Psychoanalytic Study Of Antigone English Literature Essay

July 19, 2017 English Literature

This survey investigates the psychoanalytic operation of Sophocles ‘s “ Antigone ” as against the Modern Antigone by German dramatis Anouilh.It will assist us in understanding the grounds and urges under which she challenges the stiff autocratic regulation and fulfilled the spiritual and filial responsibility of giving a proper nice entombment to her asleep brother Polynices.She disobeys Creon and accordingly sacrifices her life for this act of courage.


Many authors have been interested in the subject of trueness and treachery, from ancient Sophocles and his maestro piece “ Antigone ” , to Shakespeare ‘s “ Julius Caesar ” , to Carmen Taffola ‘s “ Marked ” and eventually Josephina Niggli ‘s “ The Ring of General Macias ” . Each one of the mentioned plants relates to different facets of the declared subject. Yet, the most critical inquiry comes when trueness and treachery are accompanied with issues of life and decease. At this point, the existent inquiry is dropped: “ Is pride or love a deathly wickedness to do the ruin of a male monarch and the loss of the beloved 1s?

Background Information about the Author and Myth:

Sophocles, the boy of Sophillus was born in Attica in 490 BC. Some historiographers say that his day of the month of birth was a twosome of old ages before the great Battle of Marathon. The truth to be told that his day of the month of birth is instead ill-defined, yet most surveies imply that he was born in 496/497.

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Sophocles wrote more than a 100 and 20 dramas throughout his life. This is an implausible accomplishment. Unfortunately, merely seven of his dramas including his Theban dramas have survived clip. The Theban dramas include Antigone, Oedipus the King, and Oedipus at Colonus.

Throughout the Grecian history of play, Sophocles was one of the most outstanding dramatists of all time excepting Aeschylus and Euripides, who came instead subsequently. His calling as a dramatist came to life after he won his first award in the Dionysian theater competition over Aeschylus. Right after his astonishing triumph, he became one of the of import figures in ancient Athens every bit good as in theater. Throughout 50 outstanding old ages, Sophocles entered 30 competitions winning twenty four out of them and ne’er taking less than 2nd. There is no uncertainty that he is given recognition for adding a 3rd character on phase, which will determine in the close hereafter the history of theater. In add-on to that, Sophocles had a great sense of creativeness when it came to developing his characters and this will be discussed subsequently on.


Historical and Religious Importance of Burial in Ancient Greece


In Sophocles ‘ drama Antigone, the chief ground behind the lifting struggle is the right to bury Polyneices who had betrayed his state, escaped from expatriate and brought fire and decease to his ain people. Sophocles has articulated the importance of the entombment, therefore, giving us a glance into their beliefs back so.

The ancient Greeks used to believe that if a psyche was left unburied for a long clip it would n’t be able to traverse over and happen peace. Erwin Rohde the writer of Psyche provinces that in wartime, “ The responsibility that the subsisters owe their dead is to bury the organic structures in customary mode. Religious demands, nevertheless, travel beyond the jurisprudence. ” This is precisely what is depicted in Antigone. Creon is punished by the Gods because he left Polyneices ‘ organic structure unburied. Antigone for illustration says that, “ There is no guilt in fear to the dead ( scene two- 106 ) However, there are awards due all the dead. ( Scene two 113 )

Sophocles introduces his drama with no farther vacillation. The opening scene depicts Antigone and Ismene at Thebe ‘s metropolis Gatess, right in the center of the battleground. Antigone was confiding with Ismene. She decided to bury her brother regardless to the decease punishment. All the events take topographic point in Thebes, a outstanding metropolis in ancient Greece. Sophocles creates a dense vague temper since Antigone and her sister have lost two brothers and their parents due to the expletive on Oedipus. This aroma of decease makes the reader admiration if the drama will stop with decease every bit good. And as mentioned before, the clip frame makes trueness and betrayal a cardinal issue. Antigone was waiting to see if Ismene would be loyal to her household, the jurisprudence of the Gods or would instead stay by Creon ‘s jurisprudence.



Antigone, the oldest girl of Oedipus has decided to bury her brother Polyneices irrespective to Creon ‘s edict and the decease punishment. She heads to the field, performs the burial rites, and sprinkles dust on his organic structure. Subsequently on, she is captured and faces Creon who is ready to slop her blood to continue his award. She is so taken to a rock grave to rest at that place until her decease. Haimon, the male monarch ‘s boy enters and attempts to plead Antigone ‘s instance. His male parent is determined non to listen and threatens to kill her in forepart of him. Teiresas, the blind prophesier enters and Tells Creon that the Supreme beings are ferocious. He and Creon caput to the field and bury Polyneices. Unfortunately, when it was clip to liberate Antigone, the latter has hung herself utilizing her bed sheets. Devastated Haimon kills himself and joins Antigone in decease. Eurydice, the queen hears the straitening intelligence, kills herself and curse Creon. The male monarch is left entirely crammed with feelings of sorrow and compunction. The chorus states that the Gods smartly penalize the proud, yet punishment brings wisdom.



