The first stasimon of the Antigone is widely and justly acknowledged to be one of the finest of Sophocles' extant lyrical compositions. The praises of the achievements of man are set forth in language whose sheer power of diction and imagery imparts to the ode a tone of sincerity and conviction which is perhaps rivalled only by the praise of Athene in the first stasimon of Oedipus Coloneus. Just as that ode shows that Sophocles felt a real and abiding love for his native city, so too from this ode in Antigone we can see that he was deeply and genuinely impressed with the picture of the cultural progress of man as expounded by Protagoras. The power and the achievements of man made a great impact upon him, which is reflected in this ode. But just as the praise of Athens is not to be regarded in this light alone, as an independent song (for it has an intimate connection with the drama arising from its immediate response to the situation and from its wider implications for the action of the play as a whole), so also here, the praise of man in Antigone must not be treated as independent of the action of the play. For the choral ode stands, in the first place at least, as a response to the situation by a character involved in that situation, and as such it has an important contributory part to play in the total effect of the drama.