Was Antigone Really A 'Bad' Woman? Christiane Sourvinou-Inwood's Reading of Sophocles' Antigone

by Rebekah Whiteley


In reading Sophocles' Antigone with a specific view to the conflict between male and female it becomes obvious that Kreon and, to a lesser extent as a more minor character, Ismene, are the two figures in the play who are most consciously concerned with this conflict. According to Christiane Sourvinou-Inwood, the fifth century Athenian male audience would have perceived Antigone in a negative light precisely because of this male-female conflict. She believes this to be especially true for an audience who was watching the play unfold for the first time rather than reading backwards as we are prone to do. Although Sourvinou-Inwood does claim to be concerned with "the play's complexities, polysemies, ambivalences and ambiguities, and [its] multivocality and warring discourse..."(135),(1) she does nonetheless seem to privilege somewhat excessively the theme of male-female conflict in order to satisfy her interpretation of Antigone as a 'bad' woman.

While Sourvinou-Inwood speaks of the empirical reality and ideality of the Athenian polis which would have influenced the audience's perceptions, combined with 'zooming' and 'distancing' devices in the tragedy (136), her arguments about which of these devices is in operation at various stages of the play are neither entirely clear nor entirely convincing. Sourvinou-Inwood's first argument concerning the audience's negative perception of Antigone is that at the very outset of the play Antigone is portrayed as having called her sister Ismene out of doors for conspiratorial purposes (138). While it does seem undeniable that the sight of a woman whispering out doors in the dark would elicit a negative response from the male audience, there seems no clear cut reason to deny that while the 'zooming' effect of Antigone's democratic language at line 8 brings the audience to a contemporary mind frame, the 'distancing' effect of the fact that this is tragedy and that Antigone is a Theban princess of distant times is also in effect, as Foley points out.(2) As Easterling also makes clear, tragedy has the special and privileged status of make-believe and as a result, the audience may not be so quick to judge characters by their own present day standards.(3) It is not therefore the mere fact of Antigone's departure from her proper place that would have elicited a negative reaction, but it is certainly probable that her revelation of her intention to disobey the proclamation of the general would have done so. Although a small point we may also note that Ismene too, characterized by Sourvinou-Inwood as the woman who displays "the correct modality of female response"(140), is also out of doors and in the dark. If it is possible for the audience to revise their view of Ismene based on her lines, so too must it be possible for them to be affected by Antigone's subsequent lines.

Even if we agree that an overall negative framing has been set in place by this first scene, Sourvinou-Inwood's argument that the audience would have ignored the particulars of the dishonourable treatment of Polyneices' corpse is not convincing (137-8). Granting that it was "normal, legitimate political discourse" to dispose of the bodies of war dead as the polis (in this case the ruler) saw fit (139), it still seems unlikely that Antigone's horrific description of the precise details of Polyneices' particular disposal (ll.29-30) would have had no impact on the audience. At the least it seems possible that the particularly gruesome, and potentially polluting, aspect of the strategos' accepted prerogative to inflict a "bad death", as Sourvinou-Inwood calls it (146), on a traitor would have brought some sense of ambiguity to the audience's positive perception of his proclamation. Sourvinou-Inwood admits that "the standard Athenian modes of ascribing 'bad death' to a corpse did not involve leaving in the world above that which belongs to the gods below."(147) If this was indeed accepted practice I don't see how it is impossible for the audience to have recognized this and used this knowledge in formulating their opinion of Kreon, even before it is spelled out clearly by Teiresias at lines 1068-76.