She is the eldest girl of Oedipus, the former male monarch of Thebes. Her name in Greek means “ the 1 who goes against ” . And it is true that her name truly fits her, for she has ne’er learned to give, merely like her male parent. She is determined to bury Polyneices irrespective to whether he is considered a treasonist or non. “ There is no guilt in fear to the dead ( scene two- 106 ) . “ Antigone believes that if she had left her brother like that she would hold suffered for infinity. She is as maternally and sisterly as any individual could be, “ This decease of mine is no importance, but if I had left my brother lying in decease unburied I should hold suffered now I do n’t. ( scene 1 70-73 ) Yet, when Ismene reacts with disapproval to her petition, she is cold, acrimonious and distant. Besides, her finding is singular, “ Creon is non strong plenty to stand in my manner. ” Her words show great bravery, doggedness, and folly at the same clip since she knows that acquiring caught will acquire her killed. She speaks to Creon in a manner no 1 would make bold to, as an equal. And above all, she was ready to plead her instance dauntlessly irrespective to her antecedently determined destiny. And so, her courage flows into the readers forcing them to maintain on traveling, to follow up every turn and bend. Every scene foreshadows her decease. Again when she is lead to her grave, she argues, pleading her instance. She is non scared of confronting decease, yet she is shaken by the choragus ‘ acrimonious words.

Psychoanalytical survey of Antigone

In explicating his theory of the Oedipus composite, Freud foremost noticed a analogue between a subject in Sophocles’A Oedipus RexA and the attitudes kids normally hold toward their parents-intense love for the parent of the opposite sex and green-eyed monster of and ill will toward the parent of the same sex. Freud therefore interpreted Oedipus ‘ unintentional commission of patricide and mother-incest as the fulfilment of the unconscious want among all male childs to replace their male parents as the love-objects of their female parents. [ 1 ] A One of Oedipus ‘ two girls, Antigone, besides inspired a Sophoclean drama which bears her name, apparently a narrative of a immature adult female ‘s rebelliousness of civil jurisprudence in favour of a higher moral jurisprudence. As we will see, nevertheless, the events of Antigone ‘s life, including her supposedly moral entombment of her brother, Polyneices, represent normal phases of the development of the female mind.

The drama opens with conversation between Antigone and Ismene, the girls of Oedipus, sing the dishonourable mortuary intervention of their late deceased brother, Polyneices. Antigone decides to execute for Polyneices proper entombment rites and in so making violate a prohibition of Creon, the male monarch of Thebes. Around this premiss the secret plan unfolds, ensuing finally in the self-destructions of Antigone and Creon ‘s married woman and boy. ThoughA AntigoneA is superficially a moralization drama, as it implicitly advises its audience to adhere to internal instead than imposed ethical motives, its true psychological significance emerges merely in the context of the full Oedipus fable. Merely upon analysing the events of Antigone ‘s life which preceded the action of Antigone will her moral stubbornness become comprehendible.

Early on in her life Antigone suffered the loss of her female parent and the arrant enervation of her male parent. As the lone willing campaigner, she tended to her blind male parent for the many old ages before his decease. Her sexual rawness, to which the duologue ofA AntigoneA frequently refers, seemed ineluctable, as she was occupied invariably by the demands of her male parent. Antigone ‘s careful intervention of her male parent, nevertheless, admits of a symbolic reading which sheds visible radiation upon the subsequent events of her life.

Harmonizing to Freud, as the female parent is the first love-object of the small male child, the male parent is the first love-object of the small miss. [ 2 ] A The small miss is covetous of the fondness which the female parent displays toward the male parent and wants that alternatively she were the one to whom the male parent looked for attention. Possibly so, Oedipus, the apparent obstruction to Antigone ‘s love life, in world composed the whole of Antigone ‘s love life ; Antigone had in fact succeeded in replacing her female parent as the caretaker of her male parent, thereby carry throughing the primary sexual want of the female unconscious.

