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Portrayals of Antigone in Portugal: 20th and 21st Century Rewritings of the Antigone Myth
 9789004340060, 9004340068

Table of contents :
Portrayals of Antigone in Portugal: 20th and 21st Century Rewritings of the Antigone Myth
Copyright
Contents
Notes on Contributors
Introduction
Part 1: Main sources
1 Sophocles’ Antigone
2 Portraits of Antigone in Portugal and Brazil: The Reception of Antigone in the 20th and 21st Centuries
3 Antigone’s French Genealogy
4 Jean Cocteau and Oedipus’ Daughter
5 Jean Anouilh’s Antigone: A Free “translation” of Sophocles
6 Seven Reflections on María Zambrano’s La Tumba de Antígona (Antigone’s Tomb)
Part 2: Portuguese Reception of Antigone (20th–21st Centuries)
7 António Sérgio’s Antígona: “a social study in dialogue form”
8 António Sérgio’s Antigone Revisited: Two Invectives against the Salazar Dictatorship
9 Júlio Dantas’ Antigone: Or the Martyr of Late Romanticism
10 Taking Liberties: António Pedro’s Recreation of Antigone
11 Antígona by António Pedro: Dialogues with European Aesthetic Currents
12 Creon, the Tyrant of Antigone on Stage: His Reception in Júlio Dantas and António Pedro during the Portuguese Dictatorship
13 Antigone: Code Name – Mário Sacramento’s One-act Play
14 “Like a Ghost of Antigone”: Ganhar a Vida (Get a life), by João Canijo
15 Antigone, Daughter of the D’Annunzian Oedipus. The Oedipus Trilogy (1954) by Castro Osório
16 Antigone, Fruit of a Twisted Vine: Hélia Correia’s Perdição
17 A Brief “Antigone”: Eduarda Dionísio’s Antes que a noite venha (Before the Night Comes)
18 Myth and Dystopia: Antígona Gelada (Frozen Antigone) by Armando Nascimento Rosa
Conclusion
Appendix: A Chronology of Recreations, Editions and Performances
Select Bibliography and References
Index Locorum
Index of Modern Authors
Index of Subjects

Citation preview

Portrayals of Antigone in Portugal

Metaforms Studies in the Reception of Classical Antiquity

Editors-in-Chief Almut-Barbara Renger (Freie Universität Berlin) Jon Solomon (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign) John T. Hamilton (Harvard University) Editorial Board Kyriakos Demetriou (University of Cyprus) Constanze Güthenke (Oxford University) Miriam Leonard (University College London) Mira Seo (Yale-nus College)

VOLUME 9

The titles published in this series are listed at brill.com/srca

Portrayals of Antigone in Portugal 20th and 21st Century Rewritings of the Antigone Myth Edited by

Carlos Morais Lorna Hardwick Maria de Fátima Silva

LEIDEN | BOSTON

Cover illustration: Photo courtesy of Teatro Experimental do Porto (TEP). Performance of Antígona – glosa nova da tragédia de Sófocles (Antigone – a new gloss of Sophocles’ tragedy) by Teatro Experimental do Porto, May 2003, at Auditório Municipal de Gaia. Staged by Norberto Barroca, this was TEP’s 193rd performance and it reproduces the costumes of the 1956 staging, designed by Augusto Gomes (1910–1976). Besides being a tribute to both this plastic artist and the author of the play, who had been TEP’s artistic director between 1953 and 1961, this performance also marked the 50th ­anniversary of the company. The characters/actors and actresses on stage are Antigone (Susana Sá), Creon (Norberto Barroca), the three old Chorus members (Adriano Martins, José Cruz, and Augusto Martins), Artemis (Olga Dias) and the Guard (Vítor Nunes). The Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data is available online at http://catalog.loc.gov lc record available at http://lccn.loc.gov/2017001247

Typeface for the Latin, Greek, and Cyrillic scripts: “Brill”. See and download: brill.com/brill-typeface. issn 2212-9405 isbn 978-90-04-34005-3 (hardback) isbn 978-90-04-34006-0 (e-book) Copyright 2017 by Koninklijke Brill nv, Leiden, The Netherlands. Koninklijke Brill nv incorporates the imprints Brill, Brill Hes & De Graaf, Brill Nijhoff, Brill Rodopi and Hotei Publishing. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, translated, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission from the publisher. Authorization to photocopy items for internal or personal use is granted by Koninklijke Brill nv provided that the appropriate fees are paid directly to The Copyright Clearance Center, 222 Rosewood Drive, Suite 910, Danvers, ma 01923, usa. Fees are subject to change. This book is printed on acid-free paper and produced in a sustainable manner.

Contents Notes on Contributors ix Introduction 1 Carlos Morais, Lorna Hardwick and Maria de Fátima Silva

part 1 Main sources 1 Sophocles’ Antigone 13 Rosa Andújar and Konstantinos Nikoloutsos 2 Portraits of Antigone in Portugal and Brazil: The Reception of Antigone in the 20th and 21st Centuries 27 Lorna Hardwick 3 Antigone’s French Genealogy 43 Stéphanie Urdician 4 Jean Cocteau and Oedipus’ Daughter 57 Maria do Céu Fialho 5 Jean Anouilh’s Antigone: A Free “translation” of Sophocles 72 Maria de Fátima Silva 6 Seven Reflections on María Zambrano’s La Tumba de Antígona (Antigone’s Tomb) 90 Andrés Pociña and Aurora López

part 2 Portuguese Reception of Antigone (20th–21st Centuries) 7 António Sérgio’s Antígona: “a social study in dialogue form” 113 Carlos Morais 8 António Sérgio’s Antigone Revisited: Two Invectives against the Salazar Dictatorship 140 Carlos Morais

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Contents

9 Júlio Dantas’ Antigone: Or the Martyr of Late Romanticism 160 Maria do Céu Grácio Zambujo Fialho 10 Taking Liberties: António Pedro’s Recreation of Antigone 175 Carlos Morais 11  Antígona by António Pedro: Dialogues with European Aesthetic Currents 192 Inês Alves Mendes 12 Creon, the Tyrant of Antigone on Stage: His Reception in Júlio Dantas and António Pedro during the Portuguese Dictatorship 207 Maria de Fátima Silva 13 Antigone: Code Name – Mário Sacramento’s One-act Play 222 Maria Fernanda Brasete 14 “Like a Ghost of Antigone”: Ganhar a Vida (Get a life), by João Canijo 239 Nuno Simões Rodrigues 15 Antigone, Daughter of the D’Annunzian Oedipus. The Oedipus Trilogy (1954) by Castro Osório 251 Ália Rosa Rodrigues 16 Antigone, Fruit of a Twisted Vine: Hélia Correia’s Perdição 265 Maria de Fátima Silva 17 A Brief “Antigone”: Eduarda Dionísio’s Antes que a noite venha (Before the Night Comes) 285 Maria de Fátima Silva 18 Myth and Dystopia: Antígona Gelada (Frozen Antigone) by Armando Nascimento Rosa 305 Maria do Céu Fialho

Conclusion 313 Carlos Morais, Lorna Hardwick and Maria de Fátima Silva

C ontents 

Appendix: A Chronology of Recreations, Editions and Performances 316 Select Bibliography and References 321 Index Locorum 346 Index of Modern Authors 349 Index of Subjects 359

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Notes on Contributors Inês Alves Mendes is lecturer of Portuguese at the Department of Modern Languages in the ­University of ITESM (Monterrey, Mexico). She holds a DPhil in Medieval and Modern Languages from the University of Oxford (May 2011) through a dissertation exploring the cultural impact of Antigone in twentieth-century Portugal. She has engaged in the international debate regarding twentieth-century revisions of Antigone with contributions to the Antigones Contemporaines: de 1945 à nos jours (Publications Universitaires Blaise Pascal Clermont-Ferrand, 2010) as well as to P: Portuguese Cultural Studies (refereed electronic journal) and the University of Minnesota’s Hispanic Issues (refereed electronic journal). She is a member of the research center CECC (Centro de Estudos de Comunicação e Cultura), from the Portuguese Catholic University, where she is develloping collaborative work on modernity. This research sits alongside Alves-Mendes personal project on the visual aspects of Portuguese Modernism on stage (1925–1955). Within this scope, Dr Alves-Mendes published on the much aclaimed volume Portuguese Modernisms: Multiple Perspectives on Literature and Visual Arts (ed. J. Pizarro and S. Dix): ‘‘Modernist Theatre in the First Two Decades of the 20th Century” (Oxford: Legenda, 2011: 310–330). Alves-Mendes was the recipient of grants from renown institutions such as the Arts and Humanities Research Council (United Kingdom), Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia (Portugal), Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian (Portugal). Rosa Andújar is the A.G. Leventis Research Fellow in the Department of Greek & Latin, ­University College London. Her research focuses on two distinct but complementary areas: ancient Greek tragedy, and the reception of Hellenic classicisms in Latin America. Rosa is currently completing two book projects in each of these areas, and has additionally published several articles on various aspects of each. With Konstantinos P. Nikoloutsos, she is editing Greeks and Romans on the Latin American Stage, which addresses the rich and varied afterlife of ancient Greek and Roman drama in the region. Maria do Céu Grácio Zambujo Fialho has been Full Professor of Classical Studies at the University of Coimbra since 1998 and is coordinator of the Greek Studies area of the Centre for Classical and Humanistic Studies of the same university. She was scientific coordinator of the Center between 2000 and 2014. Teaching activities, research interests

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and publications include: Classical Studies, Greek Theatre and its Reception, Poetics and Ethics (Plato and Aristotle), Plutarch, Alexandrian Epic, and the Greek novel. Has authored several books and papers and translated into Portuguese Sophocles’ Trachiniae, Oedipus the King, Electra, Oedipus at Colonus, and Plutarch’s Theseus’ and Alcibiades’ Lives. Maria de Fátima Sousa e Silva is Full Professor in the Institute of Classical Studies at the University of ­Coimbra. Her PhD field of research was Ancient Greek Comedy (Theatre ­criticism in Ancient Greek Comedy). She has since been undertaking research in the same area and has published several articles. She has also published translations, with commentaries, of nine comedies by Aristophanes, and a volume with the translation of Menander’s plays and best-preserved fragments. Maria Fernanda Amaro de Matos Brasete (1962) has a Degree in Humanities from the Universidade Católica Portuguesa (1985), an ma in Classical Literatures from the University of Coimbra (1991), and has completed a PhD in Literature at the University of Aveiro (2011). She has been a Professor in the Languages and Cultures Departament, University of Aveiro, since 1986 and is currently a member of the editorial board of the journal Ágora. Estudos Clássicos em Debate; she is a scientific reviewer for several Portuguese journals. She has published three books, among which Máscaras, vozes e gestos: nos caminhos do teatro clássico (Masks, voices and gestures: on the paths of Classical theatre) (Aveiro, 2001) and around 30 articles and chapters on Homer’s epic, archaic poetry, Greek tragedy, especially Euripides, and the reception of Greek theatre in Portuguese literature. Lorna Hardwick is Emeritus Professor of Classical Studies at the Open University, uk and an ­Honorary Research Associate at the Archive of Performances of Greek and ­Roman Drama, University of Oxford. She is (with Professor James ­Porter) the editor of the Classical Presences series (Oxford University Press) and was the founding editor of the Classical Receptions Journal. She is D ­ irector of the R ­ eception of Classical Texts Research Project (www2.open.ac.uk/­ ClassicalStudies/­GreekPlays/) and has published extensively on Homer, ­Athenian ­cultural history, Greek Tragedy and its modern reception and on translation theory and practice. Books include: Translating Words, Translating Cultures (2000), Reception Studies (2003, also translated into Greek), Classics in Post-Colonial Worlds (2007, edited with Carol Gillespie), Companion to ­Classical

N otes on Contributors 

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R ­ eceptions (2007, edited with Christopher Stray), Classics in the Modern World: A “Democratic Turn”? (2013, edited with Stephen Harrison). Aurora López López (Sarria, Lugo, 1948) is Full Professor of Latin Philology at the University of Granada and Director of the Equality between Women and Men Research Unit. She currently teaches Latin Texts (undergraduate), Roman Women (ma), and Greco-Latin Drama and its continuity (ma). Main lines of research include Latin Literature, especially comedy and tragedy; Studies on women’s literature and literature on women; Classical continuity and tradition, notably in the field of drama. Carlos Morais earned a PhD in Literature (area of specialization: Greek literature) from the University of Aveiro with the thesis O Trímetro Sofocliano: variações sobre um esquema (the Sophoclean trimeter: variations on a scheme), published in 2010 (Lisboa, fct/fcg). A Professor at the Universidade de Aveiro (Languages and Cultures Department), his main areas of research include Greek literature and the reception of Classical drama; he has published Máscaras Portuguesas de Antígona (Portuguese masks of Antigone) (Aveiro 2001), and has several chapters and articles on the Antigone myth in Portuguese and Spanish literature published in international books and journals. Konstantinos P. Nikoloutsos is Associate Professor of Classics and Director of Ancient Studies at Saint ­Joseph’s University (Philadelphia). He has published numerous journal articles and book chapters in the fields of Roman elegy, ancient history on film, and the classical tradition in South America and the Caribbean. He is the editor of Ancient Greek Women in Film (OUP, 2013) and guest-editor of a special issue of Romance Quarterly (59.1: 2012) entitled Reception of Greek and Roman Drama in Latin America. His honors include the 2008 Paul Rehak Prize from the Lambda Classical Caucus, the 2012–13 Loeb Classical Library Foundation Fellowship from Harvard University, and an appointment as Onassis Foundation (USA) Visiting Scholar in Spring 2016. Andrés Pociña Pérez (Lugo, 1947) is Full Professor of Latin Philology at the University of Granada, having been Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy and Letters and Director of the Latin Philology Department. He is currently responsible for the Junta de Andalucía hum 318 Research Group. He teaches Latin Literature (­ undergraduate)

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and Greco-Latin drama and its continuity in modern theatre (ma). Main areas of research include Latin Literature (different genres): the continuity of ­Classical drama; Galician literature; 20th century Greek poetry. Ália Rosa Rodrigues is a Postdoctoral researcher at the University of Brasília, Brazil, working with the Archai unesco Chair: The Plural Origins of Western Thought. Her research looks at the history of political ideas, namely the history of the lawgiver concept, constitution making, radical foundings and revolutionary breaks. She has published “Tragédia e política: João de Castro Osório” (Tragedy and Politics: João de Castro Osório) (2013) and “To be a lawgiver, a more sublimated form of tyranny: Solon and Peisistratus’ expression of power” (Figure d’Atene nelle opera di Plutarco, Florence, 2013). Nuno Simões Rodrigues is Professor of Ancient History at the University of Lisbon. He holds a PhD in Letters (area of specialization: History of Classical Antiquity) and is a researcher at the Center for History of the University of Lisbon and the ­Centre for ­Classical and Humanistic Studies of the University of Coimbra. He has ­published Alexandrea ad Aegyptum. The Legacy of Multiculturalism in A ­ ntiquity (Porto, 2013) and A Sexualidade no Mundo Antigo (Sexuality in the Ancient world) (Lisbon, 2009). He has translated Euripides’ Ifigénia entre os Tauros ­(Lisbon, 2014) and Alceste (Coimbra, 2009) from the Greek into Portuguese. Stéphanie Urdician is Assistant Professor of Hispanic Studies at Université Blaise Pascal at ­Clermont-Ferrand and a member of the Research Center for Literatures and Sociopoetics. Her research fields are contemporary Hispanic-American drama and the sociopoetics of myth. She has published a number of articles on the mythical figure of Antigone. She coordinates the theatre sector of the Service Université Culture and offers a workshop on theatre in Spanish.

Introduction Carlos Morais, Lorna Hardwick and Maria de Fátima Silva Antigone is only a secondary character in the ancient legends about the Royal House of Thebes1 before Sophocles’ intervention in the 5th century bc. It is through acting as a model for the history of drama that Antigone has achieved true autonomy as a mythical figure. Of the four known tragedies featuring Oedipus’ eldest daughter as a character – Aeschylus’ Seven Against Thebes, Sophocles’ Antigone and Oedipus at Colonus, and Euripides’ Phoenician Women – it was principally the Sophoclean plays, and notably Antigone, that helped imprint in the collective imagination the general character traits of this fragile but determined young heroine. With the inclusion and development of five main mythemes – “accompanying and protecting her blind father in his exile and old age”, “rebelling against Creon’s unjust human law”, “daring to act in a freeway not allowed to women in Greek society”, “burying her brother Polynices as a fulfillment of a natural and divine law” and “self-sacrificing in name of piety”2 – Sophocles was bequeathing not only to Athens during the century of Pericles, but also to eternity, an Antigone who became a model of compassion and dedication to the family, an example of resilience and revolt against tyranny to the point of self-sacrifice, the paradigm of a woman and “não somente [de] fêmea” (“not just a female”) who dared to resist the (male) establishment and who did not, as Sophia Andresen will later put it, merely stay “em casa a cozinhar intrigas/segundo o antiquíssimo método oblíquo das mulheres”3 (“at home 1 On the treatment of the Theban myth before Sophocles, see below Andújar and Nikoloutsos. 2 Adopting Lévi Strauss’ (1958) concept of anthropologie structurale, Fraisse (1973) 18 establishes six mythemes for Antigone and two for Oedipus at Colonus. We mention only these four narrative segments, which do not exactly coincide with Fraisse’s, because, in our opinion, they are the mythemes that became the point of support for the allegoric appropriations of  the Antigone myth in Portugal. Other different mythemes resulting from new re-readings of the Sophoclean model – which generated a vast diversity of interpretations internationally – are systematised in Chapters 1 and 2, dedicated to Sophocles and his contemporary reception in global terms. However, a more in-depth consideration of these mythemes would not be relevant in a study specifically focused on the reception of Antigone in Portugal, where they were not developed. 3 Sophia de Mello (21996) 164. In this poem, the author draws a parallel between the courageous and determined actions of Catarina Eufémia and those of Antigone, two women who dared “fazer frente” (“to confront”), who embodied the “inocência frontal” (“honest

© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, ���7 | doi 10.1163/9789004340060_002

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weaving intrigues/according to the age-old oblique female method”). Those are four key segments of the myth which, in their metaphorical and “symbolic pregnancy”,4 grant it an inexhaustible capacity for reenactment, making it one of the most productive myths in Western literature – a myth that is continually and incessantly being recreated and updated. As was the tendency in other countries, the paradigmatic behavior of Oedipus’ daughter raised much interest in Portugal especially in the 20th century, but also in the present, given its similarity of aspirations, anxieties and values to those of this country. As a matter of fact, at a time fraught with several conflicts, both internally and abroad, shaken by more or less long dictatorships, engulfed in different crisis of values and ideological conflicts, and marked also by a slow and difficult acknowledgement of women’s role in society, the myth of Antigone did find an ideal stage for development in Portugal. Besides the many performances of both the ancient play and its recreations, significantly concentrated in years of crisis, a number of re-readings of the Sophoclean myth were added to the history of Portuguese literature, theatre and cinema, sometimes translating their authors’ different sensitivities, sometimes projecting the concerns of the times when they were written or for which they were produced. This study of ours on the reception of the Antigone myth was principally aimed at, on the one hand, providing a survey of the different productions in Portugal – some of which are not especially well-known even within the Portuguese-speaking world5 – and, on the other, filling a void that exists in the multitude of scholarly studies and reflections published in the last few years. Here is a list of just some of the titles published only as recently as the 21st century: Bañuls Oller, Crespo Alcalá (2008), Antígona(s): mito y personaje. Un recorrido desde los orígenes (Antigone(s): myth and character. An overview from its origins); Pianacci (2015), Antígona: una tragedia latinoamericana (Antigone: a Latin-American tragedy); Belardinelli, Greco (2010), Antigone e le Antigoni: storia, forme, fortuna di un mito (Antigone and the Antigones: history, forms, fate of a myth); Duroux, Urdician (2010), Les Antigones contemporaines (de 1945 à nos jours) (Contemporary Antigones, from 1945 to the present); Wilmer, Zukauskaite (2010), Interrogating Antigone in Postmodern Philosophy and Criticism; Mee, Foley (2011), Antigone on the Contemporary World Stage; Honig (2013), i­nnocence”) and who did not give in. As W. Burkert notes (1991) 24, “when the opponent is of the feminine sex, the combat narrative gains additional dynamics; aggressive and sexual motivations intersect into new crystalizations”. 4 Jabouille (21994) 38. 5 A volume on the reception of classical myths in Brazil is being prepared.

Introduction

3

Antigone interrupted; Chanter, Kirkland (2014), The Returns of Antigone. Interdisciplinary Essays; Pociña et alii (2015), Antígona. A eterna sedução da filha de Édipo (The eternal seduction of Oedipus’ daughter); Billings, Leonard (2015), Tragedy and the Idea of Modernity. In Portugal, a first survey and analysis of the subject was carried out in 2001 by Morais: Máscaras Portuguesas de Antígona (Portuguese masks of Antigone). This publication includes contributions from a number of researchers from different Portuguese universities, who were members of a research team at the Centro de Estudos Clássicos e Humanísticos, University of Coimbra, within the Network on Ancient Greek Drama, coordinated by the Department of Theatre Studies of the University of Athens and by the University of Oxford. The research outcomes, the object of which was to document the production and performance of Ancient Greek Theatre and its reception in the Portuguese world – to which the team further added some elements pertaining to Latin drama – were presented in three volumes, coordinated by M. Fátima Silva under the title Representações de Teatro Clássico no Portugal Contemporâneo i–iii (1998– 2004) (Performances of Classical Theatre in contemporary Portugal). Some of those outcomes are included in the list of publications, productions and performances at the end of this volume.6 The texts included in this volume are, for the most part, extended and updated versions of those and of other scholarly work produced in the meantime, to which are added unpublished contributions and essays based on doctoral research on the subject, in Portugal and abroad. That is the case of Mendes (2011), Do texto para o palco: Antígona no teatro português do século xx (1946–1993) (From the text to the stage: Antigone in 20th century Portuguese theatre, 1946–1993). St. Peter’s College; and Rodrigues (2012), João de Castro Osório: tragédia e política (João de Castro Osório: tragedy and politics). Coimbra. Taken together, the chapters dedicated to the Portuguese productions provide an overview of the Antigone rewrites to the present, and their English version is intended to make them accessible to a wider reading public.7 Structure Approaching the Portuguese productions dedicated to the Antigone myth necessarily entails a consideration of the most important models which, in parallel with the inescapable Sophoclean points of reference, left their marks 6 P. 316–320. 7 A volume dedicated to the reception of this myth in Brazil, to be included in this series, is at present being prepared.

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upon those texts. The presence of contaminatio – the fusion of different sources in the same rewriting – in all of the contemporary Portuguese versions of the myth required the inclusion of a first part dedicated to their main sources, clearly identifiable in the context of Spanish and French literatures, with names like Cocteau, Anouilh and María Zambrano deserving a special mention.8 To facilitate a dialogue between sources and reception in points of detail, a number of cross-reference notes are added, highlighting the relevant instances of intertextuality. As a general principle, the organization of the material follows the chronological order of the texts, which mirrors the parallel that exists between drama and the historical Portuguese society itself. However, it must be stressed that, although many of the Portuguese rewrites are coeval with the dictatorship years that they use as a reference, some recreations entail a return to the past, as is the case of Canijo’s film (2001) on Portuguese emigration, a social phenomenon of the 1960’s. On the other hand, the preponderance of a number of topics (political, religious, familial, fictional and pertaining to gender) in the recuperation of the myth constitutes yet another, more specific, arrangement criterion. Thus, Chapters 7–13 are dedicated to the rewritings whose central motif is political contestation to the dictatorship that lasted for decades in 20th century Portugal. Authored by philosophers and politicians (Sérgio and Dantas) and men of the theatre (A. Pedro), those rewritings imprinted their own innovative marks on the Greek paradigm, with the common aim of expressing the voice of resistance. The international contacts imposed by the Portuguese ideological crisis on many of its exiled intellectuals contributed to strengthen the chain of assonance between what was happening in Portugal at the time and what was happening in the other Western countries. In that phase, the reception of the Antigone myth radically omitted the divine element which was so distinctive in Sophocles and in many of its re-writings. Although expressed in different circumstances, dictated by the sequence and variety of the Portuguese and the European experiences, and influenced by the different interpretive sensitivity of their authors, this set of chapters can be divided into: texts with a more politically engaged and essayistic nature (Sérgio, Chs. 8 and 9, Sacramento, Ch. 13); and texts with a properly dramatic nature, meant for the stage (Dantas, Ch. 9, Pedro, Ch. 10). Chapter 12 constitutes a kind of comparative synthesis, addressing the two most popular 8 There is a significant number of excellent studies on the Iberian-American reception in the Spanish language. However, only those with a direct impact on the Portuguese production are considered here.

Introduction

5

productions on the stage at the time. Comparing Dantas and António Pedro in terms of their dramatic strategies, the chapter focuses principally on the “scenic” image of the tyrant who, besides other considerations, is the protagonist of a dictatorship, be him Creon or Salazar.9 The way he “presents himself” or how he “moves” and “expresses” himself are yet so many external facets that essentially signify who he “is”. A change in the chronological arrangement is justified here by the inclusion of Canijo’s cinematographic production in this eminently political set of texts. Although presented some decades later, it addresses an issue that cannot be dissociated from Salazar’s rule in Portugal and its social impacts: the massive emigration of the impoverished population to various European countries, with France as a preferred destination. This is the extensive image of the situation in Portugal, condemned by its leaders to persistent isolation, which, like a river, eventually bursts its national banks to express itself in wider spaces within a Europe that had by then recovered from the difficulties of the postwar period. On the other hand, the essay dedicated to Mário Sacramento (Ch. 13), as well as that on Castro Osório (Ch. 15), signal a degree of detachment from Portuguese political disputes in the strict sense. Perhaps they are the reflection in Portuguese playwriting on the subject of “Antigone” of wider political issues which the course and the end of World War ii were then raising all over Europe. The texts in question are mostly based on European dictatorships and the resistance tentatively put up by the oppressed peoples in a war context. Osório’s is a dissonant voice here, since, instead of joining the choir of voices against the tyranny of the leaders, he puts forward a number of arguments to defend the authoritarian regime that continued to rule the Iberian Peninsula. Chapters 16 and 17 address two productions from the early 1990’s which definitely break with the pattern of political motivation present in the earlier texts. Antigone is now approached as a “woman”, and, despite that condition, as one whose true opponent is not to be found in Creon but rather within herself, in her personality, in her family bonds and in social rules. She is a character who is seen as a member of a “Second Sex”, who faces a code imposed upon the female condition, in the light of which she designs her life plan and as a function of which she experiences feelings of inadequacy and frustration. Antigone is the bride of Hades, the cherished child of her death parents and the beloved sister of her dead brother.

9 None of these Portuguese adaptations reflects Hegel’s positive vision of Creon as the legitimate holder of the reason of State, in balance with the values upheld by Antigone. See Ch. 1.

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Lastly, among the list of Portuguese productions, Nascimento Rosa’s text (Ch. 18) is perhaps the one that least reflects Portuguese society, either politically or sociologically. His focus of inspiration – the fiction explored by popular film productions – seems to express a sense of an ambiguous future, for which the Antigone symbolism, now completely reformulated, still serves as a message. As a whole, the Antigone symbolism in the Portuguese world follows the same flexible faithfulness that has justified so many other re-creations expressed in the most diverse languages and performed on the stages of the entire world.

The Motif of Antigone in Portugal: Choice of Themes and Aesthetics

The twelve essays included in this volume present critical approaches to eleven dramaturgical re-readings by Portuguese authors António Sérgio (1930, c. 1950, 1958), Júlio Dantas (1946), António Pedro (1953), João de Castro Osório (1954), Mário Sacramento (1958), Hélia Correia (1991), Eduarda Dionísio (1992), Armando Nascimento Rosa (2007), and includes also a filmic recreation by João Canijo (2001). Clearly fascinated with Greek tragedy, as demonstrated in his films featuring such characters as Electra (Filha da Mãe/Lovely Child, 1990) and Iphigenia (Noite Escura/In the Darkness of the Night, 2004), or based on the Oresteia theme (Mal Nascida/Misbegotten, 2007), the Portuguese filmmaker produced, in the early 2000’s, Ganhar a Vida (Get a Life), whose leading character, Cidália, a Portuguese immigrant woman in France like many of her generation, embodies a life haunted by the figure of Antigone. Like the Greek heroine, she puts up a solitary resistance against authority, claiming for justice and for the right to dignity of a minority living in foreign territory. Forsaken and destroyed by a chain of tragic events originating in her family, she finds in suicide a last way to regain her life. Going now from the screen to the stage, it becomes clear that, as happens in most Western literatures, the Portuguese plays written during the 48 year-long dictatorship (1926–1974) are closer to the Greek model, exploring the myth’s rhetoric of protest and revolt against tyranny through a heroine sometimes portrayed as a martyr of her own resistance. Drawing his inspiration from young Antigone’s example, in 1930 Sérgio, then living in exile as a consequence of his involvement in several actions against the military dictatorship in power since May 28th 1926, writes the first of the

Introduction

7

20th century Portuguese Antigones, a play that reflects a good part of his philosophical and political thought. Considered by the author to be “a social study in dialogue form” (“estudo social em forma dialogada”)10 rather than a play to be staged, his allegorical recreation, with its many allusions to events and figures of the time, has an evident political and pedagogic aim: to raise awareness of the need to resist dictatorship and civically engage in the fight for democracy and freedom. With the same aim in mind, the author revisits his play two years later, adapting it to new socio-political contexts. Around 1950 he writes a parody, yet unpublished, against Salazar’s dictatorship. And in 1958, from the opening scenes of this renewed dialogue in dramatic form, he produces a libel exposing the fraud that had occurred in the presidential elections with the regime’s candidate, Américo Thomaz, running against the candidate of the democratic opposition, Humberto Delgado, who was known as “general sem medo” (“the fearless General”). During the same decade, with a wealth of re-readings of Sophocles’ myth being produced, António Pedro writes an Antígona, with very clear political intentions, for the Teatro Experimental do Porto (Porto Experimental Theatre). In a somewhat defiant attitude, through the voice of the Choregos, the author describes his play as a “tragédia da liberdade”11 (“tragedy of freedom”), a statement that somehow managed to elude the strict control of censorship. It was a tragedy of “freedom” because it contained the expression of a long denied dream and a cry of revolt against the Estado Novo totalitarian regime. But it was also a tragedy of “freedoms” because, when compared to the ancient model, Pedro’s play introduced aesthetical, structural and functional innovations. A man of the theatre, António Pedro was also interested in the performance as well as in its reception and perception on the part of the audience; that is the reason why, although remaining close to his source, he seeks to modernize his play, adjusting it to the literary and aesthetic taste and tendencies of the time. The influences of the famous “cartel des quatres” (Charles Dullin, Louis Jouvet, Georges Pitoëff and Gaston), as also of Brecht and Pirandello, are evident in his recreation of the myth. His sensitivity as a stage professional can be traced in the parabatic inclusion of some thoughts, conveyed through the voices of the Prologue and the Chorus, on the myth, on the conventional role ascribed to each of the characters and on the tentative dialogue between dramatic forms as different as Greek tragedy and bourgeois drama. Equally following the teachings of Pirandello, in 1959 Mário Sacramento writes a subversive play 10 11

Sérgio (1931) 46. Pedro (1981) 261.