Sourvinou-Inwood goes on to argue that Antigone's actions would not have been understood by the audience to have been a response to her 'legitimately' conflicting duties, namely those towards the oikos and towards the polis (139). This seems to blatantly ignore what Antigone is saying in the text as well as what the characters, apart form Kreon, who evaluate her actions are saying. Even if the audience perceived Antigone negatively at this point, her speeches cannot be ignored as inevitably being without merit or influence on the audience because of their initial impression of her as a subversive woman. While Haimon is the only character in the play who states unequivocally his support for Antigone's actions, even Ismene and the Chorus, who disapprove of the conditions under which she performed the burial, i.e. biai politwn (Ismene l.79, Chorus ll.852-4), both seem to say that the deed itself was inherently right and even praiseworthy (l.99;l.818). Sourvinou-Inwood also states that Antigone privileged her own interests over those of the polis (139) yet she ignores the fact that Antigone does not define her action as a personal matter only but also as a thoroughly religious one, in which the will of the gods below is the motivating factor (ll. 74-7; 450-9; 900-03; 913-15; 920-28). Sourvinou-Inwood, in denying that Antigone had any ground to stand on when she claimed that Kreon's edict was wrong in the eyes of the nether gods because "she had no authority" (143) eliminates the possibility that the audience would have employed their contemporary society's connection, which Padel explains, between women, specifically their muchos, and the darkness of Hades and even the prophet's shrine.(4) In Greek cult women were assigned a role in chthonic cults by men who wished to avoid contact with what was polluting and threatening in these cults and who saw women as having an affinity with "the darker, polluting side of divinity."(5) In view of this it does not seem impossible that some members of the audience would have seen Antigone's argument in some way as justifiable. While her words certainly wouldn't have had anywhere near the kind of validity that a prophet like Teiresias' would have, I see no reason that their initial view of Antigone should remain statically negative; there is at least some room for audience approval on a religious basis, even if it is not unequivocal.

Again, in denying that it was in fact Antigone's duty to bury her brother, Sourvinou-Inwood seems to be using her 'zooming' and 'distancing' devices inconsistently. She identifies this role as belonging ultimately to Kreon (had Polyneices not been a traitor) in the absence of male relatives in the immediate family (139-40). Yet the audience was certainly conscious that they were watching a tragedy and in tragedy women are in fact portrayed as possessing the dominant role in the funeral process. Despite the fact that women's participation in funerals, and even the manner of that participation, was legislated against in varying degrees in fifth century Athens, women in tragedy do play a prominent role, from the initial ritual washing (as Sourvinou-Inwood consents) right up to the lamentation at the grave, as both Aeschylus and Sophocles had displayed in their portrayals of Electra.(6) The fact that tragedians so often chose to deal with the tensions within democratic society- above all those between the oikos and the polis(7) - simply reinforces the fact that even in contemporary Athenian society where the actions of a woman like Antigone would have been unthinkable, this tension existed. Through the freedom of their genre the tragedians tried to explore it and find some kind of solution for it; granted not one that was without its ambiguities.(8)

Although Sourvinou-Inwood is right in contrasting Ismene's proper behavior to Antigone's unfeminine conduct in the audience's eyes (140), she once again ignores the fact that Ismene too acknowledges the fact that it is indeed their duty, as sisters, to bury Polyneices when she says that she will ask for forgiveness from those below since she is being forced not to do what is her obligation (ll.65-6). Here Ismene is implicitly stating that it is her duty to bury her brother and that if the circumstances were different, she certainly would have done so. This concept is supported once again by Antigone's statement at ll.900-02 in regard to her mother and father: epei thanontas autoxeir humas ègw/ elousa kakosmèsa kapitumbious/ xoas edwka.... Perhaps this was not what the audience saw in their own lives but, as Sourvinou-Inwood states in a different context: "the Thebes of the play was not seen as a mimetic representation of democratic Athens and judged accordingly."(142) Nor does Sourvinou-Inwood take into account the ambiguity, which Foley points out, in the fact that while the "good" women of tragedy generally ally themselves with marriage, or as virgins, to the preservation of the family, state or nation while "bad" women do the opposite, nevertheless in the case of Ismene, and, for example, Chrysothemis in the Electra, there is an ambivalence and perhaps even negative aspect to their treatment when they are compared to their "iconoclastic sisters Antigone and Electra."(9) On Sourvinou-Inwood's reading Ismene's ultimate refusal to join Antigone's cause would have coloured Antigone more negatively in the audience's eyes (140). Yet it seems equally possible that Ismene's inner conflict between sympathizing with Antigone and rejecting her would have reflected, for some members of the audience, their own feelings of being torn in two directions with regard to their emotional response to Antigone. It is not, nor is it meant to be, a black and white situation where one character is 'right' and the other 'wrong'.(10)

