Professor Simon Goldhill, Cambridge University
There is no play from antiquity which has had a more significant impact on the discourse of autocracy than the Antigone, especially since the hugely influential arguments of Hegel. This paper suggests that the play's understanding of autocracy has been systematically misunderstood in 20th and 21st century criticism – including my own! – and suggests a different way of understanding the drama's dynamics. This very discussion will open out into a debate about how feminism and other contemporary political readings of the play are complicit with a misguided notion of heroism at the heart of the discourse of autocracy and its resistance.