
'Tis that she shrinks in public to lament
Her son's sad ending, and in privacy
Would with her maidens mourn a private loss.
Trust me, she is
discreet and will not err.
Well, let us to the house and solve our doubts,
tumult of her heart conceals
Some fell design.
The tumult of the Queen's heart does lead to her fall. "Fell" is actually used as an adjective here that means "disposed to inflict pain or suffering"--to ease the tumult of her heart from the loss of her son, the Queen chooses to kill herself. This design is fell because she inflicts pain on herself and causes the King and the rest of the kingdom to suffer another loss.
impose something unpleasant
Thy wife, the mother of thy dead son here,
Lies stricken by a fresh
a rebuke for making a mistake
Swelling words of high-flown might
Mightily the gods do smite.
Chastisement for errors past
Wisdom brings to age at last.
Chastisement often takes the form of a verbal punishment, but that was not enough for Creon to see the error of his ways. Although chastised by Antigone, Haemon, and Tiresias, Creon did not recognize that he was just a "worthless wretch"--not until the gods smacked him down by taking away his son and wife.