Sourvinou-Inwood goes on to claim that the choral invocation of Dionysus (l.169) to lead the victory celebrations "inevitably brought with it the evocation of [the god's] persona... [which] brings disorder into the polis by leading women to abandon their homes, traditional roles and the polis and go outside in a state of madness..."(141). This, she argues, sets up an echo leading back to Antigone's proposed action as well as forward, prefiguring the accomplishment of that action. If Antigone does in fact represent, in her action, a case like the maenads whereby her disorderly behavior is ultimately serving the gods and promoting, in the end, "order-creating disorder" then it seems to me that Sourvinou-Inwood is suggesting that Antigone's actions are in fact meant to be interpreted by the audience based on their interpretation of the play as a whole. It does seem unlikely that the audience would have consciously associated Antigone with this Dionysiac notion, as Sourvinou-Inwood proposes, but nor do I believe that they would have continued to persist stubbornly in their negative perception of Antigone once the connection was finally made. It seems that the divine connection, as it gradually developed, would have mitigated such an entirely negative perception of Antigone on the part of the audience. As Padel also notes, in connection with Euripides' Bacchae, the maenads emerge, as women often do in the context of the tragic opposition between inside and outside, to indicate that something is wrong in the state of Thebes.(11) So too is it plausible that the audience may have made a connection between Antigone and Dionysus with his maenads, which would in turn associate her with emerging to right a wrong in Thebes, namely Kreon's treatment of Polyneices' corpse.

In Sourvinou-Inwood's discussion of Kreon it seems that she persists far too long in stressing the audience's sympathy for him as the legitimate ruler of the polis whose loyalty to it is completely without flaw. Undeniably Kreon's first speech to the Chorus would have struck a democratic note among the audience, especially his sentiments in lines 178-81 about the ruler (in an Athenian context the democratic process) who ignores the welfare of the city because of some fear being the worst sort of ruler. This idea seems reminiscent of the democratic ideal stated in Thucydides by Pericles (2.40), namely that the citizen who shuns the affairs of the polis [for whatever reason] is not considered one who minds his own business but rather one who has no business being a citizen.(12) At the same time Sourvinou-Inwood's 'distancing' devices are undoubtedly at work as the audience perceived Kreon as the sole ruler of a non- democratic, non-contemporary polis (142). It seems clear that if scenes involving Kreon can activate both 'zooming' and 'distancing' devices without creating confusion for the audience, so too can they operate coincidentally for scenes involving other characters, including Antigone. Sourvinou -Inwood's dismissal of the negative impression created for the audience by Kreon's outrageous accusations of the guard about Polyneices' burial patently ignore the irony of the situation. Even if Kreon does not know that it is in fact Antigone who has perpetrated the deed, the audience does know, and in addition they know that she has not done it for the sake of monetary gain as Kreon is so steadfast sure of. Perhaps the comic nature of the guard and the commonplace nature of the threats with which Kreon plies him, experienced in both tragic and contemporary situations involving failure to perform one's duty (142) would have made Kreon's response more acceptable to the audience. But, as Foley agues, in conjunction with the successive errors in judgment that Kreon makes, this becomes the first instance in what will become a negative pattern of errors,(13) each one more serious than the last (that is, his misjudgment of Ismene as a conspirator to overthrow the throne is worse than his misjudgment of the guard, that of Haimon as a woman's slave is more serious than that of Ismene, while that of Teiresias as a silver mongerer is the worst of all). Sourvinou-Inwood's textual echoing system (141) must provide then for the possibility that this situation did indeed, at some point, influence the audience to view Kreon as a consistently wrong-headed character who adheres relentlessly to a particular point of view to the point of his utter destruction. At the very least the scene with the guard would have set the audience's minds open to the possibility that Kreon, mistaken in this instance, might have been wrong in other instances as well.(14)

