Psychoanalytic Analysis Of Antigone British Literature Essay

This study investigates the psychoanalytic functioning of Sophocles's " Antigone" as against the Modern Antigone by German dramatis Anouilh. It will help us in understanding the reason why and impulses under which she troubles the rigid authoritarian guideline and fulfilled the spiritual and filial obligation of giving a proper respectable burial to her deceased sibling Polynices. She disobeys Creon and therefore sacrifices her life because of this action of bravery.


Many freelance writers have been considering the theme of commitment and betrayal, from old Sophocles and his grasp part "Antigone", to Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar", to Carmen Taffola's "Marked" and lastly Josephina Niggli's "The Diamond ring of General Macias". Each one of the mentioned works pertains to different aspects of the mentioned theme. Yet, the most critical question comes when loyalty and betrayal are followed with issues of life and loss of life. At this time, the real question is fallen: "Is pleasure or love a lethal sin to cause the downfall of your king and the increased loss of the loved ones?

Background Information regarding the writer and Myth:

Sophocles, the boy of Sophillus was created in Attica in 490 BC. Some historians say that his day of delivery was a year or two prior to the great Battle of Marathon. The truth to find out that his day of birth is rather unclear, yet most studies imply he was born in 496/497.

Sophocles wrote greater than a hundred and twenty works throughout his life. This is an implausible achievement. Regrettably, only seven of his takes on including his Theban has have survived time. The Theban has include Antigone, Oedipus the Ruler, and Oedipus at Colonus.

Throughout the Greek background of episode, Sophocles was one of the most prominent playwrights ever before excluding Aeschylus and Euripides, who arrived somewhat later. His profession as a playwright emerged alive after he triumphed in his first award in the Dionysian theater competition over Aeschylus. Right after his amazing success, he became one of the important figures in traditional Athens as well as in theater. Throughout fifty fantastic years, Sophocles inserted 30 competitions winning 24 out of them and never taking less than second. There is no doubt that he's given credit for adding one third character on stage, which will form in the near future the annals of theatre. In addition to that, Sophocles experienced a great sense of creativeness when it came up to producing his characters and this will be mentioned down the road.

Historical and Spiritual Importance of Burial in Old Greece

In Sophocles' play Antigone, the primary cause of the rising conflict is the right to bury Polyneices who experienced betrayed his country, escaped from exile and brought fire and loss of life to his own people. Sophocles has articulated the importance of the burial, thus, giving us a glimpse into their beliefs back then.

The old Greeks used to assume that if a heart was still left unburied for a long period it wouldn't have the ability to cross over and discover calmness. Erwin Rohde the writer of Psyche expresses that in wartime, "The work that the survivors owe their lifeless is to bury the physiques in customary manner. Spiritual requirements, however, go beyond the law. " That is precisely what is depicted in Antigone. Creon is punished by the gods because he remaining Polyneices' body unburied. Antigone for example says that, "There is absolutely no guilt in reverence to the deceased (scene two- 106) Nevertheless, there are honors credited all the deceased. (Scene two 113)

Sophocles presents his play with no further hesitation. The opening world depicts Antigone and Ismene at Thebe's city gates, right in the center of the battlefield. Antigone was confiding with Ismene. She decided to bury her brother regardless to the fatality penalty. All of the events take place in Thebes, a visible city in old Greece. Sophocles creates a dense vague disposition since Antigone and her sister have lost two brothers and their parents because of the curse on Oedipus. This fragrance of loss of life makes the audience surprise if the play will end with loss of life as well. And as stated before, the time frame makes commitment and betrayal a key issue. Antigone was waiting around to see if Ismene would be devoted to her family, regulations of the Gods or would prefer to follow Creon's laws.


Antigone, the oldest little princess of Oedipus has made a decision to bury her brother Polyneices no matter to Creon's decree and the loss of life penalty. She heads to the field, does the burial rituals, and sprinkles particles on his body. Down the road, she actually is captured and encounters Creon who is prepared to spill her blood vessels to protect his honor. She is then taken to a natural stone grave to relax there until her fatality. Haimon, the king's son enters and tries to plead Antigone's case. His father is set not to listen closely and threatens to kill her in front of him. Teiresas, the blind prophet enters and tells Creon that the Gods are furious. He and Creon head to the field and bury Polyneices. Unfortunately, when it was time to free Antigone, the second option has hung herself using her bed linens. Devastated Haimon kills himself and joins Antigone in loss of life. Eurydice, the queen hears the distressing information, kills herself and damns Creon. The ruler is left alone crammed with emotions of regret and remorse. The chorus claims that the gods vigorously punish the very pleased, yet consequence brings wisdom.