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which, like António Sérgio’s Antígona, is a cross between two different genres – the drama and the essay forms. Influenced also by Sartre’s existentialism, Sa­ cramento’s “ensaio dramático” (“dramatic essay”), which adapts the Sophoclean model to his times, marked by experimentalism and by social concerns, conveys a message of resistance. Although less ideologically charged and without the same politically engaged nature as the previous texts – if one considers the author’s compromise between his condition as a man of the theatre and his proximity to the political regime in power –, the political dimension that emerges from the rhetoric of protest present in the archetype is also explored in Júlio Dantas’ Antígona (1946), whose heroine clearly proclaims her revolt “against the injustice of the powerful” (“contra a injustiça dos fortes”),12 represented by Creon, the paradigm of a tyrant. However, besides that fundamental issue, other noteworthy elements are present in the text, like a preference for a more familiar style and an emphasis on the neo-Romantic flavor that features a heroine who is a martyr of honor and affection, a martyr of the resistance. Given its markedly Neo-Romantic tone and rhetoric, the third play included in João de Castro Osório’s Trilogia de Édipo (Oedipus Trilogy), entitled Antígona and published towards the end of 1954, is very similar to Dantas’ recreation. Combining information from the different Greek tragedies on the Antigone myth, Osório features the conflict between tragic fatalism and Christian moral freedom, in a dialectics capable of creating a “Novo Humanismo”13 (“New Humanism”) which consecrates the “vitória do Homem na luta com o Destino”14 (“victory of Man in his fight against Fate”). In this duel, Antigone – “nascida para amar e não para odiar” (“born to love and not to hate”), like Sophocles’ heroine (cf. Sophocles, Antigone 523) – represents the voice of sublime, pure pity, which echoes Oedipus’ redemptive dream, a dream of clemency and forgiveness designed to restore Thebes’ peace and hope, sustained by eternal Justice and divine Truth. This recreation of the myth from a Christian perspective, in line with Ro­ bert Garnier (1580), Rotrou (1637), Ballanche (1814) and Paul Zumthor’s (1945) interpretations,15 deviates from the two major tendencies which have marked the dramaturgical reading of Antigone in Portuguese literature: those privileging the political component of the subject, most of them remaining close to 12 13 14 15

Dantas (1946) 19. See “Nota Crítica” written by João de Castro Osório and included in the last part of A ­Trilogia de Édipo (1954) 213–215. On this, see Cruz (s. d.) 30–32. Osório (1954) 206. See Fraisse (1973) 20–50.

Introduction

9

the Sophoclean structure; and those which depart, to a greater or lesser degree, from its reference structure, choosing to highlight the Antigone-as-woman perspective, engaged in a dialogue that is close to death. Seeking freedom and protesting against the dictatorship had ceased to be as relevant by the time when, in the early 1990’s, more than thirty years after its last recreation, the Antigone myth was again addressed in Portuguese theatre by the pen of Hélia Correia (1991) and Eduarda Dionísio (1992). That is perhaps the reason why the two authors, in line with their female sensibility, preferred to shift their attention towards a different conflict present in Sophocles and evoked in several speeches by Creon (Antigone 484–485, 525, 677–680): the conflict between the masculine universe, connoted with the power of the polis and the law that regulates and orders it, and the feminine world, with its natural instinct and its connections with the home and the family. Those dichotomies are strongly present in Hélia Correia’s Perdição – Exercício sobre Antígona (Perdition – an Exercise on Antigone), an unconventional play influenced by Anouilh’s and María Zambrano’s re-readings, with its enhanced list of female characters, whose action and times occupy different planes and different levels. We must also emphasize Hélia Correia’s return to Choral interventions, composed as a poem that contains the core symbolism of the whole play: a conflict between the masculine and the feminine genders and their place in the polis. According to the author’s indication, this opening poem can be repeated throughout the play, signaling possible breaks in the action. Although it does not correspond to the Greek pattern of parodos and stasima, Correia’s character design is more similar to the identity of a Greek Chorus than that of other classically inspired playwrights. In Eduarda Dionísio’s Antes que a Noite Venha (Before the Night Comes), it is also Antigone as woman who takes part in the action alongside with Juliet, Castro, and Medea, three symbols of tragic experiences of a story of love and death, like her. Differently from the traditional dramatic structure, the author transfers the action from the royal Theban palace to Antigone’s cave, recreating the myth by way of three monologue speeches that emphasize the sphere of domesticity and the personal. Both the space and the literary form (the monologue) of Dionísio’s text bring to mind María Zambrano’s La tumba de Antígona (Antigone’s Tomb), a play that influenced the two late 20th century Portuguese recreations. The Oedipus’ daughter we find in Antígona Gelada (Frozen Antigone), produced by Armando Nascimento Rosa in the first decade of the 21st century (2007), is, like Correia’s and Dionísio’s, a character that lives for Hades, under the sign of death. In its structure and language the play is quite different from all of the other Portuguese recreations of the myth. Influenced by

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Philip K. Dick – that is, more in terms of his cinematic rather than scenic aesthetics –, the author takes us into a future “profoundly marked by the distopic science fiction imaginary” (“profundamente marcado pelo imaginário da ficção científica de carácter distópico”),16 placing the action on Tebas 9 (Thebes 9), the space station of a Pluto satellite significantly called Caronte (Charon). These are, in all their variety, the rewritings of a truly universal myth that has succeeded in capturing the attention of Portuguese writers and in inspiring their creativity like no other.

16

See Fialho, below, p. 308.

part 1 Main Sources



chapter 1

Sophocles’ Antigone Rosa Andújar and Konstantinos Nikoloutsos Sophocles’ Antigone is easily the most influential of all ancient Greek tragedies: its themes of familial and moral duty, individual defiance to the state, political leadership under duress, and adherence to the law have captivated countless artists, audiences, and thinkers across the globe for over two millennia.1 Unlike other surviving plays by Sophocles, which are typically focused on a main character around whom the tragedy unfolds,2 Antigone features two protagonists whose clash powers the drama. Modern receptions of Antigone tend to emphasize the stark Hegelian dichotomy between family (oikos) and state (polis) that is perceived to be embodied by the two protagonists: Antigone as a figure who utilizes the burial of her brother as a way of resisting civic authority, and Creon as an inflexible ruler whose very obstinacy leads to his and his family’s downfall.3 A closer look at the play, however, reveals that both protagonists are equally implicated in obligations concerning both family and state, as well as in private and public matters. Creon is not simply ruler, but he is also the kyrios of Antigone’s household, a figure appointed to wield legal and financial power over her and her sister after the death of their father. Similarly, Antigone’s persistence on performing funeral rites for her brother is more than a mere act of civil disobedience: by leaving the house she, a young unmarried woman, instead insists on intervening in the male public sphere, thereby refusing her proper place indoors. In order to highlight these and other similar complexities, this chapter locates Sophocles’ Antigone in its ancient context. We first consider the mythical background of the play in order to illuminate Sophocles’ innovations in constructing a unique and subtle plot in one of the most familiar of Greek legends, centered around a novel confrontation between a niece and uncle, ruler and ruled. We then elaborate on a few key topics in the ancient play, which have 1 E.g. Steiner (1984), Goff and Simpson (2007), Willmer and Zukauskaite (2010), Mee and Foley (2011), Honig (2013), Miola (2013). 2 The Trachiniae is a striking exception, but it is important to note that Deianeira and Heracles never meet as characters on stage, which means that it is very likely that the protagonist of the play played both roles. 3 See below Hardwick, p. 29.

© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, ���7 | doi 10.1163/9789004340060_003

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proved to be especially influential in modernity, and particularly resonant in Portugal and Brazil: tyranny and opposition to power (and the gendered conflict implicit in this); death and isolation; and divine law and secular order. An examination of the wider framework in which these themes were situated in classical Athens demonstrates both the intricate nature and continuing relevance of this ancient play. 1

Sophocles’ New Antigone

The popularity of Sophocles’ Antigone, which has eclipsed all other ancient versions of the Theban saga of the house of Labdacus, often obscures the fact that in antiquity Antigone herself was a relative latecomer to a well-known saga about male dynastic possession. Before the fifth century bc, mythical narratives appear to have been centered on the men of the family: Laius, Oedipus, Eteocles, Polyneices and the Seven against Thebes, and their sons, who starred in the lost epics Thebais, Oidipodeia and Epigonoi, as well as in fragments by Hesiod and Stesichorus. Until Sophocles’ version, Greek Tragedy seemed destined to continue in the same masculine fashion: Aeschylus’ earlier trilogy consisted of the lost plays Laius and Oedipus, and Seven Against Thebes. If we are guided by the surviving final play, women appear to occupy traditional and almost stereotypical roles: the frightened chorus of women almost has no place in the larger male world of violence. Excluding the end of Aeschylus’ Seven, where she emerges only to perform the traditionally female act of burial (a presence which is furthermore contested, as scholars believe it to be a later addition incorporated after the popularity of Sophocles’ play),4 Antigone is barely present in the surviving literary remains of the myth.5 Earlier mythical accounts tend to depict the fight over the burial of the enemy dead as a larger conflict between Creon, Adrastus, and the Argives, one that requires the intervention of Theseus and an Athenian army, and in which, furthermore, there is no place for a lone dissenting female voice.6 Given the larger context of this established Theban tradition, it is easy to see the manner in which Sophocles effectively transforms the nature of the conflict, exponentially lessening its scope, from a multi-city-state issue to a 4 For a general sketch of the arguments, see Lloyd-Jones (1959), Dawe (1967), Taplin (1977) 169–191, and Sommerstein (2010) 90–93. 5 For an overview, see Gantz (1993) 519–522 and Zimmermann (1993). 6 Euripides’ later play Suppliant Women crucially broadens the focus of the myth by introducing the perspective of the mothers of the fallen Argives.

Sophocles’ Antigone

15

localized Theban affair involving a single family.7 Instead of discussing the scores of Argive dead, the focus is now on the single body of Polyneices. Through this change Sophocles effectively removes from the myth all traces of Athens, whose involvement helped resolve the conflict between Argos and Thebes in other narratives. Sophocles also creates new characters: Ismene, Eurydice, and Haemon, thus significantly expanding the role of women in the saga,8 as well as escalating the implications of the burial for the whole family. Most notably, the playwright, who eschews the traditional subject of an inter-city dispute, crafts his Antigone, who previously appeared as a silent player, as a mighty opposite for her uncle Creon. Thus, in Sophocles’ version, a young woman unexpectedly occupies the role that mythical accounts had previously given to the legendary kings Adrastus and Theseus. Though Antigone and Creon are shown in a direct confrontation only in the first third of the play (specifically in a climactic dispute at 441–525), the rest of the play stages the aftermath of their clash: Creon’s subsequent altercations with Haemon (631–765) and Tiresias (988–1090) fundamentally hinge on his opposition to his niece. With Antigone, Sophocles effectively invents one of the most powerful and compelling antagonists in ancient literature. In his influential book The Heroic Temper, Bernard Knox locates Sophocles’ uniqueness in the choice to focus his tragedies around an individual tragic hero, a figure who actively goes against mortals and gods in his actions and then “blindly, ferociously, heroically” holds on to what he believes to the point of self-destruction.9 That both Creon and Antigone equally fill this role is a testament to the playwright’s ingenuity. At the same time as locating the conflict within a single family, Sophocles significantly expands the role of the divine in the myth. The presence of the gods is felt throughout the play, though the dramatist never physically summons them to his stage, as he had with Athena in Ajax. Not only does Creon invoke them directly in his very first lines in the play, but Antigone explains her motivation to bury her brother by appealing to their “unwritten laws” (ἄγραπτα…νόμιμα, 454–455),10 hinting that the refusal of burial will lead to divine anger. Throughout the play, the gods represent invisible but powerful presences. The guard’s first and second speeches contain numerous hints at the gods’ personal involvement in the burial of Polyneices. Tiresias confirms the displeasure of the divine at Creon’s refusal by interpreting the extraordinary failure of his famed augury and sacrifice as a sign that the gods are no 7 8 9 10

Griffith (1999) 8–10 provides a fuller discussion of Sophocles’ innovations. Griffith (2001) esp. 126–136. Knox (1964) 5. Harris (2004).

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longer accepting human prayers. That the birds themselves (as well as stray dogs) pollute the altars of the city with bits of the decayed flesh of the unburied Polyneices (1017–1022) makes the point quite clearly. Finally, the might of the divine permeates various choral songs, which constitute hymns to particular gods (parodos, the third and fifth stasima), thus accentuating a compelling vision of the might of the divine. Other tragic Antigones followed, but none were able to dethrone Sophocles’ heroine. Euripides’ lost Antigone, whose plot is summarized in the hypothesis of Sophocles’ version by Aristophanes of Byzantium, ascribes a larger role to Haemon, who is presented as her husband and accomplice, as well as the father to a son called Maeon.11 The Latin author Hyginus (Fabula 72) recounts another version, similarly involving a more active Haemon, which scholars believe stemmed from another play, the Antigone by Astydamas the Younger produced in 341 bc.12 In this version, Antigone and Polyneices’ wife, Argeia, attempt to place his body on Eteocles’ funeral pyre. When they are detected, Argeia escapes and Creon orders his son Haemon to kill his betrothed. Haemon pretends to do so, but instead conceals Antigone, who gives birth to their child. This son later returns to Thebes and is recognized. Once his plot has been discovered, Haemon decides to kill both his wife and himself. In Euripides’ Phoenician Women (409 bc) and Sophocles’ Oedipus at Colonus (401 bc), Antigone similarly plays a supporting role to a male protagonist. Given the proliferation of Antigones after Sophocles, as well as the degree of variation in their accounts of the heroine, the revolutionary nature of Sophocles’ version is clear. By significantly enlarging the role of Oedipus’ daughter, who previously existed in the shadow of her brothers, Sophocles experiments with the myth in extraordinary ways, and in so doing, irrevocably alters the course of the reception of the Theban saga. 2

Tyranny and Opposition to Power

The confrontation between Creon and Antigone is not only ideological, as the Hegelian hermeneutic model recognizes, but also aligned with ancient protocols of gender.13 The collision of the diametrically opposed positions that the 11 12 13

Collard and Cropp (2008) 161. See also Kannicht (2004) 261–312. Inglese (1992), Huys (1997) 18–19, Zimmermann (1993) 270–274. See Taplin (2007) 185–186 (no. 64). Hegel, as Lardinois (2012) 61 notes, was the first to read the play as a conflict between a man and a woman, but his analysis does not intersect with ancient attitudes to gender.

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play’s two protagonists are crafted to represent – the protection of the interests of the city vs. one’s duty to the family – is cast as a clash of the sexes on the Sophoclean stage: a male ruler-turned-tyrant is set against a female transgressor. Honoring a dead brother in accordance with the custom of kinship is not just an act of filial devotion, as modern readers might be prompted to interpret it. The social and legal ramifications of Antigone’s defiance of male authority cannot be properly understood unless her revolt is examined within the context of gender hierarchies in Greek antiquity. By the same token, Creon’s violent subjugation of his niece’s rebellion against masculine law makes full sense only if it is read in connection with the complex nexus of gender and power that informed Greek understandings of politics and management of the public sphere. Creon’s modern counterparts are typically portrayed as leaders of dictatorial regimes right from the beginning of their dramatic transplantation. In Antigone, Thebes’ new king does not voice his tyrannical sentiments until the third episode, during his stichomythia with Haemon. In the inaugural speech (162–210) he delivers to the chorus of Theban elders on his first day in office, Creon declares his ruling principles so eloquently that he leaves no room for the play’s original Athenian audience to question his patriotic intentions and commitment to the restoration of civic order in the aftermath of the internecine war between Oedipus’ two sons.14 As their nearest surviving male relative, Creon steps in and undertakes to steer the city – poetically compared to a ship that has survived a storm – into the harbor of peace and stability.15 His decision to ban the burial of Polyneices on Theban soil, although extreme, is grounded on the logic of sovereignty. Polyneices was a traitor. He attacked his own country, his own family. As a punishment for his crime, his body is to be left to rot on the battlefield – a prey for birds and dogs. Creon defends his decree by arguing that loyalty to the state is paramount and takes priority over the interests of the individual. Friendship and kinship are subordinate to the welfare of the city.

14

15

On feminist approaches to Antigone inspired by Hegel, see the various essays in Söderbäck (2010). Although audience responses are never uniform and with the exception of a few tragedies impossible to retrieve, Demosthenes, a century later, cites with approval Creon’s words of unselfishness in his attack against his rival Aeschines in De Falsa Legatione 247. Aeschines, who had been an actor before his involvement in politics and often played the part of Creon, knew the lines well. See Knox (1964) 181, n. 52 and Hall (2011) 57–59. On Aeschylus’ use of the city-ship theme with reference to Thebes, see Sommerstein (2010) 72, 82–83. On the undemocratic connotations of the metaphor, see Badger (2013) 82–87, Vardoulakis (2013) 52–69.

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In his first appearance on stage, Creon casts himself as a devoted champion of the polis, an institution regarded as an exclusively male domain in Greek antiquity. There is nothing in his speech (at least on the surface) that suggests an authoritarian attitude.16 On the contrary, Creon’s ruling receives the strong endorsement of the chorus, who represent the citizens of Thebes. Their leader accepts, on their behalf, the injunction, affirming that, as the city’s new ruler, Creon can pass any law concerning both the dead and the living (213–214). Although it is incompatible with the recovery of the corpses of eponymous warriors from the sphere of myth, such as Patroclus and Hector, from a historical perspective Creon’s edict is in line with an Athenian law – referred to by Thucydides (1.138.6), Xenophon (Hellenica 1.7.22), and Plato (Laws 873b-c) inter alios – which forbade the burial of polluted bodies (such as those of traitors, temple robbers, and other types of criminals) within the borders of the community.17 Furthermore, Creon’s thesis that the public interest takes precedence over personal interests is echoed in a speech that Sophocles’ contemporary popular statesman Pericles delivered to the Athenian assembly in 430 bc, some years after the first performance of Antigone.18 In that speech (Thuc. 2.60), Pericles argues that the state is the foundation for all the benefits that its citizens enjoy and therefore far more important that any individual.19 As the action unfolds, Creon changes progressively into an oppressive and obdurate dynast who lacks self-control and grows deaf to advice.20 His gradual descent into despotism becomes evident in his stichomythia with Haemon (episode three) and then with Tiresias (episode five).21 Creon’s initial claim that a good patriot cannot remain silent when he sees destruction march against his country (185–186) is forgotten as soon as Haemon informs him that the citizens of Thebes, although they will not dare speak out, disapprove of 16

17

18

19 20 21

In light of the play’s tragic end, Creon’s decree displays a lack of foresight, an important trait for a leader. On the dichotomy between “real” good sense and “apparent” good sense in the play, see Lauriola (2007). For scholarly debates about the legality of Creon’s decree, see Jebb (1900) xxiii, Höppener (1937) and more recently Griffith (1999) 29–32, Bennett and Tyrrell (1990), Foley (1995), Shapiro (2006). On the disposal of the corpse as a punitive measure taken against various types of wrongdoers in Athens, see Parker (1983) 43–47, Lindenlauf (2001). Antigone’s reference to Creon as a “general” (8) has led some scholars to draw parallels between Sophocles’ character and Pericles. See esp. Ehrenberg (1954) 105–112, Meier (1993) 196–199. For other political topoi reproduced in Creon’s speech, see Podlecki (1966) 361, Crane (1989) 112, nos. 41 and 42, Carter (2012) 118. On ancient philosophical responses to a leader’s refusal to listen, see Hall (2010) 307. On the parallel structure of the two interactions, see Blundell (1989) 138.

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19

their new monarch’s edict and have started to see Antigone’s desire to bury her brother with sympathy (683–723). Creon, not seeking to establish a polyphonic model of administration, responds to the reported criticism with a question that conveys his rage and marks his transformation into the very opposite of the Athenian democratic ideal: an autocrat: “So, will the city tell me how I must rule?” (Πόλις γὰρ ἡμῖν ἁμὲ χρὴ τάσσειν ἐρεῖ; − 734). For Creon, decision-making does not rest on a pluralistic basis, but is identified with the will of the man who holds the power. Creon views the state as an extension of the ruler. While he reserves the right of speech for himself, he denies it to his subjects, reducing them to voiceless bodies needed only to listen to his commands. Not only does he regard himself the only voice in the city that matters. He also, rather hubristically, believes that the city belongs to him, as his next rhetorical question to his son demonstrates: “Isn’t the city considered the possession of its ruler?” (οὐ τοῦ κρατοῦντος ἡ πόλις νομίζεται; − 738). Creon’s tyrannical personality is fully unveiled at this point. He reveals his true self behind the mask of the loyal king he put on when he first entered the stage.22 Creon emerges as a despot who seized power too hastily after the death of his two nephews, although he was not the legitimate heir to the throne of Thebes,23 and is determined to retain it by intimidation and force.24 To be sure, Sophocles hints at Creon’s autocratic side long before the reversal in the second half of the play. In the prologue, Ismene advises her sister against disobeying a “tyrant’s vote or power” (ψῆφον τυράννων ἢ κράτη, 60). When the chorus expresses the suspicion that the sprinkling of dirt onto Polyneices’ dead body might have been the work of the gods, Creon dismisses their words as “intolerable” (οὐκ ἀνεκτὰ, 282). A few lines later, he tells the guard that he “speaks annoyingly” (ἀνιαρῶς λέγεις, 316). But it is the insubordination of his own niece that brings Creon’s despotism to the fore. What makes Antigone’s act so transgressive by ancient standards is the fact that of all the people of Thebes it is a woman (who has no legal status as a citizen and cannot hold office) that 22

23

24

Ironically, in his opening speech (175–177) Creon argues that a man’s true character, mind, and judgment cannot be known until he proves himself through the test of rule and law giving. Sophocles departs from the Boeotian legend according to which Eteocles and Polyneices had a son each, Laodamas and Thersander respectively (Herodotus 4.147, 5.61). Creon assumes power by reason of consanguinity (ἀγχιστεῖα, 174), a principle whereby inheritance rights were decided in Athenian law (Carter (2012) 122). As opposed to the chorus, Antigone does not acknowledge Creon as a king and even refuses to look at him (441–442). Antigone insinuates that the fear of the chorus for Creon’s tyranny silences their opposition (504–509).

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challenges the king’s authority to pass a law.25 This defiance of male power does not take place behind closed doors, but in front of the chorus. Women in antiquity did not speak in public or vote at the assembly; their proper domain was the oikos. When they had to appear outside of the house, in a context unrelated to a religious service, they were escorted by their kyrios – namely their husband, father, or (in the absence of a husband or father) another male kinsman.26 Since both of Antigone’s father and brothers are dead, Creon, as the nearest male relative, is her legal guardian and Antigone falls under his control. The play, however, reverses gender stereotypes, casting in the active role an unmarried daughter, the most submissive member of the ancient family.27 According to one scholar, the heroine’s action “is thus a crime not only against civic law but also, ironically, against the family and the patriarchal authority vested within it”.28 In this light, Antigone’s punishment, to be immured in a cave with a small food supply to starve to death (773–780), can be read as an attempt by a man and king to restore the traditional gender and social order. But, as we will see in the last section, far from suggesting a victory of man over woman, the play’s end complicates gender hierarchies and points to the dialectical relationship between the polis and the oikos, power and resistance. 3

Death and Isolation

In Antigone, the dead populate the stage. In a genre that only used three actors to play all speaking roles, the tragedy unusually features three deaths by suicide. If we add these to the corpses of Polyneices and Eteocles, the dead easily outnumber the living by the end of the drama, when only Ismene and Creon are the only family members left alive.29 In a play that debates the right to perform burial rituals for the dead, the question of how to interpret these new deaths takes special urgency. Most modern adaptations assume that 25 26

27

28 29

See Creon’s triple accusation he hurls against Haemon: that he fights on the side of a ­woman (740), that he has submitted to a woman (746), and that he is slave to a woman (756). Foley (2001) 179 provides evidence from tragedy to argue that in classical Athens, as in rural Greece, in the absence of all her supporting male relatives a surviving daughter could (at least symbolically) take on roles appropriate for men. Antigone’s behaviour is in stark contrast to that of Haemon who expresses his obedience to his father’s authority as soon as he comes on stage (635–638). On Haemon’s filial devotion as a model for civic philia, see Wohl (2009) 123. Wohl (2009) 120. These are in addition to Oedipus and Jocasta, whom Antigone invokes repeatedly, e.g., 897–899 and 911.

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Antigone’s death is a noble affair, and subsequently read her steadfastness in a positive light, akin to Christian self-sacrifice.30 Set against the larger ancient Greek context, however, her radical nature emerges, and in particular her role as a figure who transgresses in terms of her politics and gender. Not only does she advocate to living without a polis, or at least unbound by its rules, but she also ignores her duty to produce an heir that will continue the nearly extinct Labdacid line, all while displaying an unfeminine concern with honor. In this section, we locate the suicides of Antigone, Haemon, and Eurydice as well as Antigone’s self-imposed isolation within a fifth-century bc context, in order to reveal issues that may have particularly resonated for an original viewing audience. The idea of self-sacrifice and of suicide in particular is complex in the ancient world. Greek literature, and tragedy especially, is full of examples of “noble suicides”, especially young women such as Macaria in Children of Heracles and Iphigenia in Iphigenia at Aulis, who choose to sacrifice themselves for the larger good of their community.31 Many other figures in tragedy offer to give up their lives for the sake of their families and children, such as Alcestis in her eponymous play, Andromache, who in Trojan Women offers her own life in exchange for that of her son, and even Helen in her eponymous play expresses that she is willing to die. In Antigone, however, the ethics of her self-sacrifice are not clear. In sacrificing her own life for her brother, Antigone explicitly rejects the last surviving members of her family, which include her sister Ismene and her uncle, who is also her appointed guardian.32 That she repudiates her living sister for a sibling who is already dead is highly unusual, particularly as she speaks of pleasing the dead (ἀρέσκειν, 75), choosing death ([εἷλον] κατθανεῖν, 555) and serving the dead (ὥστε τοῖς θανοῦσιν ὠφελεῖν, 561), as well as the notion of marrying Acheron (Ἀχέροντι νυμφεύσω, 816).33 Furthermore, she ignores her duty to replenish the line of Labdacus as one of a handful of surviving members.34 The play features two other suicides, which are no less thorny, given that both Haemon and Eurydice appear to have been summoned onto Sophocles’ tragic stage exclusively to die, in order to deal a crushing blow at Creon. 30 31 32 33 34

Jebb (1900) xxv was the first modern scholar to compare Antigone to a Christian martyr ready to accept death for a nobler cause. For these and other “noble suicides” in tragedy see Garrison (1995) 129–167. Blundell (1989) 111–115. On the bride of Hades motif, see Seaford (1987). On the more general theme of marriage and death, see Segal (1981) 179–183 and Rehm (1994) 59–71. Murnaghan (1986).

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In earlier versions of the myth, Haemon had been killed by the Sphinx prior to Oedipus’ arrival.35 His resurrection and betrothal to Antigone seem to have been a unique Sophoclean invention that serves to link the heroine and Creon even further and more intimately.36 On a superficial reading, Haemon’s death might seem to have been motivated by his grief for Antigone, as suggested by the chorus upon his first entrance (627–630). The messenger’s report of his death (1192–1243), and in particular the final confrontation between father and son, however, marks Creon as responsible.37 Likewise, Eurydice appears to have been added to this particular version of the myth for the sole purpose of killing herself: not only is she brought unexpectedly on stage in the play’s final movement to serve as the silent audience for the messenger’s dramatic narration of her son’s final moments,38 but she has the shortest speaking role in the play, with a mere nine verses (1183–1191).39 Though parts of her death operate in conventional terms (e.g., the manner in which she rushes off stage in ominous silence, 1244–1245, much like Jocasta in ot 1073–1075), the practicalities are not: she dies a particularly “virile” death in the manner of a warrior by plunging a sword beneath her liver.40 Furthermore, her death is the ultimate rejection of her husband, Creon, whom she repudiates in favor of joining her death son. Her death has a powerful effect on Creon: in the play’s final scene, upon learning of his wife’s death (a discovery which comes immediately after hearing about his son’s suicide), Creon, formerly the prominent voice of reason and the law, is now reduced to inarticulate mourning. The last image of the play is thus that of Thebes’ chief political male, who had previously objected to being ruled by a woman (e.g. 525, 740–756), performing the predominantly female act of lamentation over his dead family members. Given that suicide was seen as a form of pollution in the ancient world,41 the overabundance of

35

36 37 38 39 40 41

West (2003) 40–43. According to Apollodorus (Bibl. 3.5.8), Haemon’s death at the hands of the Sphinx in turn prompted Creon to declare that he would give up his throne to whomever killed the beast. Griffith (1999) 9. See especially 1174 and 1177. Unexpected and unannounced entrances are more Euripides’ forte; see Taplin (1977) 11 n. 3. She is beaten by Pylades for the title of shortest speaking role in extant Greek tragedy (Choephoroi 900–902). Loraux (1987) 54 note 23. Garrison (1995) 11–23. See also, the famous example in Aeschines’ Against Ctesiphon 244 where the hand of a man who committed suicide was buried apart from the rest of the body.

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self-killing in the Antigone would have, for the original viewing audience, infused the play with an inescapable air of contamination.42 Antigone’s insistence on her brother’s burial, in express defiance of Creon’s decree forbidding the act, similarly reverberated beyond the tragic stage, as the rights of women to lament in public and to participate in funeral rites were being contested in many places throughout the ancient Greek world. In Ancient Greece, lament was categorically defined as a gendered art and voice,43 and burial practices were typically assigned to women.44 Starting in the sixth century bc, Athens and other poleis began to legislate a series of funerary laws aiming to restrain any excessive manifestations of mourning, which confirms the perceived disruptive power of female lamentation for the dead.45 In ­Athens, the laws of Solon above all changed the nature of funerals conducted in the city.46 A main concern appears to have been women’s conduct at the funeral, in particular curbing women’s proclivity to excess grief in public, whether as hired or private mourners. According to Plutarch, Solon placed women’s public excursions, mourning and festivals under a strict law that aimed to curb any disorder and licentiousness.47 These laws may in part have to do with new anxieties about death and pollution, as Christiane Sourvinou-­Inwood proposes,48 given women’s role in handling the dead body,49 or perhaps they are more a result of a concern to diminish social instability produced by lavish and emotionally intense aristocratic funerals.50 Nicole Loraux discusses another suggestive fifth century development, the emergence of the Athenian state-sponsored literary genre of the epitaphios logos, or public funeral oration; this specific male-centered discourse left no room for women’s lament.51 Despite any real restrictions in the city, the art of lamentation continued to 42

Cf. Meinel (2015) 84–113, who emphasizes the overabundance of pollution in the play, discussing in particular its larger role in the crisis of “civic space”. 43 Alexiou (1974), Sultan (1993), McClure (1999), Lardinois and McClure (2001). 44 For an overview of fifth-century burial politics, and a reading of the play in this context, see Honig (2013) 95–120. 45 On Greek funerary legislation, see Alexiou (1974) Ch. 1, Garland (1985) Ch. 3 and 1989, Toher (1991), Seaford (1994) Ch. 3, Foley (2001) 22–26. 46 There are three sources for this law: Plutarch’s Life of Solon 21.4–5, Demosthenes 43.62, and Cicero De Legibus 2.59–66. 47 Plutarch, Solon 21.5. 48 Sourvinou-Inwood (1983). 49 See Kurtz and Boardman (1971) 146 and Parker (1983) 35. 50 This would explain the ban on “set-piece laments” (τὸ θρηνεῖν πεποιημένα), in Plutarch, Solon 21.6.1. See also Seaford (1994) 79–86, esp. 83. 51 Loraux (1986) 42–50.

