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Neighbors, Cadmeans, citizens of Corinth, descendants of ancient Amphion who with his brother Zethus built this city from the ground up.
I am not here to judge. Who can truly find fault when there is not one of us who has never made a mistake. Wisdom is found in accounting for oneself. What have you done, what have you not completed?
[End Dhammapada 4:7]
The wheel of fortune is spinning,
do you know what side of the wheel you are on?
Are you rising, are you falling?
How can you be sure?
It was not long ago that Creon was happy, leading our city to victory over the invaders.
Having inherited the mantle of leadership, he prospered,
his children were privileged and his future was assured.
That is now the past.
Thoughtless action or inaction can bring change within an instant.
How often men will bury their gold under the floor, or squirrel away fine clothes, only to find that gold is cold and even the finest cloth can rot or be eaten away by moths. You can gather up your jewels and treasures, but they can be stolen. That which you most highly esteem is what will make up the substance of your dreams, dominate your thoughts and hold your attention.
[End Matthew 6:19-21]
Do not place your faith in stones or gold, the miser is rarely happy in this life and it has been said that when one dies the gold collected in this life that has not been put to compassionate use forges a chain that binds one to this world like an anchor holds a ship in port never to depart. A fool will not praise generosity, but the wise delight in giving, because what is given away belongs to the giver forever, thus it is often better to give than to receive.
[End Dhammapada 13:177]
Bring warmth into your life and home with loving words and kindness, cherish your family, your friends and above all cherish the sacred and divine.
What is wrong? What has happened?
Death. Death. And the dead condemn.
Condemn? What do you mean? Who is dead? Who is the killer?
Haemon, is no longer with us. His killer was no stranger.
No, has Creon killed his own son?
Haemon took his own life in anguish over his father's deeds.
Once again, Tiresias, our prophet is right.
That being the case, what else did he say?
Here comes Eurydice. Does she know? Is she aware of the death of her son?
I heard everything. I now know... I came to the door hoping to gather some friends to support me in prayer. As I opened the gate, I heard the news, now what am I to do ... will prayers now have any meaning? I am not sure what to believe, speak again and help me to understand. I shall listen, I am not unschooled in grief or sorrow.
My lady, I am loath to tell this tale but since I must, I will. There is no point in lying about it or trying to soften the situation. Let me be plain. The truth is always best.
I was with your husband,
well, I followed him to the high plain
where the body of Polynices lay in pitiful repose,
his body savaged by dogs and crows.
Creon led us in a prayer to Hecate, the Goddess of the Crossroads asking for proper direction to make amends of our transgressions. Then our circle prayed to Pluton to forgive our neglect of the ancient divine laws, to restore our good grace, insure continued fertility and prosperity.
We then did fresh ablutions as best we could, using pure water, then wrapping what foul remains there were in holy bark and raising this body upon a bier we then began the sacred pyre.
Once the fire had begun, we left a watchman there, then followed Creon, toward the princess Antigone's rock hewn cavern. As we approached the valley of the noble dead, we heard a cry, a piercing wail erupt and echo from the cave. Creon faltered at this sound and grabbed his heart as if in pain saying:
"My heart, that is my son's voice, we journey into the valley of the dead and I feel as if I am going to my own demise. I feel wretched. Men, let's go, go, run ahead. We must check the tomb. See what is going on. Am I wrong? Was that Haemon's cry or do the God's simply torment me with delusions?"
We moved into the complex of crypts and came upon freshly broken stone work. The tomb in which Antigone is interred was broken open. Creon seemed frantic with fear. We peered into the shadows and there within was the maiden. At first it seemed she was levitating and then it was clear, she was hanging by a linen noose about her neck. Haemon was grasping her legs attempting to lift her and release her from her plight.
Obviously too late.
Creon moved toward him asking:
"What have you done? What do you need?
What is this insanity? My son, Haemon, come, I beg you, come to me."
Haemon's eyes blazed with anger, he pulled his sword, took a sudden thrust at his father, stumbled and in that moment fell upon his blade. The blood sprayed from his wound, but even so he rose, and with a sudden movement pulled the suspended body of Antigone down into a heap, his blood now upon her pale cheeks as his life ebb, he seemed to try to give the last rites in his last morbid moments within that mausoleum.
His last moments reminds us that even as the sun shines, a storm could be on the horizon, or a tsunami could rush upon the shore and carry us away. Can we protect our children from such events? We can scarcely protect ourselves, much less our family, from the caprice of the Gods. Thus the wise live lives of loving compassion and caring words.
[End Dhammapada 20:287-289]
Is there any limit to human folly?
