Read e-book online Antigones: How the Antigone Legend Has Endured in Western PDF

By George Steiner

In accordance with Greek legend, Antigone, the daughter of Oedipus, secretly buried her brother in defiance of the order of Creon, king of Thebes. Sentenced to dying by means of Creon, she forestalled him by means of committing suicide. The subject matter of the clash among Antigone and Creon—between the kingdom and the person, among guy and girl, among younger and old—has captured the Western mind's eye for greater than 2000 years. George Steiner the following examines the far-reaching legacy of this nice classical fantasy. He considers its therapy in Western paintings, literature, and thought—in drama, poetry, prose, philosophic discourse, political tracts, opera, ballet, movie, or even the plastic arts. A research in poetics and within the philosophy of analyzing, Antigones leads us to appear back on the impact the Greek myths workout on twentieth-century tradition.

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It is from this fatal neighbourhood, of which H olderlin will make the focus of his image of Antigone, that sprang the horrors suffered by Tantalus and his lineage. When Thoas, alert to the inspired interest of l phigenie's narrative, cautions : ' T W. n (Frankfurt-on-Main, 1 974), xi. 499· This challenging essay, with its emphasis on the Hegelian quality of Goethe's treatment of the collision between 'barbarism' and 'civilization ', first appeared in 1 967. ANTIGONES 47 'No god is speaking ; it is your heart', she responds as would Antigone : 'The gods speak to us only through our hearts .

The confrontation between the absolute monarch and the young woman who opposes his decree, in Act V, sc. iii, intimately echoes the Antigone-Creon clash. 'From childhood on', declares I phigenie, 'I have learned obedience ; first to my parents, then to a goddess. When in compliance, my soul is most at ease and liberty. But neither in Argos nor here have I learned to bend to the crass fiat of a man . ' 'Ein alt Gesetz, nicht ich, gebietet dir' ( 'an ancient law, not I, commands you' ) , counters Thoas.

Vidal-Cii aquet, -�)'the et tragidie en Grece ancunne ! Paris, 1 9 7 7 1 , 34 ANTIGONES 43 4 I n Goethe, the two are never far apart. Goethe's literary criticism and interpretation are almost invariably practical . Their occasion, their field of reference relate directly to the needs of his own production. The latter, in turn, w ill often in­ corporate movements of theoretic and functional discourse. ;ahre. The most penetrating of Goethe's reflections on the spirit of classical art and litera­ ture are set out, in scenic form, in the 'Helena Act' of Part I I o f Faust.

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