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be one of the predominant speech genres that male authors assigned to individual female characters in classical Greek literature, particularly in drama.52 In this context, Antigone’s insistence on carrying out these ancient female mourning traditions in the face of Creon’s attempts to control the ritual take on added resonance.53 Though Antigone may in theory demand to perform rites which her gender made her right as the nearest kinswoman to the dead, throughout the play she is isolated as a female transgressor, who gives up marriage by actively defying her uncle and burying her brother. The play stages a slow but certain process of isolation for Antigone, one in which her otherness is emphasized. The opening dialogue with Ismene, who is equally implicated in the death of her brother, underline Antigone’s activities as unfeminine (e.g. 61–62) from the outset. When Antigone first admits that she has buried her brother, she refers to herself with a masculine adjective (464).54 Elsewhere in the play, various masculine forms replace in order to describe Antigone (e.g. 479, 496, 579–580). Later Creon attempts to persuade his son to steer away from Antigone, describing her in terms of a “bad woman” (γυνὴ κακὴ, 650). In the end, however, Antigone dies a very feminine death, lamenting her death as a childless, unwed virgin, shut up in an enclosed space, and committing suicide, the classic tragic death for women.55 Ironically the heroine who pledged her life to bury her brother does not herself receive a burial or even a lament in her final scenes. 4

Divine Law and Secular Order

Despite its construction on the binary opposition between human and divine law, Antigone does not allow its spectators to side fully either with its eponymous heroine or with Creon. Although the two laws are portrayed as mutually exclusive in Sophocles’ autocratic Thebes, they can coexist harmoniously in the playwright’s native democratic city, as Pericles’ famous funeral speech attests. Praising the paradigmatic lawfulness of his co-patriots, the Athenian statesman notes: We “obey those who are currently in office and we obey the laws, especially those which are established for the benefit of the victims of 52 53 54 55

Holst-Warhaft (1992), McClure (1999), Foley (2001). McClure (1999) 93 considers it the characteristic speech act for female characters on the tragic stage. McClure (1999) 49 sees the play as an example of “how female lamentation affords a means of resisting masculine civic authority”. Pomeroy (1975) 100–101. Loraux (1987).

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injustice and those unwritten laws whose breach brings undisputed shame” (Thuc. 2.37.3).56 Similarly, Aristotle, in discussing the dialectical relationship between written and unwritten law in his Rhetoric (1.15.1375a-b), cites with seeming approval lines 456 and 458 – where Antigone defends her disobedience to Creon’s nomos, although it is basically a proclamation – in an attempt to show that it is possible to circumvent the written law for the sake of the unwritten law.57 The unwritten law, the ancient philosopher remarks, is constant and based on nature, whereas the written law is ephemeral and varies with time and place. What complicates audience responses to the polarity upon which Antigone is framed is the character reversal that both protagonists undergo in the second half of the play, where the antithetical positions they so rigidly defend earlier collapse. When Antigone is brought to her tomb, assuming that no one in the city supports her, she acknowledges Creon’s decree as a law (847) despite her original resistance58 and admits that she acted “against the will of the citizens” (βίᾳ πολιτῶν, 907).59 Her admission of civil disobedience is part of a longer passage in the fourth episode (904–920), which some of Antigone’s scholarly defenders consider as spurious.60 Antigone there states that the law to which she adhered dictates the burial of the brother, since he is irreplaceable, but does not apply to the burial of the husband or children who can be replaced through a new marriage. This eclectic application of interment rites, expressed during Antigone’s last appearance on stage before she goes to her death, calls her ethical principles into question and has been the subject of considerable scholarly speculation about the ways in which it can be interpreted in order to be compatible with the heroine’s overall depiction as a devotee to the chthonic gods who preside over the rites offered to all the dead without discrimination.61

56 57

58 59 60 61

Translation quoted from Wohl (2009) 122. The chorus affirms the compatibility of the two laws in 368–371. It should be clarified that Aristotle here provides an argument to prosecutors dealing with appeals based on unwritten law; he does not make the case for this type of law per se. The same passage from Antigone, including the omitted line 457, is quoted in 1.13.1373b, but the point Aristotle makes there is about the vagueness of the φύσει δίκαιον. See Ostwald (2009) 136, no. 35. In the agon with Creon, Antigone refers to his law as proclamation (κηρύγματα, 454). Antigone describes her act using Ismene’s own words in the prologue (79). For critical responses to the authenticity of the passage, see Lardinois (2012) 63–64. Foley (2001) 175–180 provides an excellent summary of the various scholarly interpretations of the passage.

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At the play’s close, Creon, too, reconsiders his original positions, albeit far more explicitly than Antigone. He, who earlier dismissed his niece’s devotion to divine law stating impiously that “it is a useless labor to revere Hades” (πόνος περισσός ἐστι τἀν Ἅιδου σέβειν, 780), in the final scene is forced to admit his defeat to this very god (1284–1285). Seeing the corpses of Haemon and Eurydice, he regrets his inflexibility and failure to respect unwritten customs, and surprisingly does so in a sung mode, as he laments his wife and son. This theatrical gesture, as scholars have pointed out, wholly feminizes the Theban ruler, “since mature males in tragedy burst into lyrics only at moments of extreme suffering and self-destruction”.62 In the play’s closing lines, Creon witnesses the disaster that his hubristic pursuit of power has caused: he is left without family and with no respect from the people he chose to rule upon. He who was at the top of the city’s hierarchy declares himself “no more than a mere nobody” (τὸν οὐκ ὄντα μᾶλλον ἢ μηδένα, 1325), as he asks his servants to take him away from the stage – and hence from the public sphere. Before she meets her doom, Antigone prays to the gods to make Creon suffer if he is wrong (925–928), and the gods grant her wish. Although at the play’s close Creon is punished for his arrogance, Antigone does not emerge as a victor. The gods she served so devotedly do not save her, nor does Tiresias, their spokesman, utter a word of praise for her self-sacrifice. The only one who supports her openly is the man who is in love with her. In attempting to convince his father to reconsider Antigone’s condemnation to death, Haemon shares what the citizens of Thebes say behind Creon’s back: a woman who has accomplished such a glorious deed does not deserve to die, but is worthy of golden honor (695–699). These lines, as Knox notes, serve as a “timely reminder of Antigone’s heroic status”.63 Like most heroes in Greek myth, Antigone finds a tragic end, which problematizes the statement she makes before she leaves the stage for good: if the gods do not approve her actions and she suffers death, then she will know that she was guilty (925–926). The play stages a conflict between divine law and secular order, but does not privilege one domain over the other. Rather, it establishes a complex dialectic between the polis and the oikos, the public and the private, showing that it is impossible to reduce justice to a specific law. It is because of this open-ended dialectic that Antigone has been rewritten and restaged so frequently, and perhaps more than any other Greek tragedy, especially at moments of national and political crisis. 62

63

Mee and Foley (2011) 41. Suter (2008, esp. 159), on the other hand, uses Creon, among other male characters in Greek tragedy, as an example to problematize scholarly assumptions about lament as a purely female activity in the genre. Knox (1982) 53.

chapter 2

Portraits of Antigone in Portugal and Brazil: The Reception of Antigone in the 20th and 21st Centuries Lorna Hardwick I start with some striking contrasts. On 28 October 1841 a production of Antigone opened at the Hoftheater in the Neuen Palais in Potsdam. The staging is widely accepted to have signalled the emergence of regular public performances of Greek drama on the stage and to have established the domination of the play in the nineteenth-century European repertoire.1 The production also signalled a reaction in Germany against the dominance of the French neo-classical theatre tradition and countered the practice in England of exploiting adaptations of Greek material as vehicles for contemporary political critique. The tone and design of the Hoftheater performances were more attuned to communicating what was thought to be the lasting and “universal” nature of Greek tragedy. The production is often referred to as the “Mendelssohn Antigone” because of the composer’s orchestral introduction and choral settings but the aesthetic and philosophical implications of the production go even further than this. The event, staged in the Vitruvian theatre in the palace, was overseen by the Prussian Emperor Friedrich Wilhelm iv and there was a classical scholar as philological adviser (August Bockh from Berlin University). The translation (by Johann Jakob Christian Donner) sought to convey the metrical richness of the Greek. There was an understood consanguinity between the Prussian ethos and the moral community (sittliche Gemeinschaft) that Hegel had identified in the Greek polis. However, critics have suggested that the performance was not simply a platform for a dominating Creon but also acted as a stimulus to liberal cultural and political debate.2 The production was also staged in Paris (the Odeon in 1844),

1 Macintosh (1996) 286. School and university theatre in Germany and England in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries and school productions in Ireland and England in the eighteenth century did not reach such wide and influential audiences. 2 Macintosh (1996) 287, Flashar (1991) 74–75.

© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, ���7 | doi 10.1163/9789004340060_004

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in London (Covent Garden 1845) and in Edinburgh. Eventually in 1867 the play was performed in the Herodes Atticus theatre in Athens (translated by Rangabis). This anticipates the importance for the twentieth and twenty-first centuries of multiple contexts of performance – both of the same production that “travels” and of different “takes” on the Greek play.3 The performance history of this production and its critical reception bring several significant strands into this discussion – the national and international influence of Sophocles’ play, the continuities and differences in staging and interpretation throughout its reception history, the tensions between emphasis on Antigone and Creon as protagonists, the extent of polarisation of the values communicated by the protagonists and, as a result of all of these, the play’s resistance to any one definitive reading.4 In the early twenty-first century, the classical scholar, poet and translator Anne Carson provided a spectacular “prologue” to Antigo Nick, her avant-garde illustrated rewriting of Sophocles’ Antigone: Antigone – We begin in the dark and birth is the death of us. Ismene – Who said that. Antigone – Hegel. Ismene – Sounds more like Beckett. Antigone – He was paraphrasing Hegel.5

3 A number of research projects publish data about the nature and frequency of performances of Greek drama. Foley 2012 documents productions in the usa; The Archive of Performances of Greek and Roman Drama in Oxford (apgrd) publishes an online database of productions (16th century to the present and in all languages) http://www.apgrd.ox.ac.uk; the Open University Reception of Classical Texts Project has an online searchable database of material 1970–2005 with additional material and interpretive essays http://www2.open.ac.uk/ ClassicalStudies/GreekPlays/; the Eumenides project in Cyprus has a rapidly developing website with material on Greek drama and modern Greek theatre and poetry http://eumenides .ouc.ac.cy. The European Network of Research and Documentation of Greek Drama, hosted by the University of Athens, publishes databases and conference proceedings. The open access website Practitioners’ Voices in Classical Reception Studies, based at the Open University, uk, publishes interviews with practitioners http://www.open.ac.uk/arts/research/pvcrs. All these projects are collaborative and make their work freely available. 4 There are also important related questions about approaches to translation, adaptation, theatre practice, staging and design and responses by audiences and critics which would require a much more extensive discussion than is possible here. 5 Carson (2012) opening episode (no pagination).

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The purpose of the Prologue is traditionally to situate the action in the narrative of a myth and to ensure that the spectators/readers know where the figures in the play are starting from. As Andújar and Nikoloutsos signalled in Chapter 1,6 modern interpretations of Sophocles’ text and its receptions and rewritings have been shaped by the framework provided by Hegel. Carson’s opening sequence both recognises and challenges this. She acknowledges that the play operates in traditions that are both intellectual/philosophical (Hegel) and theatrical (Beckett) and that perspectives on Sophocles (even from the most rigorous classically trained scholars) can never be unmediated. Her text – emphasised by the calligraphy and spatial design on the page – sets out Kreon’s Verbs for the Day: ADJUDICATE; LEGISLATE; SCANDALIZE; CAPITALIZE. Then come Kreon’s Nouns: MEN; REASON; TREASON; DEATH. The list is followed by SHIP OF STATE (placed centrally on the page) followed underneath and to the right by “MINE”. The Chorus is made to comment “Mine isn’t a Noun”, to which Kreon replies with a pun: “It is if you capitalise it”. Carson’s aesthetic approach is radical in its reflections and critique of European cultural history, yet it also transmits continuing self-reflexive awareness in writers, practitioners and audiences of ways in which those traditions have acted as arbiters which define the frames within which the play has been interpreted. In one sense, Carson’s work comments in a (fairly) direct way on the traditions associated with the 1841 Potsdam version. However, in another sense it acknowledges that there are other starting paces and opens the way to bringing them into the conversation about Sophocles’ play and the central role, or otherwise, of Antigone. For example, Carson’s analysis and presentation of Kreon’s rationale for his conduct and views is also mediated by the twentieth-century context in which Bertolt Brecht’s Marxist dialectic turned the lens back on to the play as a forum for contests within the ruling class.7 Brecht’s version (1948) followed Sophocles’ text quite closely (based on Hölderlin’s translation) but framed this in terms of modern class analysis, thus subverting easy identifications of the conflict as one between the individual and the (Nazi) totalitarian regime.8 In using Hölderlin’s translation but developing the perspectives of class, Brecht also ironically played with Hölderlin’s view of Sophocles as the epitome of the 6 See, above, p. 16–17. 7 Mee and Foley (2011) 45. 8 See further, Mee and Foley (2011) 45, n. 118, with bibliography and for the German context Fischer-Lichte 2017, forthcoming.

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vaterlandisch, “a way of imagining the world from a nationalistic perspective” (Goldhill (2012) 151).9 The other most influential and controversial twentieth-century version of Sophocles’ play was that of Jean Anouilh, which the Vichy regime permitted to be staged in Paris at the Atelier Theatre in 1944.10 It was staged again in 1945 after liberation from the Nazis and has been revived and reinterpreted many times. Anouilh’s play explored how, in the occupied France of the 1940s, the struggle to define ethical and political issues was not only blurred but also gave rise to a culture of alienated denial. Modernizing the play’s conflicts and contexts has increased the scope for adding to the complexity of Creon’s position and to the psychological aspects of Antigone’s words and actions.11 In between the uncertainties about the relationship between theatre and political resistance in World War 2, the Cold War and the commentary on Antigone’s place in intellectual history provided by Carson, there have been some stunning examples of the pliability of the Antigone narrative. This is a narrative that has challenged scholars, translators and theatre practitioners to explore its resonances for their present without reducing the richness of the play to a narrow reading. Outside the contexts of European conflicts, the ambivalence in the relationship between radical and conservative, grounded in the Sophocles,12 has continually found new contexts and forms of expression in terms both of intellectual ancestry and of performance tradition. For example, in postcolonial contexts it has been used both to challenge European cultural and political domination and as a field for contesting the new regimes that followed independence. Some of the most significant recent treatments mark a transitional phase between Antigone as an icon of (western) European culture and the recuperation of the play within protean global networks. Sometimes these receptions mark moments of crisis and trauma. An example of this kind of reception is Perla de la Rosa’s Antigona: Las voces que incendian el desierto (2004), which adapts Sophocles’ play to address the serial rapes and murders of women in contemporary Juarez, Mexico. De la Rosa’s play reframes both the Sophocles 9

10 11

12

Goldhill discusses ways in which the German idealists enter into dialogue with Aristotle and Plato (146–152). He examines the conceptualisation of the tragic as “a privileged form of suffering”, concluding that this is a “modern conceit”; Goldhill (2012) 146. See below Silva Ch. 5, pp. 72–89. Mee and Foley (2011) 45; Hardwick (2011) comments on the transferability to subsequent performance contexts of aspects of Anouilh’s ambivalent approach to the force of the Antigone narrative in 1944 France. See above Andújar and Nikoloutsos, Ch. 1, p. 23–26.

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and the ongoing situation of femicide in Juarez. It denies the audience the catharsis offered by Greek tragedy and instead persists in its challenge to contemporary complacency, provoking its audiences to extend their critical and political engagement.13 Such interventionist drama is rarely purely “occasional”. Its force is derived both from the intertextuality with Sophocles and from its place in a dense history of responses to the play, both national and international. For instance, Moira Fradinger has shown how the reception of Antigone has been a significant aspect in the web of Argentine cultural and political history from the nineteenth century onwards, embedded in two centuries of debates over the meaning of modernity after the French and the North and South American and Haitian revolutions of the eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries to the extent that the play is part of a national tradition.14 This gives an added dimension to the well-known resurfacing of the play as a response to the events of the “Dirty War” at the time of the 1976–83 dictatorship, which resulted in the “disappearance” of over 30,000 people.15 Fradinger opens an essay on this topic with the claim that “Argentina has probably ‘cannibalised’ Antigone more often than any other country in South America”. The phrase is borrowed from Oswald de Andrade’s 1928 Cannibal Manifesto in which he addressed Brazil’s cultural appropriation of European works.16 Similarly focusing on the intersection between the synchronic and the diachronic, Fiona Macintosh has discussed how the frequency and depth of different versions and staging of Antigone in Ireland have made it a “national” play in the Irish context of the cultural politics of lament and burial.17 Macintosh comments on how “London regularly looks to Irish playwrights/poets to translate Greek tragedy and the Irish playwrights/poets [look] to Sophocles’ Antigone in particular” and investigates the reasons. She points to the ways in which the links between Ireland and ancient Greece have a very long ancestry and argues that the links between Ireland and Antigone are equally deeprooted, drawing on the affinity between Irish and ancient Greek traditions associated with mourning: 13 14 15

16 17

Weiner (2015). Fradinger (2011) 68. Productions of Antigone have highlighted women’s political agency through figures such as the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo in Argentina, campaigning to discover the graves of their “disappeared” children (Mee and Foley (2011) 26). Fradinger (2011) 67 and see Ch. 19 in this volume. Fradinger’s monograph on Greek drama in Argentina is expected shortly. Macintosh (2011).

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Many of these rituals, in evidence well into the 1950s and the 1960s even in Dublin, had more in common with ritual practices in ancient Greece than they did with those in other metropolitan centres in the West. Funerals are still public events, even in cosmopolitan twenty-first century Dublin; death and dying in Ireland are not hidden as they are in other Western countries. Ireland, with its bilingual culture, held on to pagan practices and a linguistic range that have enabled it to articulate realms of experience into which other, especially Anglo-Saxon, cultures are no longer lexically at least, able to venture. Affinity with the ancient source and fidelity to the ancient source – these must remain the key reasons for both the appeal of the ancient texts to Irish writers and a significant reasons why these Irish versions of Greek tragedy remain so powerful and effective to non-Irish audiences as well. macintosh (2011) 91, italics as in the original

This nexus between the particular examples, the traditions in which they are situated and the global reach they attain is the concern of distinctive recent scholarship from which two trends stand out. The first is the international and global documentation and analysis of key examples from a range of traditions.18 This global range of material is considered in the collection of essays edited by Erin Mee and Helene Foley, Antigone on the Contemporary World Stage (2011). The volume includes 22 essays, each focusing on a different location in the cultural history of Antigone and embracing Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas.19 In a section of their Introduction headed Ubiquitous but not Universal the editors are careful to distinguish between world-wide and “universal” (in the sense appropriated by the western classical tradition) and explain that “our focus on performance allows us to see the play/figure not as an exemplar of ‘universal high Western culture’ but as a play/figure that has been remade in and on other terms, and consequently now ‘belongs’ to the world in a wide variety of forms”.20 Mee and Foley’s focus on performance reminds us that reception of Antigone is grounded in the interplay of theatrical traditions as well as translations and scholars’ interpretations and that in particular the capacity of the play to transform perceptions embraces practitioner participation and spectator presence as well as scholarly debate. 18 19

20

See note 2 above. Studies include the post World War 2 reception and performance of the play in Argentina, Canada, The Congo, Egypt, Finland, Georgia, Greece, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Poland, Taiwan, Syria, Turkey and the us. Mee and Foley (2011) 3.

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A second strong trend in modern scholarship is the focus on Antigone as a key exemplar for research and debate on the contribution of Greek drama to intellectual history in Europe. For example, Honig (2013) reads the play as the context of the intellectual and scholarly history of psychoanalysis, gender, sexuality and lament.21 In giving a central place to finitude, her monograph complements the work of Nicole Loraux, especially The Mourning Voice (2002).22 More extensively, Billings and Leonard’s edited collection (2015) contains essays that analyse the role of tragedy in mapping the ideas and aesthetics of modernity, including not only the relationship between ethics and politics but also conceptions of the sublimity of tragedy and the negotiations between desire, genre and the assimilation and adaptation of traditions into canon and counter-canon.23 Such issues are not confined to European traditions and Simon Goldhill has suggested that the appeal of Antigone across time and place is not necessarily attributable to some kind of abstract universality but may also reflect the fact that the patterns and demands of nationalist exceptionalism are not unique to (for example) 19th century Germany but are also to be found in the appropriation and adaptation of Greek tragedy in African, Eastern and other cultures (Goldhill (2012) 152). A further rapidly developing aspect in the multiple avenues involved in reception is the play’s importance as a rewarding field for young people to work together in performance and to develop their own senses of ethical and social attitudes to tradition and to politics. It is a truism that ancient Greek texts have been “good to think with” because of their distinctive combination of the persisting problems of life, death and how humans might live together with the unfamiliar contexts of myth and situation that framed the Greek responses. This combination of perspectives encourages modern readers and spectators to think outside their own experience and recognise its affinities with and differences from that of others. The issues debated in Antigone have engaged young people the world over: for example, in the Scottish city of Glasgow the tag theatre company (Theatre About Glasgow) chose the play as a key text for the programme Making the Nation (1999–2002). This was a four-year participatory drama and theatre project developed in the context 21 22 23

The essays in Suter (2008) demonstrate the political implications of lament. The 2002 publication is a translation into English of Loraux’s 1999 La Voix enduillée: essai sur la tragédie greque. Paris. The volume includes J.I. Porter “Tragedy and the catharsis of modernity”, I. Balfour “Paradoxon: On the sublimity of tragedy in Hölderlin and some contemporaries”, S. Weber, “Hölderlin and the temporalization of tragedy”, A. Benjamin, “Leben und Gluck: modernity and tragedy in Walter Benjamin, Hölderlin, and Sophocles”.

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of the devolution of powers to Scotland and the reconvening of the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh in 1999 after an absence of nearly three centuries. The Making the Nation project included events to stimulate debate on the concepts of nationhood, democracy, government and collective and personal responsibility. Sarah Woods, writer-in-residence at the Royal National Theatre was commissioned to produce a special version of the play that would challenge political and social apathy. Her refiguration took as its principal focus exploration of the social response to Antigone’s resistance to Creon’s edict.24 Hope that exposure to the issues of the play would stimulate debate and critical thinking among young people also underlay the version Odale’s Choice by Kamua Brathwaite, which was first performed at the Mfantisman Secondary School in Ghana in 1962. The published text appeared in the series “Plays for African Schools” and was later performed in Kenya, Nigeria and Trinidad (where it was directed by the subsequent Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott in 1973).25 A feature of this play was that Creon might be understood not only as a colonial European oppressor but also as a post-colonial African tyrant.26 Nor has the value of Antigone as a forum for self-exploration and debate been confined to young people. In 2005, the Fellows of the Africa Leadership Initiative discussed the Sophocles and Anouilh plays as part of their programme.27 From these “windows” into the reception history of the play it is possible to identify “watersheds”, iconic responses to Sophocles that map sometimes seismic shifts in cultural politics and its associated poetic and performance aesthetics. These provide a “bridge” between performance, participation/ transformation and deliberative scholarship. A striking feature of the reception of this play (as of other aspects of Greek drama) is the way in which performance practices provide a prelude to scholars’ perceptions of new directions for research and sometimes anticipate its outcomes. Bonnie Honig’s 24

25

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The artistic director for tag, James Brining, stated the reasons for his choice of Antigone as being to encourage young people, audiences and the general public to ask “questions about what it means to be a member of society, of a community. Where does our responsibility begin and end? What are the links between us?” (Interview for The Herald, 29 August 2000, discussed Burke 2001). There are many other examples, not least the preponderance of productions of Antigone in the contributions of American High Schools each year to the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh and the many productions by youth and community groups in the us, documented in Foley (2011) Appendix B. Goff (2007) 41. Goff also discusses how Femi Osofisan’s version Tegonni: An African Antigone (first staged in 1994) “finds both colonial oppression and postcolonial resistance in unexpected places” (42). Hardwick and Gillespie (2007) 1.

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study, Antigone Interrupted (2013) did not reflect on performance but focused on the conceptual and philosophical aspects of the play. Her approach resonates both with Carson’s commentary on Hegel in her Antigo Nick28 and with Macintosh’s identification of death and mourning as a key link between Irish receptions of the play, the socio-cultural histories in which these are embedded and the Greek context in which Sophocles wrote and served the polis. Honig’s is an important book for several reasons.29 In terms of the bigger “conceptual picture” it offers a substantial contribution to current debates in the arts and humanities about whether and how new constructs of “humanism” can be attuned to transhistorical and transcultural experience. Honig interprets that as asking whether they can both replace the discredited formulations associated with western-dominated “universalism” and also maintain and justify a role for human agency. In terms of the focus of this collection of essays, Honig’s project is important for its claim that the wider problem she identifies can be addressed through analysing Sophocles’ Antigone. She uses the play both as a site for grounding the concepts and theories developed by intellectual historians and philosophers in the west and then as a laboratory for testing different approaches. In a 2013 interview for Open Democracy, Honig described the intellectual influences that shaped the development of the book.30 These include: French theorists’ use of the conceptual apparatus of fragility, change and unpredictability; Arendt’s vision of politics as “tumultuous and inaugural – always forming and reforming communities and re-establishing the importance of public life”; and the notion, developed particularly by Derrida, that speech acts mark ruptures, are extraordinary and sometimes take place in the abyss.31 Brought to bear on Sophocles’ Antigone, these approaches lead Honig to read the play as centred round the politicisation of mourning and burial, representing a moment of crisis not just within the play but also in the wider context of Athenian society and politics.32 Classicists and ancient historians will hardly find that perspective astonishing but it provides Honig with the basis for the extension of the argument to the larger canvas of the re-examination of humanist angst 28 29

30 31 32

See, above, p. 28. I have discussed some aspects in greater detail in a review published in ajp 136. 1, 2015, on which these comments are based. See also Hannaway (2014) for a full breakdown and commentary on the Honig monograph. Honig (2013b). The comment provides a significant insight into the effects of the Egyptian production analysed in Selaiha (2011) and pp. 40–41 below. As probed by the ancient historian Thucydides in his presentation of the Epitaphios (Funeral Speech) attributed to Pericles (Thuc. 2. 34–46).

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and the desire to imagine through the lens of a classical text a humanism that is neither reductive nor pessimistic nor a synonym for an imposition of “universal” as its defining characteristic. Her enterprise has implications for classics as well as for the new humanism that she constructs.33 Honig starts from the supposition that humanism is once again a topic of aspiration – “not the rationalist universalist variety discredited by poststructuralism and the horrific events of the twentieth century but a newer variant”.34 She claims that one version of this “new” humanism holds that what is common to humans is not rationality but mortality, “not the capacity to reason but vulnerability to suffering”. In this respect her approach converges with Macintosh’s socio-cultural analysis of the receptions and rewritings of Antigone in Ireland. But Honig then diverges from Macintosh and asserts that this privileging of finitude as a defining characteristic disempowers humans and marginalises political struggle. Because Greek tragedy has been foundational to attempts to seek solace in “redemptive moments” or the “transformation of suffering and loss into a story of human endurance”35 the task of envisioning an alternative has to be commenced on the site of the ancient texts. And since Honig perceives Antigone as the representative text of “mortalist humanists” (25) that text has to be her laboratory. Once Antigone is centre-stage, the concepts and practices of lament and mourning are then in Honig’s sights and she moves (via discussion of Hegel and Judith Butler) to focus on the memorialization and burial of the dead as an example of the “inoffensive” humanism that she is determined to challenge. The second part of the book is then devoted to examination of the relationship between mourning, community membership, the politics of exception and the shift from lamentation to logos. However, in spite of her provocative lucidity, much recent performance and the associated scholarship challenges Honig’s insistence that lament embraces a culture of passive acceptance of the inevitable. The proposition that lament trends towards de-politicisation is not born out in modern receptions and adaptations of Sophocles. Recent research has opened perspectives on the diversity of the forms and purposes of ancient lament and especially on its centrality to political action as well as to debates. Male lament has been recuperated into the ancient cultural scene36 and textual analyses of plays such as Sophocles’ Ajax and Euripides’ Hecuba and Women of Troy have yielded strong 33 34 35 36

Honig’s book also contributes to a different set of debates about the relationship between classics and humanism; see Martindale (2013). Honig (2013) 17. Honig (2013) 206, n. 7. Suter (2008).

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evidence about how lament was deployed in contexts of human agency and conflict in contexts that interacted with the agon-led structure of Athenian rhetoric and politics.37 Antigone provides a commentary on this.38 Although Honig does give a nod in the direction of modern performance as validating continuing attention to the play,39 her lack of discussion of performance aspects of tragedy has effect of restricting the range of human agency in the discussion: translators, directors, actors, musicians, dancers, designers and spectators are silenced and the interventionist power of politicised lament in works that draw on tragedy goes unexplored even in the notes, thus precluding debate on the typicality as well as the exceptionality of Antigone for Honig’s main claims.40 Awareness of the geo-political implications of modern receptions of the Sophocles play also make unnecessary Honig’s concluding invocation of Zizek as the non-classicist “authority” for the now surely uncontroversial statement that an index of value in a text is not just its malleability but also its resistance to totalising appropriation.41 However, Honig does also provide some provocative insights, for example into Baudrillard’s notion of precession, in which representation precedes and determines the material basis of a model and into how the perpetuation of that model can be “interrupted” and displaced. In the next section of this chapter, I turn to three of the most striking examples. The Island is the result of a collaboration between the playwright Athol Fugard and the actors John Kani Winston Ntshona, first performed in 1973. The play became an icon for its denunciation of the brutality and injustice of the apartheid regime in South Africa. The title of the play refers to the notorious Robben Island on which political prisoners were held for long terms under severe conditions of hard labour. Prisoners included the African National Congress leader and subsequent President of South Africa, Nelson Mandela. The play was an example of the theatre workshop movement’s production of politically interventionist township plays with co-operation across racial divides. It was also historically specific in that the “play within a play” drew on the 37 38

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Barker (2009), Hardwick (2013). Much more work remains to be done to analyse how and why particular Greek plays come to prominence at particular times; see Hall (2004), Foley (2012); for example 2004, the year after the invasion of Iraq, saw a surge in the number of productions of Hecuba. Honig (2013) 10. For example, Yael Farber’s Molora (published text 2008) deploys Greek tragedy and the interventionist aesthetic of lament in the context of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa. Its performance history includes international tours. Honig (2013) 191.

