“almost invisible until now”

Antigone, Ismene, and the Dramaturgy of Tragedy

  • Kristina Hagström-Ståhl
Keywords: dramaturgy, tragedy, Hegelian dialectics, feminist theory, performance practice

Abstract

This essay discusses Sophocles’ Antigone in relation to its Hegelian legacy, engaging with the play from a directorial perspective. Drawing on the work of Judith Butler, Anne Carson , Bonnie Honig, Peggy Phelan and Cecilia Sjöholm, I attempt to envision a contemporary mise en scène that repositions feminine subjectivity within the dramaturgy of tragedy. Centering on the relationship between Antigone and Ismene, as well as on the possibility of revaluing Ismene’s position in terms of political and dramaturgical agency, I hope to challenge dramaturgical conventions that assume binary, heteronormative relations as the primary framework of interpretation for female characters, and death and destruction as the only possible outcome for what is positioned as feminine. This resituated reading of the drama examines the function of embodied performance in processes of meaning-making, and offers dramaturgical structure as a site for strategies of resistance.

References

Anouilh, Jean. 1946/1996. Antigone. Paris: Éditions de La Table Ronde.
Aristotle. 1987. The Poetics of Aristotle. Trans. Stephen Halliwell. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press.
Billings, Joshua. 2014. Genealogy of the Tragic: Greek Tragedy and German Philosophy. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Butler, Judith. 2000. Antigone’s Claim: Kinship Between Life and Death. New York: Columbia University Press.
Carson, Anne. 2006. “Tragedy: A Curious Art Form.” Euripides. Grief Lessons: Four Tragedies. Trans. Anne Carson. New York: New York Review Books.
Goldhill, Mark. 2012. Sophocles and the Language of Tragedy. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press.
Griffith, Mark. 2010. “Psychoanalysing Antigone.” S.E. Wilmer and Audronė Žukauskaitė (eds.). Interrogating Antigone in Postmodern Philosophy and Criticism. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press.
Hagström-Ståhl, Kristina. 2016. “Feminine Destruction and Masculine Protagonism: Notes on Gender, Iterability, and the Canon.” PARSE journal #3: 73-84.
Hegel, G.W.F. 1807/1977. Phenomenology of Spirit. Trans. A. V. Miller. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press.
Honig, Bonnie. 2013. Antigone, Interrupted. Cambridge and New York: Cambridge University Press.
Phelan, Peggy. 1997. Mourning Sex: Performing Public Memories. New York: Routledge.
Roche, Mark W. 2006. “Introduction to Hegel’s Theory of Tragedy.” PhaenEx 1, no 2 (Fall/Winter 2006): 11-20.
Rokem, Freddie. 2010. Philosophers & Thespians: Thinking Performance. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
Sjöholm, Cecilia. 2004. The Antigone Complex: Ethics and the Invention of Feminine Desire. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.
Sophokles. 2015. Antigone. Trans. Anne Carson. London: Oberon Books.
Wilmer, S. E. and Audronė Žukauskaitė (eds.). 2010. “Introduction.” Interrogating Antigone in Postmodern Philosophy and Performance.
Published
2019-03-14
How to Cite
Hagström-Ståhl, K. (2019). “almost invisible until now”. Nordic Theatre Studies, 31(1), 141-154. https://doi.org/10.7146/nts.v31i1.113013
Section
Articles thematic section