1 For references to works discussing the cultural determination of perception cf.Sourvinou-Inwood, C., in Bérard, C., Bron, C. and Pomari, A. (eds), Images et société en Grèce ancienne. L'iconographie comme méthode d'analyse (Lausanne1987) 52 nn. 2–4; to discussions of signification and the creation of meaning: op. cit. nn. 5–8. For the placing of such insights in reader-oriented criticism: Culler, J., On deconstruction. Theory and criticism after structuralism (London, Melbourne and Henley1983) 17–83passim; Suleiman, S. R. in Suleiman, S. R. and Crosman, I. (eds), The reader in the text. Essays on audience and interpretation (Princeton1980) 3–45. The model I follow in my attempt to reconstruct the reading process is based on Eco, U., The role of the reader (London1981) 3–43.
2 I discuss the questions associated with this process in BW, section 2. Cultural determination cannot be wholly eliminated but it can be blocked to a very considerable extent (Sourvinou-Inwood 1987 [n. 1] 52 nn. 3–4). Such reconstruction is a construct of some minimum common sets of assumptions that can be presumed (when they can) to have been shared by this other construct: all or most mid-fifth century Athenians.
3 The exact date of the Antigone is not certain beyond doubt, but the generally accepted date in the late 440s is extremely likely. The story (Radt, TrGF vol. 4, 45 T. no. 25) that Sophocles was elected general because of the success of the Antigone (on this story cf.Woodbury, L., Phoenixxxiv  209–24; Lefkowitz, M. R., The lives of the Greek poets [London1981] 80–3; von Wilamowitz-Moellendorf, U., Aristoteles und Athen. vols. I–II [Berlin1893] 298 n. 14), which suggests a date in the late 440s, since Sophocles was general at 441/440 may be an invention, but was it based on correct information about the play's date? Lefkowitz op. cit. 82 rightly notes that other stories, one of which was ascribed to Satyros, place the Antigone at the end of Sophocles' life, which suggests that in the third century there was no fixed information on the date of the Antigone. Despite this, there are reasons for thinking that the story about Sophocles' generalship contains correct historical information, and that this tragedy had indeed been produced in the late 440s. First, this story, unlike the others, is certainly known to contain one piece of correct information, that Sophocles had been a general, indeed, that his career as a general included an involvement with Samos. Second, and most importantly, there is a reflection of Antigone 909–12 in Euripides' Alcestis 293–4; cf. also 285–6 (Blumenthal, H.J., CR n.s. xxiv  174–5). Alcestis was produced in 438, which thus gives us the terminus ante quern; the inspiration would make perfect sense if the Antigone was produced in the late 440s. Finally, the story's invention makes best sense as a post hoc transformed into a propter hoc. (Cf. Wilamowitz op. cit. 298 n. 14. For a discussion of the play's date: cf. esp. Woodbury op. cit.; Calder, W. M.III, GRBSix  389–90.)
4Jebb, R. C. ed., Sophocles. The plays and fragments. Part III. The Antigone (Cambridge1888) p. 164 ad loc. and esp. Appendix pp. 257–61. On 904 ff. cf. BW and FL.
5Cf. also G&Rxxxv (1988) 29–39.
6 On ideological bias cf. Eco op. cit. (n. 1) 22–3; cf. id., A theory of semiotics (Bloomington 1976) 289–90; Eagleton, T., Criticism and ideology2 (London1978) passim, esp. 11–43.
7Cf.Knox, B. M. W., The heroic temper (Berkeley and Los Angeles1964) 84–7; id., Word and action (Baltimore, London 1979) 166–7.
8Cf. Dem. xix 247 (cf. 246–8) and Knox 1964 (n. 7) 181 n. 52); cf.Bowra, C. M., Sophoclean tragedy (Oxford1964) 68.
9 Especially as this procedure would interact with our assumptions which include perceptions of the Antigone developed over the years which privilege the backwards reading (which partly generated them), so that the two fallacies would reinforce each other and distort in the same direction.
