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Interrogating Antigone in Postmodern Philosophy and Criticism$
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S. E. Wilmer and Audrone Zukauskaite

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199559213

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199559213.001.0001

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Speed and Tragedy in Cocteau and Sophocles

Speed and Tragedy in Cocteau and Sophocles

Chapter:
(p.313) 17 Speed and Tragedy in Cocteau and Sophocles
Source:
Interrogating Antigone in Postmodern Philosophy and Criticism
Author(s):

Sean D. Kirkland

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199559213.003.0018

In this chapter, Kirkland suggests that Antigone does indeed undergo the recognition and reversal Aristotle requires of great tragic figures, not with respect to her end or aim, but with respect to the speed of her action in the play. First, he looks briefly at Cocteau's fast‐paced ‘contraction’ of Sophocles' original, finding speed highlighted as the tragic itself. Next he turns to Sophocles, finding that Antigone's praxis exhibits no hesitation and no true decision. Instead, she is presented from the outset as already having covered the distance from beginning to end. The well‐known Choral Ode to Human Beings then indicates that this infinite speed (distance divided by no time at all) is characteristic of the hubris of human action as such. In closing, Kirkland suggests that this tragic speed is disrupted only in Antigone's final scene, as her hesitation, her slowness indicates a subtle moment of reversal and recognition.

Keywords:   Sophocles, Cocteau, Antigone, speed, temporality

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