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 background of philosophy and political idea. Bonnie Honig's rereading of it accordingly comprises intervening in a number of literatures and unsettling a lot of their governing assumptions. Exploring the ability 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 should be visible not only as symptoms of dissidence yet fairly as markers of a rival global 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 harmony which emphasizes equality in lifestyles.

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21 Thus, Nietzsche resignifies as natal two women normally associated with lamentation and death. ” Ironically, aiming to rescue Nietzsche from a century-long misreading claiming he opposes Apollonian versus Dionysian, Loraux herself reads binarily when she homes in on Cassandra, not Antigone. In The Invention of Athens, her early work on tragedy, Loraux saw tragedy as operating in the service of the city (1986: 50). She argued that fifth-century Athenians watching Aeschylus’ tragedy, Persians, would have been reconstituted as Athenians by the shared joy they felt watching their enemies, the Persians, grieve and lament.

Both Achilles and Antigone, in love with Patroclus and Polynices, their brother-like lovers or lover-like brothers, cannot stop grieving without being forcibly interrupted. But it is surely important that the interruptions differ: the dance of lament and hunger, pain and pleasure, central to Homeric Greece, is replaced in Sophocles’ Thebes, as in the democratic Athens it mirrors distortedly, by sovereign power. As we shall see in detail in Chapter 4, in fifth-century Athens, lament is cut short by new regulations, and displaced by the Oration.

There is another option: an agonistic humanism whose politics of counter-sovereignty, conspiracy, and solidarity is more promising for them and, arguably, more true to the richness of Sophocles’ play and its complex reception history. The extrapolitical universalism of grief with which this classical heroine is increasingly identified in feminist and critical theory emphasizes equality in death; a politics of counter-sovereignty emphasizes equality in life. 15 part i Interruption Introduction to Part I I am one of those people who finishes other people’s sentences.

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