By Keri Walsh
In 1936, Simone Weil defined Sophocles’s Antigoneto French manufacturing unit
workers as “the tale of a person who, on their own, with none backing, dares
to be towards her personal nation, to the legislation of that kingdom, to the pinnacle of
its govt, 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 proposing rightful yet
irreconcilable claims appeared able to cave in: “as for Creon,” the Oxford
classicist Gilbert Murray instructed a BBC radio viewers after the warfare, “it used to be of
course preposterous of Hegel to signify that that he used to be as a lot within the correct as
Antigone and that our sympathies will be lightly 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 info for Antigone in Modernism: Classicism, Feminism and Theatres of Protest
Jocasta strangled herself to stop seeing the sun. People sleep in broad daylight. Lying in the open air, the bodies of sleepers are like corpses of suicides; lovers are like dogs mating under the sun. Hearts are as dry as scorched fields. So much drought calls for blood. Hatred infects souls; the sun’s rays eat away people’s consciences, but their cancer remains. (37) This ultraviolet realm is arrested by the appearance of Antigone, who alone “withstands these arrows shot by Apollo, as though grief shielded her like sunglasses” (38).
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. In fact, Cocteau’s production worked to efface all of the play’s “content”—the highly wrought conflict between citizen and ruler—in favor of matters of form.
This resemblance, Cocteau thinks, is particularly prominent in Corday’s career 33 following her act of violence. ” 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.
Antigone in Modernism: Classicism, Feminism and Theatres of Protest by Keri Walsh