She is the eldest princess of Oedipus, the ex - ruler of Thebes. Her name in Greek means "the one who runs against". Which is true that her name really will fit her, for she's never learned to yield, just like her father. She actually is motivated to bury Polyneices no matter to whether he is considered a traitor or not. "There is absolutely no guilt in reverence to the lifeless (scene two- 106). "Antigone feels that if she got left her sibling like that she would have experienced for eternity. She is as motherly and sisterly as any person could be, "This fatality of mine is not a importance, but if I had left my buddy lying in fatality unburied I will have experienced now I don't. (scene 1 70-73) Yet, when Ismene responds with disapproval to her request, she is wintry, bitter and distant. Also, her persistence is tremendous, "Creon is not strong enough to stand in my own way. " Her words show great courage, tenacity, and foolishness at the same time since she understands that getting captured are certain to get her killed. She speaks to Creon in ways no one would dares to, as the same. And most importantly, she was prepared to plead her case fearlessly irrespective to her recently determined fate. Therefore, her bravery moves into the viewers pushing these to keep on going, to follow up every twist and flip. Every scene foreshadows her death. Again when she actually is lead to her grave, she argues, pleading her case. She is not terrified of facing fatality, yet she is shaken by the choragus' bitter words.

Psychoanalytic research of Antigone

In formulating his theory of the Oedipus organic, Freud first seen a parallel between a theme in Sophocles' Oedipus Rex and the behaviour children commonly hold toward their parents-intense love for the parent or guardian of the opposite intimacy and jealousy of and hostility toward the parent or guardian of the same love-making. Freud thus interpreted Oedipus' unwitting perpetration of patricide and mother-incest as the fulfillment of the unconscious wish among all guys to displace their fathers as the love-objects of the mothers. [1] One of Oedipus' two daughters, Antigone, also encouraged a Sophoclean play which bears her name, apparently a tale of a young woman's defiance of civil legislation in favor of a higher moral law. As we will see, however, the incidents of Antigone's life, including her purportedly moral burial of her brother, Polyneices, stand for normal phases of the development of the feminine psyche.

The play starts with dialog between Antigone and Ismene, the daughters of Oedipus, regarding the dishonorable mortuary treatment of their recently deceased brother, Polyneices. Antigone decides to execute for Polyneices proper burial rites and in so doing violate a prohibition of Creon, the king of Thebes. For this premise the story unfolds, resulting finally in the suicides of Antigone and Creon's wife and son. Though Antigone is superficially a moralizing play, as it implicitly advises its audience to stick to internal somewhat than enforced morals, its true psychological value emerges only in the framework of the whole Oedipus tale. Only upon inspecting the happenings of Antigone's life which preceded the action of Antigone will her moral obstinacy become comprehensible.

Early in her life Antigone experienced the increased loss of her mom and the utter debilitation of her dad. As the sole willing candidate, she tended to her blind dad for the many years before his loss of life. Her sexual inexperience, to that your dialogue of Antigone often pertains, seemed unavoidable, as she was occupied constantly by the needs of her dad. Antigone's careful treatment of her daddy, however, admits of any symbolic interpretation which sheds light upon the subsequent happenings of her life.

According to Freud, as the mother is the first love-object of the little boy, the daddy is the first love-object of the little girl. [2] The little girl is envious of the affection which the mom displays toward the daddy and hopes that instead she were the one to whom the father looked for good care. Perhaps then, Oedipus, the ostensible obstacle to Antigone's love life, in reality composed the whole of Antigone's love life; Antigone had in fact been successful in swapping her mother as the caretaker of her dad, thereby fulfilling the primary sexual wish of the feminine unconscious.

One may here object that Antigone was pressured to expect the role of Oedipus' caretaker by external circumstance-that Antigone's situation was something of the inadvertent misdeeds of Oedipus, his succeeding self-blinding, and the suicide of Jocasta, in all which Antigone enjoyed no part. This obvious predetermination of the course of Antigone's life, however, provides no contradiction to your assertion that her tending to Oedipus reflects the little girl's desire to replace the mother. Oedipus' crimes were similarly fated, yet Freud devised a nifty little description for the seeming predetermination: Oedipus' ignorance of his misdeeds signifies the unconscious mother nature of the tiny boy's desires; the little boy has an inherent, perhaps fated propensity, as does Oedipus, to desire the position of the daddy. So that as the course of Antigone's life, like that of Oedipus, signifies the realization of unconscious wishes, it is unreasonable that the fulfillment of those needs could be gained through mindful action.

