Davies, Malcolm. 2023. “Power and Paradox in Sophocles’ Antigone.” In “Γέρα: Studies in honor of Professor Menelaos Christopoulos,” ed. Athina Papachrysostomou, Andreas P. Antonopoulos, Alexandros-Fotios Mitsis, Fay Papadimitriou, and Panagiota Taktikou, special issue, Classics@ 25. https://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HLNC.ESSAY:103900182.
παθόντες ἂν ξυγγνοῖμεν ἡμαρτηκότες.
εἰ δ’ οἵδ’ ἁμαρτάνουσι, μὴ πλείω κακὰ
πάθοιεν ἢ καὶ δρῶσιν ἐκδίκως ἐμέ.
On the face of it, Antigone is generously omitting to name and blame Creon specifically by at last conceding that she may have done wrong, if Creon’s actions should be approved by the gods. And furthermore, on this reading, she goes so far as generously to concede that, even if Creon is wrong, he should not suffer any greater ill than she does at his hands. But obviously this paradox is only achieved by a perverse misreading. The failure to name Creon conveys bitterest scorn, and Antigone at the last does not doubt the rightness of her cause.  Vauvilliers’ emendation μείω for πλείω is obviously “lame,” as Jebb says, and produces a banal and predictable effect. But editors (e.g. Dawe in his Teubner edition and Lloyd-Jones and Wilson in their OCT) do well to cite it in their app. crit., because this is a case where textual criticism turns into literary criticism. μὴ πλείω is in fact the bitterest curse Antigone could hurl at Creon, and the technique of meiosis here achieves its acme. The chorus do not misunderstand the import of her words, as their immediate response to them makes clear (929–930): the same blasts of the same tempests of the soul still possess her. Her restrained language matches the Antigone of line 572, who keeps her lips sealed while her fiancé is insulted. Only once in the four lines at 925–928 do her true feelings blaze forth, in the single penultimate word ἐκδίκως. The rest is not silence but pent-up passion under the strictest control. If you have not read these four lines, you cannot have the slightest, you cannot have the remotest, understanding of the meaning of the term “classical”: intense emotion and pathos kept under the tightest rein.  These four lines represent the apogee of the classical spirit and style in literature.