Pease help me with three questions at the end. Thanks a lot!
Sophocles: “The Miracle of Man”
RELIGION & PHILOSOPHY
IN ANTIGONE, Sophocles presents a thoughtful analysis of the painful dilemmas in human existence. In one outstanding passage, the chorus expresses an exalted message on human resourcefulness and the achievements of human beings.
Is there anything more wonderful on earth,
Our marvelous planet,
Than the miracle of man!
With what arrogant ease
He rides the dangerous seas,
From the waves’ towering summit
To the yawning trough beneath.
The earth mother herself, before time began,
The oldest of the ageless gods,
Learned to endure his driving plough,
Turning the earth and breaking the clods
Till by the sweat of his brow
She yielded up her fruitfulness….
He has mastered the mysteries of language:
And thought, which moves faster than the wind,
He has tamed, and made rational.
Political wisdom too, all the knowledge
Of people and States, all the practical
Arts of government he has studied and refined,
Built cities to shelter his head
Against rain and anger and cold
And ordered all things in his mind.
There is no problem he cannot resolve
By the exercise of his brains or his breath,
And the only disease he cannot salve
Or cure, is death.
In action he is subtle beyond imagination,
Limitless is his skill, and these gifts
Are both enemies and friends,
As he applies them, with equal determination,
To good or evil ends.
All men honor, and the State uplifts
That man to the heights of glory, whose powers
Uphold the constitution, and the gods, and their laws.
His city prospers. But if he shifts
His ground, and takes the wrong path,
Despising morality, and blown up with pride,
Indulges himself and his power, at my hearth
May he never warm himself, or sit at my side.
Source: From Sophocles, Antigone, trans. Don Taylor (London: Methuen, 2006), pp. 17-18.
Question1 : What are the limitations to these human accomplishments? Any other limitations besides death?
Question2: Do you think Sophocles is correct in his assessment of human accomplishment?
Question 3: Do you think Sophocles is correct in his assessment of human accomplishment?