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performance of Antigone by prisoners (including Mandela).42 The early performance history of the play was instrumental in influencing liberal opinion in South Africa and abroad and it subsequently attained international status as a touring “classic”. Two aspects of this performance history are especially important for the theme of this chapter: firstly, in terms of audience reception a play which was initially conceived and staged in an ad hoc way as a play of dissent became globally honoured as an aesthetic and political icon (an interesting variant on the way in which something which is radical in one context can found a new tradition in another). Secondly it is an example of how the actors (inside and outside the play) and also the external audiences begin to have their own certainties challenged and transformed. In the Antigone scenes the actor “Winston” is reluctant to dress up as a woman to play the part of Antigone. His necklace made of nails, his wig made of string and his false breasts embarrass him. The other actor, John, consoles him: “There’ll come a time when they’ll stop laughing and that will be the time when our Antigone hits them with her words” (scene 2). Eventually Winston becomes proud of playing the role of Antigone. He has had to enter into the experiences and viewpoint of someone other than himself and to imagine and recreate a powerful female – conventionally thought to be inferior in both the ancient Greek and the modern South African value systems. As Rush Rehm put it in his study “If you are a Woman”, “it is the power of Sophocles’ Antigone, recaptured in Fugard, Kani and Ntshona’s The Island, that this call to solidarity arises from a female figure” – a figure who, in the social, historical and political contexts which gave rise to each play, represented an apparently “inferior being”.43 In Seamus Heaney’s version Burial at Thebes (2004) the relationship between Greek and contemporary contexts within the play itself was more problematic. The title of the work alluded to the Greek and Irish tradition of female lament and Heaney used as his model for Antigone’s language and register the eighteenth-century Irish language poem Caoineadh Airt Ui Laoghaire (Lament for Art O’Leary) in which a young widow laments the death of her husband, killed by the English state authorities and left to rot.44 In contrast to the overtly selective approach in The Island, the full Sophocles text was rewritten by Heaney (perhaps it could best be described as a “creative translation”) and was 42

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In his memoirs, Mandela emphasised the importance to him of playing the role of Creon; “His inflexibility and blindness ill become a leader, for a leader must temper justice with mercy” (Long Walk to Freedom, 1994: 541). Rehm (2007) 226. Wilmer (2007) 230–237 analyses the text. See also Heaney’s own comments in McDonald and Walton, eds., 2002.

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premiered at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin as part of a high-profile European cultural event.45 It was a poetic translation but the idiom of Heaney’s text alluded to recent world events such as the invasion of Iraq in 2003 as well as to the history of Ireland.46 It also reflected Heaney’s sensitivity to the plight of the parents of a hunger striker trying to recover the body of their son who had died in 1981 protesting against British domination in the North of Ireland.47 However, neither Heaney’s language nor the staging resonated with the affinities between the Antigone/Creon conflict and the histories of civil conflict in Ireland. This was in contrast with the versions of Antigone by Conall Morrison (2003) and by Tom Paulin (The Riot Act, 1985) that evoked the conflicts between loyalists and republicans in the Troubles in the North of Ireland that had intensified from the late 1960s. Even more significantly, there were no resonances in Heaney’s text with the Irish civil war of the 1920s (which resulted from bitter disputes over policy in the new Irish government after the successful resistance to British rule). The absence of those resonances was perhaps the more striking in a production staged at the Abbey Theatre, which had a history of provoking disturbances when plays were thought to have challenged central aspects of Irish nationalist cultural mythology.48 In a 2007 interview, Heaney himself justified this absence on the grounds that at that point in his literary career he wanted to move on: “So, the Irish question was imaginatively exhausted in a way, as far as I was concerned”.49 The example of Heaney’s Burial at Thebes brings into the discussion the issue of what is left out as well as what is included and turns the focus on the register, idiom and literary allusiveness to the tradition from which the new writer comes and to the capacity of modern rewritings to repress as well as to transmit the dynamics of the ante-text.50 My final example draws on two further inter-related aspects of the modern reception of Sophocles’ play. The first is how the religious aspects of the Greek 45 Unlike The Island, Heaney’s play has not toured extensively, possibly owing to the poor critical reception accorded to the Abbey Theatre production. 46 For example, Creon’s language echoes that of the us President Bush in alluding to the war on terror and in denying human rights to prisoners who are to be detained and interrogated (Wilmer (2007) 235–236). 47 Heaney alluded to this in his Question and Answer session at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin on 27 April 2004, although the memory figures more specifically in one of the Choral Odes in his The Cure at Troy (1990), a version of Sophocles’ Philoctetes. 48 Notably in 1926 when the new government was establishing itself and memories of the independence movement were being consolidated into cultural history. 49 Hardwick (2015) 829. 50 Hulton (2013) examines a corresponding “silence” in Sophocles’ play and documents how this inspired new writing and performance in the context of modern Cyprus.

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play are transplanted into modern consciousness. The second is how the tension between the modern tendency to regard Antigone as a figure of protest, a freedom fighter even, can be reconciled with Sophocles’ presentation of her as wedded to traditional values and to the role of women in funerary contexts. Sophocles’ play is redolent with the imagery of pollution.51 Haemon’s character is described as “polluted ethos” by Creon (Sophocles, Antigone 746); Creon must try to kill Antigone without polluting the city (Sophocles, Antigone 775– 776); when Eurydice dies Creon realises that “Hades’ harbour is hard to purify” (Sophocles, Antigone 1284).52 In her study of modern performances of Antigone in Egypt Nehad Selaiha has identified the time from 2002–8 as a point at which Antigone recovered her position as a multi-faceted and powerful political symbol.53 She analyses in depth Frank Bradley’s 2002 English-language production at the Falaki theatre in Cairo,54 a time in the midst of events that had been accelerating since 2000, such as the invasion of Afghanistan, attacks in New York and Washington, military operations by the Israeli army in Bethlehem and Janin, the second Palestinian Intifada (uprising) and – pivotal for Selaiha’s response to the new production – the suicide bombing by Wafaa Idris (a secular Palestinian female with a university degree) who blew herself up in the centre of Jerusalem. The director Bradley cast the Chorus as women, displaced people,55 and Selaiha felt that the set design of the production (which depicted Thebes as a city of jagged ruins), the frail figure of Antigone (in jeans and black sweater) reflected the context of events in the region “the old Thebes took a leap forward into the present and how ever hard one tried one could not shut out the image of suicide-bomber Wafaa Idris from one’s mind”. However, Selaiha’s response was multi-faceted… “I remembered the many Israeli women I had seen on television watching over the checkpoints to help Palestinians and who braved the siege [of the church of the nativity in Bethlehem] trying to smuggle in food and medicine. But neither these women, nor the female Chorus in Bradley’s production, can prevent the killing of the innocent. Antigone dies, and so do Haemon and Eurydice; and what remains is a warning, an elegy and … an

51 52 53 54 55

Meinel (2015) 86. To this might be added the actuality and imagery of plague, which results from pollution and also resonates with modern European literature, cf. Camus, La peste. Selaiha (2011) 355. The Falaki theatre is at the American University in the city. An interview with Bradley is documented in the database of the Reception of Classical Texts project at the Open University (www2.open.ac.uk/ClassicalStudies/GreekPlays/).

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‘appeal’”.56 Thus in Selaiha’s analysis the multiple resonances of the occasion of the performance, the context of events and the Sophoclean themes converged, but without catharsis, either for the spectators or for the participants in the play. In her sensitivity to the responses of the audience and the traumatic violence of the contemporary geopolitical context, Selaiha recognised the underlying tensions between Antigone’s piety, which is conservative in religious terms, and the radical energy of her dissent from patriarchal and political norms. This production leaves us with a reminder that Sophocles’ play resists easy interpretations and closures and provides us with a lens through which we can view not just the immediate contexts of its reception but also how that reception is situated in comparison with others. Afterword This chapter has aimed to provide a broad-brush context of trends in the reception of Antigone in which the specific contribution of this volume can be situated. The volume as a whole signals the importance of Iberian (and by extension of Latin American) area studies in the wider field of reception and sets out ways of investigating crucial aspects of the nexus between the two. The study of classical receptions in Portugal reveals a chronology and a geographical reach that provides a rich layer in and sometimes an alternative emphasis and trajectory to the narratives associated with other European areas and also in relationships with Latin America. Although attention is increasingly paid to the general implications of the migration of classical material in terms of geo-politics as well as language and culture, the importance of Latin America is only now taking a more prominent place in the global picture. Taken together, the Portuguese and the Latin-American research provides a useful corrective to some of the emphasis on Anglophone receptions, providing alternative perspectives on the mediations found in the textual histories of adaptations and in contexts of religion, education, languages and empire. In the field of postcolonial studies, Latin America offers a different set of variables and different ways of envisaging texts and counter-texts, challenging simplistic models. In terms of the histories of cultures the Portuguese and the Latin-American interactions bring the early modern to the fore – for example in the need for attention to Catholic mediations of the Hellenic and Roman 56

Selaiha (2011) 357–359. In addition to her academic career, Selaiha is also a theatre critic and the text of her review of the production for Al-Ahram weekly (9 May 2002) is included in her 2011 essay.

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pasts. They also provide a “laboratory” in which combinations of indigenous, colonising, hybrid and global compete with the “local” to challenge some of the assumptions that underlie attempts to account for the persistence and artistic and political energy of material from the ancient world. Potentially, further research may provide a commentary on the distinctive model of a trans-Atlantic “triangular” dynamic of cultural exchange between ancient Greece and Rome, Western Europe and the Caribbean and the Americas. The intersecting histories of classical receptions in Portugal and in Latin America also remind us that, as with analysis of Europe and perhaps even to a greater extent in Africa, judgements have to be informed by awareness of difference as well as commonalities within a continent.57 The case studies in this volume will surely provide a fertile ground for future comparative work. The Sophoclean themes discussed by Andújar and Nikoloutsos (Ch. 1 above) persist in modern receptions but they are complicated by different contexts of selection, presentation and interpretation and by registers of repression and denial as well as of conflict and reflection. Derrida scholars have commented on how texts can be seen as events that unfold in time, reverberating through reading and writing. “They are not over – they lie ahead of us”.58 Sophocles’ Antigone is surely a prime example of this. It has been and will no doubt continue to be pivotal in moments of crisis and change because of its in-built tension between text and counter-text and the ways in which that dynamic can be transplanted into new contexts and readings.

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Latin-American receptions will be the subject of a forthcoming volume in this series. Kennedy (2010) 268.

chapter 3

Antigone’s French Genealogy Stéphanie Urdician “Que les poètes recueillent Antigone. Voilà le rôle bienfaisant de ces êtres amoraux” (“May poets receive Antigone. This is the beneficial role of those amoral beings”). The wish that Maurice Barrès formulates in the Cocteau’s Antigone epigraph has been to a large extent granted. This present work is intended to provide a general diachronic overview of the French Antigones that marked the reception of the figure in France. The corpus under study is so vast that it excludes all exhaustive analysis. We selected literary works, dramatic texts for the most part, although the impact of Antigone’s figure is recurrent in philosophy, social studies, history or psychoanalysis. As proof, the works of Jacques Derrida, Paul Ricoeur or even Jacques Lacan to name only a few major thinkers who appropriated Antigone to say respectively “impossible mourning”, “the inevitability of irreconcilable and non-negotiable conflict”1 in the heart of tragedy, “the splendor of Antigone” or the connection between death wish and beauty, the incarnation of pure desire or the symbol of autonomy.2 The tragic figure’s name works as a bookmark which activates the mythic scenario in many eponymous titles the sum of which make up the palimpsest specific to the mythic figure. Therefore hypotexts and hypertexts could become mixed up and the successive stages of reception coexist. Indeed, Antigone is not only the title of Sophocles’ tragedy but also that of eponymous plays by Rotrou, Cocteau, Anouilh, etc. This is where paratext intervenes to display the bias of the rewriting: for example Cocteau’s “contraction” and Anouilh’s “adaptation”. In this ocean of reworkings, there are essentially two faces: devotion and resistance are guiding lights in the backbone of reception, alongside this are structural patterns (Polynices’s remains, Creon’s prohibition, etc.). The various historical backgrounds, which constitute fertile ground for this rebirth, decompose the figure into a myriad of incarnations representing the multiple personality, Christian, political, feminist, luminous and dark by turns.

1 Ricœur (1990) 283. 2 Lacan (1986) 285–298.

© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, ���7 | doi 10.1163/9789004340060_005

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Antigones Light: From Christianisation of the Myth to Human Transcendence

One of the first French tragedies to revisit Antigone’s argument was Robert Garnier’s one, Antigone ou la piété (Antigone or piety, 1580), based on the Christianisation of the myth. The title exhibits filial piety inscribed in the Greek tragedy3 and exacerbated in the rewritings that celebrate Christian faith. Although the play raises political questions at a time when royal power is being dashed by the succession of Charles ix and Catherine de Médicis, like ancient Jocasta acting as mediator and reconciler of ennemy brothers in religious wars, this Antigone “acts on behalf of ethics and religion”.4 The motif highlighted is the infallible daughter’s devotion who accompanies her father to the end of his life, sacrificing her woman’s live – as wife and mother – and anticipating the future sacrifice for her brother. In the 17th century, Jean de Rotrou composed a five-act tragedy entitled Antigone5 (1639), opting for this dramatic genre with which the French playwrights revive ancient theater. He includes new characters – Adraste, Polynice’s father-in-law, and Argie, his wife – and shuffles the interventions. Jocasta opens the play with her daughters, but the feminine trio bursts apart, to seal what the Sophocles’ tragedy established: the split of the sisters. Only in the third act do Antigone and Ismene discuss their views, unlike in the hypotext. But if Antigone tries to convince her sister on behalf of family union – “C’est à nous qu’elle (l’ordonnance) parle, à nous qu’elle s’adresse (…) Or il est temps, ma sœur, de montrer qui nous sommes” (“It (the decree) speaks to us (…) Yet it is now time, sister, to show who we are”, iii, v, 119) –, their opposition is nevertheless radical as illustrated by the choice of stichomythias, typical of French theatre of the period: Antigone – Pour un acte si juste, avoir le coeur si bas! Ismene – L’acte est juste, il est vray, mais Creon ne l’est pas. Antigone – Et, s’il est inhumain, serez-vous inhumaine? Ismene – J’abhorre l’ordonnance, et redoute la peine. Antigone – Le dessein sans effet est aussi sans merite. Ismene – Mais le dessein suffit, si l’effet ne profite. Antigone – N’est-ce pas profiter que d’inhumer les morts? Ismene – Non; car Creon, enfin, rendroit vains nos efforts. (Rotrou (1882) 122) 3 Fraisse (1974). 4 Poignault (2002) 133. 5 Rotrou (1882) 77–164.

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(Antigone – For a so just act, have a heart so low! Ismene – The act is just, it is true, but Creon is not. Antigone – And, if he is inhuman, will you be inhuman? Ismene – I abhor the order and am afraid of consequences. Antigone – The design without effect is a design without merit. Ismene – But the design is sufficient if the effect does not benefit. Antigone – Is it not a benefit to bury the dead? Ismene – No; because Creon, finally, will make futile our efforts). Like her ancestor, this Antigone acts on behalf of the law of the blood, as recalled by Rémi Poignault: “Her action is not affirmation of the need to defend the right to burial of each human being, whatever its risks, but confines these rights to family clan closed by its roots”.6 More recently, by opting for the anaphora “sang commun, sang fraternel” (“communal blood, fraternal blood”) in Antigone’s mouth, the new translation by Mayotte and Jean Bollack7 discloses one of the building blocks of the myth. Rotrou portrays of the tragic heroine in the name of family honour claiming the virtue of her act selfdesignated “so pious work”: “La vertu doit ici forcer la tyrannie” (“Virtue must force tyranny”, iii, v, 119). Mystic philosopher and writer Pierre-Simon Ballanche (1776–1847) published in turn another Antigone8 (1814), a prose poem composed of six books. The narrative framework is based on the narration that Tiresias and Daphne offer to Priam’s family, narration in which they tell Oedipus’ tragedy, Jocasta’s death, Thebes’ siege, father’s exile until fratricide. Especially influenced by French Revolution like most of the writers of his generation, the author was a progressive catholic counterrevolutionary. But his political thought and his Ultra-Royalists affiliation, next to Chateaubriand, under the Bourbon Restoration, did not prevent him from denouncing Napoleon’s despotism and defending Christian liberty as a political liberty that can be established only on ethics. Therefore he supports Antigone “la pieuse fille d’ Oedipe” (“the pious daughter of Oedipus”, iv, 93) against Creon, the tyrant. Tiresias’s story emphasizes exile trauma reminding Oedipus and Antigone’s vagrancy, and Polynices’ trip in Argos. Antigone still remains a virginal figure, “virgin” (114), “sublime virgin” (185), “magnanimous virgin” (186). Together with Ismene, she is the prime example of kind benevolence because “dans son cœur généreux, l’espérance n’était tout à fait éteinte que pour elle-même” (“in her generous heart, the hope 6 Poignault (2002) 130. 7 Bollack (2004). 8 Ballanche (1814) 1–211.

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was not completely extinguished but for herself”, v, 154). In this play, Ballanche expounds the thesis that vertebrate all his thinking, namely that of the continous cycle of decadence and regeneration, the eternal return of wars that darken human living: “Ainsi les peuples se succèdent les uns aux autres sans rencontrer le repos; ainsi les générations naissent et meurent au sein de la douleur; ainsi l’homme vit dans de continuelles alarmes et la voix du gémissement sans cesse se fait entendre par toute la terre” (“Thus peoples follow each other without encountering a rest; thus generations are born and die with pain; thus human beings live in a continuous alarm and the voice of groaning is constantly reverberating around the world”, vi, 206). Ballanche detects the universal reach of Antigone’s myth when he reads in Oedipus’ legacy “l’histoire même de l’homme” (“the very history of man”, Epilogue, 208) and in Antigone “tantôt une divinité secourable qui encourage et console, tantôt une victime pure qui expie la faute des autres” (“sometimes a helping divinity that encourages and consoles, sometimes a pure victim who expiates the fault of others”), whose name “est devenu celui de la piété filiale elle-même” (“became filial piety itself”, 209). These mystic and catholic emphases, applied to the figure in many rewritings, culminates in Kierkegaard’s “virgo mater” (“virgin mother”) or Charles Maurras’ Antigone who stands up for the “vierge mère de l’ordre” (“Virgin Mother of the Order”).9 André Gide uses the topic too in his Oedipe (1930), a three-act drama in which Antigone is above all a pious girl – even if her portrait has no lack of ambivalence as when following her penitent father, she commits a kind of transgression. On an entirely different note, Marguerite Yourcenar’s narrative text, “Antigone ou le choix” (“Antigone or the choice”)10 collects Christian similes. Alternatively compared with St. Peter and Jesus crucified, her Antigone light – that seems to prefigure María Zambrano’s one – is “victime de droit divin” (“victim of divine right”, 82) who leads a defeated army: “elle attend la défaite pour se vouer au vaincu, comme si le malheur était un jugement de Dieu” (“she waits for defeat to finally embrace the defeated, as if misfortune was the judgement of God ”, 79). The character’s luminous transcendence influences the universe as a whole in a “cosmic renewal”:11 “In broad sunlight, she was pure water on soiled hands […] at night, she becomes a lamp”.12 9 10 11 12

Maurras (1948) 8, Antigone, vierge-mère de l’ordre. http://maurras.net/pdf/maurras _antigone.pdf. Yourcenar (1957) 75–85. Poignault (2002) 136. Yourcenar (1957) 82.

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In the 20th century, Jean Cocteau was the first one to care about Antigone. His Antigone (1922) masterfully combines the two different sides of the figure that oscillates between “saint” and “anarchist”. This return to the myth responds to a general dramaturgic movement from the 1920s that consists in drawing upon ancient sources in order to elaborate a tragic vision of human mankind, opposed to the sentimental bourgeois theatre of the 19th century. The “contraction” imagined by Cocteau is relatively faithful to Sophoclean tragedy. According to his account, he uses the method “qui consiste à couper et retendre la peau des vieux chefs d’oeuvre, à les remettre au rythme nouveau de nos capitales” (“that consists in cutting and tightening old masterpieces’ skin, and accomodating them to the new pace of our capital cities”).13 Gérard Genette goes so far as to outline that “Sophocles rewritten by Cocteau is more Sophocles than the original”.14 Following Rotrou’s approach, Cocteau’s Antigone achieves a pious action to please the gods and perishes “sacredely criminal” while looking out to blood law: “J’espère que tu vas montrer ta race” (“I  hope you will show your race”), she claims in front of Ismene. The musical tragedy of Jean Cocteau and Arthur Honneger, first performed in December 1922 at Charles Dullin’s Théâtre de l’atelier, gathers the most representative avant-garde artists: Pablo Picasso, Antonin Artaud, Coco Chanel. This play introduces “la tragédie hellénique dans le rythme, dans la sonorité et dans l’optique de la vie moderne, grâce à des raccourcis audacieux, à un prosaïsme calculé, à une familiarité savante” (“Hellenic tragedy in the pace, the sonority and the perspective of modern life, thanks to audacious shortcuts, planned prosaism, erudite familiarity”) – according to the French musical critic Emile Vuillermoz15 in his review of the new libretto’s first staging on December 1927, in Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie of Brussels. Werner Egk is equally enthusiastic in hailing it as the first contemporary “musik theater”16 in Paris. Conciseness is the key word in this stylized version of Sophocles’ tragedy where Cocteau experiments with an “aesthetic of the minimum”. Antigone’s profile accentuates the genealogical inscription of filial staining, responsible for her punishment: “Je suis une fille de l’inceste, voilà pourquoi je meurs” (“I am a daughter of incest, that’s the reason why I die”). But her death is cathartic, reflecting issues of sacrifice, because of the oxymoronic consecration of her

13 14 15 16

Cocteau (1977) 251. Genette (1982) 237. Vuillermoz (16/01/1943) “Antigone”, Comœdia. Egk (6/02/1943) “Antigone” Comœdia.

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character – “free, virgin, alive” in death has made her a symbol of atopy,17 which determines the rewritings that examine woman’s place in society. Antigone violates the “sexual division” between State and Family as described and prescried by Hegel. She orchestrates a blurring of the borders between “politique et masculin, privé et féminin, puisque précisément Antigone met les pieds où une femme ne doit pas les poser”(“Politics and masculine, private and feminine, as precisely Antigone put her feet where a woman must not do it”).18 By focusing on anarchy, Cocteau redoubles the double infraction of Antigone, not only an outlaw since she breaks Creon’s edict, but also an unnatural creature because her act is inconceivable due to her marginal status as a woman, as claimed by Ismene: “We were born women; as such, not made to strive with men” (Sophocles, Antigone 69–70). Greek tragedy already testified to the link between anarchy and gender transgression – “Anarchy is our worst evil” (Sophocles, Antigone 765), declared Creon who excludes the ‘anarchist’ calling her a madwoman: “Creon – Of these two maidens here, The one, I say, hath lost her mind but now, The other ever since her life began” (Sophocles, Antigone 636–638). “Il existe une autre loi inscrite dans le corps des femmes” (“There is another law inscribed in the women’s body”), writes the psychoanalyst and novelist Henry Bauchau, fascinated by Antigone’s figure. Indeed, “la lumière d’Antigone adaptée au monde mouvant d’aujourd’hui” (“The light of Antigone, adapted to the world driving of today”)19 irradiates the author’s itinerary in which the mythic figure is omnipresent first in a poem “Les deux Antigones” (1982), then in a novel Oedipe sur la route (1990) and finally in Antigone (1997). This version is a novelistic transposition in which Antigone, narrator and character, relates the outstanding episodes of her family tragedy. We observe the feminisation and humanisation of the myth inaugurated by the maternal figure of Jocasta rehabilitated, in response – or rebalance – to the prevailing founding myth of the father, whose psychoanalytic posterity has been illustraded many times over. Contrary to the contraction operated by Cocteau, Bauchau has recourse to amplification incorporating new elements and characters – Clios, Vasco, Dirkos, Main d’Or, etc. – into the fable, but especially new relationships between the two sisters, in the Greek tragedy reconciled by sisterhood. While Sophocles opposed them as antithetical symbols of female postures, in

17 18 19

Duroux (1993) 84: “Antigone’s virtual caution doesn’t find any place, is not situated or situable: this refers to the lack of political status of women”. Duroux (1993) 57. Bauchau (1999) 93–103.

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Bauchau’s version the one which has “the most sisterly of souls”20 reconnects with her sister, as María Zambrano’s Antigone so close to Ismene-Araceli. That is the most important variance with respect for hypotext that many rewritings adopt. They speak with one voice illustrated by their mirrored emotions: “sur son visage, une immense joie comme celle que je ressens aussi” (“on her face, an inmense joy as the one which I feel too”), “Sa colère s’enflamme à la mienne” (“her anger kindles to mine”). Once again the pious Theban princess sides with the victims of the fratricidal war, who compose a wailing chorus lamentations around her, living flame lighting the path of man and symbol of hope : Le vrai fond chez Antigone, c’est l’espérance. L’espérance en l’Homme. Elle n’attend pas l’Homme idéal ni l’Homme nouveau. Elle espère dans les hommes tels qu’ils sont, s’ils veulent faire l’effort de changer… Et s’ils ne veulent, ne peuvent pas? Elle espère encore.21 (The real background in Antigone is hope. Hope in Man. She doesn’t expect the perfect Man or the new Man. Her hope is in Men as they are, if they want to make the effort to change… And if they don’t want or can’t? She still hopes.) The originality of this self-portrait is based on the princess’ regeneration at the time of her death. The tragic outcome from Sophoclean text is replaced by the resurrection of the figure who merges with another feminine character, Io. The coalescence specific to the myth provides her with a properly human transcendence: “L’Antigone d’Io ne sait pas qu’elle chante ma mort et n’a pas besoin de le savoir, il lui suffit de la vivre puisqu’elle est déjà la véritable et bientôt sera l’unique Antigone” (“Io’s Antigone does not know she sings my death and she does not need to know it, she just has to live since she’s already the true and soon the only Antigone”).22 As a matter of fact, beyond transition from one to the other, Antigone’s voice remains after death through theatrical transmission,23 constantly reincarnated in the actress that is playing and replaying her role. As well in a permanent movement symbolizing the quest and construction in progress of the character, from darkness to light, she transmutes “la grotte obscure de Créon (en) petit temple de clarté” (“the

20 21 22 23

Steiner (1983) 12. Bauchau (1999) 484. Bauchau (1999) 354. Pibarot (2010) 103–116.

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dark cavern of Creon (into) a small temple of brightness”).24 Furthermore she’s the woman who says no – “Je dis non une fois pour toutes à Thèbes et à ses abominables lois” (“I say no definitively to Thebes and to its abominable laws”) –, a dominant paradigm because of its universalisation as attested by the character himself : C’est le non de toutes les femmes que je prononce, que je hurle, que je vomis avec celui d’Ismène et le mien. Ce non vient de bien plus loin que moi, c’est la plainte, ou l’appel qui vient des ténèbres et des plus audacieuses lumières de l’histoire des femmes.25 (This is the no of all the women that I say, that I yell, that I throw up with Ismene’s one and mine. This no comes from much farther than me, it’s the complaint or the appeal that comes from darkness and the bolder lights of women’s history.) Antigone as the incarnation of resistance and expression of revolt constitutes the second facet of the mythic figure, favoured in the rewritings of the 20th century marked by big historical cataclysms: world wars, civil wars, dictatorships and the subsequent affronts to human dignity. 2

Wars and Resistances: Antigone or Civil Disobedience

It is not possible to speak about Antigone and war without looking to “L’Antigone éternelle” of Romain Rolland. In 1915, the Nobel Prize for Literature invokes the power and the crucial role of women in armed conflict, like “l’Antigone éternelle qui se refuse à la haine et qui, lorsqu’ils souffrent, ne sait plus distinguer entre frères ennemis” (“the eternal Antigone who refuses to hate and who, when they suffer, does not know how to distinguish between enemy brothers”).26 But the peculiarity of this appeal is based on feminine emancipation, prerequisite for any other form of political commitment: “Le plus pressé est la conquête de vous-mêmes. Cessez d’être l’ombre de l’homme, de ses passions d’orgueil et de destruction (…) Faites la paix en vous d’abord” (“The most urgent is to conquer yourselves. Stop being the shadow of man, of his pride and destructive passions (…) Make peace with yourselves first”). Such discourse containing a commonplace about the pacifist nature of woman 24 25 26

Bauchau (1997) 313. Bauchau (1997) 318. Rolland (1915). First published in May 1915 in Jus suffragii. London: 8.

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inspired however a feminine impulse that many versions will celebrate in the century. One war later, in a reversed response, Jean-Pierre Vernant praises women’s action – as wives, mothers, sisters – at the heart of the conflict : La Résistance m’a fait comprendre ce qu’étaient les femmes. J’en connaissais, mais je ne me rendais pas compte à quel point elles ont, plus que nous, des formes de courage et d’esprit de résistance. Elles ne cèdent pas. Elles ont une capacité à s’accrocher absolument extraordinaire. S’il n’y avait pas eu les femmes, on n’aurait rien pu faire.27 (Resistance made me understand who women are. I knew them, without perceiving to which point they are, more than us, paradigms of courage and resistance. They don’t give up. They have an absolutely amazing capacity of adaptation. If women didn’t exist, we could do nothing.) This statement by the famous Hellenic historian illustrates the awareness of how women played an important role in the history of the French Resistance and their belated but no less progressive rehabilitation in historiography. Refusal of submission and progressive advent of a « no » that becomes explicit from Cocteau, establish a lot of hypertexts drawing on mythic script the topic able to decrypt sicknesses of the century. As such, Jean Anouilh’s Antigone is remarkable: “Je l’ai réécrite à ma façon, avec la résonance de la tragédie que nous étions alors en train de vivre” (“I have rewritten it in my own way, with the resonance of the tragedy that we were living”), confides the author. The play, performed on February 4th 1944 at the Théâtre de l’Atelier like Cocteau’s one – directed at the time by André Barsacq, conniving director of the playwright – is paradigmatic of the historicizing of the myth. Oedipus’ daughter reborn in occupied France denounces pratices of Vichy police or Petainist militia, represented by a short-sighted military trio executing orders without thinking: “Le garde – Moi, je ne connais que la consigne. (…) S’il fallait écouter les gens, s’il fallait essayer de comprendre, on serait propres” (“First guard – All I know is my orders. (…) Say, if we had to listen to all the people who want to tell us what’s the matter with this country, we’d never get our work done”, 31). The desacralization of the myth is obvious from the Prologue who refers to “that thin little creature sitting by herself”, advertises anachronic games and seales the disappearance of sacredness, replaced by crucial philosophical questions at this time, namely absurdity and tragedy of the human condition. Demythification is coupled with demystification that often feed the discourses leading to blame each attack made against the sacred and untouchable icon. 27

Vernant (2007) 95.