In the subsequent scene involving Kreon, the guard, Antigone and the Chorus, Sourvinou-Inwood's excusal of Kreon on behalf of the audience becomes more untenable. This results from her refusal to acknowledge that Kreon was displaying an explicitly tyrannical attitude to both the Chorus, with whom Sourvinou-Inwood claims that the audience would have taken to reflect its own values and attitudes (141), and the rest of the citizenry (all those that is whom he suspects of opposing him) mentioned at lines 280-314, and especially 288-92. Even accepting that it was "wholly reasonable"(142) for Kreon to dictate what the gods did and did not approve of, surely the fact that he venemously dismisses the coryphaios' tentative suggestion that the gods had a part in the burial and, consequently, that Kreon may have been wrong in denying it, would have signaled an entirely undemocratic attitude on his part. And if not this alone, then his further statement that the citizenry should complacently hold their necks beneath the yoke for him (ll.291-2) would have clinched the debate in this case. Perhaps they had not grown any more sympathetic to Antigone at this point but their positive view of Kreon must have been rapidly eroding. Also significant is the fact that, as Sourvinou-Inwood tells us, sign revelation was "the ultimate religious authority" which transcended even polis discourse (142). If this is true then Kreon's cavalier dismissal of the possibility that the burial was indeed a sign from the gods, despite the advice of his closest and most trusted advisors, would also have struck an unhappy chord among the audience.

Sourvinou-Inwood goes on to examine Antigone's speech about the opposition between the unwritten divine laws and those created by men. Although she admits that the lines are both reasonable and brilliantly constructed, she insists that the audience would have rejected them on the basis that Antigone had no authority to be a source of religious value (143). While it does seem reasonable that some people in the audience would have considered this to be true, it does also seem possible, in view of the increasingly negative audience perception of Kreon, that at least some would have been inclined to take her words at face value or else to expect a proper refutation of this argument by Kreon, which, incidentally, they do not get.(15) Instead Kreon exults once again in his power, comparing Antigone to a beast who will be broken (ll.477-8), virtually calling her, his own niece, a slave (ll.478-9), and simplifying an undeniably complex question to one of male versus female (ll.484-5). While this may have accorded well with the audience's general perception of the proper hierarchy of male dominating female, (16) it seems clear that at least some members of the audience would have recognized that Kreon was avoiding a crucial question, whether it was voiced by a woman or not.

Nor do I think that they would have failed to note Kreon's blasphemous rejection of the religious nature of blood ties when he says that Antigone ...ouk aluzeton morou kakistou...eith' hmaimonestera/ tou pantos èmin Zènos èrkeiou kurei (ll. 486-9). The very words that Kreon uses, Zènos èrkeiou, would have called to mind the sacred center of every Greek home: the hearth, which was connected to Hestia and thus, inseparably, to women.(17) This would have brought to the audience's minds the fact that Antigone did indeed have a religious connection and duty to her family, (strengthened by the fact that as a virgin she had no marriage family to transfer her allegiance to) as well as underlining Kreon's outright rejection of it. Perhaps he was, in the audience's view, right in rejecting Polyneices' claim to his philia, but in rejecting any claim held by both Antigone and Ismene he seems to be growing rather excessive. This is especially true in view of the fact that Kreon's position as a ruler is in fact guaranteed by the blood ties he possesses to Antigone's dead family members. As Neuburg points out, Kreon has involved himself in a self-contradiction from the outset by empowering himself through one definition of f¤low ties in the first place and then immediately adopting another definition, namely state rather than blood determined f¤lia.(18) Once again, using Sourvinou-Inwood's textual echoes system, we can see that this contradiction becomes a pattern for Kreon when, in his speech to Haimon, he forces his son to choose between blood and marriage ties, expecting fully that he will make the 'right' choice, namely the one that he had condemned Antigone for making.(19) Even if there did exist a blatant double standard in the expectations of female as opposed to male relatives, this irony would not have been lost on the audience, nor do I think they would have ignored it in forming their estimation of Kreon.