One may here object that Antigone was forced to presume the function of Oedipus ‘ caretaker by external circumstance-that Antigone ‘s state of affairs was a merchandise of the accidental misbehaviors of Oedipus, his subsequent self-blinding, and the self-destruction of Jocasta, in all of which Antigone played no portion. This evident predestination of the class of Antigone ‘s life, nevertheless, provides no contradiction to our averment that her care to Oedipus reflects the small miss ‘s wish to replace the female parent. Oedipus ‘ offenses were likewise fated, yet Freud devised an clever account for the apparent predestination: Oedipus ‘ ignorance of his misbehaviors represents the unconscious nature of the small male child ‘s desires ; the small male child has an built-in, possibly doomed inclination, as did Oedipus, to want the place of the male parent. And as the class of Antigone ‘s life, like that of Oedipus, represents the realisation of unconscious wants, it is unreasonable that the fulfilment of those wants could be attained through witting action.

At the beginning ofA Antigone, A her male parent now dead, Antigone devotes herself to the forbidden entombment of her late deceased brother, Polyneices. Though a obviously moral enterprise, her wish to bury her brother besides was rooted in crude unconscious thrusts.

Freud observed that the small miss ‘s primary love for the male parent, constantly fruitless, is frequently deflected upon a brother: “ A small girl discoveries in her older brother a replacement for her male parent, who no longer acts towards her with the same fondness as in former old ages. “ [ 3 ] A Thus the irrational ardor with which Antigone pursued the entombment of Polyneices represents non familial but sexual love, and Creon ‘s edict forbiding the entombment of Polyneices genuinely symbolized the social prohibition of sibling-incest. Though this seems a valid psychoanalytic illation, one may oppugn the connexion between entombment and sexual love, which to this point remains vague.

In Grecian mythology-and Sophocles ‘ Oedipus trilogy is but a dramatisation of the Oedipus myth-Earth was an animate being, Gaia. Hence when Ouranos stuffed his newborn kids into the Earth, he was literally returning them to the uterus of their female parent, Gaia ; he was basically undoing their births. Antigone ‘s wish to bury Polyneices in the Earth may consequently be considered a symbolic want to enfold him in a uterus, the sexual nature of which is made clear by the psychological science of Otto Rank.

After being seized by a lookout at the site of Polyneices ‘ entombment, Antigone is forced to discourse with Creon the nature of her offense. Though he affords her ample chances to show compunction or even confusion sing the illegality of her title, she stubbornly asserts her guilt and, audacious, even embraces the at hand penalty ; she proclaims even that her “ hubby is to be the Lord of Death. ” Creon so sentences Antigone to be immured in a cave but is shortly persuaded by Teiresias to emancipate her, though non before she hangs herself. The slightly cryptic self-destructions of Haemon, Antigone ‘s prospective hubby, and Eurydice, Haemon ‘s female parent and Creon ‘s married woman, follow shortly thenceforth, go forthing merely Creon to repent his tragic determination.

As the narrative progresses, it becomes progressively evident that Antigone does non fear but uneasily awaits decease. But what compels her to seek decease? A closer analysis of her self-destruction elucidates the unconscious forces at drama.

Throughout mythology and dreams, the cave often symbolizes the uterus. Therefore hanging in a cave, as Antigone does, typify populating a uterus, in which one bents by the umbilical cord. So possibly Antigone ‘s apparent want for decease was in fact a want for a pre-birth province, a desire encompassed in Thanatos, Freud ‘s decease inherent aptitude.

Freud supposed that human life was motivated by two cardinal thrusts: Eros, the life inherent aptitude, and Thanatos, the decease inherent aptitude. While Eros seeks proliferation and activity, Thanatos seeks homeostasis and inaction ; the Death inherent aptitude strives toward nonentity, the province predating birth. But why was Antigone so dying to run into decease, or instead return to pre-birth? Why was her life governed by Thanatos? Could returning to her female parent ‘s uterus satisfy either her primary love for her male parent or her secondary love for Polyneices, her father-substitute?

Gestation, the period of cardinal pleasance, is the predecessor to coitus. Hence by returning to the symbolic uterus of her female parent in which she, Polyneices, and Oedipus were conceived, she at last achieves the confidant brotherhood with Oedipus and Polyneices which she had so long coveted. Antigone unconsciously experiences a pleasance with her male parent and brother beyond that of sexual intercourse, for gestation is the primary experience from which sex derives its secondary enjoyable character.

The find of Antigone ‘s dead organic structure is followed instantly by the self-destructions of Haemon and Eurydice. Though these subsequent deceases contribute to the drama ‘s tragic consequence, they seem absolutely unprompted, possibly even gratuitous. Are these deceases affective merely because of their lurid nature or do they symbolically enhance the scene of Antigone ‘s self-destruction?

