Antigone in Modernism: Classicism, Feminism and Theatres of by Keri Walsh

By Keri Walsh

In 1936, Simone Weil defined Sophocles’s Antigoneto French manufacturing facility
workers as “the tale of a person who, on their own, with none backing, dares
to be against her personal nation, to the legislation of that kingdom, to the pinnacle 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 household
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 embrace the courageous political resistance of the person.
By 1950, Hegel’s influential studying of the play as providing 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 indicate that that he was once as a lot within the correct as
Antigone and that our sympathies can be calmly divided.” This partisan
reading of Antigonegrew in power 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

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This is an interpretive crux. For Ethel, Mrs. Forman, the rest of the party, and, one senses, for the narrator as well, the word is something merely unpleasant and banal. Perhaps the cottage was filthy, or perhaps Ethel didn’t trust the hosts. But for Lucas, the unspoken essence of that cottage is something much more profound. Though Mr. Graham warns Lucas that “they might knife you” (156), Lucas looks with his vision clouded by his “fever for Hellenism” and sees something more mysterious than an inevitable mugging: “whenever Mr.

Like “The Waste Land” and Ulysses, Cocteau’s Antigone, a product of high modernism’s annus mirabilis of 1922, experimented with the “mythic method” to produce an aggressively iconoclastic Sophocles. By taking the 40 urgency of Antigone’s mission to bury her brother, and applying it to the sphere of art, Cocteau shattered orthodoxies on the play, suggesting that a sombre and obedient production was itself a crime against the holy criminal Antigone. Forster had brought the “mythic” protagonists into the drawing room, scaling back their rebellions and passions accordingly, until they had shrunk from grandeur to pettiness.

It does not make the hero the victim of an inevitable fate, nor does it wish to make the spectator the victim, so to speak, of a hypnotic experience in the theatre” (78-9). ” Benjamin resists the German classicizing impulse that leads German trauerpiel to be lumped with, rather than distinguished from, Attic tragedy. Like Brecht’s, Benjamin’s is an anti-Aristotelian move, resisting the notion that Aristotle’s canon of tragic effects should be viewed as a standard lens for judging tragic art. 21 English poetry if it can only appear masquerading as a vulgar debasement of the eminently personal idiom of Swinburne” (3).

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