Sourvinou-Inwood's "most desperate contention", as Foley calls it,(20) is that Haimon's revelation of the citizens' sympathy for Antigone and their praise for her deed (ll.690-700) are "unreliable" (144). Her argument is least convincing because she seems to ignore what Haimon actually says in his speech, in favour of supporting Kreon's reaction in terms of the audience's understanding of the schema 'father-son conflict' (145). The fact is that Haimon actually does agree with Kreon with regard to the points he makes about being his father's philos in everything and in valuing no marriage above his father's approval (ll.635-38). This would have made the audience receptive to his words since he outwardly states that he does wish to conform in an appropriate manner to the father son relationship which was, as Sourvinou-Inwood tells us, most important in Greek society (145). Haimon's show of respect for his father, even after he had advised him to spit Antigone out as an enemy (l.653) would have increased the audience's perception of him as a positive and reasonable character. I cannot see why, when Kreon starts with a "perfectly reasonable presupposition, [and then] reaches the rational conclusion..." (142) he is to be happily believed by the audience, Haimon's use of the 'reasonable' mode of argument was not privileged by the audience (145). Even if Kreon's position as the strategos and as Haimon's father would have positively privileged his position, the audience would not automatically therefore ignore both the negative elements of his speech and the positive elements voiced by other characters.

Again, when the Chorus supports Kreon's arguments, Sourvinou-Inwood takes it as a sign of approval to be felt by the audience, yet she denies this to be the case for Haimon because he does not answer the main question about the importance of obeying the laws at all cost (145). Once again this refusal to answer the main points of Kreon's argument is made more acceptable by the fact that Haimon tries to use respectable language in order to show his father that his greatest concern is to see his father prassontos eutuxws (l.701). We have already seen Kreon's angry response to those who contradict his point of view so I don't believe that the audience would see Haimon's reasoning as an attempt to 'cajole' him, as Kreon does (l.756). It is also impossible to ignore the fact that Haimon is not in fact instigating the conflict with his father "for the sake of a threatening 'woman in charge'" as Sourvinou-Inwood suggests (145). Haimon clearly states that it is on his father's behalf that he is arguing, and his own and the gods' below (l.749). I see no reason to disbelieve him, certainly not on account of his frenzied passion for Antigone, for up to this point the only mention that has been made of his love for her has been by Ismene (l.570) and the Chorus (ll.626-30). This, however, is certainly not what Haimon displays; all his attention is directed at being a good and faithful son to his father: sou d'oun pephika panta proskopein osa/ legei tis è prassei tis è psegen exei (ll.688-9) To reject this fact is to do what Sourvinou-Inwood expressly states would be wrong (135), namely to read backwards. We do not see the strength of Haimon's love for Antigone until the messenger reports it at lines 1222 ff. Even in the formulation of his initial argument he is careful not to implicate himself as one of those who believes that Antigone has done right and Kreon wrong.

It seems impossible that Sourvinou-Inwood's 'zooming' devices are not in effect for the audience throughout Haimon's speech. His words expressly intimate the democratic value of yielding to the will of the majority and these devices are activated earlier in the play for much less obvious contemporary references. Further, the stichomythia must have tipped audience opinion in favour of Haimon since Kreon blatantly displays his tyrannical attitude, especially at lines 733-39. Sourvinou-Inwood claims that his words would have activated the 'distancing' effect of alienating Kreon from the audience and thus also distanced the polis authority of Thebes form that of Athens (146). This seems undeniably true but her use of the devices is becoming quite inconsistent as she refuses to acknowledge their activation by anyone's words but Kreon's. Even Kreon's point that he will not be instructed by a youth, reasonable out of context, is destroyed by the fact that firstly the Chorus advise that it is entirely acceptable to take Haimon's advice ei ti kairion legei (724) and secondly that Haimon clearly demonstrates that it is his father, not himself, who is acting ...ws agan neos...(l.735) It is also distinctly possible that, in a play so much concerned with religion, the mention of agan would have triggered a negative reaction in the audience against Kreon, recalling as it does the Apollonian maxim: mèden agan. If we do accept that the audience would have received Haimon's words favourably, or at least not entirely negatively, we may also see at this point a beginning of the rehabilitation of Antigone's character, which in my view was more ambivalent on the audience's part than 'bad', being a combination of her early display of subversion and masculinity and her gradually developing religious connection and outside support.