Eurydice has slipped out without a word. What should we think of this?
It is hard to gauge the effects of the death of a son upon a parent. As his mother, she must be in pain, perhaps she goes to the palace to prepare the wake.
I don't know. It seems that too much silence, too much secrecy is as dangerous as too much extreme grief. Balance is found within moderation.
I will follow her to her home. Perhaps I can support her to unfold the pain within and thereby release overwhelming emotions.
Sharing ones' woes in private circles can assure our continued strength.
Here comes Creon. His burdens multiply. His misdeeds bring an ever rising tide of pain upon himself and his family.
(Enter Creon with the body of Haemon)
In my pride, I have been more blind than our blind prophet Teresias and now I reap the harvest of the seeds that I have planted.
Here is my son, blood of my blood, now drenched by my failure to transform to higher purpose.
It is my fault that has led to these results. His young life extinguished. I did not listen to you. I did not understand. I am devoured by my own misdeeds.
It is late in the day, but even as the sun declines, wisdom rises within your mind!
We reap what we sow, the wind may blow the leaves but we are responsible for the planting of the seeds. How can I deny that I am the root cause of these effects?
I am the dust from which I sought to rise. Now I grasp the how, the why. The pain of Oedipus when he ripped out his eyes. As commander, as chief, it was within my hands to lift the consciousness of our nation to compassion. Change begins within. I failed and now...
Tragedy! My Lord, sadly I bear bad news. I heard your lamentation and I must ask you: who really leads our nation? Where the people lead, the leaders will follow. We live only today, for tomorrow never actually arrives with the new dawn.
What news? How can anything get worse?
It is darkest, before it gets darker.
Your wife is dead. Overwhelmed by the loss of her son she has taken her own life.
Is there any safe harbour? Is there any way out of this dilemma? The wheel of fortune rolls over me crushing the last shreds of my pride.
What is left for me now? First my son and now my wife! Never ending sorrow.
The doors to truth are open wide.
There is no place to run or hide
from the harvest of our own creation
Grief piles onto pain, once again, the loss never seems to end. My dead son within my arms and I am to bear more death upon my shoulders. An eye for an eye truly leaves the whole world blind. Why couldn't I see in time? --notes
Even the strongest hearts can fail when taxed too much. Euryodice dutifully began her lamentations at the altar. First she lit a candle for Megareus, her son who fell in the recent battle at the gates of the city, then calmly lit incense, the fragrance seems to linger still. As the smoke began to rise from the altar, she let out a wail, grabbed her temples, fell to her knees, cursing Creon, you, as the slayer of her children.
No, no. My heart, my heart. I cannot go on. Someone, you, or you. Simply end my life now with a simple thrust of steel.
She laid a heavy curse upon you before she left this world, put blame for this tragedy upon your head.
But how did she die?
With the altar knife. Upon hearing that her last child was no longer among the living, she turned the blade upon herself.
I killed them all. It is my doing. Playing the great man I have destroyed all their lives. I am nothing, I am lower than the dust beneath our feet. I am but a rock upon the road, a stone upon the street. Lead me from this place.
The best advice is that which is given with integrity.
Words that are shared without hidden gain
We clear the home of the old to make room for the new
perhaps this is how it is to be for you.
I am a shadow having no substance. What is a man bereft of blood? Can one lift his arm, move his feet? I can hear my words but it is as if I am not here. I have destroyed everything. I having nothing, I cannot go on...
Do not think about tomorrow for it will never arrive, just be, be here now, in this moment, you are still alive. It is time for other hands to care for these concerns. You must rest.
What can I do? Nothing. Prayer. I can pray.
The prayers of a beggar are never answered. The time to pray is at the outset not the end. We cannot arrive at the end and expect to return to the beginning once again.
We reap what we sow, so here you are.
No, not here. I will not remain here. Take me away from this place. I cannot face another moment on the stage of life. All that I embrace twists and turns, within my hands all is unsteady, the fire cools and the water burns. Another lesson to be learned.
(Creon is led away.)
[compare with Proverbs 16:14-18]
The key to happiness is wisdom and mastery of our words and actions,
Realizing that our speech plants seeds within our lives,
we cultivate ourselves and develop a spiritual practice,
thereby compassion and forgiveness take the place of pride.
[compare with Dhammapada 23:14]
Must we learn from the mistakes of others?
We must work together as sisters and brothers
right now. in this moment, for tomorrow never arrives
[compare with Isaiah 26:19]
Arise, ye dwellers of the dust, arise, do not wait
old age, is much too late a time to be wise.
Links to Additional Media for Antigone by Sophocles such as audio and ebooks are located at the bottom of this web page.