Antigone’s Choice: Tragedy and philosophy from dialectic to aporia
Keywords:tragedy, Antigone, Hegel, Derrida, Lehmann
Shaped by Hegel, philosophy’s approach to Antigone has always been firmly rooted in all the assumptions of realism, with proper, true-to-life, consistent, and plausible characters. These characterological mimetic interpretations often feed off of each other within the context of what’s perceived as “realist” drama, with its focus on characters and their insoluble, hence tragic, conflict. Starting with the twentieth-century avant-garde, however, theatre became less and less interested in characterological mimicry as a foundation of drama and what follows, as the foundation of the theatrical experience itself. Along with the shift in our approach to character, we have also experienced a shift in our understanding of other Aristotelian components of drama (“Plot” and “Thought”) and dramatic genres (“Tragedy”). As our sense of character and Thought shifted from stable to unstable, so did our understanding of tragedy and its role at the junction of theatre and philosophy. Tragedy has shifted from dialectic to aporia, from binary to polynary. Antigone—with its multiple interpretations and critical lenses—illuminates this fundamental shift in our understanding of tragedy and, thus, the fundamental shift in the relationship between theatre and philosophy in postdramatic theatre.
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