By Keri Walsh
In 1936, Simone Weil defined Sophocles’s Antigoneto French manufacturing facility
workers as “the tale of a man or woman who, on their own, with none backing, dares
to be against her personal kingdom, to the legislation of that nation, to the top of
its executive, and who's, clearly, quickly positioned to death.” Weil’s insistence on
Antigone as a civilian protester, instead of Hegel’s version of female family
virtue, recurs all through writing of the fascist interval. From Virginia Woolf and
Louis MacNeice within the British Isles, to Marguerite Yourcenar and Jean Anouilh in
France, Antigone got here to include the courageous political resistance of the person.
By 1950, Hegel’s influential examining of the play as offering rightful yet
irreconcilable claims appeared able to cave in: “as for Creon,” the Oxford
classicist Gilbert Murray advised a BBC radio viewers after the warfare, “it used to be of
course preposterous of Hegel to signify that that he was once as a lot within the correct as
Antigone and that our sympathies might be calmly divided.” This partisan
reading of Antigonegrew in energy within the post-war interval, inspiring feminist,
pacifist, and post-colonial engagements with the play.
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Additional resources for Antigone in Modernism: Classicism, Feminism and Theatres of Protest
Like Corday’s, for Cocteau, Antigone’s is a voice of “revolte” and “raison,” and an inspiration for all kinds of bad behavior. If Forster’s Theban turn had satirized the Victorian obsession with daughterly loyalty, Cocteau’s 1922 drama leaves this version of Antigone behind entirely with the confession: “At Colonus, she bores me, I admit” (326). For Cocteau, creating to spite the artistic establishment and national theatres, productions of Antigone should be as bratty as possible. 16 For Cocteau, Creon was more than government: he was any form of authority over creativity.
But not all anti-fascist writers were willing to give up tragedy. H. M. Forster, began to experiment with the idea that perhaps only the genre of tragedy could offer the political and aesthetic resources to grapple with such a moment. Their work prefigured the resurgence of tragedy in the post-Second World War period, when a new generation of critics and writers, most prominently Arthur Miller and Raymond Williams, would advocate for tragedy’s potential as a form of the Left, and not a quietest apology for suffering or a glorification of the violence they presented.
The poet commands his verse not so much to imitate Sophocles as to imitiate Oedipus, self-inflicted with blindness. ). 15-16), that voice tendered in the final choruses of Sophoclean plays8—and replaces him with a paragon of intolerance, immaturity, and hardness. ” If tragedy was now a matter of style, not subject, what would happen to the Greek plays whose “themes” seemed least dispensible? 10 What would modernism make of Sophocles’s Antigone? 8 The final chorus of Antigone typifies this Sophoclean temper: “Good sense is by far the chief part of happiness; and we must not be impious towards the gods.