Download e-book for kindle: Antigone, Interrupted by Bonnie Honig

By Bonnie Honig

Sophocles' Antigone is a touchstone in democratic, feminist and criminal conception, and doubtless the main commented upon play within the historical past of philosophy and political idea. Bonnie Honig's rereading of it consequently contains intervening in a bunch of literatures and unsettling a lot of their governing assumptions. Exploring the facility of Antigone in numerous political, cultural, and theoretical settings, Honig identifies the 'Antigone-effect' – which strikes those that enlist Antigone for his or her politics from activism into lamentation. She argues that Antigone's personal lamentations may be obvious not only as indicators of dissidence yet fairly as markers of a rival international view with its personal sovereignty and power. Honig argues that the play doesn't supply easily a version for resistance politics or 'equal dignity in death', yet a extra optimistic politics of counter-sovereignty and unity which emphasizes equality in lifestyles.

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If tragedy speaks to late-modern crises and self-doubt, it does so specifically as oratorio which interpellates us as mortals defined by finitude. Oratorio accesses a world in which such finitude is managed by way of sound, song, dance, and dirge. When performed on stage outside of Athens, Loraux says, tragedy’s sung laments were particularly effective in bringing together diverse spectators. From the particularities and partisanships of diverse polis memberships, audience members were moved to experience their commonality as mortals.

A humanism of universal or principled suffering versus an anti-humanism of death-driven, desiring monstrosity? In reading after reading, staging after staging, Antigone represents grief for ungrievable life or solitary conscience rising up against arrogant power, though she could – and sometimes with better textual exegesis should – represent the dissident quest for sovereignty or sororal solidarity, or the autonomy of aristocratic life opposed to appropriation by or complicity with the new democratic polis.

For Dorothea Krook (1969), such tragic heroes make suffering intelligible, redeem it, and reconcile us to it. Terry Eagleton calls hers “a square-jawed masculinist ideal of tragedy, replete with pugnacious, public-spirited heroes who take their punishment like a man even when they are not guilty” (2003: 76). Nevertheless, many humanists share Krook’s view. They may stop short of redemption but they do see promise in identification with suffering: a certain human commonality is furthered by tragedy’s tendency to depict with sympathy the suffering on all sides of a conflict.

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