<i>Antigone</i> and <i>Electra</i>: moral conflict

Lauren J. Apfel

in The Advent of Pluralism

Published in print April 2011 | ISBN: 9780199600625
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191724985 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Classical Monographs

Antigone and Electra: moral conflict

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This chapter looks at moral conflict in Sophocles' Antigone and Electra. It contends that while both heroines approach the dilemma that confronts them monistically, the larger disagreement that animates each tragedy is a pluralist one. Antigone and Electra are both faced with a dire choice, but they choose a course of action single‐mindedly and with little to no regret. The blinkeredness of their vision is highlighted in each case by the girl's sister (Ismene and Chrysothemis respectively). The chapter then focuses on the grave clash with a competing ethical perspective (Creon, Clytemnestra) that both women enter into as a result of their monism. The tragedy, it is argued, turns on the dramatization of this feud and it is ultimately presented as incommensurable. In this way, both plays close with no unambiguous sense of who is right and who is wrong.

Keywords: Sophocles; Antigone; Electra; conflict; dilemma; monism; incommensurable; Ismene; Chrysothemis; Creon; Clytemnestra

Chapter.  16508 words. 

Subjects: Classical Philosophy

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