No Longer Lost for Words Antigone’s Afterlife
journal contributionposted on 21.05.2017, 04:40 by Alison Forsyth
Sophocles’ dramatic depiction of the myth of Antigone (441 BC) has undergone a range of theatrical reincarnations over the centuries, from the tellingly entitled Antigone ou le piete by Robert Garnier (1580) to versions and free translations by Vittorio Alfieri (1783), Friedrich Hölderin (1804), Johann Wolfgang Goethe (1808), Walter Hasenclaver (1917), Jean Coc- teau (1922), Jean Anouilh (1943), Bertolt Brecht (1948, an adaptation that was to be further re-adapted by Judith Malina in 1967), Tom Paulin (1984), Athol Fugard (1974), Miro Gavran (1990) and Seamus Heaney (2004) – to name just a few. It is the contention of this analysis that dramatic reinterpretations of Sophocles’ Antigone have fallen into two very distinct phases; firstly those comprising predominantly reverential appropriations of the ancient classic which tap into the source text’s cultural cachet to bolster the cultural, religious and political aims of the society in which it was currently being performed; and secondly, the post 1945 appropriations. It is the second phase that will provide the particular focus for this discussion.