In reply, foremost we are tempted to prosecute the obvious analogues between Haemon and Polyneices ; they were both boies of male monarchs, and Haemon loved Antigone as she loved Polyneices. Thus the decease of Haemon, a practical Polyneices-surrogate, beside Antigone incarnates her unconscious reunion with her brother, the Oedipus-surrogate. Similarly, Eurydice and Jocasta are correspondent characters ; both adult females were the married womans of male monarchs, and Eurydice birthed Haemon, the Polyneices-substitute. Consequently Eurydice ‘s suicide beside Haemon and Antigone emphasizes the cave ‘s symbolic significance as Jocasta ‘s uterus.

Although we have outlined already how the pleasances of pre-birth and sexual intercourse are associated with burial and decease, there remains a deeper, more abstract significance of the drama ‘s series of deceases. Among the work forces in Antigone ‘s life, Oedipus is the first to run out, her brothers Polyneices and Eteocles 2nd, and Haemon the last. This sequence is non arbitrary ; each consecutive decease represents a stage of female gender. A miss ‘s love is directed foremost toward her male parent, so displaced upon familial father-surrogates, such as brothers, and eventually deflected upon a apparently unrelated love-object, such as Haemon. The three male deceases inA Antigonethen mean the extinction of assorted phases of female gender, the love-object of each a replacement for that of the preceding phase. Antigone, nevertheless, bents herself before displacing her sexual love onto an unrelated object, such as Haemon ; any satisfaction originating from such a relationship, she understands unconsciously, would be simply substitutive and she opts alternatively for the cardinal pleasance of the symbolic uterus.

One may now object that the correspondence here posited between the events of Antigone ‘s life and the stages of female gender is possibly applicable merely to mental cases if non spurious wholly. To this we can react merely that Freud took the same liberty-that of generalising phenomena among mental cases to healthy individuals-in his reading of the Oedipus myth. Furthermore, this essay proposes no amendments of or addendums to psychoanalytic sexual theory ; it constitutes merely a fabulous verification of the psychoanalytic theory of female gender Freud foremost established through empirical observation.

“ Antigone ” literally means “ against birth, ” or “ contrary birth, ” which most have interpreted to bespeak Antigone ‘s position as the merchandise of incest, a perverse or “ contrary ” union..A However, a actual reading of “ against birth ” is possibly more important. Antigone unconsciously wished to return to the uterus, to pre-birth ; she genuinely wished to undo her birth throughout the action ofAntigone.A Antigone embodies the human quandary: the forced repudiation of primary and secondary love-objects, the subsequent substitute-gratifications, the ageless struggle between societal demands and instinctual purposes, and the clang between the two irresolvable cardinal drives-one seeking life and pleasance, the other want to undo life wholly.

Modern Antigone By Jean Anouilh:

German Perspective/Background:

In 1943, six members of the White Rose motion at the Munich University were executed after distributing anti-Nazi cusps during the tallness of the Third Reich government.

Visitors to the Munich University might be surprised at what appears to be lacerate pieces of paper scattered on the forecourt pavers. On closer scrutiny, this ‘litter ‘ is revealed to be ceramic tiles, scrap-shaped and printed with mottos.

This ‘litter ‘ is a traveling testimonial to the pupils who were executed for taking portion in the White Rose motion, a ephemeral pupil protest against Hitler and the Third Reich in 1942. Inside the university, a bas-relief of the group members is normally decorated day-to-day with fresh flowers. A little museum at the university tells their narrative. The undermentioned inside informations are taken from information supplied by the museum.

The Origin of the White Rose Movement

Two childhood friends, Christoph Probst and Alexander Schmorell chose to analyze medical specialty at Munich University. There, they became friends with Willi Graf and brother and sister, Hans and Sophie Scholl.

Like many other pupils, they were critical of Hitler ‘s government and the war, and decided to name for inactive opposition. In making so, they acted contrary to their in-between category upbringing. They found an ally in one of their lectors, Professor Kurt Huber. With Huber, they subsequently began to sneakily compose and administer anti-government cusps.

If this today sounds instead minimum, it must be remembered that the Munich University Dean wore a Nazi uniform and the Hitler Youth Movement was strong within the pupil organic structure. Students and staff at this university thirstily participated in the combustion of books that the Nazis determined to be inappropriate. The university ideal of freedom and acquisition was subverted to such an extent that the university library displayed a mark prohibiting the entry of Jews.

Consequently, the group ‘s activities constituted lese majesty and were punishable by decease. Hans Scholl and Willi Graf had already been taken into Gestapo detention one time in 1938 for rank of a forbidden young person group.

