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Dear Diana and Carroll,
 
I'm not a Greek scholar and rely on notes from those who are, but I
don't have my text here.  I should no doubt have said that Antigone is
stubborn on what she calls--at least at first (she changes her positions
as death approaches)--the law of the gods that is higher than that of
Creon.  Or perhaps she says what she does about a husband or son in the
sense that she would not see it as necessary to die for the law of gods
in that situation.  But in more than one translation I've read, she does
claim that the gods' laws are above Creon's and she will follow the
first.  I have no idea what the culture supported, though the classics
scholar at my university explained that it was not absolute and
consisent.
 
My interest was, however, that the play itself validates her and not
Creon.
Cheers,
Nancy

>>> Diana Manister <[log in to unmask]> 4/7/2009 11:41 AM >>>
Nancy and Carrol, many thanks for the fascinating information! Diana
 
> Date: Mon, 6 Apr 2009 09:09:55 -0500
> From: [log in to unmask] 
> Subject: Re: Mostly OT: Antigone
> To: [log in to unmask] 
> 
> > Nancy Gish wrote:
> > 
> > I teach it every fall, and I think the translation one uses can
affect
> > reading--I don't read the original. But I think you are right
about
> > stubbornness. However, in the end it is Creon who is condemned by
the
> > gods, whose anger is reported by Tiresias. And Haemon tells his
> > father he is stubborn and unreasonable. Antigone, on the other
hand,
> > is stubborn in the interests of following the gods' laws to bury
the
> > dead, and Tiresias also insists that Creon should give in, as does
the
> > chorus. So although I recognize that both have flaws, it seems to
me
> > that it is Antigone who is validated in the end and Creon who is
> > destroyed by the gods for hubris. Of course that is one reason for
> > arguments that he is the protagonist.
> 
> I think it is misleading to speak of gods' _law_ to bury the dead;
> rather they supported Antigone's choice and rejected Creon's
impiety,
> which centrally consisted in his attempt to control the future.
> 
> The gods certainly do _support_ Antigone. And when Creon reacts to
> Tiresias he is reacting to reality itself, of which Tiresias is the
> spokesman. Moreover, it is not Antigone who buries her brother a
SECOND
> time -- that has to be ascribed to the gods rather than her. (I
don't
> remember the passage now, but I think if you look closely at
Antigone's
> responses you will find that while she proclaims her 'guilt' for the
> first burial, she is puzzled and dismisses the second.)
> 
> But there is a sharp difference betweenn being _supported_ in her
action
> by the g ods and acting under religious compulsion. There is _no_
> obligation on her part to bury the dead, as shown by that line some
> 19th-c scholars attempted to label spurious: I would not do it if it
> were my husband or my son! (And incidentally, the obligation to bury
the
> dead was not a consistent element in Greek religious tradition, and
> there is not a word in the play suggesting any religious obligation
to
> bury the dead.)
> 
> It is difficult for many readers of the last coupple of centuries to
> realize how deeply politicl Athenian drama was. The very selection
of
> plays to be performed at the annual festival (there was no theatre in
a
> modern sense but only this festival, an integral part of the
Athenian
> political/religious year). Moreover, no paly could be produced
unless
> the authro had a wealthy sponsor, since the author had to bear the
costs
> of the performance. The inauguration of a new president in the &.S.
is a
> better image of Athenian Drma than is Broadway. Also, the 'symbol'
of
> the tyrant in G*reece was the presence of a bodyguard. Only tyrans
had
> bodyguards.
> 
> One also needs to incorporate thesignificance of the two scenes
between
> Antigone and her sister. In the second scene Ismene has recognized
the
> self-destruction implicit in her earlier refusal to aid and now
wishes
> to add herself to it retroactively; Antigone angrilly refuses her:
She
> had her chance -- now live with it. Antigone is not a particularly
nice
> person -- she merely constitutes the reality that Creon cannot
accept
> until it is too late. Her suicide is a political act which destroys
> Creon.
> 
> Carrol

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