This positive view of Antigone, evidenced by Haimon and, as he reveals to the audience, by homoptolis lews Thèbès (l.733) would therefore have influenced the audience's perception of Antigone's final speech where she expresses the tragedy of her living marriage to death. Sourvinou-Inwood takes Antigone's claim that she would not have buried a husband or child had the city forbidden it as the "high point in [her] negative colouring" because she subverts the choice which would have been right in fifth century Athenian eyes (146). This does indeed seem undeniably to have been the case in Greek society; so Neuburg states that "the legal, religious, and emotional focus of a woman's life in Athens was marriage, the moment of transition from the blood-family to the marriage-family."(21) This part of Antigone's speech would indeed have evoked a negative response from the audience yet it is not impossible that they would have failed to take into account the fact which both Foley and Neuburg point out, namely that Antigone's words describe what she has done; the rest are hypothetical constructs irrelevant to a virgin.(22) Nor, I think, can we ignore the fact that the greater part of Antigone's final speech is in fact devoted to lamenting the fact that she will not have the right of marriage and rearing children. While it was her own choice to act as she did and thus implicitly to reject marriage, she does not generally give the impression that the choice was a happy one but rather that it was an unfortunate choice forced on her by Kreon. It is also possible that the audience was cognizant of the fact that Antigone's argument about the replaceability of spouses was exactly the one which Kreon had used with Haimon at line 569.(23) Granted that this may not have made her any more palatable to the audience's sensibilities which would have demanded an entirely different attitude toward marriage from a man compared to that of a woman, it does nevertheless create a certain irony.

It is in the fourth stasimon that Sourvinou-Inwood finally allows for a negative colouring of Kreon in the audience's view, this being the result of the connection made between him and Lycourgos. She believes that the metaphorical connection between Lycourgos' opposition to Dionysus and his retinue of disorderly women which resulted in the revelation that their action served the higher order of the god "adumbrated the possibility that Kreon also made a mistake and offended the gods by exposing Polyneices' corpse..." (146). It is at this point too then that Antigone's metaphorical connection to the god and his maenads would have become more clear. This connection with the god would have, retrospectively, emphasized the correctness of her action and therefore caused at least some revision of opinion of Antigone the, subversive woman. It is also important to note that the Chorus does not unambiguously perceive Antigone as representing the antithesis to the 'positive' polis- "a woman, acting out of place, and subverting the polis order in defense of the cause of a traitor and inspiring sacrileger..." (148). As Foley rightly points out, Sourvinou-Inwood ignores the fact that the Chorus, while condemning her act as a crime against Justice (ll.852-5), as a result of which se d'autognwtos wles' òrga; (l.875), also calls it eusebeia tis (l.872), mentions the praise that she has gained from it (ll.817-18, 837), and even goes so far as to weep for her (ll.801-06).(24) This may justify our believing that the audience too was "negotiating among points of view that had equally valid claims to representing the interests of the polis."(25) In other words we cannot support the assumption that the audience would have adhered to any one strict moral perception of the characters in the play.

The final outcome of the play stresses just this fact. While Kreon had in many ways been depicted as a character with whom the audience could relate and sympathize with, he is proved utterly wrong by Teiresias' prophesy and its fulfillment by the gods. Antigone was also in many ways depicted in a negative light, yet her action was vindicated and did in fact turn out to be a 'pious crime', as she had herself contended from the beginning (l.74). Nor is her punishment defined in the text as just or proper as Kreon's undoubtedly is.(26) If even Kreon, who has held out to the last possible moment- to his own destruction- can change his mind, admit his mistake and set out to free Antigone, the audience has no recourse but to assume that her punishment was in fact undeserved. That Antigone is not saved in the end is not a justification of Kreon but rather the means whereby Kreon's punishment gains its complex meaning. According to Neuburg, this meaning is one of the most structurally important themes in the play, namely that Kreon's enforcement on Antigone of the choice between marriage and blood ties becomes exactly the choice which is in turn enforced on Haimon and Eurydike and thus leaves Kreon denied of any choice since both his blood and marriage ties are destroyed.(27)

It seems therefore that while Sourvinou-Inwood's argument certainly rules out an interpretation of Antigone as a heroine, in our modern sense of the word, it does not at the same time convince that she would have been perceived unequivocally as a 'bad' woman. It is precisely the ambiguity of both Antigone's and Kreon's character that makes Sophocles' tragedy so rich and complex. This ambiguity of the religious 'message' of the play is precisely what makes neither Kreon nor Antigone 'right' or 'good'; as Griffith points out the gods seem far more interested in punishing the wrong than rewarding the right or providing comfort to the innocent.(28)

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1. References to Sourvinou-Inwood's article "Assumptions and the Creation of Meaning: Reading Sophocles' Antigone" JHS cix (1989) will be by page number only for the remainder of the paper.