At the outset of Antigone, her father now useless, Antigone devotes herself to the proscribed burial of her recently deceased brother, Polyneices. Though a manifestly moral undertaking, her desire to bury her sibling also was rooted in primitive unconscious drives.

Freud observed that the little girl's key love for the father, invariably fruitless, is often deflected upon a sibling: "Just a little girl discovers in her aged brother an alternative for her father, who no more works towards her with the same passion as in ex - years. "[3] Thus the irrational zeal with which Antigone pursued the burial of Polyneices presents not familial but sexual love, and Creon's edict prohibiting the burial of Polyneices truly symbolized the societal proscription of sibling-incest. Though this seems a valid psychoanalytic inference, one may question the connection between burial and intimate love, which up to now remains obscure.

In Greek mythology-and Sophocles' Oedipus trilogy is but a dramatization of the Oedipus myth-Earth was an animate being, Gaia. Hence when Ouranos stuffed his newborn children in to the Earth, he was literally returning those to the womb of their mother, Gaia; he was essentially undoing their births. Antigone's wish to bury Polyneices in the Earth may accordingly be considered a symbolic wish to envelop him in a womb, the erotic nature which is made clear by the mindset of Otto List.

After being seized by way of a sentry at the site of Polyneices' burial, Antigone is forced to go over with Creon the type of her criminal offense. Though he affords her sufficient opportunities to express remorse or even distress about the illegality of her deed, she obdurately asserts her guilt and, unfearing, even embraces the imminent abuse; she proclaims even that her "husband is to be god, the father of Loss of life. " Creon then phrases Antigone to be immured in a cave but is soon persuaded by Teiresias to liberate her, though not before she hangs herself. The somewhat secret suicides of Haemon, Antigone's prospective husband, and Eurydice, Haemon's mother and Creon's wife, follow soon thereafter, going out of only Creon to repent his tragic decision.

As the storyline advances, it becomes progressively more noticeable that Antigone will not fear but anxiously awaits fatality. But what compels her to get death? A closer evaluation of her suicide elucidates the unconscious pushes at play.

Throughout mythology and dreams, the cave frequently symbolizes the womb. Therefore clinging in a cave, as Antigone does, symbolizes inhabiting a womb, in which one hangs by the umbilical cable. So perhaps Antigone's obvious wish for fatality was in simple fact a want a pre-birth point out, a desire encompassed in Thanatos, Freud's loss of life instinct.

Freud supposed that individual life was determined by two fundamental drives: Eros, the life instinct, and Thanatos, the fatality instinct. While Eros seeks proliferation and activity, Thanatos seeks homeostasis and inactivity; the Loss of life instinct strives toward nonexistence, the state preceding labor and birth. But why was Antigone so stressed to meet loss of life, or rather go back to pre-birth? Why was her life governed by Thanatos? Could returning to her mother's womb meet either her main love for her daddy or her secondary love for Polyneices, her father-substitute?

Gestation, the period of primal pleasure, is the forerunner to coitus. Hence by returning to the symbolic womb of her mom where she, Polyneices, and Oedipus were conceived, she finally achieves the romantic union with Oedipus and Polyneices which she got such a long time desired. Antigone unconsciously activities a pleasure with her father and brother beyond that of sexual intercourse, for gestation is the primary experience from which making love derives its supplementary pleasurable character.

The finding of Antigone's inactive body is used immediately by the suicides of Haemon and Eurydice. Though these subsequent deaths contribute to the play's tragic impact, they seem utterly impulsive, maybe even gratuitous. Are these fatalities affective simply because of their shocking nature or do they symbolically improve the landscape of Antigone's suicide?

In answer, first we are tempted to pursue the clear parallels between Haemon and Polyneices; they were both sons of kings, and Haemon cherished Antigone as she loved Polyneices. Thus the death of Haemon, a sensible Polyneices-surrogate, beside Antigone incarnates her unconscious reunification with her brother, the Oedipus-surrogate. In the same way, Eurydice and Jocasta are analogous individuals; both women were the wives of kings, and Eurydice birthed Haemon, the Polyneices-substitute. Consequently Eurydice's suicide beside Haemon and Antigone stresses the cave's symbolic value as Jocasta's womb.