10 Even those who do not accept that all texts and myths are polysemic and multivocal cannot deny the possibility that they may be, and so should avoid methodologies that would distort the reading if their assumptions are wrong.
11Cf. also P. E. Easterling in C. Pelling ed., Characterization and individuality in Greek literature, forthcoming.
12 On kings in tragedy cf.Easterling, P. E., in Coy, Javier y de Hoz, Javier (ed.), Estudios sobre los generos liteariosii (Salamanca1984) 33–45. Eur. Suppl. 399–441 can be seen also as an attempt to articulate a relationship between the Theban polis ruled by Kreon and its politeia to the Athenian political myth of Theseus the democratic king. Aesch. Suppl. 365–9, 397–9, 600–5 presents a democracy with a king in Argos.
13 On this cf.Zeitlin, F. I., in Euben, J. P. (ed.), Greek tragedy and political theory (Berkeley1986) 101–41.
14 I discuss schemata, especially ‘child-parent hostility’ ones in Theseus as son and stepson (London1979) 8–18; and in OpAthxvii (1988) section 2.
15 I present the arguments on which these views are based in a paper (‘What is polis religion?’) forthcoming in Price, S. and Murray, O. (eds), The Greek city from Homer to Alexander. Cf. also Dover, K. J., Greek popular morality (Oxford1974) 306.
16Cf. e.g. Else, G. F., The madness of Antigone (Heidelberg1976) 40. For a much subtler version of the notion of Kreon's narrowly political bias cf. e.g. Winnington-Ingram, R. P., Sophocles. An interpretation (Cambridge1980) 148.
17Cf. Knox 1964 (n. 7) 99–102.
18 I have discussed funerary legislation in Hägg, R. (ed.), The Greek renaissance of the eighth century B.C.: tradition and innovation (Stockholm1983) 47–8.
19Cf.Loraux, N., L'invention d'Athènes (Paris, La Haye, New York1981) passim: cf. esp. 23–6.
20Cf. references to ancient sources and discussions in Parker, R., Miasma. Pollution and purification in early Greek religion (Oxford1983) 45–7; Cerri, G., in Gnoli, G. and Vernant, J.-P. (eds), La mort, les morts dans les sociétés anciennes (Cambridge, Paris1982) 121–31passim; Rosivach, V.J., Rheinisches Museumcxxvi (1983) 193–4; Oudemans, T. C. W. and Lardinois, A. P. M. H., Tragic ambiguity. Anthropology, philosophy and Sophocles' Antigone (Leiden1987) 101–2; Bremmer, J., The early Greek concept of the soul (Princeton1983) 90–2. Whatever the status of the story of the clandestine burial of Themistocles' bones in Attica reported in Thuc. i 138–6, the law forbidding the burial of traitors in Attica was probably in existence at 462. The story is likely to have been part of the anti-Themistoclean propaganda. Perception of the action would have been coloured by the fact that Themistocles' status as a traitor was not unambivalent.
21Cf. Xenoph. Hell, i 7.20 but cf.Diggle, J., CRxxxi (1981) 107–8; Parker (n. 20) 47 n. 52; it cannot be dated precisely.
22 On the use of space in the Antigone cf.Taplin, O., Omnibusvii (March 1984) 13–16; Easterling, P. E., BICSxxxiv (1988) 22–3.
23 On which cf.Lloyd-Jones, H., The justice of Zeus (Berkeley, Los Angeles, London1971) 113–14 (cf. 114–17); Easterling, P. E., in Dawe, R. D., Diggle, J., Easterling, P. E. (eds), Dionysiaca. Nine studies in Greek poetry presented to Sir Denys Page on his 70th birthday (Cambridge1978) 141–58.
25Cf. Thuc. iv 105. On kērygma cf. also Calder (n. 3) 392–3 and n. 20. One stratēgos could sometimes be given supreme command in a particular campaign, and one or more could be granted special powers (cf.Hignett, C., A history of the Athenian constitution [Oxford1952] 247–8, 353–4). Knox 1964 (n. 7) 82–3 sees Antigone's reference to Kreon's edict in terms similar to mine. Cf. also Winnington-Ingram (n. 16) 122 and n. 18.
