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The Tangled Ways of ZeusAnd Other Studies In and Around Greek Tragedy$
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Alan H. Sommerstein

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199568314

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199568314.001.0001

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Dearest Haimon

Dearest Haimon

Chapter:
(p.202) 14 Dearest Haimon
Source:
The Tangled Ways of Zeus
Author(s):

Alan H. Sommerstein (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199568314.003.0015

This chapter, concurring with most recent scholars that Sophocles, Antigone 572 is spoken by Ismene and not Antigone, examines the implications of the fact that she calls her cousin Haimon ‘dearest’ (philtate). No other woman in tragedy applies this superlative adjective to a man unless he is a very close relation (father, brother, husband, son), or a bringer of welcome news, or an actual or potential saviour. Ismene's use of it in reference to Haimon is thus abnormal — as abnormal as Kreon's apparent total lack of philia towards his son, whose betrothed he has sentenced to death without any consideration for his feelings. Ismene, in contrast, has throughout represented the principle of unconditional loyalty to (living) kin, and has just shown herself willing to give her life in solidarity with a sister who had rejected her.

Keywords:   Sophocles, Antigone, Kreon, Haimon, Ismene, philia, kin

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