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For Antigone’s character, the word is becoming optional because her determination is deeper and her confrontation with Creon has lost most of its strength: the arguments of either side – law of the State/vs/divine law – have been denatured by a new agon where a “cynical politician” and an “infantile nihilist”28 are opposed. What matters now is action. Her lapidary “yes” in front of Creon who monopolizes the word, more and more strengthens the voice of rebellion: “Yes, it was”, “Yes, it is true”, “Yes I have all that” (28–32). And when she speaks for longer, she chants a resounding “no”, “I am here to say no to you”: Antigone – Hé bien, tant pis pour vous. Moi, je n’ai pas dit “oui”! Qu’estce que vous voulez que cela me fasse, à moi, votre politique, vos nécessités, vos pauvres histoires? Moi, je peux dire “non” encore à tout ce que je n’aime pas et je suis seul juge. Et vous, avec votre couronne, avec vos gardes, avec votre attirail, vous pouvez seulement me faire mourir parce que vous avez dit “oui”. (Anouilh 35) (Antigone – So much the worse for you, then. I didn’t say yes! What do you want all these mean to me, your politics, your needs, your poor stories? I can say no to anything I think vile, and I don’t have to count the cost. But because you said yes, all that you can do, for all your crown and your trappings, and your guards – all that you can do is to have me killed.) In her confrontation with this “justice” of the strongest, Antigone chooses disobedience but the play ends with a status quo and dehumanized system embodied by the guards, indifferent to the situation: “Le chœur – Il ne reste plus que les gardes. Eux, tout ça, cela leur est égal; c’ est pas leurs oignons. Ils continuent à jouer aux cartes…” (“Chorus – Only the guards are left, and nothing of this matters to them. It’s no skin off their noses. They go on playing cards”). In this re-examination of the play’s context, Antigone symbolizes the Resistance without mentioning its name, and a youth definitely separated from the iniquitous power. Anouilh goes even further since the play seales also Creon’s victory, supported by “des milliers et des milliers … qui pensent tous comme lui dans la ville” (“And the whole city is with him. Thousands and thousands of them, swarming through all the streets of Thebes”, 12) according to Ismene. That circumstance is high because it facilitated the publication of the play under German censorship as Steiner rightly says.29 This is Anouilh’s greatest achievement: to conserve ambiguities that have fuelled controversy between the partisans of the 28 29

Genette (1982) 469. Steiner (1983) 95.

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symbol of resistance against tyranny and those blaming Creon’s humanization and mythic figure’s degradation. A breakthrough has been made with this play: the one that prefigures disobedient Antigones who are rebelling not against “legality” but its misuse in authoritarian systems of contemporary societies. In France and francophone theatre, the “translation” of Jean Anouilh ended up replacing Greek tragedy by becoming a classic of French and world repertoire. It is true that, in spite of the failure of the premiere, the play was praised afterwards: it was to become the author’s most frequently performed work, introduced into secondary school curricula and performed without respite from its creation to the present, as revealed by the recent creation at the Comédie-Française directed by Marc Paquien (2013). In summary, Anouilh’s Antigone has gone from hypertext to major hypotext which sustains new receptions of Antigone’s myth on the European stage. According to Steiner, at the Liberation the explosion of interest in Antigone confirmed the link between her tragedy and global catastrophe, as Monique Lambert also explains in these terms: On découvre les atrocités du nazisme, les charniers et l’insoutenable génocide perpétré dans les camps de concentration. (…) Le sentiment de l’abandon de Dieu n’a jamais été aussi fort ni aussi universellement partagé qu’à cette époque. Le renouveau d’Antigone appartient à ce même mouvement de résistance de la pensée face au vide, à l’absence.30 (We discover the Nazi atrocities, mass graves and unsustainable genocide in concentration camps. (…) The feeling of abandonment of God has never been as strong or as universaly shared as at that time. The revival of Antigone belongs to this same movement of strengthening thought against emptiness and lack.) However we note Antigone’s recovery by the poet and politician Charles Maurras, support of Vichy regime and close to the post-war right. In 1948, he takes the opposing view of Anouilh’s Antigone as “une Ennemie de la loi Sociale et l’incarnation sublime de l’Anarchie” (“An Enemy of Social Law and the sublime incarnation of Anarchy”). In his narrative text introduced by two poems of Ismene in front of her sister’s grave, the author asserts that this reading “est un contresens complet” (“is a complete misinterpretation”) and calls for a general review of “l’image courante d’Antigone” (“Antigone’s current image”). In his view, the main objective is to denounce Creon, “le tyran qui a voulu 30

Lambert (2004) 255–256.

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s’affranchir des lois divines et humaines” (“the tyrant who desired to get rid of divine and human laws”) to conclude that “l’anarchiste, c’est lui. Ce n’est que lui” (“the anarchist is him, no one else than him”);31 while Antigone “aux mystiques ardeurs” (“with her mystical devotion”) is an allegory of Love bringing together “frères, sœur, père, peuple, et Ville et Forteresse” (“brothers, sister, father, people, and Town and Fortress”),32 in a lyrical evocation suggested by Ismene. Reclaimed by both sides, in occupied France or in Franco’s Spain – where Antigone is celebrated by exile Republican authors (María Zambrano or José Bergamín) and at the same time enrolled by José María Pemán, the official voice of Spanish nationalism –, this mythic figure does not escape this ideological instrumentalization. Nevertheless, this “explosion” goes well behind the historical demarcated by Steiner. As proof, there is Kalavrita des mille Antigone (1979), a commemorative poem composed by Charlotte Delbo, nicknamed “la vocératrice d’Auschwitz” (“the voice of Auschwitz”), as a tribute to the victims of the Kalavrita village massacre on December 13th 1943, or Antigone (42) (2002) of Jean-Marc Lanteri who evokes the abomination of mass graves of Second World War. Trauma related to the war, in the heart of which exile is, motivates Oedipus’s daughter revival. This justification runs through Bauchau’s Antigone and structure Richard Demarcy’s play, Les voyageurs et les ombres. Oedipe, Antigone sur le chemin (The travellers and the shadows. Oedipus, Antigone on their way, 1994). In contrast, the bias for brother blood defended by Bauchau fails in Demarcy’s version which argues for an Antigone as a sister of all men and women, all the dead without a grave celebrating fraternity in the widest sense of the term. The actors of the play explain in this way the permanence of Antigone’s gesture which sharpens burial duty in a world ravaged by the horrors of wars: Acteur 1 – Tu ne crois pas que ce sera toujours nécessaire ces personnages qui vont jusqu’au bout,33 qui ne cèdent pas devant l’injustice, que c’est indispensable pour l’humanité, même si ça paraît fou. Acteur 2 – … Et tous ces morts autour de nous, sur ce continent, hier encore, si près de nous et sans sépulture, en fumée pour toujours…34

31 32 33 34

Maurras (1948) 11. Maurras (1948) 5. These words resound the voice of Anouilh’s Antigone: “We are of those who ask the questions to the end”, 56. Demarcy (1994) 23.

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(Actor 1 – You don’t believe that they will be always necessary those characters who go to the absolute extreme, who don’t yield before injustice, this is essential for humanity, even if it seems crazy. Actor 2 – (…) And all these dead around us, on this continent, still yesterday, so close to us and unburied, without a tomb, in smoke for ever.) Nowadays it would seem that the most reinvested facet of Antigone is that of citizenship: “Les valeurs qu’elle défend en font une rebelle qui soutient ceux qui aspirent à une plus grande liberté individuelle et collective, qui agissent en faveur d’une démocratie plus respectueuse du citoyen” (“the values she defends make her a rebel who supports those who aspire to greater individual and collective freedom, who act in favor of a democracy more respectful of citizens”).35 A similar approach already present in Anouilh’s Antigone is often associated with a metaliterary dimension, a focal point in the texts that receive “la petite Antigone” (“the little Antigone”). “A chacun son rôle” (“to each one his own role”), “c’est comme ça que ça a été distribué” (“That’s what he’s here for (…) That’s the way it is”)36 already announced by Antigone in 1944. A further explanation can be found in the words of the French director Denis Guénoun: “On ne va voir la chose qu’on connaît que pour jouir du comment de sa représentation nouvelle – de sa différence. En cela, les classiques permettent d’exercer un regard proprement théâtral, de regarder exactement cela qu’est le théâtre, la conduite de la monstration sur la scène” (“We will see what we already know only to enjoy the ‘how’ of the new performance – its difference. From this point of view, the Classics allow us to take a properly theatrical regard, to envisage exactly what theatre is, the way of showing on the stage”).37 Revisiting the classic works, “giving old masterpieces a new lease of life” (Cocteau) would be an opportunity to carry on a deep exploration of theatre’s intrinsic mechanisms; this is why metatheatre is more and more prevalent in the reception of classics and myths in contemporary theatre. We could continue the long list of Antigone’s French rewrites until the most recent ones: Variations Antigone (2009) written by Eugène Durif and staged by Philippe Flasquaut (Création Ephémère), heir of the past wars and mediator for youth on the model of Françoise de Chaxel’s text, C’est là qu’un jour je jouerai Antigone (2009), staged by Jean-Claude Gal (Théâtre du Pélican), marked by cultural syncretism twinning Antigone and Mirabaï, the Indian princess; or the very current J’kiffe Antigone of Ladji Diallo (2009), who introduces the Theban 35 36 37

Lambert (2004) 261. Anouilh 11. Guénoun (1997) 155.

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princess in Paris’ suburbs. In fact, on French stages, there’s not a theater season that goes by without the staging of a new Antigone both in public theaters and in private ones, replays of Sophocles’ tragedy or adaptations like the Anouilh’s play which is still the most performed one. Taken together, the thousand faces of Antigone confirm Paul Ricoeur’s assertion that “la richesse sémantique des mythes […] est une réserve, une ressource offerte à des usages sans cesse nouveaux dans le cadre de nouvelles structures” (“the semantic richness of the myths […] is a reserve, a resource offered to uses constantly new under new structures”).38 Social-historical circumstances that change “une quelconque jeune fille en une Antigone” (“an ordinary girl into an Antigone”)39 are not lacking and incessantly activate the polymorphism of the mythic figure which oscillates between the Antigone of light, loving and conciliatory, and the Antigone of fire, vindictive and rebellious.

38 39

Ricœur (1980) 533. Trousson (1965) 36.

chapter 4

Jean Cocteau and Oedipus’ Daughter Maria do Céu Fialho C’est tentant de photographier la Grèce en aéroplane. On lui découvre un aspect tout neuf. Ainsi j’ai voulu traduire Antigone. A vol d’oiseau de grandes beautés disparaissent, d’autres surgissent; il se forme des rapprochements, des blocs, des ombres, des angles, des reliefs inattendus. Peut-être mon expérience est-elle un moyen de faire vivre les vieux chefs-d’oeuvre. A force d’y habiter nous les contemplons distraitement, mais parce que je survole un texte célèbre, chacun croit l’entendre pour la première fois. (It is tempting to photograph Greece from an airplane. One discovers an aspect that is totally new. That is how I have wished to translate Antigone. From a bird’s eye view, great beauties vanish and others emerge; connections are formed, blocks, angles, unexpected reliefs. Maybe my experience is a means of keeping the old masterpieces alive. As a result of living there we look at them vaguely, but because I fly over a famous text, any one would think they are hearing it for the first time.) These remarks served as an introductory note to Cocteau’s Antigone on the occasion of its publication and they have a twofold objective: on the one hand, that of calling the reader’s attention to the nature of the text he/she is going to read – a “translation”, not a free rewriting; on the other hand, well in line with the author’s provocative rebelliousness, they imply that this is not a “faithful” translation, but a plain, pared down text aimed at providing the reader with an experience of novelty concerning Sophocles’ tragedy. The images of flight and aerial photography suggest the distancing, the lack of concern with details, while emphasizing the overall picture. It is exactly through that overall picture, emphasized by distance, that Cocteau seeks to produce his novelty effect. This is France in the early 1920s. Inheriting the thirst for self-affirmation which had its origin in fin de siècle Europe and was intensified by the experience of the end of an epoch, corresponding to the end of a recent and deadly war, the young generation of intellectuals lives the new times with intensity and, sometimes, with creative euphoria, responding to the new times with a © koninklijke brill nv, leiden, ���7 | doi 10.1163/9789004340060_006

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set of different proposals: from neo-conservationism to a search for new forms of artistic expression that reject the naturalist realism of the previous century and can pursue the dream of form in itself, the dream of the absolutely new. Those new forms provocatively break free of all references to the real, favoring a non-sense type of nihilism, breaking with the patterns of understandable aesthetics and replacing it with gratuitous iconoclastic manifestations, such as the ephemeral but rather noisy Dadaism of Tristan Tzara and Francis Picabia, or extending the meaning of the “real” to the possibilities of the unconscious. This tendency starts to become apparent during the years of an erosive war that will actually produce neither losers nor winners, only a global worn and torn landscape. Dadaism takes root in Paris as early as the year following the Armistice (1919–1920). As a matter of fact, the Littérature journal group, founded by André Breton and by Aragon, was initially close to the Dadaists, although it would later distance itself from them. The break happened in 1922. Influenced by the Freudian emphasis on the oneiric, André Breton and his group understand the function and the nature of art as something more profound than mere iconoclastic gestures or the effect of surprise achieved through aesthetic shock and aggression. The founders of Littérature eventually became the mentors of Surrealism, whose Manifest is launched by Breton in 1924.1 The term had been coined by Apollinaire (1917) in the context of his controversial play Les Mamelles de Tirésias (The breasts of Tiresias). Apollinaire was also the creator of the word “Cubism”, signaling a new art form that aimed to represent the movement (1911). Their belief in art’s expressive power and in its gnosiological mediation concerning the transrational in humans, i.e. concerning the inexhaustible, unexplored universe of the oneiric unconscious, as well as the “revelação de uma sobrerrealidade que não é anulação, mas expansão, potenciação e reinvenção mítico-fantástica do real”2 (“revelation of a superreality which is not annulment but rather expansion, maximization and mythical-fantastical reinvention of the real”). Within this artistic panorama in a Europe marked by the proliferation of – isms, with their sometimes violent and provocative public affirmation as groups, their disdain of aesthetic prejudices or pre-established patterns, often producing statements where their principles were laid out, a special mention should be made of the Paris-Munich-Viena triangle as a pole of attraction and

1 On the factors conducive to the emergence of Surrealism, and the movement’s history, see Nadeau (1964). 2 Aguiar e Silva, Enciclopédia Verbo, s. u. “Sobrerrealismo”.

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interaction of young artists seeking new forms, new ideas and new opportunities for creation and acknowledgement. By nature and experience, young Cocteau soon felt the need to create rupture and to explore new paths in artistic creation, and he became fascinated by some of those – isms, to which he briefly adhered, e.g. Dadaism (in 1919 he participated in the Anthologie Dada), in the early phase of Littérature, eventually separating from the Dadaists because his rebellious mind did not agree with group aesthetics. Hence his withdrawal from Dadaism, which pointed towards a path closer to Surrealism; however, his adhesion was brief – and as a result Cocteau faced strong animosity from the Surrealists. In 1919 Cocteau also published a work of his own, an exercise in Futurism: Cap de Bonne Espérance (Cape of Good Hope), after he had started to interact with Cubist painters, at the time when he created his polemic ballet-théâtre Parade. But this seduction was short-lived. His unquiet, inquisitive mind, thirsty for aesthetic adventure, leads him to continuous innovation and eventually earns him the solitary fame of an enfant maudit in literary fiction, and later in ci­ nema, gradually cut off from movements and schools to affirm himself in his distinct individualism. Cocteau seeks an expression of total art, developing close inter-poetical relationships with contemporary painters, musicians, and dancers. With them he endeavors to create and stage total theatre, where the verbal text is not paramount but rather kept in the background, as a function of the priority of the musical, the choreographic and the scenographic texts. Starting in the movements he joined, his permanent search for truth in the trans-rational, the oneiric, expressed through a language of the bizarre – to which the poet-mediator gives form – that can be traced back to as early as 1919 with Le Potomak,3 became more and more intense. The occult world, present beyond the visible and beyond daily reality, becomes increasingly identifiable with the net where the gods weave the destiny of unprepared mankind, which is ultimately death. 3 “Ce livre marque une étape décisive dans le rapport de Cocteau à la littérature et à l’art: il y a un avant et un après. Avant: des recueils de poèmes, des nouvelles, des pièces inédites, des activités de presse, mais une perception frivole de la condition de l’artiste et de sa vocation, organisée dans la continuité d’une vie mondaine pleine d’un ‘besoin de gloire, de contagions et d’épidémies’ (“Prospectus”). Après: une découverte des exigences de l’art, une plongée dans les profondeurs”: http://cocteau.biu-montpellier.fr/index.php?id=7 (“This book signals a decisive stage in Cocteau’s relationship with literature and art: there is a before and an after. Before: collecting poems, short stories, unpublished pieces, press activities, but a frivolous perception of an artist’s condition and vocation, organized within the continuity of a mundane life fraught with ‘need for glory, contagion and epidemics’ (‘Prospectus’). After: discovering the demands of art, plunging into the deep”).

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A catalyst in this aspect of Cocteau’s poetic universe was, in 1923, his experience of death in the loss of a close friend, Raimond Radiguet, who was suddenly and unexpectedly robbed of a brilliant and promising literary career in full bloom of youth.4 The early 1920s were therefore a privileged period for that type of poetic cross-fertilization and synergy. Members of the same circle of aesthetic interrogation and search for new effects, or recovery of the classics (in the case of a number of composers) were Picasso, the young Spanish painter, the musicians Satie, Honegger, Milhaud, the Russian Stravinsky who left his mother Russia, as did Diaghilev. The latter had a resounding success in Paris in 1908 with his presentation of a Russian opera season, as well as ballet in the following year. Diaghilev subsequently settles in Paris (1910) and founds his famous Ballets Russes. With him came an outstanding dancer from his Ballets, the famous and unforgettable Nijinsky. For Diaghilev the effect sought by a good performance and a good choreography is translated in the motto “étonne-moi”5 (“astonish me”). With his Ballets Russes, Diaghilev was the radical alternative to text-based theatre. In their joint work, Cocteau had the opportunity to embark on the artistic experiment of creating a theatre where he breaks with all the conventional, academic rules and where color, movement, the aspect and the gesture of characters, or their absence, becomes paramount; in his plays, those elements carry their own symbolism, or maybe they are nothing but what they seem to be, have no meaning, mere esthesia involving or distancing the spectator, with no rationality. Cocteau writes to Stravinsky describing exactly what he believes the ideal language of dance should be: “la danse ne doit signifier rien” (“dance should mean nothing”). Cocteau’s fascination for total performance must have contributed towards his fondness for Greek theatre, where rhythm, dance, singing, and prosody formed a single unit, bringing the mythos to life. Rediscovering Greek tragedy in the entirety of its dimensions encouraged Cocteau to pursue a search for and to create a new dramatic aesthetics which would later differentiate him and which, while it may have opened new paths for modern theatre writing, was certainly also responsible for a revival of specific, and forgotten, aspects of the original Hellenic conception of theatre.6 These are the people Cocteau preferentially seeks as collaborators back in 1912, for Le dieu bleu (The blue god), a ballet-theatre performance. He wrote the 4 On Radiguet, see Goesch (1955). 5 Fialho (1991) 128–129. 6 Balmas, apud Kautz (1970) 25.

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libretto, the musical score was composed by Hahn (a member of the Group of Six), and choreography was entrusted to Michel Fontine, with Nijinsky as lead performer.7 Parade, the ballet scandalously premiered in 1917, with scenario also by Cocteau, music by Satie and costumes designed by Picasso. Nijinsky was lead performer/dancer. From Dieu to Parade there is a progressive, though not complete, eschewal of orientalizing elements, which had been brought by Diaghilev and the Ballets Russes tradition, with a new tendency towards scenic sobriety that was to become even more apparent in later performances, where the plastic restraint of the visual elements is prevalent; the same restraint is increasingly present in both the music and the text, in the strict sense. That concision and simplification is akin to the geometrism of the Cubist experiments in painting – it should be noted that it is contemporary with Picasso’s cubist phase. Cocteau’s ideal of concision, now dominating the text stricto sensu, is seen by Kautz precisely as an impulse originating in his interaction with Cubist painters.8 This would become apparent later in the designing and performance of a new ballet-theatre, in 1924, Le train bleu (The blue train), with Cocteau as librettist, score by Milhaud, sets by Henri Laurens and Picasso (who conceived the curtains), ballet choreographed by Bronislava Nijinska and performed by Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes with the star Nijinsky. Costumes were designed by Coco Chanel. The title was taken from the night train called Le train bleu, which transported wealthy passangers from Calais to the Mediterranean Sea. That was two years after the first staging of Antigone, where Cocteau had worked with Milhaud, Picasso, who designed the set, as he would also do for La machine infernale (The infernal machine), and Coco Chanel as costume designer. However, this does not mean that Cocteau wished to give the Classics an undifferentiated treatment from that of their original subjects. Kautz9 argues that the ideal of concision and the “esthétique du minimum”10 (“aesthetics of the minimum”) may have been the reason for Cocteau’s disinterest in Stravinsky’s “Fauvist” music, although he had first admired the composer, and for his preference for Erik Satie, “the positive counterpoint to Wagner, for its limpidezza”, or for Darius Milhaud, the anti-impressionist and a member of “Les Six” (“The Group of Six”). Cocteau also collaborated with Auric and 7 8 9 10

This collaboration with Diaghilev continued until 1924 with the staging of Le train bleu, at the Théâtre des Champs Élysées. Kautz (1970) 46. (1970) 38 sqq. Defined in Le Potomak, 12. Kautz (1970) 31 sqq. identifies the symbolist influence of Verlaine and Apollinaire in that condensation, which is not meant to simplify the text.

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Honegger (who wrote the musical score for Antigone), also members of the group.11 His aesthetic reconciliation with Stravinsky happens through their collaboration in Oedipus Rex and signals a compromise by Stravinsky, perhaps even his aesthetic conversion to Cocteau’s ideals concerning music. Two key moments signal adolescent Cocteau’s contact with the classical world: as a student at the famous Condorcet grammar-school he wrote La danse de Sophocle (Sophocles’ dance) an evocation of the famous anecdote from Antiquity according to which in his teenage years, Sophocles was a leadoff singer in the Choruses that helped commemorate the Athenian victory at Salamis. Cocteau’s poems were read by a noted artist of the time in a public poetry reading event. This choice illustrates young Cocteau’s familiarity with Greek culture, probably a result of his academic training, and it also shows how it fascinated him. Another influence was most certainly Cocteau’s relationship with Barrès, author of Voyage à Sparte (Travel to Sparta), to whom he paid frequent visits during his adolescence.12 Curiously, Barrès is one of the figures who were most antagonized by the literary avant-garde of the time – which illustrates Cocteau’s sui generis relationship with the avant-garde. Barrès’ words on Antigone, quoted as an epigraph when the play was published, are a clear sign of his influence and of Cocteau’s admiration for him: “Je pleure Antigone et la laisse périr. C’est que je ne suis pas un poète. Que les poètes recueillent Antigone. Voilà le rôle bienfaisant de ces êtres amoraux” (“I cry for Antigone and let her die. That is because I am not a poet. Let the poets receive Antigone. That is the beneficial role of those amoral beings”).

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Milhaud wrote the music for the pantomime farce Le boeuf sur le toît (The ox on the roof), staged in 1920 at the Théâtre des Champs Élysées; Auric composed the Royal Hymn for Cocteau’s film, L’aigle à deux têtes (The eagle with two heads). Cocteau’s libretto for his ballet Fedra (Phaedra) was also written on a score by Auric; Fedra was premiered at the Opera de Paris, in June 1950. Visites à M. Barrès (Visits to M. Barrès). Cocteau’s connection with one of the figures that was most antagonized by the aesthetic avant-garde of the time – to the point where Bre­ ton’s group decided to organize Barrès’ public mock trial (Nadeau (1964) 28–31) shows (or motivates?) the clash between Cocteau and the Surrealists. The fact that Antigone’s edition opens with a quotation by Barrès about Oedipus’ daughter is quite significant. The following words by Barrès from Voyage à Sparte can be understood if one considers the tension and the fascination exerted by the figure of Antigone, read by the author under an Hegelian influence, as would be expected, and the awareness that the Antigone paradigm could represent the ruin of the entire State’s order: “…que je cède au prestige d’Antigone, il n’y a plus de société…” (“…that I submit to Antigone’s prestige, there is no more society”) (apud Fraisse (1974) 111). On Antigone in Barrès, see id. Ibid. 111–112.

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The second moment has to do with a performance of Antigone at the Comédie Française. One pictures a standard performance with a rather negative impact on the young writer. He confesses that academic formality was prevalent in the stiff, old-style performance and he remarks ironically that the age of the actress who played Antigone made her descent to Hades seem quite expectable.13 It thus becomes clear that Cocteau’s proposal represents a reaction against this manner of handling the classics. He uses a strategy of provocation which consists in creating an experience of newness by breaking with crystallized tradition, reducing the text to its bare essentials, pared down, condensed on the basis of a previous translation made or reworked by Cocteau himself: Oedipus Rex.14 The figuration and performance of the Chorus is reduced to one voice who drily converts into a short narrative text the odes that Sophocles had emphasized through an intensification of the expression of feelings such as relief and jubilation over victory, translated in the parodos by a greeting addressed to the new day’s sun, a day of hope for Thebes (Sophocles, Antigone 100–161). Cocteau’s extremely short rendering can be compared with Sophocles’ text:15 Les Argiens ont fui à toutes jambes sous ton oeil fou, soleil! Ils étaient venus aux trousses de Polynice et de ses vagues prétentions. Jupiter deteste la vantardise. Il a frappé de sa foudre les panaches et les armures d’orgueil. Les sept chefs qui marchaient contre nos sept portes ont abandonné leurs armes. Il n’en reste sur place que deux frères ennemis. Maintenant la victoire est assise dans Thèbes. Le peuple chante. Mais voici Créon, notre nouveau roi. (The Argives fled for their life under your mad eye, O sun! They had come on the heels of Polynices and his vague claims. Jupiter hates boasting. He hit the plumes and the armors of pride with his lightening. 13 14

15

On the tradition of strong confrontations between Romantic poets (Victor Hugo, Dumas, Delavigne) and the Comédie Française, see Ubersfeld (1974) 290 sqq. According to Flashar’s description (2000) 78: “Gänzlich unberührt von Problemen der politischen Aktualität war dann die Antigone von Jean Cocteau (1922), die in anatomischer Reduktion das Knochengerüst der Dichtung aus der Vogelperspektive in konzentrierter Monumentalität hervortreten lässt, in nüchterner, wie gemeisselt wirkender Prosa” (“Jean Cocteau’s Antigone (1922) was thus completely untouched by contemporary political issues; in its anatomic reduction it emphasizes the bare bones of poetry in its concentrated monumentality, from a bird’s eye view, in a sober prose that seems to have been chiseled”). The English translation of Sophocles’ Antigone is Brown’s (1987).

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The seven leaders who marched against our seven gates abandoned their weapons. The only people remaining are two enemy brothers. Now victory is sitting inside Thebes. The people sing. But here is Creon, our new king.) Another example illustrates Cocteau’s method of flattening the text, stripping it of its poetic component in the Chorus intervention corresponding to the famous stasimon i. In the Sophoclean text, the Chorus of Theban Elders sings (Antigone 332–383): Wonders are many, and none more wonderful than man. This being goes with the storm-wind across the foamy sea, moving deep amid cavernous waves. And the oldest of the gods, Earth the immortal, the untiring, he wears away, turning the soil with the brood of horses, as year after year the ploughs move to and fro. He ensnares and catches the thoughtless race of birds, the tribes of wild animals and creatures of the sea, in toils of woven nets, most ingenious man. And by cunning he masters the beast of the open country that roams the hills; and he breaks in the long-maned horse with a yoke across its neck, and the tireless mountain bull. And he taught himself speech and windlike thought and the spirit of civic order, and how to flee the arrows of frost that make for hard lodging out of doors, and the arrows of bitter rain; resourceful in all (resourceless he goes to meet nothing that is to come). From death alone he will procure no refuge; but he has devised escapes from baffling illnesses. Subtle beyond hope is his power of skilled invention, and with it he comes now to evil, now to good. Respecting the laws of the land and the right of oaths sworn by the gods, he is a man of a lofty city; cityless is he who recklessly devotes himself to evil. Never may he be a guest at my hearth or a sharer of my thoughts, who does these things. Faced with a portent from the gods, I cannot tell how to deny what I know, that this is the girl Antigone. Unhappy daughter of an unhappy father, what is this? It cannot be that they are bringing you here because you are disobedient to the King’s laws and have been caught in an act of folly? Cocteau’s rendering is as follows: L’homme est inouï. L’homme navigue, l’homme laboure, l’homme chasse, l’homme pêche. Il dompte les chevaux. Il pense. Il parle. Il invente des codes, il se chauffe et il couvre sa maison. Il échappe aux maladies. La morte est la seule maladie qu’il ne guérisse pas. Il fait le bien et le mal.

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Il est un brave homme s’il écoute les lois du ciel et de la terre, mais il cesse de l’être s’il ne les écoute plus. Que jamais un criminel ne soit mon hôte. Dieux, quel prodige étrange! C’est incroyable, mais c’est vrai. N’est-ce pas Antigone? Antigone! Antigone! Aurais-tu désobéi? Aurais-tu été assez folle pour te perdre? (Man is amazing. Man sails, man tills the soil, man hunts, man fishes. He tames horses. He thinks. He speaks. He invents codes, he keeps himself warm and he covers his house. He escapes diseases. Death is the only disease that he does not recover from. He does good and evil. He is a brave man if he listens to the laws of heaven and earth, but he ceases to be brave from the moment he stops listening to them. Let no criminal ever be my guest. Gods, what a strange prodigy! It is unbelievable, but it’s true. Is that not Antigone? Antigone! Antigone! Did you disobeye? Were you foolish enough to lose your way?) The wonder expressed at the somewhat daunting prodigy that is man, conveyed by the ambiguous Greek word δεινά at the beginning of the ode, is reduced to a mere dry statement, followed by a list of all of man’s potentialities, with death as the only limit. The same intention of shunning criminals is expressed, but, contrasting with the ambiguity of the Greek stasimon, which suggests the possibility of divine intervention in the attempt to bury Polynices as a veiled criticism of Creon’s edict, suspicion about Antigone is here hasted in, accelerating and narrowing the flow of tragedy as if the characters were condemned from the start to suffer the action they are known for and as if Antigone’s path were previously defined. In the Greek original, Antigone is mentioned after the Chorus has finished chanting its ode, in anapests, as an expression of surprise at her arrival, escorted by the Guard (Sophocles, Antigone 375 sqq.). Similarly, Creon’s inaugural rhesis in his capacity as a ruler, an extensive, self-justifying, dogmatic and assertive speech (Sophocles, Antigone 162–214) is condensed into a rather shorter text, including the same topics, namely the State-as-ship metaphor, with the tyrant’s features drily preserved, followed by a telegraphic dialogue with the Chorus. At the arrival of the Guard, although, as in the Greek play, the character shows his fear and insists on his innocence, loses the typically Sophoclean effect derived from the author’s specific handling of these secondary figures of a lower social status, who come to bear news that they believe will ensure them some return. So far as Cocteau’s proposal of a plain, condensed text is concerned, the question remains: was his intention merely to reduce the text, meant for a performance that would be supplemented with other textual modes, such as music and scenography? In the subtlest of ways, he introduces brief elements

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which nonetheless imprint a mark on the play’s reading, on Antigone’s profile, and on the meaning of the storyline: during the dialogue between Creon and the Guard, after the news was imparted that someone had tried to bury Polynices’ body, the Chorus intervenes, somewhat fearfully, suggesting that maybe this was a “work of the gods” case (“Lord, the suspicion has been dawning on me for some time that this deed might perhaps be work of the gods”, Sophocles, Antigone 278–279): Prince, je me demande si ce n’est pas une machine des dieux. (Prince, I wonder whether this is not a machine of the gods.) Although with a dubious meaning, the expression “machine des dieux” is used here for the first time, and it does of course point to the later Machine infernale. Haemon’s firm answer to Creon is added by Cocteau, transforming Creon’s angry command, as in Sophocles, in Haemon’s assertiveness (“let her marry someone in the house of Hades”, Sophocles, Antigone 654). Cocteau crosswrites Haemon’s words with the Messenger’s comment at the exodos of the Sophoclean play, when he reports Antigone’s death and Haemon’s desperate suicide, clasping her body (“And he lay, corpse enfolding corpse, achieving his marriage rites, poor boy, in the house of Hades”, Sophocles, Antigone 1240–1241): Je l’épouserai donc la morte aux enfers. (Then I shall marry death in hell.) In the final dialogue, a farewell to life, between Antigone and the Chorus, Cocteau innovates, simultaneously reducing and amplifying one of the interventions of the Chorus (Sophocles, Antigone 817–822). Let us compare both, Sophocles’ and Cocteau’s: Have you not, then, won renown and praise as you depart for that cavern death? You were not struck down with deadly sickness nor paid out with the wages of sword; you alone among mortals will descend by your own law, alive, to the house of Hades. Tu mourras donc sans être malade, sans blessure. Libre, vierge, vivante, célèbre entre les mortes, tu entreras chez Pluton. (So you will die from no diseases, with no wounds. Free, a virgin, alive, famous among the dead, you shall enter Pluto’s home.)