25 A man who raises a foreign army to march against his own city to destroy it would indisputably be a traitor in the eyes of the Athenians who had declared Themistocles a traitor for much less (cf. Thuc. i 135–8). A large section of the audience had experienced the events of 458/7, when treachery had endangered Athenian democracy, when there was a Spartan army in Boeotia and a threat of a Spartan invasion of Attica, encouraged and probably urged by some extreme Athenian oligarchs who hoped to overthrow democracy with Spartan help. The stories told about Kimon and his followers fighting for Athens make clear that such behaviour was seen as treachery abhorred by the traitors' political allies, not as a legitimate move in a political play between oligarchs and democrats. Given the interactive process of meaning creation, the experience and memory of these events, and its traces in the collective imaginaire inevitably helped shape the audience's perceptual filters, so that they could not have thought of Polyneikes as other than a traitor. This perception was strongly reinforced by the ways in which Polyneikes is presented in the text (cf. 110 ff.; 285–7. Cf. also Knox 1964 [n. 7] 83–4). He wished to do to Thebes and its hiera the opposite of what Athenians swore to do in the ephebic oath, which would characterize him as an impious traitor in their eyes. Any intertextual echoes that may have come into play would have operated in the same direction. He is characterized very negatively at A. Sept. 580–5 by Amphiaraos, who is a wise man and a seer. This negative characterization is reinforced by his marriage, which Antigone calls illstarred (v. 870), and which places him even more strongly on the wrong side in Athenian eyes: he contracted a marriage alliance with the leading family of a foreign state, which he used against his own city. This was aristocratic behaviour seen to be inimical to the democratic polis who feared conflicting loyalties and foreign power-bases; it was one of the reasons behind Pericles' citizenship law of 451/0.
26 There was no notion of individual (human) rights limiting the polis' right to demand the sacrifice of private interests (cf. Dover [n. 15] 156–60; 289).
28 On vv. 904–12 cf. BW, and esp. AAR; on privileging the husband's oikos cf. op. cit. and FL.
29 On ‘women out of control’ cf. FS. On ‘women in charge’: Vidal-Naquet, P., Le chasseur noir2 (Paris1983) 267–88; Pembroke, S. G., JESHOviii (1965) 217–47; id., JWCI xxx (1967) 1–35; Zeitlin, F. I., Arethusaxi (1978) 153–60.
30 On which, and the contrast to that of the prologue cf. also Burton, R. W. B., The Chorus in Sophocles' Tragedies (Oxford1980) 90; cf. op. cit. 90–5 on parodos in general.
31 On this passage cf. also Kitto, H. D. F., Form and meaning in drama (London1956) 153–5, who has not understood how limited the scope of divine approval was here; cf. Burton (n. 30) 87.
32 As a corrective to the modern culturally determined positive ideology surrounding this notion of obeying laws higher than those of man we may remember that Oliver North's secretary Fawn Hall stated that they broke the law because they saw no reason to obey man-made, ‘written’ laws. Of course, this example is ambivalent, since some people see the Irangate affair as patriotic acts serving a higher cause. Fawn Hall was inspired (immediately or ultimately) by Antigone; it would help us scrape off the ideological accretions of centuries to try to see this play as near through fifth century eyes as possible, if Antigone were to be seen also through the perceptual filter ‘Fawn Hall’.
33 In the framework of Greek religion in the 440s there was no legitimate locus from which an individual could challenge on religious grounds the authority and validity of the religious discourse of the polis, let alone justify subversive action on it. There was no established notion of an individual religious conscience that could operate in opposition to the polis discourse, and it is very difficult to see how such a notion could have existed in the framework of contemporary religious discourse. For the concept of religious individualism (cf.Lukes, S., Individualism [Oxford1973] 94–8) involves an unmediated personal, personally conducted and personally determined, relationship between man and god, which is not the case in mainstream Athenian religion at this time. In classical Athens there was a tendency towards identification of the patriotic, the law-abiding and the pious, and convergence of social and political morality with religion (cf. Dover [n. 15] 252–3; cf. also 157–8).
