Antigones: How the Antigone Legend Has Endured in Western by George Steiner

By George Steiner

Based on Greek legend, Antigone, the daughter of Oedipus, secretly buried her brother in defiance of the order of Creon, king of Thebes. Sentenced to demise through Creon, she forestalled him by way of committing suicide. The subject matter of the clash among Antigone and Creon—between the country and the person, among guy and lady, among younger and old—has captured the Western mind's eye for greater than 2000 years. George Steiner the following examines the far-reaching legacy of this nice classical delusion. He considers its therapy in Western artwork, literature, and thought—in drama, poetry, prose, philosophic discourse, political tracts, opera, ballet, movie, or even the plastic arts. A research in poetics and within the philosophy of analyzing, Antigones leads us to seem back on the effect the Greek myths workout on twentieth-century tradition.

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Additional info for Antigones: How the Antigone Legend Has Endured in Western Literature, Art, and Thought

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Let Sophocles' play begin. The collision has its concrete source in two dialec tical moments. The one is 'the tyrannical blasphemy or sin which makes of wilfulness a law' and which would compel the ethical substance to obey this law. The second moment is a subtler evil : it is the 'testing of the law' through 'the blasphemy or sin of knowing' (Frevel des Wissens, a formidable phrase) which 'reasons itself free from the Jaw' and takes the latter to be a contingent, alien arbitrariness. Note the deliberate ambi­ valence of Hegel's formulation.

C]mnaHum, IX\iii ' 1 9G l . cum 13 Mar-e 195 1 dargebracht (Baden­ Baden, 1 95 2 ) , 47 and 5 8 ; \' Ehrenberg, Sophocles and Pmcles ! :eu1 ; L'nivcrsit � of California Press, 1 9 7 1 , t t b ff ANT I GO N E S einmal steht und fallt' ) . -P. Vernant and P. 'autre sa place, sans reconnaitre cela meme qui Ia borne et Ia conteste' ( 'of the two religious attitudes which A ntigone sets at odds, neither could by itself be the right one without reserving a place to the other, without acknowledging the very thing which constrains and opposes it' ) .

In Sophocles' exemplary rendition, this defeat, in exact counterpoise to Antigone's, entails progress. After the deaths of Antigone and of Creon, new conflicts will spring from the division within the 1r6ALc of the 'ethical substance' . But these conflicts, so far as they concern the private and the public, the familial and the civic, the prerogatives of the dead and those of the living, will be enacted on a richer level of consciousness, of felt contradic­ tion, than that which arose from the corpse of Polyneices.

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