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Antigone then explains her death in non-Sophoclean terms, in a short speech added by Cocteau, who thus develops the protagonist’s desire to join her loved ones in Hades – or rather, Pluto, for the Greek gods are latinized: Je suis une fille de l’inceste. Voilà pourquoi je meurs. (I am a child of incest. That is why I die.) Their marriage in Hades takes shape through the suppression of some lines in the Messenger’s speech, briefly announcing: Hémon s’est suicidé. (Haemon has committed suicide.) As seen above, the idea had been advanced to emphasize the anger present in Creon’s words to Haemon. Only later will the event be reported, at Eurydice’s request, with the concluding words: Ils s’épousent là dans la mort et le sang répandu. (They marry there inside death and the blood that was shed.) Many other examples could be selected to illustrate Cocteau’s subtle restraint by means of which he stresses the spousals/death association as well as the weight of a destiny marked by incest, an appealing incest that attracts you, coming from the world of the dead. In this fleshless version, Antigone, the play, with elements not present in the original now subtly accentuated, becomes detached from its traditional readings: Antigone as the romantic martyr of all the resistances; or as the representative of one of two conflicting poles – the opposite one being Creon: natural law/positive law. Cocteau does send to Hades a free, virgin, famous Antigone as opposed to the routinized, formalizing weight of past performances and of official re-readings and appropriations; she is nonetheless an Antigone imprisoned in her role as Oedipus’ daughter, a condition that determines her route as fate, perhaps regulated by a first shadow of the “machine of the gods”. With Antigone de-politicized, what meaning could have been ascribed to the reprobation of anarchists, which emerges twice in Cocteau’s version, via Creon? Both occurrences are to be found in the Creon-Haemon confrontation. The first is included in a sequence corresponding to the original (anarchia,

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Sophocles, Antigone 672), within a rhesis where Creon advocates political obedience and praises rulers’ children who are obedient to both their fathers and the city order, as opposed to those who cultivate the worst of all calamities: anarchy. This is a common topic in the tyrant’s speeches, present also in the Greek original. However, Cocteau condenses the rhesis, taking a reasoning “leap” and using contemporary language: Il n’y a pas de plus grande plaie que l’anarchie….Et si l’anarchiste est une femme, c’est le comble. (There is no greater plague than anarchy….And if the anarchist is a woman it becomes the greatest of all plagues.) The second reference comes soon after in the same scene and can really be considered a very acceptable rendering of the original (ἔργον γάρ ἐστι τοὺς ἀκοσμοῦντας σέβειν – “Is it an action to honour those who misbehave?”, Sophocles, Antigone 730), although the insistence of Cocteau’s Creon on anarchism seems to have a specific objective: C’est donc bien agir que de louer les anarchistes. (That is the right thing to do rather than praise the anarchists) The Russian Anarchist Party, which had been persecuted by Trotsky since 1981, met in Berlin in 1922, after being expelled from Russia. It founded the International Working Men’s Association and simultaneously issued an anarchosyndicalist declaration of principles, thus becoming a reference. But that was certainly not the anarchism Cocteau had in mind, since he identified himself with “aesthetic anarchism”, rejecting the aesthetic dictatorships of some of his contemporary groups.16 André Breton, the lead element of Surrealism understood that, and in the third evening of performance reacted rather violently to the above-mentioned scene, resulting in a heated exchange of words among the Surrealists sitting among the audience, and Cocteau, who spoke the part of  the Chorus through a megaphone. In fact, a metallic, timeless, distant and impersonal timbre is conveyed through the performance design. Besides the Chorus choice, characters deliver 16

Based on a number of different testimonies, Steegmuller (1969) 292 sqq. reconstructs all the preparations for the play’s premiere, as well as of the incidents that took place during its performance.

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their speeches with a marked, albeit inexpressive, articulation. The cast included important actors of the time, such as Charles Dullin, who played the role of Creon, and Antonin Artaud, who played Tiresias. Another member of the cast, playing Antigone, was a young Greek dancer – Génica Atanasiou – to whom the play is dedicated and who hardly knew any French, having had to learn her lines, which were spelled phonetically, by heart. Thus was Cocteau delivering what, in a letter to André Gide, he had purported to do: “Enlever une patine et montrer les couleurs fraîches fait croire au public qu’on lui montre le plus absurde ‘chromo’” (“To remove a patina and show the fresh colors makes the audience believe that we are showing them the most absurd ‘chromo’”). That is the effect of the new. And that effect, like in Cocteau’s previous theatrical experiments, entailed an exploration of the total performance concept, appealing to the senses through color, music, movement, even if tempered with sobriety. The set was designed by Picasso:17 in broad terms, and according to some testimonies, Picasso suggested the use of Greek columns, giving them pride of place. Between them were placed sketches of human heads. The musical score was by Honegger and costumes by Gabrielle Chanel: rustic white wool robes worn over tight-fitting black clothes. The actors and actresses wore a peculiar-looking mask similar to a fencing mask, and the whole cast looked like a strange tribe. The performances went on for three months, with large audiences, although the play was far from being a success – according to Dullin, one of the actors, the number of spectators was probably due to curiosity about the PicassoChanel-Honegger triad; moreover, with the same ticket one could also watch a play by Ezra Pound. Nonetheless, Antigone had the merit of raising a heated debate, notably between Cocteau and Gide,18 on how to update the Classics. And perhaps as a response to that discussion, in the following two decades there emerged in France a wave of re-writings, or texts inspired in Greek mythology motifs, characterized by high quality creativity.19 Antigone left a feeling of uneasiness that was later taken up and developed dramaturgically (by Anouilh). As for Cocteau, his experience of loss with the death of Radiguet, the young man he was so close to, would lead him to incorporate that death into his life, which, under the influence of opium, he felts 17 18

19

On Picasso’s intense activity as a set designer at the time, see Cooper (1967). The play is therefore deserving of a more attentive judgement than Steiner’s (1984) 69: “Cocteau’s pallid, idiomatic…adaptation of Sophocles”. Guicharnaud (1969) 325 also mentions the play in somewhat similar terms. E.g.: Gide, Oedipe Roi; Giraudoux, Électre, Amphytrion 38, La guerre de Troie n’aura pas lieu; Sartre, Les Mouches, Jean Anouilh, Antigone, Médée.

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as coexisting in parallel with the other side of a mystery, the other side of a mirror that the privileged, or the angels of death, have travelled through. After his recovery from that critical phase of his life, Cocteau keeps in his imaginary and experiences in his sensitiveness an almost physical perception of death as a daily companion (most probably an influence of Rilke’s angels) and as the representative of a divine dimension that will sooner or later annihilate man, through a mechanism that will slowly seize him. Two mythological references express that world: Orpheus and Oedipus. Oedipus resurges, in line with an increasingly evident restraint, although following a different direction from Antigone’s. Cocteau recuperates the sacred context of Greek drama. Oedipus Rex is first performed in 1927, at the Théâtre Sarah Bernard; it is an opera-oratorio by Igor Stravinsky for orchestra, soloists and (static) male chorus. Jean Cocteau wrote the libretto, which was translated into Latin by a young seminarian, later the famous theologian Jean Daniélou. Stravinsky’s music is an example of neoclassicism. The marks of this opera-oratorio are quite visible in La machine infernale, premiered in 1934: Regarde, spectateur, remontée à bloc, de telle sorte que le ressort se déroule avec lenteur tout au long d’une vie humaine, une des plus parfaites machines construites par les dieux infernaux pour l’anéantissement mathématique d’un mortel. (Look, spectator, this machine fully wound up, in such a way that the spring slowly unwinds throughout a human life, one of the most perfect machines built by the infernal gods for the mathematical annihilation of a mortal.) In La machine infernale, the Voice is again spoken by Jean Cocteau, as if his knowledge as the ultimate spectator rose above the action. The fate is now Jocasta’s and Oedipus’, rendered in a completely free, sarcastic rewriting strongly influenced by Freud and genially original. After her suicide and Oedipus’ self-inflicted blindness, once Jocasta’s identity has been recognized, she becomes visible to him, not as a ghost of his wife, but as his mother’s, as if his blind man’s eyes had been cleansed. And what happens to Oedipus’ daughter? When Oedipus leaves Thebes to live his life of errant exile, Antigone appears, insisting on accompanying him, against Creon’s will. And that she does, until they both fade out from the scene, going down the stairs. Antigone guides Oedipus, counting the steps, but, with a touch of genial creativity, at the end of the play Cocteau lets us hear the

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overlapping voices of both the daughter and the mother of Oedipus, as if the incest spirit cycle were closing. After all, as Antigone says in the play that bears her name, it is because she is the daughter of incest that death calls her to meet her own blood behind the mirror. The echo of an Antigone who is from the start imprisoned in her role, in a kind of mythological determinism that makes her deliver her speeches in an almost mechanical manner, as Cocteau makes us feel about his character, will be perceptible in one of the best 20th century Antigones: Jean Anouilh’s. However, the author of Pièces Noires gives another dimension, one of extraordinary aesthetic and dramatic value, to his Antigone, the purpose of whose existence is to walk towards her own death and play her dramatic game as a inalienable fate. The response of Anouilh’s audience to his play is no longer one of terror and compassion as per Aristotle’s rules. It is a reaction of deep uneasiness, purposefully and ingeniously induced by the author. The same disturbing uneasiness caused Anouilh’s critics to develop extremely different opinions, originating, I believe, in the profound lucidity, free of all illusion or hope, with which the main characters of this new Antigone enact their age-old role beyond any possible meaning for their actions. That effect upon the audience, so peculiar to Anouilh’s dramatic creation, makes one wonder whether in its origin, as a dramatic resource, there could be a spark of influence from another uneasiness, caused by another Antigone and originating in another performance held exactly twenty years before at the exact same theatre: Cocteau’s. If that other 1922 Antigone, as a proposal of “survoler les classiques” (“flying over the classics”), was ultimately of limited dimension, it had nonetheless the merit of updating, even if polemically, as was Cocteau’s wont, the need to reflect on the different modes of dialoguing with the Classics: is it true that “la patine est la recompense des chefs-d’oeuvre” (“the patina is the reward of masterpieces”), as in Gide’s response (Journal, le 16 Janvier 1923) to Cocteau’s intent of removing that “patine”? The truth is that, as a result of this impassioned controversy, authors like Cocteau himself, but also Gide and Giraudoux, and later Sartre and Jean Anouilh found increased motivation to rewrite Greek drama.20

20

Hamburger (41968).

chapter 5

Jean Anouilh’s Antigone: A Free “translation” of Sophocles Maria de Fátima Silva When, in 1942, Jean Anouilh1 wrote his Antigone he was following a principle which Bertolt Brecht, also the author of a new Antigone (1948), summarized 1 As is well known, the availability of biographical information on Jean Anouilh is deliberate­ ly limited – as the author explicitly confesses (apud Monférier (1947) 3), “Je n’ai pas de bio­ graphie et j’en suis très content” (“I have no biography and I am very happy for that”). That being said, some biographical data can however be mentioned. After pursuing Law studies, it was the theatre that engaged a good part of Jean Anouilh’s (1910–1987) intellectual energies. Reading Shaw, Claudel, and Pirandello was critical for his training as a playwright and a man of theatre, and Pirandello was especially important for the definition of his conception of the­ atrical creation. Giraudoux and Cocteau are also close influences, especially important for his return to the ancient Hellenic myths, which came to mark, amongst his plays, those described as Nouvelles Pièces Noires (New Black Plays), including his Antigone and Médée. The author was also very much influenced by the course of World War ii, and his experience of the painful events taking place in Europe at the time certainly had an impact on his theatrical creation. Anouilh’s Antigone premiered in Paris at the Théâtre de l’Atelier, under the direction of André Barsacq, in 1944, precisely during the Nazi occupation. Although Antigone is not exact­ ly, or at least not openly, a politically engaged or a “protest” play, it does nevertheless portray a certain kind of reaction to the German presence in France. In fact, that was exactly how cer­ tain critics and reviewers saw it, identifying Creon as Pierre Laval, the collaborationist face of the German Occupation, and Antigone as the Resistance (see Monférier (1947) 27; García Sola (2009) 256–257; Guérin (2010) 101). It is nonetheless evident that the psychological factor takes on renewed importance in Anouilh’s play. Given those two different components, the same text was able to inspire such different Portuguese rewritings as António Pedro’s politi­ cal version and Hélia Correia’s psychological recreation. The play was first published in 1946, after the Liberation, by Table Ronde, in Paris. Its ­popularity in Europe in the 1950’s had a very clear impact on the Portuguese scene, which, under Salazar’s dictatorship, used Antigone as a protest symbol. In Portugal, Anouilh’s Antigone was probably first staged privately, for a reserved audience, in 1945, in the gardens of the ­Embassy of France (Diário de Lisboa 19. 10. 1946; Silva (1998) 45). This was followed by a sec­ ond performance at the Teatro da Trindade (Lisbon), in 1946, by Le Rideau de Paris. The fact that the country was under a repressive regime probably explains a number of other per­ formances of Anouilh´s play, now by Portuguese companies, both professional and ama­ teur: Teatro Experimental de Lisboa (1957), Companhia de Teatro do Nosso Tempo (1965), ­Primeiro Acto (1969), Associação Recreativa “Plebeus Avintenses” (1971), Grupo E ­ xperimental © koninklijke brill nv, leiden, ���7 | doi 10.1163/9789004340060_007

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as follows: “If I chose Antigone for this attempt at a drama it was only because its theme can give it a certain contemporary character and its form can raise some interesting problems”.2 The path was therefore open to transforming Greek tragedy, in all its solemn dignity, into human drama.3 This was the com­ mon perspective of two European citizens who looked around themselves at a continent in ruins: from the French angle, Anouilh, in the imminence of the liberating conclusion of the Second World War; Brecht, on German territory, in the aftermath of the same devastating conflict. For both authors, it was a case of reformulating a theme that they found potentially interesting as a stage “translation” of their contemporary circumstances through the reshaping of a Greek original which was paradigmatic of the personal and social corrosion that comes with the exercise of absolute, tyrannical power. A similar para­ digmatic conflict thus simultaneously invited a re-visitation of the Antigone myth, resulting in the production of two versions which, in parallel with the Sophoclean text, became a sort of “original” in their own right. Given its relevance for the Portuguese Antigone productions, this essay will focus on Anouilh’s text, emphasizing the new aspects introduced in the play’s rewriting, in line with those that appear to be its two main objectives: first, to adopt a dramatic strategy that could transcend the barriers of both time and place, ensuring that a 20th century (1944) French audience understood and adhered to a Greek original dating back to the 5th century bc; second, adjust­ ing the meaning of a play written for the Athenians, precisely in a post-bellum period where a new social order was being established, to the simultaneously similar and distinct conditions present in Europe during the 1940s.4 As far as dramatic structure is concerned, Anouilh adapted two formal elements – the prologue and the Chorus intervention –, a tradition deeply rooted in ancient Greek drama, to the specific demands of the context wherein its production takes place. Insofar as the prologue’s function has always been

de Teatro de Paço de Arcos (1972); see Silva (1998) 47–53. Manuel Breda Simões, one of the founding members of Teatro Experimental do Porto, was the author of the Portuguese trans­ lation, which was decisive for those performances. 2 Brecht, Antigonemodell, apud M. Breda Simões, in his preface to the Portuguese translation of Anouilh, Antígona: 7. 3 For Pianacci (2008) 67, Anouilh was in truth “midway between an adaptation and an aggior­ namento within the essential conflict in Sophocles’ work”. 4 The publication of a critical edition and the translation of Sophocles’ Antigone in Paris, by Paul Masqueray, was key for the dissemination of the Greek original, both among the audi­ ence and dramatists, i.e., it generated a connivance between a potential author and his/her audience. Anouilh could therefore count on some degree of empathy from the audience for whom he wrote his Antigone.

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that of informing and preparing the audience for the innovative format of a new play inspired by a traditional motif, Anouilh cannot be said to deviate from dramatic convention. However, the possibility of the opening rhesis be­ ing more or less independent from the plot’s development is clearly taken to the extreme, given its content, its higher or lower level of congruity with the unfolding of the story, or even the nature of the character that delivers it. The identity of the character prologízon becomes a mere technical formality, and is materialized in the Prologue. Furthermore, not only is the Prologue endowed with a voice and a physical presence but conventional characters and motifs of the action, the elements that usually give substance to the opening rhesis, are now present before the audience. The desired effect is clarified by a first stage direction: the characters, in the background, have a life of their own, expressed in small gestures – they engage in conversation, in knitting and in card playing – while the Prologue detaches himself from the group and moves downstage.5 And he stands out not only on the stage as also from the dramatic background, conveying a message to the audience and breaking scenic illusion – “Well, here we are” – before explaining that he is external to the plot – “from all of us who sit or stand here, looking at her, not in the least upset ourselves – for we are not doomed to die tonight”, 3;6 he appears as a witness who, like any one of the spectators, watches the performance from the outside. Both in its form and in its objectives, the Prologue is thus clearly oriented towards the extra-scenic. 5 These realistic touches help bring the tragic solemnity of the play down to a human level, ­creating room for a closer contact with the audience. Other resources are added, such as anachronism, which consists in retouching the Sophoclean model with some aggressive strokes of modernity. On the use of this resource see Lasso de la Vega (1981) 28–29. Monférier (1947) 36–37 also believes that in his plays Anouilh liked to introduce his char­ acters “at the moment when the curtain is drawn, engaged in an activity which they carry out without worrying about the audience”, a strategy normally associated with Pirandello. For García Sola (2009) 260, “These characters are outside real time. Moreover since Antiquity they have a role to play and they play it”. In his Portuguese recreation of Antigone, António Pedro will adopt similar strategies; see, below, p. 186–187, 197–200; On the other hand, as we shall see later, Anouilh’s dramatic and scenic choices are decisive as concerns Portuguese author Hélia ­Correia’s handling of Oedipus’ daughter. It may also be interesting to mention the performance model adopted in the first scenic presentation of the play at the Théâtre de l’Atelier. Following the new trends set by Cocteau and Giraudoux, Anouilh also chooses to modernize the scene: dresses are contemporary; the text’s style is plain and ordinary. These are generally the key characteristics of the French avant-garde movement, which, since the beginning of the 20th century, had been promoting the return to the classics in drama. See, above, p. 57–58. 6 For quotations of Anouilh’s play we use Galantière’s translation (1946), the first in English, published not long after the French version of the play was premiered, in 1944.

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The characters are then briefly introduced in their basic traits – look, at­ titude, personality – in a hierarchical order suggestive of their relative weight in the plot. As was usual in Greek theatre, where the opening monologue pro­ vided a means for articulating the traditional myth and the variations pres­ ent in its current version, Anouilh too highlights key changes in his re-reading; in this case, his respect for the Sophoclean tradition, the mask stuck to the name – “when your name is Antigone, there is only one part you can play” (3) – ­becomes clear, as opposed to a different component concerning the old model: that of its renewed creation. A sort of characterization cosmetics intervenes upon the play’s structuring traits, signaling a fundamental dependence on the Sophoclean text while investing the final product with a new meaning.7 This is certainly a recurring process in the history of drama, where the versatility of myths facilitates the reshaping of theatrical tradition. The priority afforded to Antigone leaves no room for doubt as to the character’s central role in the play, for it is her story that is about to be performed. Her characterization develops from the outside to the inside – “That thin little creature sitting by herself, star­ ing straight ahead, seeing nothing is Antigone. She is thinking” (3) – defined by a physical detail in line with her nature as a woman, a penumbral immobility like someone yet to be formed awaiting a molding action to render her visible and bring her to light, an isolation and a lack of interaction with the women around her, a certain want of life. By means of the Prologue’s resounding “She is thinking” Anouilh introduces the contrast between a character molded with new lines, although doomed to re-live the central experience of her forerun­ ner: she “who is about to rise up alone against Creon, her uncle, the King” (3).8 The attentive spectator is led to understand that, although the traditional agon between Antigone and Creon continues to be present, this time the “heroine” is differently designed, possessing a fragility which now limits her will and nar­ rows her choices. Although Anouilh’s programmatic scheme follows the pattern of the ­Sophoclean structure which, to a certain extent, it adopts, the first rupture in­ troduced by the author concerns Ismene (3) – “snatching her away from her 7 It may be relevant to mention Vandromme’s opinion (1975) 33 and his identification of “two voices” in the Prologue: that of fate, with the ability to announce what is to come; and the author’s voice, disclosing the “how” of an action that will lead to a specific ending in an in­ novative play. 8 Besides its potential associations with many of the background elements pertaining to World War ii, Antigone’s myth was also in line with Anouilh’s well-known preference for the subject of the rebelliousness of youth, fighting for the lost purity of a life project, demonstrating and reacting against the status quo and the inconveniences it generates. This topic is also high­ lighted in Anouilh’s Eurydice and Médée.

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sister Ismene” (3). The divergence between the two sisters is now painted in bright, enhanced colors, human even, one might say, for initially Ismene is the girl “whom you see smiling and chatting with that young man” (3). This means that before the events intensify their differences, there are other, more intimate, differences that stem from the very contrast between two female creatures: the one who is silently sitting, looking to and thinking about her future and the other, who leisurely chats with a boy – “the gay and beautiful Ismene” (3) – a radically diverging, two-way life path is suggested, perhaps best described by the dichotomy “normality/abnormality”. “Normality” would be, in Ismene’s case, conforming to a tyrant’s authority, or fear of the curse that could destroy her family, as in Sophocles; aversion to pain coexists in this other Ismene with youthfulness and coquetry, love for an easy, quiet life, caring for the details of her dressing and her juvenile flirting; all of this in contrast with Antigone’s “abnormality”, which is commensurate with her nonconformity to the social nomos. But Antigone’s lesser beauty is nonetheless compensated for by her tragic aura, which inexplicably ensures her Haemon’s preference. Taking priority over even Polynices’ burial, the central issue in the Sopho­ clean plot, other personal and frivolous conflicts already exist between the two very differently natured daughters of Oedipus. The masculine element in this girly dispute is known by the name of Haemon; when everything appeared to draw him close to Ismene, “Antigone and he are engaged to be married” (4). Like the two young women, Creon’s son is also given human traits: “He likes dancing, sports, competition; he likes women, too” (4). The presence of new elements becomes obvious to those who are acquainted with Sophocles’ text: in order to humanize the conflict between the sisters Anouilh gives Antigone’s betrothed more room for action, while in his opening scenes the Greek tragedy writer included but one mention of Haemon, with the character intervening in Antigone’s death sentence only from a distance. In the whole, one perceives a general effect of de-concentration, a multiplication of daily life incidents that strip the story’s “heroes” of their grandeur and enhance the permanently “real­ istic” or common strokes of their portraits. On the other hand, and despite the deep solitude she has chosen, Antigone is perhaps less lonely here since she is surrounded by a number of characters who play opposite her. Positioned at the centre, Creon embodies the very climax of the plot as the “heroine’s” antagonist, the one at whom Antigone’s unsociableness is radically directed. He is obviously supposed to exercise power, but Anouilh also gives his leader of peoples some makeup strokes for the sake of characterization: “gray-haired” and showing “a lined face” (4), Creon reveals the tiredness of one who has gained power by force of circumstances and with some indolent con­ tentedness. Anderson (2012) 614 is right when he writes: “Whereas Sophocles’

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c­ haracter must be crushed by the realization of his personal calamity at the play’s close, Anouilh’s Creon is broken well before his play begins”. Before he took on his traditional role, Creon too had a life of his own, the life of an ele­ gant, sophisticated aristocrat: “He loved music, bought rare manuscripts, was a kind of art patron” (4). When the throne had become vacant after ­Oedipus and his sons were dead, something like a sense of duty transformed the aristocrat into an official: “Creon had to roll up his sleeves and take over the ­kingdom” (4). It becomes evident that there is some sort of weariness about him, a vague awareness of how void and worthless his role is; however, he is mercilessly crushed by his sense of duty, or perhaps even more so by the collective pres­ sure he is subject to. Creon is thus basically an individual without will, or may­ be only a practical-minded person, someone who, for lack of drive, functions somewhat mechanically or is indolently quiescent and accommodative when confronted with the demands of necessity. This is the profile we are initially confronted with in our assessment of Antigone’s opponent. Three types of secondary characters complete the set on scene: two female figures, Eurydice, the aunt, and the Nurse of Oedipus’ daughters, whose traits are emphasized by the author. Eurydice is “the old lady” (4) knitting, a char­ acter of subservient and unvarying passiveness. Her whole dim, silent life is portrayed in her white head and in her constant knitting. Her intervention is clearly defined in the play: she will keep on knitting until she rises from her seat to go and die in the palace’s recesses. Behind Eurydice’s self-effacing and socially withdrawn personality, which causes both members of the royal cou­ ple to feel profoundly lonely, there hides a resplendent soul: “She is a good woman, a worthy, loving soul” (5). Eurydice is close to her woman servants, particularly the Nurse, who, like her, is extremely discreet and who also shares her love for those who are even more fragile than they are: the family girls and the town’s poor. However, she is permanently distant from her husband, Creon, who, for being so much used to her eternal “passiveness”, is utterly unable to re­ alize how angry she felt at Haemon’s death and to foresee the impact it would have upon her fate. There is also a messenger whose role is predefined: that of a harbinger of death and suffering. This character is not amorphous or merely functional, as his antecessors were sometimes supposed to be in old Athenian tragedy; feeling the sorrows that come with his job and sharing the pain he is condemned to usher, the messenger is like a shadow of death, pale, pensive, solitary. Last, the guards, those who execute the king’s orders and occupy the end of the line in human social survival. Their life pattern is one of anonymity; they have vigor (they are “red-faced”, 5) but remain invisible within the group, with no individuality and no bouts of conscience; “but they are not a bad lot”, “they have wives they are afraid of, kids who are afraid of them” (5). Under their

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anonymity and human callousness, there lurks the beast they are so close to become in their inner void, “one smells of garlic, another of beer” (5). They are spineless beings, merely obeying orders, insensitive to the paradox of the acts they are called to perform.9 As he concludes his intervention, and after giving absolute priority to the characters’ design, the Prologue establishes the outline of the action that will set them in motion. The main stages of the plot are the traditional ones: the fratricide of Oedipus’ two heirs who are incompatible as concerns their aspira­ tions to power; the salvation of Thebes combined with the perdition of its rul­ ers; the young men’s funerals in the city, marked by a similar asymmetry, and the announcement of a punishment for those who try to disobey. The sequence is strictly conventional, as defined by Sophocles and retouched by Euripides in some details of his Phoenician Women. Thus, Anouilh makes his desired effect clear: how can mere men and women, similar to any other mortal, respond to the exacting demands of human tragedy in all its grandeur? Therefore, what the French author gave his coeval audience was people rather than events. After this short intervention in the play’s opening, the author’s voice is heard again at a crucial moment of the plot, corresponding to the centre of the storyline, i.e., before the great agon between Antigone and the king. Here the author is represented by the Chorus in his central intervention in the play.10 It could be said that the thoroughly neutral stance of the Chorus, of unspecified gender, age or status, makes him a mere functional voice, perhaps closer to a comic parabasis than to a tragedy’s stasimon. It is as if the Aristo­ tle of Poetics was given a voice in the interval between two scenes to theorize on the deep meaning of what is called a “tragedy”. His words are a reflection meant only for the extra-scenic with no direct impact on the events. He does however evaluate the meaning of the dramatic text which he also watches as a spectator, as a kind of guide for the audience. 9

10

Monférier (1947) 65 suggests that the figure of the Guard represents a contribution to the Sophoclean model by Anouilh; while in Sophocles the character is “frightened and moralizing”, in Anouilh’s play the Guard has also a stupid side to himself, becoming, in Monférier’s words, “the caricature of a contemporary professional soldier or policeman”. Taquin (1998) 58 argues that, given their function in the play, the characters named ­“Prologue” and “Chorus” are really equivalent. They perform at key moments of a twopart play: the first where the characters are introduced and the conflict is established; the second where the consequences of such disputes develop. We can hear them at the beginning, in the interval between the two blocks, and again at the conclusion: “He opens (…) closes, (…) and approximately in the middle he draws attention to the moment where the play’s mechanics requires only the unfolding of inescapable consequences”.

