Antigone and Politics of Plurality in Postmodern Era


In Sophocles’ tragedy Antigone (441 BC), the heroine Antigone defies the state law, which Creon, the new ruler of Thebes, compels the citizens to comply with. Unlike numerous critics, Fanny Söderbäck regards Antigone as public and Creon as private, counteracting the old binary opposition of Hegel. Hence, Söderbäck emphasizes the importance of plurality in politics through Hannah Arendt’s theory. In postmodern era, plurality functions as a crucial factor in culture and politics and, therefore, I argue that plurality should be accepted in politics concerning Antigone. From Arendt’s perspective, Creon can be assessed concerning his paradoxical behavior in two aspects. Firstly, Creon belongs to the private sphere, not the public. On the other hand, Antigone’s action belongs to the public realm. In this respect, Söderbäck mentions that “By transgressing the law she sets a new standard for lawmaking. She introduces a new model of the political, a model based on speech and action,” unlike Creon. (Söderbäck 70). Secondly, Creon reveals the disposition as a dictator. In this regard, Arendt claims that politics should include plurality, and Arendt’s plurality is a crucial factor in postmodern times, in order to include the minority in the community. Antigone is, finally, sacrificed by Creon’s arrogation and she is expelled to the underworld like an exile. From the postcolonial and postmodern viewpoint, Arendt and other critics emphasize politics of plurality and it is meaningful that we should embrace the minority group in our society because we live in times of diversity and fluidity.

Author Information
Min-Kyoung Kim, Sungkyunkwan University, South Korea

Paper Information
Conference: LibEuro2016
Stream: Literature - Historical and Political Literature

This paper is part of the LibEuro2016 Conference Proceedings (View)
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Posted by James Alexander Gordon