Although we have outlined already the way the pleasures of pre-birth and coitus are associated with burial and fatality, there remains a deeper, more abstract interpretation of the play's group of deaths. One of the men in Antigone's life, Oedipus is the first to expire, her brothers Polyneices and Eteocles second, and Haemon the previous. This series is not arbitrary; each successive loss of life represents a phase of female sexuality. A girl's love is aimed first toward her father, then displaced after familial father-surrogates, such as brothers, and lastly deflected after a relatively unrelated love-object, such as Haemon. The three male fatalities in Antigonethen signify the extinction of varied stages of feminine sexuality, the love-object of each a substitute to the of the preceding level. Antigone, however, hangs herself before displacing her intimate love onto an unrelated object, such as Haemon; any gratification arising from such a relationship, she recognizes unconsciously, would be merely substitutive and she opts instead for the primal pleasure of the symbolic womb.

One may now object that the correspondence here posited between your events of Antigone's life and the phases of feminine sexuality could very well be applicable and then neurotics if not specious completely. To the we can answer only that Freud needed the same liberty-that of generalizing phenomena among neurotics to healthy individuals-in his interpretation of the Oedipus misconception. Furthermore, this essay proposes no amendments of or supplements to psychoanalytic sexual theory; it constitutes only a mythological confirmation of the psychoanalytic theory of feminine sexuality Freud first proven through empirical observation.

"Antigone" practically means "against delivery, " or "contrary labor and birth, " which most have interpreted to indicate Antigone's status as the merchandise of incest, a perverse or "contrary" union. . However, a literal interpretation of "against delivery" could very well be more significant. Antigone unconsciously wished to return to the womb, to pre-birth; she truly wished to undo her beginning throughout the action ofAntigone. Antigone embodies the individual predicament: the forced renunciation of principal and supplementary love-objects, the subsequent substitute-gratifications, the perpetual conflict between social requirements and instinctual aims, and the clash between your two irresolvable fundamental drives-one seeking life and pleasure, the other wishing to undo life totally.

Modern Antigone By Jean Anouilh:

German Point of view/Background:

In 1943, six people of the White Rose motion at the Munich University or college were executed after growing anti-Nazi leaflets through the height of the Third Reich plan.

Visitors to the Munich School might be amazed at what appears to be torn pieces of paper dispersed on the forecourt pavers. On closer assessment, this 'litter' is revealed to be ceramic tiles, scrap-shaped and imprinted with slogans.

This 'litter' is a moving tribute to the students who were executed for taking part in the White Rose activity, a short-lived university student protest against Hitler and the 3rd Reich in 1942. In the college or university, a bas-relief of the group members is usually embellished daily with fresh flowers. A little museum at the university or college tells their tale. The next details are taken from information supplied by the museum.

The Source of the White Rose Movement

Two youth friends, Christoph Probst and Alexander Schmorell chose to study treatments at Munich School. There, they became friends with Willi Graf and sibling and sister, Hans and Sophie Scholl.

Like a great many other students, they were critical of Hitler's regime and the warfare, and decided to call for passive resistance. In doing so, they acted unlike their middle class upbringing. They found an ally in one of their lecturers, Professor Kurt Huber. With Huber, they later started to surreptitiously compose and send out anti-government leaflets.

If this today seems rather nominal, it must be remembered that the Munich University or college Dean used a Nazi even and the Hitler Junior Activity was strong within the scholar body. Students and staff at this college or university eagerly participated in the getting rid of of books that the Nazis established to be unacceptable. The university or college ideal of freedom and learning was subverted to such an amount that the school library displayed a sign forbidding the accessibility of Jews.

Consequently, the group's activities constituted treason and were punishable by loss of life. Hans Scholl and Willi Graf experienced already been considered into Gestapo guardianship once in 1938 for membership of your prohibited children group.

Activities of the White Rose Group

As medical students, participants of the group who were sent to leading and were horrified at the carnage. They also heard from friends about mass murders in Poland and Russia. With all the limited means at their disposal, they decided to do something. In June 1942, they published, duplicated and sent out 4 "Leaflets of the White Rose. " This was followed by "Leaflets of the Amount of resistance Movement in Germany" and several similar compositions.