2. Helene Foley, "Tragedy and Democratic Ideology" in B. Goff, ed., History, Tragedy, Theory (131-50) p.135.

3. P.E. Easterling, "Women in Tragic Space" 15-26 in BICS 34 (1988) pp.16-17.

4. Ruth Padel, "Women: Model for possession by Greek daemons" 3-19 in Images of Women in Antiquity A. Cameron and A. Kuhrt eds., p.10.

5. Ibid, p.6.

6. Helene Foley, "The politics of tragic lamentation" 101-43 in Tragedy, comedy and the polis A. Sommerstein et al., eds., p.107.

7. Ibid, p.108.

8. Berndt Seidensticker, "Women on the tragic stage" 151-73 in History, Tragedy, Theory B. Goff ed., p.166.

9. Helene Foley, "The conception of women in Athenian drama" 127-68 in Reflections of Women in Antiquity H. Foley ed., p.142.

10. So Helene Foley states (Ibid, p.153) : "Antigone in the Antigone is an ambiguous case." Simon Goldhill also points out in Reading Greek Tragedy (p.89) that making one sided moral judgments of any particular character is exactly what the play seems to suggest leads to tragedy.

11. Padel, p.15.

12. Goldhill, p.92.

13. Foley, "Tragedy and Democratic Ideology" p.137.

14. I would like to add that on my interpretation, tragedy is not meant to be read or viewed in such a way as to ignore what has actually been presented to one by the poet, all for the sake of maintaining one's own positive or negative interpretation of a particular character. This is what Sourvinou-Inwood's stance on the audience's perception of Kreon seems to me to be demanding.

15. As Simon Goldhill points out, Antigone's arguments echo and contrast with contemporary sophistic debates on just this point (p.97). Hence the possibility that one of Sourvinou-Inwood's 'zooming' devices was in operation here, thereby giving Antigone's argument added credence to the audience.

16. Seidensticker, pp.151-2.

17. Padel, p.8.

18. Matt Neuburg, "How Like a Woman: Antigone's 'Inconsistency'" (pp.54-76) in CQ 40, 1990. p.71.

19. Ibid, p.73.

20. Foley, "Tragedy and Democratic Ideology" p.135.

21. Neuburg, p.67.

22. Ibid, p.69; Helene Foley, "Antigone As Moral Agent" (pp.49-73) in M.S. Silk ed., Tragedy and the Tragic. p.54.

23. Neuburg, p.73.

24. Foley, "Tragedy and Democratic Ideology" p.135.

25. Ibid, p.138.

26. Ibid, p.136.

27. Neuburg, pp.75-6. It may also be significant to note that it is Haimon's death, precisely because he is the last of her children, that drives Eurydike to her suicide and cursing of her husband. This may be relevant to the audience perception of Antigone since she too has been driven to extreme measures by the loss of the last of her brothers.

28. Mark Griffith, Sophocles' Antigone pp.26-7.


Easterling, P.E. "Women in Tragic Space," BICS 34 (1988): 15-26.

Foley, Helene. "The Conception of Women in Athenian Drama," in H. Foley ed., Reflections of Women In Antiquity (New York, 1981): 127-68.

-------- "The Politics of Tragic Lamentation" in A. Sommerstein et al.. eds., Tragedy Comedy and the Polis (Bari, 1992): 102-43.

--------- "Tragedy and Democratic Ideology" in B. Goff, ed., History, Tragedy, Theory (Austin, 1995): 131-50.

--------- "Antigone as Moral Agent" in M.S. Silk ed., Tragedy and the Tragic (London, 1996): 49-73.

Goldhill, Simon. Reading Greek Tragedy. (Cambridge, 1986).

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