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This choral intervention establishes the nature of the text the character is watching; it is a tragedy, despite the presence of some elements of contem­ porary bourgeois drama. The chorus speculates on the ultimate meaning of a tragedy as well as on how it develops from the human individual towards the universal and paradigmatic. It all starts in the normality of everyday gestures, “a glance at a girl who happens to be lifting her arms to her hair as you go by” (23). Then comes a touch of magic, in a vague desire for “a little respect paid to you today” (23), redeeming what is meaningless and innocuous. Add to all of that “the excess”, “one question too many, idly thrown out over a friendly drink” (23), and you have human contribution stimulating a higher power, called the gods, or fate. From then on, suspense is excluded on behalf of an implacable fatality that condemns the frailty of the human condition to a catastrophic ending. From the moment the machinery of life is set on, “the rest is automatic. You don’t need to lift a finger. The machine is in perfect order; it has been oiled ever since time began, and it runs without friction” (23). To a sort of convention that rules life there corresponds theatre convention itself, whose mission is to “reproduce” (mimeîsthai) that same life; “storm, tears, stillness” (23) are also waiting. Essentially, tragedy holds no surprises, “tragedy is clean, it is restful, it is flawless” (23). One is reminded of Jean Cocteau’s fa­ mous name for that constancy, la machine infernale. Any attempt to arrest its progress is as useless as it is silly. Life, just like tragedy, is constructed and pro­ gresses according to a permanent pattern of its own. The literary genre later labeled as “melodrama” has none of tragedy’s gravity; it allows for adventure and the unpredictable, and it can also accommodate hope for salvation and a happy ending. Intrinsic to it is also, after the error, frailty before the powers that command the universe: “Tragedy is restful; and the reason is that hope, that foul, deceitful thing has no part in it. There isn’t any hope. You’re trapped” (24). And when we are caught, the only thing we can do in response to this extreme pressure is “shout” and experience pain to its limit, for tragic pain is extreme, groaning or wailing being too weak to express it. Anouilh’s vision of the tragic hero is nihilistic, probably as a consequence of the overwhelming circumstances that surrounded him. His “hero” does not raise his head to face the destiny that threatens him. He surrenders, like a mouse, allows himself to be crushed, has no grandeur. But that is the only context where one is allowed to verbalize, to shout out what one has to say. This is the deep meaning of the tragic: that which transforms the small unhappiness of each individual life in a human paradigm, that which grants dignity and glory to the insignificance of each creature, that which unleashes occult and powerful, anonymous, distant and overwhelming powers above the low ground of life. More than the action,

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tragedy is the word, an invitation to learn through suffering and to verbalize the hidden meaning of human contingency.11 Considering the apparatus of the author’s reflections on his proposed re­ turn to the Greek models before an audience that was quite different from the 5th century bc Athenians, let us now analyze the fundamental elements in Anouilh’s choices concerning the old myth and its decisive dramatic readings. Quoting Brecht, Breda Simões notes in his preface: A resistência simbolizada pela figura central da tragédia de Sófocles não tem comum medida e imediata relação com a resistência francesa à ocu­ pação ou com a resistência alemã à opressão. O que os dois dramatur­ gos pretenderam foi apresentar a trágica ambiguidade de uma situação ­concreta – um tipo de tragédia diferente da grega, onde o homem já se não encontra cega e inevitavelmente submetido a um destino, abstrac­ to e inflexível, mas se situa num plano concreto no qual o destino do homem é o homem. (The resistance symbolized in the central character of Sophocles’ tragedy is not comparable, or immediately relatable to the French resistance to occupation, or to the German resistance to oppression. Both playwrights meant to portray the tragic ambiguity of a concrete situation – a type of tragedy that is different from Greek tragedy, where man is no longer blindly and inevitably submitted to an abstract and inflexible fate, but rather finds himself in a concrete plan in which man’s destiny is man.)12 Just like Sophocles, Anouilh concentrates the climax of his action in the ­confrontation between Antigone and Creon. However, around that symbolic conflict between the individual and the political, the author develops the per­ sonality of each of the contenders, multiplies their traits, and surrounds them with other characters to play opposite to; in sum, he materializes their nature and their humanity. Anouilh clearly introduces psychological data, in detri­ ment of what was essential in Sophocles: the higher order of the world before the grandeur that exists in mankind under their seeming frailty. As a result, the final effect of each of the two options may be said to be contradictory. 11

12

From these considerations, Vandromme (1975) 34 identifies the “paradox” underlying Anouilh’s version of Antigone: on the one hand, there is a desire to break with the pa­ thetic and to question the distant solemnity of tragedy; on the other, there is the intention to return to that which is most crucial in it, i.e., life’s portraits. Breda Simões, in the preface to his Portuguese translation of Anouilh (8).

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Up to the agon, all attentions are turned to Antigone, a character drawn through her adolescent girl’s objects of affection – her Nurse, her sister, her betrothed – and who is committed to breaking all the links that might connect her with any common patterns of happiness. Although the Nurse is a salient character in Greek tragedy,13 Sophocles did not include it in his Antigone; thus, even though derived from pure classical inspiration, this Nurse is Anouilh’s own original contribution.14 Even if she shares with previous Nurses an affec­ tive closeness to her lady, Anouilh’s Nurse has the specific function of taking on the role of mother after the death of Iocasta. The woman feels she has a duty to answer for her performance before the memory of the deceased queen (“… I promised to her dead mother that I’d make a lady of her” (8)). Her concern is to protect the two orphaned girls, Antigone and Ismene, like a caring mother, to defend them, to take care of them, and to tuck them in at bedtime, for affection is also expressed through small gestures.15 Of the two, the Nurse has a clear preference for Antigone, although, due to personality differences, there will always be an insurmountable barrier standing in the way of their relationship. But even though Antigone shares her Nurse’s dedication – this in fact being the sole affection in her emotionally elusive soul – the latter is unable to pen­ etrate either the strangeness of her personality or the meaning of her actions. That is the truth that emerges from the meeting of the two characters which Anouilh anticipates, altering the Sophoclean structure, since it becomes the root of the first Antigone, the child that starts developing her affections. Their dialogue about the girl’s unusual absence “at four o’clock in the morning” (9) is 13

14 15

Some of these Nurses have become famous, such as, for example, Orestes’s Nurse in Aeschylus’ Choephorae as well as those Euripides gave his Medea and Phaedra (Medea and Hippolytus). Despite adjustments made according to each poet’s preferences or their different contexts, the tragic Nurse incorporates a set of traditional traits. She tends to be an elderly woman, long employed by the family. That is the reason why she is knowledge­ able about her masters and mistresses’ lives, with details connecting the past and the future. Her voice on stage comments, firmly and assuredly, on more things than would be expected from a mere servant. Within the family she is closest to her mistress, albeit their relationship may be not exempt from conflict; since they are both women, they under­ stand each other; however there is also a degree of latent animosity and competition, as creatures whom life has treated with diverse levels of generosity. On the characterization of this theatrical type, see Silva (2005a) 167–193; Silva (2005b) 123–125. This new element introduced by Anouilh is also present in modern rewritings, including those by María Zambrano and Hélia Correia. Lasso de la Vega (1981) 22–23 stresses the importance in contemporary versions of the classical myths of the concept of “before” and “after”, i.e., of character’s life path, which makes it possible to “multiply the psychological variations it includes”. This is a strong topic in Anouilh, responding to the preferences of a modern mentality.

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a good expression of that conspicuous lack of understanding. The Nurse strives to find some “normality” in the erratic, idiosyncratic behavior of her proté­ gée, who rejoices in her difference as well as in the solitude she cultivates – “do you think that if a person got up every morning like this, it would be just as thrilling every morning to be the first girl out-of-doors?” (7); “there wasn’t a soul out of doors but me, who thought that it was morning. Don’t you think it’s marvelous – to be the first person who is aware that it is morning?” (7) The quid pro quo that animates the whole dialogue derives from the shock caused by a breach of the routine: the Nurse seeks an explanation for the girl’s early morning evasion in a romantic rendezvous with a boyfriend, suspecting her in­ difference and carelessness about her dress; asked about the strange “meeting”, of which her uncle, the family patriarch, will certainly be informed, Antigone answers evasively.16 Despite the obvious lack of understanding that stems from the collision between the “concrete, common” mind of the old woman and Antigone’s contrasting exceptionality, the Nurse is still the only interlocutor for the deep affection and the fondness of which Oedipus’ daughter is capable. For Antigone, the tenderness of childhood is also re-experienced through her dog, a mischievous little pet affectionately named “Puff”, ready to “make a mess all over the place” (15) and whom the domestic order cannot resist – a bit like her mistress Antigone –, and for whom unlimited understanding and tolerance are requested. To a certain extent, Antigone projects her own image onto the dog, and, in spite of the animal’s annoying behavior, she asks that she be given kind­ ness, sweet words, and caresses; and, if by any chance her young owner should disappear and the dog be too unhappy, then “the best thing might be to have her mercifully put to sleep” (15) – a fate similar to Antigone’s own when she loses a loved one. The dialogue between the two sisters is introduced in the context of this intimacy. Sophocles’ echoes are apparent here; however, before the subject is focused on the act of burying Polynices, against Creon’s orders, and on its dan­ gerous consequences, Anouilh emphasizes some personal details concerning the two interlocutors. Like a force commanded by nature itself, at this d­ ecisive 16

Antigone’s obdurate silence about an act that she had already performed, in open defi­ ance of the king’s orders, turns her into a more unruly and exceptional spirit than her classical model. She does not confess her intentions even to her Nurse, whom she genu­ inely loves. This is only the first of a number of other ruptures: with her sister, with whom she sets up a confrontation instead of sharing her feelings and her plans, and with her lov­ ing fiancée from whom she demands that he tacitly renounce his dreams. Taquin (1998) 31 defines this as “radical solitude”. In accordance to this character trait, the opening scene, between Antigone and the Nurse, lacks the informational nature it would normally pos­ sess, which is in this case anticipated by the Prologue.

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moment the traditional opposition between the two is expanded, to their child­ hood, to their “ever”. Its motifs are quite significant, even if they seem to be but superficial details. Ismene had always been more beautiful, more relaxed, “normal”, all qualities Antigone tends to envy about her elder sister. ­Precisely because Anouilh made her older than Antigone, it is quite appropriate that she be the voice of prudence and sensibility. She knows about Antigone’s intention, has “slept” on it, and having taken the time to ponder the problem she can now express her considered opinion. Manifesting her rejection of Antigone’s plan, to their physical contrast, which has hitherto been the center of their apparent differences, Ismene adds the intimate contrast between the different mean­ ings each of the girls brings to the notion of “good sense”. This is the main issue in the agon between the two sisters, which can be said to be but a rehearsal of the one which is to take place between Antigone and Creon. “Understand” (11) is the word that has separated the two young women since their childhood; to Ismene, “understand” means “to accept” the rules, which for Antigone is equivalent to “conformism”, being subservient to the nomos, a household rule and a rule of life, with no room for difference or transgression. To the tyrant power of the nomos Antigone reacts on the impulses of her physis, both in her small daily gestures – like playing with cold water and spilling it on the floor tiles or playing with earth and getting one’s dress dirty, giving everything one has to a beggar, drinking cold water when one is hot – and in the major choices of her life. She is preparing for an equivalent deviation, transposed now to the social and political order of Thebes. In contrast to Ismene, who is guided by the conventional order of the status quo, Antigone rises not only against the king as the incarnation of that discipline but also, through him, against the whole community (“a thousand arms will seize our arms. A thousand breaths will breathe into our faces. Like one single pair of eyes, a thousand eyes will stare at us”, 12). At the back of this cohesive line made up of an anonymous crowd, there will be the guards, the paradigm of amorphous and unconscious subjection, “with their idiot faces all bloated, their animal hands clean-washed for the sacrifice, their beefy eyes squinting as they stare at us” (12). Antigone re­ acts to this hierarchical degradation, which originates in the king and extends to the humblest executors of his will, and her rejection of it finds a pretext to manifest itself in Polynices’ funeral. In the dialogue recreated by Anouilh the transgressor shows no aggressiveness towards her sister, whom she might con­ sider weak when compared to her own desire to become a hero. She does not really ask Ismene to join her in her deed. The day before she had been asked to do so, she slept on it and now her answer is no. Therefore, the clash between the two sisters is distended and loses its intensity. And in fact, during that night Antigone did act on her own. The new Antigone is a human creature who does

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not possess the courage of a hero, who is sensitive to the impulse of life but too small to face the grandness of the act she is planning. In this new version, she is driven by nonconformity, being incompatible not with life in itself but rather with a certain pattern of life that she totally rejects. Those around her might say that she is “mad”, the radical translation for a difference that is nei­ ther understood nor tolerated. However, as Monférier 1947: 49 sums up, “while she seems to have forgotten her brother, Antigone transforms her gesture into a true anarchistic revolt against all those who have demanded her obedience since she was a child”. The same attitude persists, perhaps with more impact, in the next scene, between Antigone and Haemon, her fiancée. This meeting is not present in Sophocles’ play, where Haemon’s relationship with Antigone, rather than con­ centrate on its affective dimension, serves to judge Creon’s order. In Anouilh this attitude is in line with a whole set of traits that emphasize its sentimen­ tal and psychological dimensions. Antigone’s fragility before her more beauti­ ful sister is duplicated in her relationship with her fiancée. In an involuntary urge to emulate her, she gets Ismene’s perfumes, cosmetics and dresses from her dressing-table. In Haemon’s presence, her first gesture is one of affection, expressed in an effusive embrace; but soon does the determining contradic­ tion in Antigone’s soul speak louder, starting to demolish the dream of a life in common. For also in this case the “normality” of a conjugal relationship does not suit her. Any attempt to “be like the rest”, expressed in juvenile futility, is frustrated; however, when she chooses to be herself, different and incompre­ hensible, the dialogue is broken; she herself does not allow it to go on, reduc­ ing her interlocutor to a mere listener, making him promise that he will keep silent. With no opportunity to refute, Haemon will have to hear his dreams being torn in the unexpected cry of the woman he loves: “I shall never, never be able to marry you, never” (19). Despite the fact that what seems to him to be a revelation, a surprising revelation at that, is in fact a cloak that covers underly­ ing intentions; what does Antigone mean by this “I shall never, never be able to marry you, never”? Is it because she has different plans for her life? Or is it because marriage is incompatible with her nature? After a polyedral process centered on Antigone’s characterization, we ar­ rive at the confrontation between Creon and the rebel young woman, a mo­ ment which is also climactic in the Sophoclean play. Simultaneously the civic context replaces the personal and the family level. A long dialogue between the guards, terrified with the transgression they had detected, and their sover­ eign sharply illustrates the structure of submission underlying the design of a city like Thebes. The guards’ reports, with their emphasis on bureaucratic and hierarchical issues – “Sir, I’ve been seventeen years in the service. Volunteer.

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Wounded three times. Two mentions. My record’s clean. I know my business and I know my place. I carry out orders” (20) – prosaically17 establish the op­ pressive machinery within which the action, which is now collective, devel­ ops. The message about the mysterious author of the rituals meant to protect Polynices’ body from the rapacity of vultures is Sophoclean. The absence of vestiges, which in the Athenian author suggests the intervention of divinity, is replaced in Anouilh by “a shovel, a kid’s shovel no bigger than that, all rusty and everything” (21), an object which in its insignificance changes the whole mean­ ing of the scene: the hand that confronts Creon is not divine – it originates in a very human childhood memory.18 The relief felt by the guards is also, nota­ bly in their coarse remarks, the image of a fearful self-annulment which, after the discharge of the chief’s orders, is manifested in their celebrations under the gloomy shade of a tavern. Indirectly, the grotesque nature of this dialogue helps prepare the authoritarian profile of the dictator who is soon to arrive. However, Anouilh surprises his audience with Creon’s characterization, now beginning to develop in more detail. In spite of holding to his role as keeper of the State’s law and order, he is accommodating, gentle, more inclined to save Antigone from what he believes to have been a thoughtless act than to condemn her. To have Antigone killed would be a spark of tragicalness which would have nothing to do with the common, skinny adolescent before him; and Creon himself is too prosaic and objective to be an imposing hero. The truth is that tradition gave him the infamous role in the story, but the author deprived him of the determination of the classical, brute tyrant and made him hesitate. As Taquin (1998) 48 explains, to the use of force Anouilh’s Creon adds argument, trying to persuade Antigone to give up her plans. Through Creon’s confrontation with his niece, a contrast between two personalities is also set. In “Oedipus’ daughter” the new king catches a glimpse of fatherly pride, the 17

18

In modern rewritings of Antigone the character of the Guard tends to include stronger caricatural traces. This new tone is clearly present in Anouilh and will also be adopted by António Pedro, one of the Portuguese Antigone authors. Vandromme (1975) 17 identifies all those signs of childhood memory – the young woman’s strong connection with her nanny and the little dog, her unexpected use of objects per­ taining to that time of her life, the old shovel toy with which she means to dig her broth­ er’s grave – as a sign that Antigone “is twenty years old but is still a little girl who does not want to become an adult”, and finds room for her anarchistic freedom in those memories. That is the reason why she feels more inclined to respond to the claims of her physis than to the impositions of the nomos. Taquin (1998) 21 highlights some common elements be­ tween this reading – where the connection with childhood and adolescent values leads a character to refuse accepting reality because it is too mediocre – and Anouilh’s previous plays (L’Hermione, Le voyageur sans bagage, La sauvage).

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desire for greatness and heroism of one who deems “human misery as not enough to satisfy his passion for torment” (30) and needs to brave fate and death. Those are the ones who act according to the name they bear, Oedipus’ or Antigone’s, and their eternal classical resonance. The beauty that renders them magnificent resides in their adhering to their tragedy, with no room for hope; and thus they become invested with a superhuman splendor. As for Creon, he inaugurates a new Theban dynasty, that of the “princes with no history”, i.e., in the modern transposition of tragedy, he has the heroicness of playing the part of a common human being. He himself defines the basic features of his new personality: “My name, thank God, is only Creon. I stand here with both feet on the ground; with both hands in my pockets; and I have decided that so long as I am king – being less ambitious than your father was – I shall merely devote myself to introducing a little order into this absurd kingdom; if that is possible. Don’t think that being a King seems to me romantic. It is my trade; a trade a man has to work at every day; and like every other trade, it isn’t all beer and skittles” (30–31). He harbors no illusions and allows himself no dreams. However, the Theban king is cold enough to accept the mere simplicity of daily life and to voice a basic survival instinct. The agon is thus based upon the presumption of a conflict between two creatures who are closer and more real, being separated also by a generation gap,19 with Antigone proclaiming that she must fulfill what she believes is her duty while Creon declares that he is upholding what he considers to be his “law”. The higher will of the gods or the imposition of universal order are absent from this merely human confrontation, invested with political mean­ ing, and cede their place to – in Anderson’s words (2012) 613 – “a clash of two all-consuming life philosophies, in which the experienced realist attempts to disillusion the naive romantic”. The new king even ironizes about traditional motifs: “Do you believe all that flummery about religious burial? (…) Have you ever listened to the priests of Thebes when they were mumbling their formula? Have you ever watched those dreary bureaucrats while they were preparing the dead for burial – skipping half the gestures required by the ritual, swallowing half their words, hustling the dead into their graves out of fear that they might be late for lunch?” (32). And, as concerns the two bodies, can any ­difference be 19

In fact, Creon deals with Antigone’s rebelliousness as if it were but a feeling generated by immaturity, which time would set right. He himself had experienced it in his youth (41), before losing his reactive vitality and taking on the prudent and resigned stance of an adult. Taquin (1998) 50 identifies this understanding of Creon as a result of what the character learns in this agon. As for Antigone, from this confrontation she gains an aware­ ness of the true meaning of her claim, nothing but rebelliousness and the pose of a hero.

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discerned between them? Are they not simply indiscriminate human spoils mistaken for each other to the point where the hero cannot be separated from the traitor? In fact, differently from the warriors of past times, the image that now stands out is that of two adolescent tavern-goers, young men with no law or values, who can only be redeemed by imagination.20 All these motives, which correspond to Creon’s arguments, prove to be effective because they rob Antigone of any ideals to fight for. The whole questioning in fact reveals how uncertain and confused the young girl’s motives are in her mind. Without her predecessor’s key argument – defending the supreme authority of the gods or her duty towards her dead relatives in the name of an essential affective bond  –, Antigone has to confess the deep selfishness behind her willfulness; she acts “For nobody. For myself” (33). The big test Creon faces is that of confronting the ambiguity of a situation he cannot control. He must “choose” – and this choice is his great drama – ­between the functional duties of a bureaucrat and the feelings of an uncle who wants to save his niece. To preserve the logic of the role he must play, he resorts to cold, formal order, devoid of sentiments and common sense, submitting to the impositions of a decadent State; he thus becomes a cynic and, although he is too sensitive to be a good tyrant, he nonetheless ends up by sentencing Antigone to death. Having come to power simply because he was unable to refuse it, the authority he exerts is guided by his inability to say “no”. His notion of society – after having made an effort to “understand” it – is that of a pro­ foundly controversial and decadent anonymous collective, “laden with crimes, with stupidity and with misery”. He believed his duty was to say yes in response to the need for a firm hand to steer the ungoverned ship; but he was too modest and too common to be equal to the greatness of that mission. Although Antigone claims to be a vindicator of Love, in total opposition to the king, she too is but a victim, surrendering to her own paradoxical and in­ compatible nature, permanently experiencing conflict when faced with the re­ ality of situations. In contrast to Creon, who tends to always say “yes”, Antigone not only maintains her ability to say “no” to anything she dislikes but she also becomes, equally excessively, unable to say “yes” to anything at all. In her, obsti­ nacy is visceral, intuitive, devoid of reason – “I am not here to understand” (37). What she expects from life is excessive and utopian: “I want everything of life, I do; and I want it now! I want it total, complete; otherwise I reject it! I will not

20

The issues raised by Anouilh’s Creon are a kind of interpellation of Sophocles’ religious and political arguments: the duty to bury the two bodies and the role of each of Oedipus’ sons concerning their citizenship.

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be moderate” (42). As Breda Simões rightly remarks,21 “Antígona é o exemplo da existência não realizada, da falta de vocação para a convivência” (“Antigone is the paradigm of an unfulfilled existence, of the lack of a convivial vocation”). As he did before concerning divine order, Anouilh now deconstructs the role that had always belonged to Polynices. From being evidence for a crime against the obedience due to themis, his exposed body is now reduced to a foul-smelling piece of flesh whose only meaning, if any, is of a political nature. It functions as a practical lesson for Thebes to learn, with Creon stripping it from any kind of irrational obstinacy: he could have had it buried, at least for reasons of public hygiene, but he decided he would not. He acts without con­ viction, guided only by the need to promote order around him, as a paradigm like any other. He believes that it comes with the job, as he puts it, those con­ sequences of his exercise of a power he separates from himself, like a mere job. Antigone’s conviction also “comes with the job”. However, before he takes up his uncongenial role, Creon also makes an effort to clarify his opponent’s role, which is traditionally the sympathetic one. For that he seeks to disparage the relationship between Polynices and his sister. What foundations support the love Antigone is ready to die for? A fragile illusory object created by her ado­ lescent’s imagination. Adolescence had erased her memories of her two elder brothers who used to break her toys when she was a child and who always caused quarrels and conflicts; instead, she took refuge in admiration, the type of admiration an immature girl feels for the manly vitality of her older siblings. That natural inclination prevented her from “seeing” reality as it was: Eteocles and Polynices were but two rakehells, irresponsible and reckless young men who later became criminals in their wish to rob their father of the Theban throne to satisfy their discreditable ambition. Eteocles’ State funerals were but a political façade covering up a sad truth: the hero was no better than the trai­ tor; and more, after the fratricidal war, no one ever really knew to which of the two brothers belonged the remains to be abandoned or buried. Anouilh completely eliminates the idea of a duty toward the death, of any sentimental connection with Polynices, or of an opposition between Thebes’ defender and its attacker. Consequently, his Antigone really does act for her own sake, her brother being nothing but an excuse for her behavior. That is why as the whole agon unfolds she is not given the opportunity to stand up for her principles in a rhesis; all she must state, in persistent laconic sentences, is her irrational willfulness. We are thus left to witness a kind of suicide, which Anouilh uses to “set a contrast between the aspiration to purity that drives an adolescent 21

(1965) 11.

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girl and the need for daily compromise”.22 After the conclusion of the agon, the action is then principally focused on Creon. In accordance with tradition, he becomes the object of all manner of accusations: Haemon’s, who cries out against both the execution of his bride and the shattering of Creon’s image as a kind, understanding father;23 Eurydice’s, who finally puts down her knitting, the work of her whole lifetime, and kills herself, taking refuge in silence. Creon settles back into his routine which is, within the life he chose, his hell. Like a true bureaucrat, in Highet’s words (1971) 536, after Antigone hangs herself, af­ ter his own son denounces him prior to committing suicide, and his wife cuts her throat, all he does is sigh deeply and go about his business, presiding over a Cabinet meeting: he is as dead as all the others. Those are the new contours of an Antigone made to conform to the 20th century experience. More than Antigone’s maladjustment, it is probably Creon who particularly speaks to modern sensitivity. He incarnates the only possibil­ ity of existence in a decadent world, he is the man crushed by multiple con­ tradictions. An obvious conformist, he nonetheless fights when faced by the choices imposed by daily violence. Although aware of the fact that he has been trapped in the system, Creon lacks the strength to liberate himself; his tragical­ ity is that of submission, lacking the utopian grandeur of heroes.

22 23

Monférier (1947) 113. In his attitude, Haemon shares Antigone’s immaturity and juvenile illusion. The shatter­ ing of his father’s tutelary image and the pain it causes him to feel clearly show how psy­ chologically dependent he was upon his parent. Taquin (1998) 53 concludes that, when compared with the young man, “Creon seems to be a sensible, quite generous father, who wishes to break up his son’s baneful illusion and exhort him to become a man”. Again we have the generation gap motif, also salient in Creon and Antigone’s agon.

chapter 6

Seven Reflections on María Zambrano’s La Tumba de Antígona (Antigone’s Tomb) Andrés Pociña and Aurora López 1

Studies before 2012

There exists at present a vast critical corpus on María Zambrano’s (1904–1991)1 La tumba de Antígona mainly produced in the last thirty years,2 to which can be added an important proliferation of studies on the author’s life and works, especially from a philosophical point of view. As we have insistently emphasized in two of our recent works,3 most of those studies were published before the Virginia Trueba Mira 2012 edition of Zambrano’s play4 which, as will be explained, includes an important number of texts and references on La tumba de Antígona that had not been considered previously and which offer new approaches to the play, notably as a dramatic piece. It thus becomes evident that the extensive bibliography mentioned and used in this essay should in fact be 1 María Zambrano (Vélez-Málaga, 1904–Madrid, 1991) was the most important cultivator of philosophy in Spain in the 20th century; a disciple of philosophers as prestigious as José Zubiri and José Ortega y Gasset, among others, her thought is reflected in a vast written production, which is still now being recuperated and published, for she lived a troubled life due to her confrontation with the fascist dictatorship implemented in Spain after the Civil War (1936–1939); as a result, Zambrano had to go into exile in 1939, having subsequently lived for many years in European countries, especially France and Italy, and in Latin America. After the dictator’s death, her return to Spain was accompanied by her recognition as a leading fi­ gure in contemporary Spanish thought. An example of this recognition was, from the literary point of view, the Cervantes Prize she was awarded in 1988. Her great passion for the paradigmatic figure of Antigone was present in numerous writings during her life, until it reached its most successful manifestation in the drama La tumba de Antígona, published in 1967, which has been studied from a number of different perspectives and which we can now better appreciate thanks to its 2012 edition with its wealth of data, comments and notes, edited by Virginia Trueba Mira (see Zambrano 2012). 2 E.g., Castillo (1983), Johnson (1997), Morey (1997), Picklesimer (1998), Nieva de la Paz (1999), Prieto Pérez (1999), Santiago Bolaños (2010), Moretón (2011), Lázaro Paniagua (2012), Camacho Rojo (2012), López – Pociña (2015), etc. 3 López 2015; López – Pociña (2015). 4 Zambrano (2012).

© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, ���7 | doi 10.1163/9789004340060_008

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revised if we wish to achieve a more adequate and more correct approach to Zambrano’s text. 2

An Unacceptable Neglect

Zambrano’s La tumba de Antígona and its nearly contemporaneous play by José Bergamín, La sangre de Antígona5 (Antigone’s blood), are texts of deep philosophical substance, written around the 1950s, which makes their absence from George Steiner’s Antigones utterly inexplicable since the book was published in 1984 and soon translated and disseminated in its Spanish version6 as well as in other languages, missing the new insights which the inclusion of the two Spanish rewrites of the tragedy would have certainly afforded it. The most recent studies on Zambrano’s play highlight with some surprise this hardly admissible absence in Steiner’s book, which is often enthusiastically – and, in our opinion, somewhat excessively – praised by its critics.7 Probably María Zambrano’s play would not have failed to interest Steiner’s scant attention in Spanish philosophy and culture if, after being published, it had elicited the literary and the stage reception it certainly deserved – or if José Bergamín’s play had been staged, with Salvador Bacarisse’s musical score for which it was supposed to serve as a libretto, as a musical drama to be directed by Roberto Rossellini himself in 1956, and the role of Antigone entrusted to Ingrid Bergman herself.8 Unfortunately, however, none of the two plays enjoyed the 5 First published in Primer Acto 198, 1983 (Bergamín 1983). José Bergamín (Madrid, 1897–San Sebastián, 1983) was a famous Spanish poet, novelist and playwright of the 20th century, and a member of the “generación del 27” (“generation of 1927”). Within his extremely vast literary output, some of his works, including El moscardón de Toledo (The blowfly of Toledo), can be included in the so-called “teatro de urgencia” (“theater of urgency”) which emerged during the civil war, manifesting the opposition to the military uprising that eventually lead to a dictatorial regime in Spain. A consistently innovative playwright, he used to describe his work, most of which written in exile, as “toreo de salón” (“parlor bullfighting”), because, according to him, in the absence of public, it was like theater to be read at home. Fortunately, after the adverse circumstances imposed by the ignorance and the political censorship that dominated Spain during a long period of forty years were overcome, the quality of Bergamín’s dramas could finally be confirmed on the stage; two good examples are two of his plays inspired in classic subjects: Medea, la encantadora (Medea, the sorceress) (published in Montevideo, 1954), and La sangre de Antígona (Antigone’s blood). 6 Steiner (1991). 7 See, e.g., Iglesias (2005) 26; Trueba Mira (2012) 13; etc. 8 See, Bañuls Oller – Crespo Alcalá (2008) 373.

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immediate reception­they deserved, for the main reason that both Zambrano’s and Bergamín’s lives and circumstances were extremely difficult, with both authors being constantly harassed by the interminably long dictatorial regime in Spain. Habent sua fata libelli… 3

An Essentially Dramatic Text: Antigone in María Zambrano

A key aspect to be taken into consideration resides in the fact that María Zambrano’s interest in Antigone, in both her work and her thought, dates back to well before 1967, the commonly cited date of publication of her play because it is the year in which La tumba de Antígona was first published in Mexico.9 In fact, the fundamental 2012 edition we have just mentioned as an indispensable reference is entitled La tumba de Antígona y otros textos sobre el persona­je trágico10 (Antigone’s tomb and other texts on the tragic character) because, besides other manuscript documents closely related with María Zambrano’s dramatic work, notably three texts on the subject of Antigone, it includes: first, “Delirio de Antígona” (“Antigone’s delirium”) (239–251), published in 1948 in Orígenes. Revista de Arte y Literatura (La Habana), dedicated “A mi hermana Araceli” (“to my sister Araceli”); second, “El personaje autor: Antígona” (“The author-character: Antigone”) (253–262), a chapter of her book El sueño creador (The creating dream), published in México in 1965;11 and last, “Antígona o de la guerra civil” (“Antigone or on the civil war”) (263–265), a text corresponding to a notebook dated Rome 1958. To those there must be added: “Cuaderno de Antígona (M-404)” (“Antigone notebook”) (267–278), a manuscript dated 1948; “Cuadernos de Antígona (M-264)” (“Antigone notebooks”) (279–285), dated Rome 1962, although probably written in 1948.12 All those documents, both the ones that had been published and the manuscripts, dating back to before La tumba de Antígona was put into print, demonstrate María Zambrano’s deep and long-lived interest in the mythical figure of Antigone and should not be ignored in a correct approach to the play, a rewriting produced on the basis of a number of philosophical, ideological and existential principles which render it significantly different from its most obvious

9

10 11 12

M. Zambrano 1967. In the same year La tumba de Antígona is also published in Madrid (Revista de Occidente 54 (1967) 273–293), although in fact it was really only the Prologue to the play. M. Zambrano 2012. See Trueba Mira (2012) 124. See again Trueba Mira’s detailed study (2012) 124.

