For the past couple of weeks in lit we’ve been talking a lot about the notion of order and chaos, taking I guess the Hegelian dialectical approach to clashing notions, an approach that goes pretty well with Antigone, Sophocles’ play. It’s not the end all of course. Nevertheless, the idea that something must be resolved in Antigone is palpable, and always relevant to contemporary politics and culture (the play always reads fresh because something about Antigone–her resolve, energy, and anger always touch a cord with the audience. Something must be resolved may appear dull || obvious, but in the play the fundamental notion that things are falling apart and must be stopped is central to the tragedy. What’s the problem, though, in the play? Why doesn’t Antigone simply accept Creon’s decision for Polyneices’ body? Why doesn’t he retract sooner than he does? Why does he react as he does in the first place? Why doesn’t Haemon kill Creon when he has the chance? And what about Ismene, who declines her sister’s request. Then again, why doesn’t anyone ask the question about Polyneices’ actions vs Eteocles’ choice to suspect transition of the right to rule?
If we take the sequence of events in the Oedipus cycle and consider (for limited time) the notion of fate as a force fluid in the plays, then the above questions become even more interesting to the underlying drama and to the general course of anagnorisis (revealing). The play is filled with powerful questions and incredible sense of “dramatic” telling.
But the original issue keeps coming back to me: something must be resolved. But what? More to come on this.