When the Scout brings the news about the seven Argives, Eteocles remarks that the goddess Dike, who is supposedly depicted on his brother's shield, will certainly and rightfully be misnamed ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], 670-71) should she ally herself with an utterly audacious and hubristic man like Polynices.
Yet, once the focus has shifted to the imminent combat between Polynices and Eteocles, the relevant references come to highlight the brothers' shared nature, as allegedly manifested through both their conduct in battle and in each one's very name.
The Scout narrates how the latter, himself a participant in the expedition, (17) attempted to dissuade Polynices from attacking his fatherland; in so doing, the prophet is said to have addressed the hero, calling him by name and dwelling twice upon its latter part, [TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], 'strife' (576-79), before highlighting the impious nature of the impending war ([TEXT NOT REPRODUCIBLE IN ASCII], 580-89).
This inquiry is incorporated into the central agon among the leading characters (Eteocles, Polynices, Jocasta), who resort to the discrepancy between name and reality or the controversial relationship between the two, in their attempt to downplay or altogether reject the moral and sociopolitical values or principles of their opponents.
Even the references to the name of Polynices, though still being centred upon the hero's determination to sack his fatherland or his overall aggressive disposition, at the same time explicitly reinforce his lineage and background.
These issues or concerns create an additional, more intellectual kind of distance or tension among the conflicting parties (Eteocles, Polynices, Jocasta), which is not really resolved after (or because of) their common death or Thebes' salvation.
Twentieth-century research on the political ideology and social norms of ancient Greece suggests, however, that the Athenians may have taken a more ambivalent view of the refusal to bury Polynices, thereby challenging the popular modern view of Antigone as a martyr who dies for a just principle and accounting for the fact that traitors were often denied burial.
The story of Antigone's brothers, Polynices and Eteocles, motivates the theme of brotherhood emblematized in the relationship between John and Winston, brothers united in the struggle against apartheid oppression:
Unusually, Polynices is viewed by Antigone as her "mother's son" so "man's law" is revealed as hostile to women.
For it is a fact that this whole business is nothing but politics: the mournful shade of Polynices, the decomposing corpse, the sentimental weeping, and the hysteria that you mistake for heroism--nothing but politics [.
Polynices, Paulin is keen to tell us, had a genuine complaint, he is not necessarily the barbarous braggart of most versions of the tale.
In keeping with the other authors, I use the spelling Polyneices; Paulin is alone in using Polynices.