34Cf. e.g. Harrison, A. R. W., The law of Athens. The family and property (Oxford1968) 139; Dover (n. 15) 273–5; Parker (n. 20) 196–7 cf. 192. Cf. also n. 14.
35Cf. Thuc. iii 37.3–4; Demosth. xxi 34; Aesch. i 6. Cf. also Dover (n. 15) 307–8; 309; 119; Humphreys, S. C., Anthropology and the Greeks (London1978) 233. Socrates in Xen. Mem. iv 4.12–25 identifies dikaion with nomimon.
36 Jebb (n. 4) 127 ad 670 f; Siewert, P., JHSxcvii (1977) 105–7.
37 Siewert (n. 36) wrongly claims that Kreon's formulation distorts the civic duties which are defined in the oath; first, Kreon's view that a citizen must obey polis authority in things just and unjust was official polis discourse; second, Siewert's view rests on a particular interpretation of the oath (cf. discussion in Siewert 103); third, even on Siewert's own thesis, no licence would be accorded to individual disobedience if a law was unjust: ‘obedience to magistrates and future laws is required by the oath until the Areopagus declares them unreasonable’ (Siewert 104). In other words, obedience is required for as long as the laws remain valid.
38Cf. supra n. 14.
39 I have argued all this in MT and FS.
40 I discuss the death ritual, of which burial was the final part, in Sourvinou-Inwood 1983 (n. 18) 37–42; for the fact that the proper division between life and death is an important part of the cosmic order cf.BICSxxxiii (1986) 52.
41 Kreon's religious loyalty was not partial. It included both upper and nether gods and undervalued neither. His offence was against the whole divine order. It was Antigone's which was partial. She challenged the polis' authority over funerary matters and elevated her own view of what was due to the dead to centre of all value. This is the meaning of Kreon's words in 777–80. He is not sneering at the rights of Hades, but referring to the fact that she subverted the polis because she privileged her own perception of what is due to the dead and Hades above all else—because her interests which were in conflict with the polis had concerned that particular part of the polis discourse.
42Cf.Jameson, M. H., Historiaxx (1971) 541–2 and passim; Woodbury 1970, pasim; Knox, B. in Fondation Hardt pour l'étude de l'antiquité classique. Entretiens xxix. Sophocle. Geneva (1983) 4–5; Lefkowitz, M. R., Studi italiani di filologia classica v:2 (1987) 151 and n. 11.
43Cf. Knox 1979 (n. 7) 167.
44 On this cf. MT; FS. Commentators usually take Kreon's words at the end, especially from v. 1284 onwards, at face value and believe his fate was as bad, or worse than, death, But his words are simply a conventional articulation of extreme distress and grief (cf. FS n. 57).
* Severe limitations of space prevent me from confronting the earlier literature; references are cut to the minimum. A draft of this paper was delivered at a seminar at King's College, Cambridge, in 1983 and subsequently also at Oxford. I am grateful to many scholars who discussed aspects of the play with me, especially to Professor Pat Easterling, Dr Ruth Padel, Dr Robert Parker and Dr Oliver Taplin for discussions and advice, and the editor of JHS Dr Christopher Pelling for his manifold help. I discuss other aspects of this play elsewhere, and use the following abbreviations for these papers: MT: Le mythe dans la tragédie, la tragédie à travers le mythe: Sophocle, Antigone vv. 944–87 in C. Calame (ed.), Métamorphoses du mythe en Grèce antique (Geneva 1988) 167–83; FS: The fourth stasimon of Sophocles' Antigone, published in BICS xxxv (1989). BW: Sophocles' Antigone as a bad woman, forth-coming in F. Dieteren and E. Kloek (eds), Women's history in theory and practice. FL: Familial loyalties: norms of feminine behaviour in classical Athens, to be published in a collection ed. by L. Archer, S. Fischler and M. Wyke. AAR: Antigone 904–20: a reading, forthcoming in AION sezione filologico-letteraria. I use the term ‘reading’ partly metaphorically, to include making sense of a play in performance; the points I am making have even greater force in the latter case.
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