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Free Study Guide-Antigone by Sophocles-Free Online Summary Booknotes
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Lines 945-987

The Fourth Stasimon:

The Chorus “Even Danaë’s beauty left the lightsome day.”

Summary

The Chorus sings of Danaë, the daughter of Acrisius, King of Argos, who was confined in a tower of brass by her father. Yet Zeus loved Danaë and came to meet her as a shower of gold (“the golden rain”).

Misfortune, which is destined to occur, will come no matter how great or powerful the sufferers may be. The Chorus recalls how the son of Dryas was trapped in an “eyeless vault of stone” by the Greek god, Dionysus, as a punishment for having played a prank on the god and his followers.


The Chorus then sings about the legend of Phineus’ two sons, who were blinded by their father at the behest of their stepmother. The sons cried out to Heaven for revenge until Zeus responded by blinding their father, Phineus. However, the sons of Phineus cried chiefly for their mother, Cleopatra, who was “the source of their rejected birth.” Cleopatra came from the family of Erechtheus and lived out her life in far off caves, where she endured terrible storms. Although she was born of divinity, she too suffered a terrible fate.

Notes

In this choral piece, the audience is told about the inevitability of doom. The Chorus has just seen Antigone being led to her death and asserts the belief that destiny rules the lives of everyone, both mortal and immortal. It cites the example of Acrisius, the King of Argos, who imprisoned his daughter, Danaë, because an oracle had predicted that her son would kill him. But Acrisius could not escape the hand of Fate and was killed by his daughter’s son.

The Chorus goes on to tell of the imprisonment of the son of Dryas by Dionysus, and of the blinding of the sons of Phineus. Fate is seen as striking a blow at Phineus with her shuttle (a kind of weapon). The Chorus ends by relating the tale of Cleopatra, the mother of Phineus’ children, who spent her days in isolation in remote caves.

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