HAEMON: Father, the most enviable of a man’s gifts
Is the ability to reason clearly,
And it’s not for me to say you are wrong,
Even if I were clever enough, or experienced enough,
Which I’m not. But it’s also true to say
That some men think differently about these things,
And as your son, my most useful function,
It seems to me, is to keep you in touch
With what other people are thinking,
What they say, and do, and approve or disapprove of,
And sometimes what they leave unsaid.
The prospect of your disapproval is great
Silence of most men’s tongues, and some things
Are never said, for fear of the consequences.
But I can sometimes hear what people whisper
Behind their hands: and everywhere, I hear sympathy
Is the only right one, and that all men share it.
A man who thinks he has the monopoly
Of wisdom, that only what he says
And what he thinks are of ny relevance,
Reveals his own shallowness of mind
With every word he says. The man of judgement
Knows that it is a sign of strength,
Not weakness, to value other opinions,
And to learn from them: and when he is wrong,
To admit it openly and change his mind.
You see it when a river floods, the trees
That bend, survive, those whose trunks
Are inflexible, are snapped off short
By the weight of the water. And a sailor in a storm
Who refuses to reef his sail, and run
With the wind, is likely to end up capsized.
I beg you Father, think twice about this.
Don’t let your anger influence you. If a man
Of my age may lay some small claim
To common sense, let me say this:
Absolute certainty is fine, if a man
Can be certain that his wisdom is absolute.
But such certainty and such wisdom
Is rare among men: and that being so,
The next best, is to learn to listen,
And to take good advice when it is offered.
CHORUS: There’s a lot of sense, my Lord Creon,
In what this young man has said: as indeed,
There was in everthing that you said too.
The fact is, you are both in the right,
And there’s a good deal to be said for either.