Antigone's Claim: Kinship Between Life and Death (The Wellek by Judith Butler

By Judith Butler

The distinguished writer of Gender difficulty the following redefines Antigone's legacy, getting better her progressive value and freeing it for a innovative feminism and sexual politics. Antigone has lengthy been a feminist icon of defiance. yet what has remained doubtful is whether or not she escapes from the kinds of energy that she opposes, because the type of defiance she exemplifies additionally ends up in her dying. Butler argues that Antigone represents a sort of feminist and sexual organization that's fraught with threat. furthermore, Antigone indicates how a tradition of normative heterosexuality obstructs our capability to work out what sexual freedom and political company may be.

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Extra info for Antigone's Claim: Kinship Between Life and Death (The Wellek Library Lectures)

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I shall hate you far more if you remain silent, and do not proclaim this to all” (86–87). Like Creon, then, Antigone wants her speech act to be radically and comprehensively public, as public as the edict itself. Although her defiance is heard, the price of her speech is death. Her language is not that of a survivable political agency. Her words, understood as deeds, are chiasmically related to the vernacular of sovereign power, speaking in and against it, delivering and defying imperatives at the same time, inhabiting the language of sovereignty at the very moment in which she opposes sovereign power and is excluded from its terms.

Like Creon, then, Antigone wants her speech act to be radically and comprehensively public, as public as the edict itself. Although her defiance is heard, the price of her speech is death. Her language is not that of a survivable political agency. Her words, understood as deeds, are chiasmically related to the vernacular of sovereign power, speaking in and against it, delivering and defying imperatives at the same time, inhabiting the language of sovereignty at the very moment in which she opposes sovereign power and is excluded from its terms.

Championing Goethe’s reading, Lacan insists that “Creon is [not] opposed to Antigone as one principle of the law, of discourse, to another. . Goethe shows that Creon is driven by his desire and manifestly deviates from the straight path . . he rushes by himself to his own destruction [il court à sa perte]” (254, 297). In a sense, Lacan’s concern with the play is precisely with this rushing by oneself to one’s own destruction, that fatal rushing that structures the action of Creon and Antigone alike.

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