Thousands of leaflets were duplicated and uploaded to random titles taken from calling directory. To maintain secrecy, they purchased envelopes, duplicator ink and newspaper in small quantities at many outlets, and travelled to dispersed cities to create the letters, so that the movement felt more widespread also to shield the Munich University or college.

The Arrest of the White Rose Conspirators

When the German individuals were shaken by their first defeat and major loss of life at the Battle of Stalingrad in 1943, the White Rose group noticed this as the opportune time to intensify their activities. Schmorrell, Scholl and Graf commenced to scrawl "Down with Hitler" slogans in coal tar on various properties in Munich during the night.

The group continuously became less cautious. Early in the morning on Feb 18, Hans and Sophie remaining bundles of leaflets outside lecture room doorways, and Sophie tossed a bundle on the balcony to flutter down to the atrium below. It really is this take action which is commemorated in the spread ceramic 'leaflets' attached among the flagstones.

Sophie and Hans were discovered by the janitor Jakob Schmid, and they were hauled before the dean, Dr Haeffner. Arrest quickly followed and the sibling and sister were interrogated for 4 days and nights at Gestapo head office. Hans and Sophie tried to take all blame, as Christoph Probst was wedded with children.

The Trial of the Conspirators

Probst didn't escape. Three days after their arrest, the three conspirators were tried out by way of a ranting, screaming judge Roland Freisler. After just 3 time, these were sentenced to death and were guillotined. In April, a 14 hour trial noticed Willi Graf, Alexander Schmorell and Teacher Huber sentenced to fatality. Ten other defendants were imprisoned, some for basically failing to article the activities.

The Legacy of the White Rose Resistance

While the students' actions seemed to have ended in vain, there was a surprising results. A supporter, Helmuth von Moltke managed to get a copy of the final leaflet to Scandinavia and then to Britain. Soon thereafter, the RAF lowered 1. 5 million demoralising leaflets around Germany.

Anigone in 1944:

Antigone, a play by Jean Anouilh, was edited and republished in 1946 by "Editions de la Desk Ronde. " It had been actually written in Paris in February of 1944 when the capital was occupied by the German military.

At enough time it was a best-seller and a play of multiple interpretations: political, philosophical, psychological, etc.

It is a fine example of a rewritten ancient greek language myth from the fifth century BC by the playwright Sophocle.

Antigone is the little princess of Oedipus; a little girl from an incestuous marriage. Oedipus killed his dad and committed his mother. Collectively they reigned over the location of ThЁbes. Antigone got to transport the weight of this horrendous inheritance as she grew up to become a young adult.

Anouilh's plot is the same as Sophocle's: Antigone's brothers led a civil conflict against each other under the wall surfaces of ThЁbes. Both died in combat. Ruler Cron, uncle of Antigone, gave a burial to one of his nephews and let the body of the main one who betrayed him rot on the battlefield. Antigone thought it was her duty to lay earth on her behalf brothers corpse as a symbolic gesture. In her sight, the laws of family prevailed above the decisions of the Ruler. Despite the arguments, the forbidding, the threats of loss of life, the young female overcame each one of these obstructions to do what she thought was her work.

Ironically Anouilh's persona embodies a rebellious spirit but he himself was hardly mixed up in resistance activity against German Occupation. His play is of course a tragedy just like Sophocle's which means Antigone dies scheduled to resisting the law of power. Nonetheless it is Ruler Cron who is the most defeated in this storyline because he loses his boy, his specialist and his reason for living.

"All those that was required to die, died. Those who believed a very important factor and then those who thought the opposite - even those who presumed nothing and the ones who were found in the centre without understand anything. Dead yet, most of them, stiff, not useful, rotten. And those that live on will slowly learn to forget the dead and mistake their brands. "

Anouilh was definitely left feeling hopeless after the absurdity of all the fatalities from the war.

As for the Antigone of Sophocle, she opposed divine legislation and human regulations. I ask yourself if this dilemma is more relevant than the one we propose Anouilh.


This in depth study of Psycho evaluation shows the staunch persistence of Antigone and it highlights her courage, commitment and valour. No doubt, she works under mental health impulses, yet she seems to be a genuine hero showing most of her grandeur and glory. Her identity becomes an exemplary identity who proves to be a image of resistance, change and break up of position quo. Her sacrifice for the great cause of democracy and individual privileges will be appreciated in the days to come.

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