Sophocles: Antigone

  • Ingo Juchler


The Antigone tragedy of Sophocles was a new drama at the time of the world’s first known democracy in ancient Athens some 2500 years ago. Through the millennia, the action brings us a set of political insights relevant today. Juchler begins this chapter by analyzing the links between theater and democracy. After providing a short résumé of the action of Antigone, he examines the epistemological skepticism underlying the play’s theme of judgment. This chapter focuses also on the clash generated when sovereign authority is met by determined resistance. Juchler shows how this fundamental conflict of values was fought out in such other historical contexts as the Third Reich in Germany and the civil rights movement in the United States. The chapter’s final pages consider “the national interest” as raison d’état in new clothes and propose interdisciplinary applications for the Antigone material.


  1. Anouilh, J. (1958). Antigone. A tragedy. Translated by Lewis Galantière (Five Plays, Vol I, pp 1–53). New York: Hill and Wang.Google Scholar
  2. Arendt, H.. (2005). The promise of politics. Edited and with an Introduction by Jerome Kohn. New York: Schocken Books.Google Scholar
  3. Bierl, A. (2007). Zwischen dem Selbst und dem Anderen. Aischylos’ “Perser” und das Politische in der antiken Tragödie. In E. Fischer-Lichte & M. Dreyer (Eds.), Antike Tragödie heute. Vorträge und Materialien zum Antiken-Projekt des Deutschen Theaters (pp. 49–64). Berlin: Henschel.Google Scholar
  4. Bloch, E. (1986). Natural law and human dignity, Cambridge, MA.Google Scholar
  5. Bultmann, R. (1975). Polis und Hades in der Antigone des Sophokles. In Rudolf Bultmann: Beiträge zum Verständnis der Jenseitigkeit Gottes im Neuen Testament (pp. 64–75). Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft.Google Scholar
  6. Döblin, A. (1983). Karl and Rosa: November 1918. A German revolution. New York: Fromm International Publishing Corporation.Google Scholar
  7. Fischer-Lichte, E. (2007). Berliner Antikenprojekte—150 Jahre Theatergeschichte. In E. Fischer-Lichte & M. Dreyer (Eds.), Antike Tragödie heute. Vorträge und Materialien zum Antiken-Projekt des Deutschen Theaters (pp. 111–140). Berlin: Henschel.Google Scholar
  8. Flashar, H. (2000). Sophokles. Dichter im demokratischen Athen. München: C. H. Beck.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Guthrie, W. K. C. (1995). A History of Greek Philosophy. Vol. III: The Fifth-Century Enlightenment. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  10. Hegel, G. W. F. (1988). Lectures on the philosophy of religion. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  11. Herodotus (2013). The Histories. Translated by Tom Holland. London: Penguin Classics.Google Scholar
  12. Hochhuth, R. (2010). Die Berliner Antigone. In R. Hochhuth (Ed.), Die Berliner Antigone. Erzählungen und Gedichte (pp. 5–18). Stuttgart: Reclam.Google Scholar
  13. Hofmann, H. (2000). Einführung in die Rechts- und Staatsphilosophie. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft.Google Scholar
  14. Isokrates. (1993). Sämtliche Werke, Bd. I: Reden I-VIII. Eingeleitet und erläutert von Kai Brodersen. Stuttgart: Hiersemann.Google Scholar
  15. Kant, I. (2000). Critique of the power of judgement, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  16. Lane, W. J., & Ann, M. (1986). The politics of Antigone. In J. Peter Euben (Ed.), Greek tragedy and political theory (pp. 162–182). Berkeley/Los Angeles/London: University of California Press.Google Scholar
  17. Laufs, A. (2006). Rechtsentwicklungen in Deutschland. Berlin: de Gruyter.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Leppin, H. (1999). Thukydides und die Verfassung der Polis. Ein Beitrag zur politischen Ideengeschichte des 5. Jahrhunderts v. Chr. Berlin: Akademie Verlag.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Mee, E. B., & Foley, H. P. (2011). Antigone on the Contemporary World Stage. Oxford: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Meier, C. (1990). The Greek discovery of politics. Translated by David McLintock. Cambridge et al.: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  21. Meier, C. (1993). The political art of Greek Tragedy. Transl. by Andrew Webber. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  22. Ottmann, H. (2001). Geschichte des politischen Denkens. Band 1: Die Griechen. Teilband 1: Von Homer bis Sokrates. Stuttgart/Weimar: J. B. Metzler.Google Scholar
  23. Pirie, M. (2009). 101 Great Philosophers. London: Continuum.Google Scholar
  24. Plato. (1881). The Theaetetus of Plato. With Translation and Notes by Benjamin Hall Kennedy, D.D. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Retrieved August 15, 2016, from
  25. Plato. (1994). The Republic. Books VI–X. With an English Translation by Paul Shorey. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. London: Heinemann.Google Scholar
  26. Plato. (2010). Plato’s Protagoras. Translation, Commentary, and Appendices. transl. and ed. by James A. Arieti and Roger M. Barrus.Google Scholar
  27. Pöggeler, O. (2004). Schicksal und Geschichte. Antigone im Spiegel der Deutungen und Gestaltungen seit Hegel und Hölderlin. München: Wilhelm Fink.Google Scholar
  28. Pseudo-Xenophon. (1913). Staat der Athener. In Die pseudoxenophontische Athenaion politeia. Einleitung, Übersetzung, Erklärung von Ernst Kalinka. Leipzig: Teubner.Google Scholar
  29. Russell, B. (1972). A history of Western philosophy. New York u.a.: Simon and Schuster.Google Scholar
  30. Smith, S. B. (2012). Political philosophy. New Haven/London: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  31. Sophocles. (2000). Antigone: In a new version by Declan Donnellan. London: Oberon Books.Google Scholar
  32. Stegemann, B. (2007). Die Tragödie der Kontingenz. In E. Fischer-Lichte & M. Dreyer (Eds.), Antike Tragödie heute. Vorträge und Materialien zum Antiken-Projekt des Deutschen Theaters (pp. 95–107). Berlin: Henschel.Google Scholar
  33. Thucydides. (2009). The Peloponnesian War. Translated by Martin Hammond. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ingo Juchler
    • 1
  1. 1.University of PotsdamPotsdamGermany

Personalised recommendations