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Binding ViolenceLiterary Visions of Political Origins$
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Moira Fradinger

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780804763301

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804763301.001.0001

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Antigone and the Polis

Antigone and the Polis

Chapter:
(p.33) Antigone and the Polis
Source:
Binding Violence
Publisher:
Stanford University Press
DOI:10.11126/stanford/9780804763301.003.0002

This chapter relocates Antigone within the ancient sphere of democracy, calling upon some of the text's political conditions of production as well as upon the mysterious success of Antigone's performance in fifth-century Athens, to open up new dialogues between the tragedy's political imagination and our own. The (tragic) interpretation of context is aligned with that of the “new democratic school,” which sees continuities between ancient tragedy and ancient, as well as modern, political thought and practice. It is argued that the tragedy stages a political paradox, which modernity reformulated as it appropriated for itself the principle of equality. Antigone exposes a constitutive question for the ancient revolutionary invention of democracy, a question that invariably resurfaces regardless of how often it is suppressed: who constituted the body politic, and by which rituals was this determination made?

Keywords:   democracy, tragedy, political imagination, equality

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