Sophocles’s ‘Antigone’ : Seminar VII, 25th May 1960 : A contemporary commentary

by Julia Evans on August 31, 2013

In Seminar VII, The Ethics of Psychoanalysis – 1959-1960, Jacques Lacan comments on the play by Sophocles, Antigone. This takes place during three sessions: May 25th 1960 – The splendour of Antigone (The meaning of Catharsis, Hegel’s weakness, The function of the chorus, Goethe’s wish) : June 1st 1960 – The articulations of the play, & June 8th 1960 – Antigone between two deaths (The-race-is-run, Sophocles’s anti-humanism, The law of ‘ex nihilo’, The death drive illustrated, Complement).


Yesterday, Saturday 31st August 2013, I watched a programme called ‘Ancient Greece: The Greatest Show on Earth’ on BBC i-player.  See below for the link and details. I recommend this to you for two reasons:

The presenter, Dr Michael Scott, traces the relation between Ancient Greek Drama and politics of the time. This includes raising questions of how power is used and what are the ways in which to respond.

Dr Scott comments on ‘Antigone’ especially in its relationship to resistance. He comments on how Jean Anouilh’s play ‘Antigone (1943)’ was seen as resistance or an attack on Marshal Pétain’s Vichy Government whilst being tolerated by those in power.

I recommend a viewing of this, as background to these sessions within Seminar VII which comment on ‘Antigone’.


Ancient Greece: The Greatest Show on Earth

Available here

1. Democrats

Classicist Dr Michael Scott journeys to Athens to explore how drama first began. He discovers that from the very start it was about more than just entertainment – it was a reaction to real events, it was a driving force in history and it was deeply connected to Athenian democracy. In fact, the story of theatre is the story of Athens.