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 state, to the legislation of that state, to the top of
its executive, and who's, certainly, 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 include the courageous political resistance of the person.
By 1950, Hegel’s influential analyzing of the play as featuring 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 lightly 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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Extra info for Antigone in Modernism: Classicism, Feminism and Theatres of Protest
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). Antigone’s mournfulness has an inoculating effect against the rays of the sun, and it is only by dwelling on her private suffering that she can survive: grief is presented as a life-line, and a humanizing, individuating principle.
This disembodied, amplified voice replicated the effect of a newsreel or radio broadcaster. And on stage, every role was spoken at a rapid pace, as though on fast forward. In addition to the scene-stealing mise-en-scene, Cocteau bracketed the play’s “content” in other ways. On the first page of the script he explains that he has replaced the Greek name “Zeus” with the Latin “Jupiter” not for interpretive reasons but because “Jupiter sounds better in our language” (49). In the role of Antigone, Cocteau cast Génica Atanasiou, an unknown, and a recent Romanian immigrant who spoke no French.
Sontag suggests that for Artaud, “society is ailing. Like Nietzsche, Artaud conceived of himself as a physician to culture—as well as its most painfully ill patient” (42). 51 “To Struggle and to Suffer”: Antigone’s Might No one was more in love and in hate with Antigone than Simone Weil. As a political activist, Weil was in love with the play’s theme of staunch resistance to authority. Contravening this love was an equally important passion for Weil, her particular brand of Christological philosophy.