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Antigone's Claim: Kinship Between Life and Death (The Wellek by Judith Butler

By Judith Butler

The distinguished writer of Gender hassle the following redefines Antigone's legacy, recuperating her progressive value and releasing it for a revolutionary feminism and sexual politics. Antigone has lengthy been a feminist icon of defiance. yet what has remained uncertain is whether or not she escapes from the varieties of energy that she opposes, because the type of defiance she exemplifies additionally ends up in her demise. Butler argues that Antigone represents a kind of feminist and sexual supplier that's fraught with possibility. additionally, Antigone exhibits how a tradition of normative heterosexuality obstructs our means to work out what sexual freedom and political organisation can be.

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Additional resources for Antigone's Claim: Kinship Between Life and Death (The Wellek Library Lectures)

Sample text

What has Oedipus engendered? I ask this question, of course, during a time in which the family is at once idealized in nostalgic ways within various cultural forms, a time in which the Vatican protests against homosexuality not only as an assault on the family but also on the notion of the human, where to become human, for some, requires participation in the family in its normative sense. I ask this as well during a time in which children, because of divorce and remarriage, because of migration, exile, and refugee status, because of global displacements of various kinds, move from one family to another, move from a family to no family, move from no family to a family, or in which they live, psychically, at the crossroads of the family, or in multiply layered family situations, in which they may well have more than one woman who operates as the mother, more than one man who operates as the father, or no mother or no father, with half-brothers who are also friends—this is a time in which kinship has become fragile, porous, and expansive.

But in my opinion things are much less clear” (236). Championing Goethe’s reading, Lacan insists that “Creon is [not] opposed to Antigone as one principle of the law, of discourse, to another. . Goethe shows that Creon is driven by his desire and manifestly deviates from the straight path . . he rushes by himself to his own destruction [il court à sa perte]” (254, 297). In a sense, Lacan’s concern with the play is precisely with this rushing by oneself to one’s own destruction, that fatal rushing that structures the action of Creon and Antigone alike.

Taking this moment to be salient, Lacan emphasizes that kinship appears no longer as a function of a naturalistic biology: “In the human order, we are dealing with the complete emergence of a new function, encompassing the whole order in its entirety 41 02ch 12/3/01 12:16 PM Page 42 L Box HD/Columba/Butler/138797 L Box Unwritten Laws, Aberrant Transmissions [à l’émergence totale englobant tout l’ordre humain dans sa totalité—d’une fonction nouvelle]” (29, 42). Although Lévi-Strauss’s theorization of the symbolic is new, the symbolic function is always already there or, rather, has precisely such an effect, to establish itself sub specie aeternitatis.

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