Antigone's Laments, Creon's Grief: Mourning, Membership, and the Politics of Exception.

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  • Author(s): Honig, Bonnie
  • Source:
    Political Theory. Feb2009, Vol. 37 Issue 1, p5-43. 39p.
  • Additional Information
    • Subject Terms:
    • Abstract:
      This paper reads Sophocles' Antigone contextually, as an exploration of the politics of lamentation and larger conflicts these stand for. Antigone defies Creon's sovereign decree that her brother Polynices, who attacked the city with a foreign army and died in battle, be dishonoured - left unburied. But the play is not about Polynices' treason. It explores the clash in 5th century Athens between Homeric/elite and democratic mourning practices. The former (represented by Antigone) memorialize the unique individuality of the dead, focus on the family's loss and bereavement and call for vengeance. The latter (represented by Creon) memorialize the dead's contribution to the immortal polis and emphasize (as in the Funeral Oration) the replaceability of those lost. Each economy of mourning sees the other as excessive and politically unstable. The remainders of both, managed by way of exception institutions such as tragedy and the Dionysian Festival, continue to haunt us now. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
    • Abstract:
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