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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