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Two Contemporary Antigones

  • Anna Krajewska-Wieczorek

Extract

FROM THE TIME of Sophocles' Antigone, his version of the myth – which relates how Oedipus' daughter buried her brother Polyneices against the decree of Creon and, upon being sentenced to death, died by her own hand – became invariable. It was in modern treatments of the story that changes began to be introduced: these concerned the person or authorities representing the law; the time when the events occur, and their location; the person whom Antigone buries; and why she dies. But a continuing, necessary determinant in such modern incarnations of the myth has been the conflict between the ethos of authority and the ethos of moral belief – this latter being motivated by religion, duty to the family, or love. Without such an opposition, Antigone loses its ground as tragedy.

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1. The most important discussions are: Gerald, Else, F., The Madness of Antigone (Heidelberg: Karl Winter Universitatsverlag, 1976); Steiner, George, Antigones (New York: Oxford University Press, 1984); and Knox, Bernard, The Heroic Temper: Studies in Sophoclean Tragedy (Berkeley; Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1964). Compare also Foucault, Michel, Madness and Civilization: a History of Insanity in the Age of Reason (Random House, 1965), and Dodds, E. R., The Greeks and the Irrational (Boston: Beacon Press, 1957).

2. Gambaro, Griselda, Antigona Furiosa in Information for Foreigners (Evanston: Northwestern University Press, 1992). The play premiered in September 1986 at the Goethe Institute in Buenos Aires. All following quotations are from this edition. Janusz Glowacki, Antigone in New York, translated by Janusz Glowacki and Joan Torres, premiered in March 1993 in the Arena Theater, Washington, D.C. All following quotations are from the unpublished copy provided by the author (as revised, July 1993).

3. Glowacki, , op. cit., p. 35.

4. Gambaro, , op. cit., p. 137.

5. Sophocles, Antigone, translated by Carl M. Mueller and Anna Krajewska-Wieczorek, v, 732.

6. Gambaro, , op. cit., p. 147–8.

7. Glowacki, , op. cit., p. 10. All following quotations are from the same work.

Two Contemporary Antigones

  • Anna Krajewska-Wieczorek

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