Antigone's Claim Kinship Between Life and Death

Antigone's Claim Kinship Between Life and Death

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without limits (259), but in the process of applying the law, exceeds the law, basing his authority as well in unwritten laws that seem to propel his own actions toward self-destruction. Teiresias as well is understood to speak precisely from this place that is not exactly “of” life: his voice is and is not his own, his words come from the gods, from the boy who describes the signs, from the words he receives from others, and yet he is the one who speaks. His authority also appears to come from

between kinship and the state, a transition in the Phenomenology that is not precisely an Aufhebung, for Antigone is surpassed without ever being preserved when ethical order emerges. The Hegelian legacy of Antigone interpretation appears to assume the separability of kinship and the state, even as it posits an essential relation between them. And so every interpretive effort to cast a character as representative of kinship or the state tends to falter and lose coherence and stability.7 This

substantive destiny in the family and to be imbued with family piety is her ethical frame of mind.” See Hegel’s Philosophy of Right, trans. T. M. Knox (London: Oxford University Press, 1967), p. 114. He takes Sophocles’ Antigone to be one of the most “sublime presentations of this virtue,” an interpretation, by the way, that Lacan will find to be utterly wrong. This “law of woman,” for Hegel, is the “law of a substantiality at once subjective and on the plane of feeling, the law of the inward

cautions against any effort to treat kinship rules as supplying the principles of intelligibility for any social order. He writes, for instance, that it is not possible to reduce relations of power to those of exchange: “Power relates… to the… essential structural levels of society: that is, it is at the very heart of the communicative universe” (37). In Society Against the State, trans. Robert Hurley (New York: Zone, 1987), pp. 27–49, Clastres argues for relocating the “exchange of women” within

there is no incest here, and cannot be.18 Hegel makes the most dramatic of such gestures when he insists that there is only absence of desire between brother and sister. Even Martha Nussbaum in her reflections on the play remarks that Antigone appears to have no great attachment to the brother.19 And Lacan claims of course that it is not the brother in his content whom she loves, but his being as such—but where does that leave us? What kind of place or position is this? For Lacan, Antigone

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