Activities of the White Rose Group

As medical pupils, members of the group who were sent to the forepart and were horrified at the slaughter. They besides heard from friends about mass slayings in Poland and Russia. With the limited agencies at their disposal, they decided to take action. In June 1942, they wrote, duplicated and distributed 4 “ Cusps of the White Rose. ” This was followed by “ Cusps of the Resistance Movement in Germany ” and several similar composings.

Thousands of cusps were duplicated and posted to random names taken from the telephone directory. To keep secretiveness, they purchased envelopes, copier ink and paper in little measures at many stores, and travelled to disperse metropoliss to post the letters, so that the motion seemed more widespread and to screen the Munich University.

The Arrest of the White Rose Conspirators

When the German people were shaken by their first licking and major loss of life at the Battle of Stalingrad in 1943, the White Rose group saw this as the opportune clip to step up their activities. Schmorrell, Scholl and Graf began to scribble “ Down with Hitler ” mottos in coal pitch on assorted edifices in Munich during the dark.

The group steadily became less cautious. Early in the forenoon on February 18, Hans and Sophie left packages of cusps outside talk room doors, and Sophie tossed a package over the balcony to flit down to the atrium below. It is this act which is commemorated in the scattered ceramic ‘leaflets ‘ mounted among the flagstones.

Sophie and Hans were spotted by the janitor Jakob Schmid, and they were hauled before the dean, Dr Haeffner. Arrest rapidly followed and the brother and sister were interrogated for 4 yearss at Gestapo central office. Hans and Sophie tried to take all incrimination, as Christoph Probst was married with kids.

The Trial of the Conspirators

Probst did non get away. Three yearss after their apprehension, the three plotters were tried by a harangue, shouting justice Roland Freisler. After merely 3 A? hours, they were sentenced to decease and were guillotined. In April, a 14 hr test saw Willi Graf, Alexander Schmorell and Professor Huber sentenced to decease. Ten other suspects were imprisoned, some for simply neglecting to describe the activities.

The Legacy of the White Rose Resistance

While the pupils ‘ actions seemed to hold ended in vain, there was a surprising result. A protagonist, Helmuth von Moltke managed to acquire a transcript of the concluding cusp to Scandinavia and so to Britain. Soon thenceforth, the RAF dropped 1.5 million corrupting cusps all over Germany.

Anigone in 1944:

Antigone, a drama by Jean Anouilh, was edited and republished in 1946 by “ Editions de la Table Ronde. ” It was originally written in Paris in February of 1944 when the capital was occupied by the German ground forces.

At the clip it was a best-seller and a drama of multiple readings: political, philosophical, psychological, etc.

It is a all right illustration of a rewritten ancient Grecian myth from the 5th century BC by the playwright Sophocle.

Antigone is the girl of Oedipus ; a girl from an incestuous relationship. Oedipus killed his male parent and married his female parent. Together they reigned over the metropolis of Thebes. Antigone had to transport the weight of this awful heritage as she grew up to go a immature grownup.

Anouilh ‘s secret plan is the same as Sophocle ‘s: Antigone ‘s brothers led a civil war against each other under the walls of Thebes. Both died in combat. King Creon, uncle of Antigone, gave a entombment to one of his nephews and allow the organic structure of the 1 who betrayed him decompose on the battleground. Antigone believed it was her responsibility to put Earth on her brothers corpse as a symbolic gesture. In her eyes, the Torahs of household prevailed over the determinations of the King. Despite the statements, the ban, the menaces of decease, the immature miss overcame all these obstructions to make what she thought was her responsibility.

Ironically Anouilh ‘s character embodies a rebellious spirit but he himself was barely involved in the opposition motion against German Occupation. His drama is of class a calamity merely like Sophocle ‘s which means Antigone dies due to defying the jurisprudence of power. But it is King Creon who is the most defeated in this narrative because he loses his boy, his authorization and his ground for life.

“ All those that had to decease, died. Those who believed one thing and so those who believed the opposite – even those who believed nil and those who were caught in the center without understand anything. Dead all the same, all of them, stiff, non utile, icky. And those that live on will easy get down to bury the dead and confound their names. ”

Anouilh was evidently left feeling hopeless after the absurdness of all the deceases from the war.

As for theA AntigoneA of Sophocle, she opposed Godhead jurisprudence and human Torahs. I wonder if this quandary is more relevant than the one we propose Anouilh.


This in deepness survey of Psycho analysis shows the steadfast finding of Antigone and it highlights her bravery, committedness and valour.No uncertainty, she acts under psychological urges, yet she seems to be a existent hero demoing all of her magnificence and glory.Her character becomes an model character who proves to be a symbol of opposition, alteration and interrupt up of position quo.Her forfeit for the great cause of democracy and human rights will be remembered in the times to come.


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