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hypotext, Sophocles’ tragedy Antigone. In 1948, when she published “Delirio de Antígona”, María Zambrano was in Paris, after more than eight years of exile traveling through several countries in America, and she was living with her sister Araceli, who had been a victim of Nazi savagery, as had also her husband. The philosopher’s adoration for her sister, who is her real Antigone in the flesh, is undeniable; in 1948 she dedicates “Delirio de Antígona” to her, and almost twenty years later, in 1967, she again dedicates La tumba de Antigona to Araceli. During the years between the two publications, Zambrano had not stopped thinking and writing about the mythical maid, a tragic victim. As a matter of fact, even if the 1948 story begins by recalling the fundamental phases and vicissitudes of Antigone’s existence as in Sophocles’s tragedy, it nonetheless includes a perfectly designed outline as well as the key elements of the author’s personal vision of the heroine, which was soon to be developed in detail; in point of fact, the first text offers the following excellent summary: Antígona, según nos cuenta Sófocles, se ahorcó en su cámara mortuoria. Por mucho que nos atemorice el respeto al Autor de su poética existencia, parece imposible de aceptar tal fin. No, Antígona, la piadosa, nada sabía de sí misma, ni siquiera que podía matarse; esta rápida acción le era extraña y antes de llegar a ella – en el supuesto de que fuera su adecuado final – tenía que entrar en una larga galería de gemidos y ser presa de innumerables delirios; su alma tenía que revelarse y aun rebelarse. Su vida no vivida había de despertar. Ella tuvo que vivir en delirio lo que no vivió en el tiempo que nos está concedido a los mortales. Le fue quitado su tiempo entre los vivos dejándoselo – ironía de la condena – entre las sombras. Su ser de doncella perteneció, desde el instante en que se decidió a prestar al cadáver de su hermano las honras debidas, al reino de la sombra.13 (Sophocles tells us that Antigone hanged herself in her burial chamber. Much as we may fear and respect the Author of her poetic existence, it seems impossible to accept that ending. No, Antigone, the compassionate one, knew nothing about herself, not even that she could take her own life; this quick action was foreign to her and before doing it – assuming that it was the right ending for her – she would have to enter a long gallery of wails and fall prey to innumerable deliria; her soul would have to be revealed and even rebel. Her unlived life would have to waken. She had to live in delirium what she had not lived during the time that is granted to us mortals. Her time amongst the living was taken away, leaving­it – the 13

Zambrano (2012) 241.

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irony of her sentence – in the shadows. Her maiden life belonged, from the moment she decided to duly honor her brother’s body, to the kingdom of shadow.) Nevertheless, Antigone’s short temporal existence converts her into a subject of highly transcendent deeds which determine her actions in a very abrupt manner. She says in her first “delirium”: “Nacida para el Amor me ha devorado la Piedad, y qué hacer con estas entrañas que gimen y siento por primera vez cuando ya no es tiempo” (247) (“Born for Love, Pity has devoured me, and what am I to do with these wailing entrails that I feel for the first time when it is no longer time”). The key action which, among others, predetermines Antigone as a character who authors her own sacrifice is condensed in the philosopher’s words: Lo que el destino propuso a Antígona fue cumplir una acción muy simple, rescatar el cadáver de su hermano, muerto en una guerra civil, para rendirle las honras fúnebres. Mas para realizarla, tenía no sólo que cruzar un dintel, sino pasar por encima de una ley de la ciudad, es decir, del recinto de los vivos. Como una lanzadera de telar, fue lanzada para entretejer vida y muerte. (254–255) (What fate requested from Antigone was that she undertake a very simple action: to rescue her brother’s body, who had died in a civil war, and give him an honorable burial. But to do it, not only must she cross a threshold but she also must disregard a law of the city, that is to say, of the site of the living. Like a weaving shuttle, she was thrust to weave life and death.) For Zambrano a mere sequential, external presentation of the actions that lead to the tragic end of Antigone’s life is not enough – the author seeks a deep explanation for each and every one of those actions, converting the heroine herself into an inquirer into facts, causes, and conditions; she needs to give Antigone a life, a “time” (a key concept in the text under analysis) that she has not really been given; the way to do it is to prolong her life inside the tomb where she was buried and bring her co-protagonists before her, ideally or really: her sister Ismene, her father Oedipus, her nurse Ana, her mother, her two brothers, her betrothed Haemon, her uncle Creon; she discusses them in her soliloquies or reflects with them in dialogues. This is how María Zambrano, in a surprisingly original and imaginative way, builds upon her own philosophical reflections on the character of Antigone and her tragedy in La tumba de Antígona. Zambrano’s great contribution is to have granted Antigone both the

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“time” to reflect on her existence and a “voice” to express the conclusions of her reflection. 4

La tumba de Antígona as a Dramatic Text

Our reading of La tumba de Antígona is based on the text that has commonly been read, staged,14 and performed, that is, the first edition, of 1967, although we use its 2012 edition by Trueba Mira, and consider all the notes by Zambrano that are actually comments or allusions to the text and which, with remarkable ecdotic discernment, the new editor kept separated as notes; in her words, “Acompañan al texto, siempre en nota a pie de página, las diversas acotaciones o notas de trabajo que Zambrano dejó escritas en los diversos borradores conservados, que contienen parcialmente esta obra” (123) (“The text is accompanied by, always in the form of footnotes, the different comments or work notes written by Zambrano and included in the various drafts preserved, which partially include this work”). One of the most striking aspects of La tumba de Antígona no doubt lies in its particular literary structure, which makes it one of the most original rewrites on the subject. The book begins with a long Prologue which, based on the claim that Antigone did not commit suicide in her grave, as she does in the Sophoclean text – for, according to Zambrano, it is impossible to deprive of her life someone who has never had one –, includes an extended reflection on the protagonist’s life and known actions, with special emphasis on Antigone’s exile to accompany her blind father, the civil war that caused her two brothers to be banned, and her confrontation with the mandates of political power. This is indeed an extremely interesting Prologue as well as a key element to understanding the drama that follows; Zambrano’s deep reflections on Greek tragedy in general and on its specific application to the work under analysis should be underscored; among other noteworthy considerations, a special mention should be made of the parallel drawn between the role of Polynices, Antigone’s brother, and Electra’s, Orestes. There is no doubt, however, that when analyzing La tumba de Antígona from a dramatic viewpoint the Prologue should be considered as an independent piece, because it is definitely not part of the play as is for example Anouilh’s Prologue to his Antigone. The actual tragedy unfolds in twelve short scenes, in which Antigone’s speeches are either monologues or dialogues between herself and other characters or their representations, who enter the cave in which she is confined;­ 14

Trueba Mira (2012) 100–102; Camacho Rojo (2012) 25–27.

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each unnumbered scene has a title that indicates the name of the character entering the cave, most of them ghosts of dead people who belong to the heroine’s environment, products of her own delirium. They are as follows: Antígona, a monologue serving as an introduction of the protagonist and her circumstances; La noche (Night), a monologue of the protagonist about the night, the shadows, loneliness, elements prevailing in her life past and present; Sueño de la hermana (Sister’s sleep), a pseudo-dialogue with Ismene, who does not speak, and is perhaps not present; Oedipus, a first real dialogue, in which her father’s words must be highlighted: “Saliste de la casa, acompañándome como un cordero y me alegrabas en mi destierro, desterrada ya tan niña, y sin culpa ninguna, tú”, 19015 (“You left home, accompanying me as a lamb and made me happy in my exile, you, banished so young, with nothing to be blamed for, you”); Ana, la nodriza (Ana, the Nurse), a dialogue with the Nurse, a non-existent character in Sophocles’ Antigone, perhaps inspired in Jean Anouilh’s Antigone, premiered in 1944; La sombra de la madre (The mother’s shadow), a pseudo-dialogue; according to a note by the author in M-249, “La Madre será una sombra grande, densa, oscura, que no habla” (“the Mother will be a large, dense, obscure shadow who does not speak”); La harpía (The harpy), an imagined dialogue with the monstrous presence of the Harpy, conceived as a giant spider; Los hermanos (The brothers), a real dialogue between Antigone and Eteocles according to Zambrano, and Polynices; Llega Hemón (Haemon arrives), a real dialogue; he says upon arriving: “Pero no sé si sabes que yo soy, entre todos tus muertos, el único que ha muerto por ti, por tu amor”, 217 (“But I don’t know if you know that I am, among all your dead ones, the only one who has died for you, for your love”); Creón (Creon), a real dialogue, although, as Zambrano explains somewhere else, “en realidad el diálogo de Antígona con Creón no lo es: se trata de dos monólogos en todos los sentidos…”, 63 (“in fact, Antigone’s dialogue with Creon is not a dialogue: it is, in all senses, made up of two monologues…”); Antígona, a final monologue by the protagonist, who falls asleep in the end; Los desconocidos (The unknown ones), a dialogue between two unknown characters that serves as a conclusion, since Antigone is asleep; however, the final words are hers, responding to the second unknown character who indicates that she must come with them: “Ah, sí. ¿Dónde? ¿Adónde? Sí, Amor. Amor, tierra prometida”, 236 (“Ah, yes. Where? Where to? Yes, Love. Love, Promised Land”). It is often pointed out that in its first edition the text did not include stage directions, except for one in the third scene, Sueño de la hermana, the sister 15

Quotations with the page number only and without further references are from the 2012 edition.

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who is not present in the scene; this direction only indicates “señalando a un lugar”, 182 (“pointing to a place”). However, if one reads the 2012 edition of the text carefully, taking Zambrano’s footnotes into account, the dramatic conception of the philosopher’s work, including her ideas concerning the staging of the play, becomes quite clear. Thus, thanks to the M-343 text, one can gather detailed information on the author’s conception of the scenic space, which in a possible edition meant exclusively for the stage, should be placed at the beginning: Cámara sepulcral. Una habitación alargada paralelamente al espectador. Un poco regular. Las esquinas nunca serán visibles enteramente [así q.  será como una elipse a la vista]. Del lado Oeste izquierda de la escena, estará la puerta cerrada, de piedra también; los muros de piedra rugosa, sin desbastar, un hueco excavado en la roca, con dos paredes nada más,   pero rústicas, de piedra y un techo de grandes piedras por cuyas junturas entrará aire, insectos, gotas de lluvia, estará menos expresamente separado del cielo que del contorno. El suelo será pedregoso, no de piedra enteramente, habrá huecos con tierra y alguna débil yerba crecerá en ellos. (104–105) (Burial chamber. A long room parallel to the spectator. Somewhat average. The corners will never be entirely visible [so that it will be like an ellipse to the sight]. On the west side left of the scene the door will be closed, also made of stone; rough stone walls, unhewn, a hole dug in the rock, with two walls only, but rustic, in stone, and a roof made of large stones through whose junctions enter air, insects, raindrops, will be less explicitly separated from the sky than from the contour. The soil will be stony, not entirely in stone; there will be holes with earth and some weak grass growing in them.) Zambrano becomes a real playwright when she writes La tumba de Antígona, a text so different, from the literary point of view, from her strictly philosophical works; by writing it as she does, she imagines, understands, sees, and explains how the light falls upon the structure of her complex scenic space, the tomb, that she has designed in her mind, as well as the time duration of the performance that she envisages: Por la rendija de la puerta entrará un rayo de luz solar del lado Oeste, pues, a la tarde, y medirá el ocaso del día. Comienza la escena primera a la hora del ocaso. Del lado Este, una ranura alargada paralela al suelo dejará

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entrar no el sol, pero sí la luz del alba y de la mañana – lado derecho del escenario. La pared del fondo frente al espectador será el Sur, pues….(106) (Through the crack of the door a ray of sunlight will come from the west side, that is, in the afternoon, and signal the end of daylight. The first scene begins at sunset. From the east side, a long crevice parallel to the ground will let not the sun in, but the dawn and the morning light – right side of the stage. So, the upstage wall facing the audience will be the south…) Another interesting passage shows the precision, again befitting a true professional playwright, with which María Zambrano designs the light and color details for the staging of her play: La atmósfera de la tumba tendrá una tonalidad grisácea verdosa, de acua­ rio, a veces terrosa, atrás, en los momentos que se señalen. Blanquecina en otros momentos. Al final, la claridad se irá intensificando como derramada desde arriba y desde el lado Este hasta hacerse luz blanca, pero sin brillo ni resplandor. Terminará en blanco, en luz blanca, tendiendo a ser compacta. La luz se irá espesando mientras muere. (106) (The atmosphere inside the tomb will have a greenish grayish color, like an aquarium, sometimes earthy, in the back, at specified moments. Whitish at other times. Towards the end, the light will gradually intensify as if poured from above and from the east side until it becomes a white light, though not bright or shiny. It will finally be white, a white light, increasingly compact. The light will become thicker and thicker as it wanes and dies.) The possibility, mentioned above, of an edition exclusively designed to reinstate La tumba de Antígona to its basic dramatic conception, as Zambrano most probably meant it to be, would not betray the intention of incorporating in the text, in the appropriate place and in the usual tradition of dramatic texts, Zambrano’s scattered notes, and stage directions, which are an unequivocal sign of her permanent interest in the figure of Antigone. Therefore, to give just a few examples, a definitely dramatic text could be rebuilt using passages like the following: End of scene 1, Antígona, 177: Porque ahora conozco mi condena: “Antígona, enterrada viva, no morirá, seguirá así, ni en la vida ni en la muerte, ni en la vida ni en la

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muerte…” (Lo repetirá cada vez más bajo, hasta acabar en una voz ahogada). (Because now I know my sentence: “Antigone, buried alive, will not die, she will remain thus, neither in life nor in death, neither in life nor in death…” (She will repeat it increasingly low, until it ends in a suffocated voice).) Beginning of scene 2, La noche, 178: Cuanto rumor en el silencio, noche, cuánta vida en mi muerte, cuánta sangre en mis venas aún, cuánto calor en estas piedras (Recorre la celda tocando las piedras con las manos, y en algún momento acerca la cara). (How much noise in silence, O night, how much life in my death, how much blood in my veins yet, how much heat in these stones (Walks about the cell touching the stones with her hands, and at some point brings her face closer).) Oedipus’ last words, scene 4, Edipo, 190–191: Oh, Antígona, tengo yo que decirte dónde estás, cuando es tan claro; todo esto es tan claro. Estás en el lugar donde se nace del todo. Todos venimos a ti, por eso. Ayúdame, hija, Antígona, no me dejes en el olvido errando. Ayúdame ahora que voy sabiendo, ayúdame, hija, a nacer (Sale, mas bien se borra como una presencia que se desvanece sin moverse apenas, anda dificultamente [sic]). (Oh, Antigone, do I have to tell you where you are, when it is so clear; this is all so clear. You are in the place where one is born completely. That is why we all come to you. Help me, daughter, Antigone, don’t let me wander in forgetfulness. Help me now that I begin to know, help me, daughter, to be born (Goes away, but erased like a presence that merely fades without moving, walks with difficulty).) Beginning of scene 5, Ana, la nodriza, 192, when Oedipus leaves and the Nurse enters: ANTÍGONA (se lleva las manos delicadamente, sin aspavientos a los ojos) Ahora me he quedado yo sin ver, es como si nunca hubiese visto nada. No hay fuera de mí, ni dentro, ni más allá. (ANTIGONE (raises her hands gently, without agitation, to her eyes) Now I am left unseing, it is as if I had never seen anything. There is no outside of me, there is neither inside nor beyond.)

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Beginning of the pseudo-dialogue in the presence of the silent shadow in scene 6, La sombra de la madre, 197: Ay, eres tú, Madre, vuelves (Aovillada en el suelo se yergue un poco y levanta la cabeza para mirar llevándose las manos a los ojos como para despejarlos, como en el despertar a medias de un sueño ligero). Vuelves aquí también. No has encontrado reposo. (Oh, it is you, Mother, you come back (Curled up on the floor she rises a bit and raises her head to look up, taking her hands to her eyes as if to clear them, as in waking up from a light sleep) You come back here too. You have not found rest.) Many more examples could be quoted, but we believe it is unnecessary, for those that have been selected clearly illustrate how Zambrano, as any contemporary playwright would, imagines her characters’ performance in line with the meaning of the words they speak. The multiple notes produced by the philosopher’s pen stemming from her personal vision of an imagined performance, the performance she envisaged for her play, further enrich our view of La tumba de Antígona as a drama; that is why, as was mentioned above, it is necessary to revise previous studies on María Zambrano’s play, since it can now be understood much more clearly in its performative aspects. 5

Characters, Monologues, Dialogues

One of the most original aspects of Zambrano’s dramatic creation is her selection and her peculiar treatment of the characters who visit Antigone in her prison-tomb. Leaving aside for the moment the issue of whether they are real or fictitious presences, people who are dead or alive, we meet Ismene, Oedipus, Ana (the Nurse), Jocasta (the mother), Eteocles, Polynices, Haemon, Creon, First Desconocido (Unknown), Second Desconocido. Apart from the secondary characters, it becomes immediately obvious that there is no correspondence between Zambrano’s characters and the characters in Sophocles’ Antigone, where Oedipus, Jocasta, Eteocles, and Polynices are absent; with the exception of Eteocles, they are characters borrowed from Oedipus Rex and Oedipus at Colonus.16 The fact that Zambrano adds extra characters of real importance 16

Despite the fact that Sophocles is the Greek referent which, without specifying any particular tragedies, Zambrano habitually mentions as the matrix for her Antigone, given the philosopher’s deep knowledge of classical culture and her infinite curiosity and passion

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serves as a guide to understanding the author’s basic position as concerns her Greek originals. The most important aspect of it is the fact that she chose Antigone as protagonist in all her existential phases and complexities, rather than just selecting specific moments of the character’s life, as is obvious in Sophocles, in whose Oedipus Rex the young woman is not present. Thus, the aim of Zambrano’s approach becomes clear: at the end of Antigone’s life, in order to draw a profile of the entirety of both her personality and her deeds, one has to philosophize about both dimensions and consider their overall development. An obvious consequence of this aim explains the fact that, given their number, the different characters must be presented in an extremely short manner, practically limited to the scene where they make their appearance, with some of them not always being allowed to speak; this is a problem that one finds in a deep analysis of La tumba de Antígona. In our estimation, however, the philosopher, focused as she was in an almost obsessive manner on the character of Antigone, did not dedicate the same depth, even a similar depth of analysis to the characters that surround her protagonist. This explains why she did not fear in the least adding characters the need for which is maybe not unquestionable: an example is the Nurse, a character perhaps inspired by the intertext of Anouilh’s Antigone;17 like other Nurses in other tragedies, the character admits that she has always been beside the girl, as, again, she is, because Antigone has never ceased to be young; and if we may put it so, Zambrano seems to be rewarding the Nurse for her devotion by giving her a name, Ana, a proper name, which Nurses in classical tragedies do not have – and neither does the Nurse in Anouilh’s intertext. With Ana, the Nurse, the author takes us into the protagonist’s childhood, with no other goal than that.18 Two specific characters are endowed with a totally dramatic nature: the ideal character of La noche and the unreal character of La harpía, central elements in what could be described as scene two and scene seven. In fact the presence of La noche, with whom Antigone engages in a pseudo-dialogue, can be justified as a means of providing Antigone with an opportunity to express the darkness, the shadows, the anxiety present throughout her life. La noche

17 18

for Antigone, it seems completely logical to assume that she was familiar with Antigone’s role both in Aeschylus’ Seven Against Thebes and in Euripides’ Phoenician Women. López – Pociña (2010) 363. Concerning this sequence of Antigone’s Nurses a more recent character certainly deserves to be mentioned: Antigone’s Nurse in Hélia Correia’s play Perdição. Exercício sobre Antígona (2001) (Perdition. An exercise on Antigone); here, in contrast to Zambrano’s only briefly present Nurse, Hélia Correia’s has a “papel preponderante” (“a predominant role”) in the Portuguese text (Silva (2001) 103).

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is represented by the darkness of the tomb and, upon being mentioned by Antigone, there is no difficulty in converting it into a character. The case of La harpía, with whom, to make matters worse, the protagonist engages in a real dialogue, poses more problems; Zambrano is aware of this difficulty, which she tried to solve in a manuscript (M-343): “La harpía avanza como una araña oscura, sin color, desde su rincón, detras de donde está ella, a su espalda. Como A. mira al Este, llega deslizándose desde el rincón del N. O. Se pone frente a ella, siempre en ángulo, nunca enteramente de frente, suavemente y como si entrara de visita según una vieja costumbre, cautelosa y familiarmente”, 202 (“The harpy moves forward like a dark, colorless spider, from its corner, behind Antigone, at her back. Since A. is looking to the east, it comes sliding from the nw corner. It faces her, always askew, never straightforward, gently and as if it were coming to visit as usual, cautiously and with famili­ arity”). The author’s concern about how to stage the unreal character of La harpía is thus obvious. As concerns the relationship between the different characters and Antigone, Zambrano does not differentiate in an obvious manner between those who are still alive and those who are already dead;19 the author could have resorted to a specific solution, such as representing the dead through their shadow, and the living through their real persons. But the philosopher did not establish an obvious difference between the two sets of characters: in successive scenes Ismene, who is still alive, is a dream; Oedipus, who is dead, appears to his daughter and engages in conversation with her; the Mother, being dead, is a shadow. In our opinion, the irregularity patent in the different handling of the characters is not a wrong decision within the framework of the very acceptable freedom that is everywhere present in Zambrano’s rewriting. Similarly, the different literary design of the scenes, in the form of monologues (Antígona 1, Antígona 11), pseudo-dialogues (La noche, Sueño de la hermana, La sombra de la madre), and dialogues (Edipo, Ana la nodriza, La harpía, Los hermanos, Llega Hemón, Creón, Los desconocidos), becomes a skillfully employed resource; the fact that the number of scenes in dialogue form is higher than the sum of the remaining ones is justified by the fundamentally dramatic nature of the text.

19

See the problem posed, both for staging/performing purposes and for text publishing, by the doubling of both the Antigone and the Nurse characters into “alive” and “dead” in Hélia Correia’s Perdição (Silva (2001a) 103).

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Antigone Confronting Power: The Time of Antigone and the Time of Zambrano

Professor Carlos Morais, a noted scholar and an expert on Antigone, most notably its Portuguese 20th century reformulations, summarizes very knowledgeably the eternal meaning of Oedipus’s daughter as follows: Com o tratamento e desenvolvimento, sobretudo, de três mitemas – “o acompanhamento e amparo do pai cego, no exílio e na velhice”, “o enterro do irmão Polinices, no cumprimento de uma lei natural e divina” e “a revolta contra a lei humana e injusta de Creonte”-, Sófocles doava não só à Atenas do século de Péricles mas também à eternidade uma Antígona que se transformou num modelo de piedade e de dedicação familiar, num exemplo de resistência e de revolta contra a tirania, num paradigma de mulher e “não somente [de] fêmea”, que ousou fazer frente ao poder (masculino) instituído…20 (By treating and developing especially three mythemes – notably, “o acompanhamento e amparo do pai cego, no exílio e na velhice” (“accompanying and protecting her blind father in his exile and old age”), “o enterro do irmão Polinices, no cumprimento de uma lei natural e divina” (“burying her brother Polynices as a fulfillment of a natural and divine law”) e “a revolta contra a lei humana e injusta de Creonte” (“rebelling against Creon’s unjust human law”) – Sophocles was giving not only to Athens during the century of Pericles, but also to eternity an Antigone which became a model of compassion and dedication to the family, an example of resilience and revolt against tyranny, the paradigm of a woman and “não somente [de] fêmea” (“not just a female”) who dared to resist the [male]establishment…) As an example of a compassionate daughter, an unsubmissive and courageous woman, a rebel citizen, Antigone certainly became an admirable and exemplary character, and especially someone capable of confronting tyrannical regimes, Creon’s reincarnations in immoral, belligerent, cruel, murderous, genocidal rulers who spread like the plague all over 20th-century Europe. It is no surprise then that the century produced a number of extraordinary Antigones, as is now generally known (though still not as much as could be hoped) 20

Morais (2001) 7.

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thanks to the excellent volumes of studies published in the last decades.21 Moreover, it was in times of terror, death, grief and sorrow, when rewritings of Antigone emerged, that they gained a reputation as key theatre pieces of their time, which is also our time. Let us quickly mention Marguerite Yourcenar’s terrible words in her narrative on Antigone in Feux (1936) which horrify even those who have fortunately been spared from wars (though not from dictatorships); alluding to a number of different versions, Steiner eventually mentions a particularly­famous rewrite of Antigone, Brecht’s, which he contextualizes historically in the following words: Pero ni siquiera este episodio inspirado por la guerra mundial y la misère de las ciudades alemanas en vísperas de la revolución puede compararse con el infierno urbano de la década de 1940. Desertores, adolescentes aterrorizados, soldados separados de sus unidades quebradas eran colgados en los faroles de alumbrado de Berlín. Cualquier intento de liberar sus cuerpos cubiertos de moscas era castigado con la ejecución inmediata. Este es el comienzo espeluznante de la Antigone de Brecht, una variante de Sófocles y del Sófocles de Hölderlin, que se representó por primera vez en 1948. Un cuerpo se balancea frente a la puerta. Una de las dos hermanas blande un cuchillo. Aparece el hombre de la Gestapo.22 (But not even this episode inspired by the World War and the misère of German cities on the eve of the revolution can be compared with the urban hell of the 1940s. Deserters, terrified teenagers, soldiers separated from their units were hanged from the lamp posts in Berlin. Any attempt to free their fly-covered bodies was punished with immediate execution. This is the sinister beginning of Brecht’s Antigone, a version of Sophocles and of Hölderlin’s Sophocles first staged in 1948. A body sways before the door. One of the two sisters brandishes a knife. A Gestapo man appears.) Wars entailing new forms of cruelty and, immediately after, foreign powers occupying nations, as dictatorships emerge to last for endless decades: this was the situation in Europe in mid-20th century, and the historical reason, and a fundamentally weighty one, for the proliferation of Antigone rewritings in Portugal, a country that experienced a long dictatorship, of which this volume provides ample proof, and in Spain, which lived under an unbearable dictatorship that lasted even longer than the one in Portugal. 21 22

Steiner (1991), Morais (2001), Ripoli – Rubino (2005), Bañuls Oller – Crespo Alcalá (2008), Pianacci (2008), Duroux – Urdician (2010), etc. Steiner (1991) 114.

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That period of modern European Antigones coincided with a good part of the life of María Zambrano, the Spanish philosopher. As Virginia Trueba Mira rightly explains, “Antígona acompaña a Zambrano a lo largo de su trayectoria como escritora, aunque lo hace en especial en el período que transcurre desde fines de los años cuarenta, y toda la década de los cincuenta, hasta los primeros años sesenta”23 (“Antigone accompanies Zambrano throughout her career as a writer, though especially in the period from the late 1940s, including the whole of the 1950s, through to the first years of the 1960 decade”); those were extremely hard times, as a result of two tremendous wars: the Spanish Civil War and the second World War. Again in Trueba Mira’s words: El terrible escenario en que se desarrolla la historia europea contemporánea es, en esencia, el de Antígona, una tierra llena de muertos anónimos y cadáveres insepultos. Un hedor impregna el aire, es la materia viva convertida en residuos de la pudrición, producto de la corrupción ideológica. Nadie puede devolver a esos cuerpos la dignidad, ya no de los vivos, sino de los muertos. Es el nazismo. También el estalinismo. Y antes la Gran Guerra, y después Hiroshima y la amenaza nuclear, y los procesos de descolonización. Y otros muchos conflictos. En el caso de Zambrano, muy en especial, la guerra civil española.24 (The terrible scenario in which contemporary European history unfolds is essentially that of Antigone, a land full of anonymous dead and unburied corpses. A stench permeates the air, it is living matter converted into rotting waste, a product of ideological corruption. Nobody can give those bodies their dignity back, not only the living but also the dead. It is Nazism. It is also Stalinism. And before the Great War, and after Hiroshima and the nuclear threat, and the decolonization processes. And many other conflicts. In Zambrano’s case it is most especially the Spanish civil war.) It is impossible here to describe the terrible vicissitudes of Zambrano’s life during those decades. When she was 30, having recently lost her father, she had to leave Spain together with her mother, her sister Araceli and her partner, Manuel Muñoz, starting an interminable exile in America and Europe, during which she also lost them, with the exception of her inseparable sister, Zambrano’s Antigone and a victim of torture whose husband was killed. Antigone’s times, as Zambrano learns in Sophocles’ two tragedies Oedipus at Colonus and 23 24

Zambrano (2012) 13. Zambrano (2012) 15–16.

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Antigone, are quite similar to her own: although in different ways, they are both victims of a civil war; they both live in exile for long periods; they both lose people who are very dear to them in circumstances caused by political hostility; they are both victims of those harsh circumstances, though also in different ways. By allowing Antigone the time to reflect on the truth of her life, for its brevity prevented her from knowing it in sufficient depth, in La tumba de Antígona María Zambrano also approaches some fundamental elements of her own life; consequently, in a multifaceted reading of her text it is absolutely necessary to take those elements in consideration as well as develop a correct understanding of the presence in La tumba de Antígona of so many characters that are inseparable from the reversals of fortune in both Antigone’s life and in the life of the greatest Spanish woman philosopher. 7

María Zambrano’s Antigone and Some Later Ones

Published, as has been previously mentioned, in Mexico in 1967, La tumba de Antígona had a number of editions, around half a dozen,25 before it was superbly edited with commentary in 2012. It was widely disseminated and no doubt enjoyed much acclaim, having been in the last decades of the 20th century the subject of an important number of generally appreciative, if not enthusiastic, studies of very different types. It is not surprising then that Zambrano’s text had a remarkable influence on the emergence of new dramatic versions on the theme of Antigone. However, we believe that this specific aspect of La tumba de Antígona has not yet been approached in much depth, and we ourselves have not had the opportunity to do it until now. We will therefore only point out some hypothesis. A noted researcher working on Antigone rewrites in the theater of Latin America, María del Carmen Bosch, mentions26 the possibility of finding traces of Zambrano in the unusual play La pasión según Antígona Pérez (The Passion according to Antigone Pérez) by Puerto Rican playwright, novelist and shortstory writer Luis Rafael Sánchez and premiered at the Teatro Tapia de San Juan in 1968. With its deep political content, the character of Antigone reflects the revolutionary activity against the United States rule on Puerto Rico of activist Olga Viscal Garriga (1929–1995). Indeed, the vestiges of Zambrano’s play seem quite important: Antigone27 is held captive in the attic of President Créon Molina’s palace, where they try to make her confess where she had buried the 25 26 27

See Camacho Rojo (2012) 28–29; Zambrano (2012). Bosch (1991) 276. Bañuls Oller – Crespo Alcalá (2008) 457–465; Bosch (1999).

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bodies of the brothers Héctor and Mario Tavárez, two revolutionaries. During her time in prison, she receives the visit of her mother Aurora, of Creón Molina, the dictator (called “el Generalísimo”), of Monseñor Bernardo Escudero, and again Créon. After being tortured (which explains the term “pasión” in the title) and raped, her sentence to be executed is announced. We must explain that we have not as yet made the necessary comparative analysis between La tumba de Antígona and La pasión según Antígona Pérez; however, the correspondence suggested by M.C. Bosch seems quite plausible; perhaps the strongest argument against it might be the fact that only a year had elapsed between the publication of the former and the premiering of the latter (although the fact that Zambrano was published in Mexico should be kept in mind). We furthermore believe it is quite possible, although this opinion must be tested more rigorously and in a more adequate context, that, in its last version, José Martín Elizondo’s28 work entitled Antígona entre muros (Antigone between walls) could have drawn its inspiration from Zambrano’s play. The text was written during Elizondo’s exile in the French town of Toulouse, in 1969, initially bearing the title Antígona y los perros (Antigone and the dogs). It was first revised in 1980 and given the title Antígona 80, as a reference to the date; finally, when, in 1988, it was to be premiered at the Teatro Romano de Mérida, Elizondo, who was by then back in Spain, gave it the definitive title of Antígona entre muros. The author’s circumstances are surprisingly similar to Zambrano’s, and we are lucky enough to be able to read about them in his own words: He vivido largos años entre víctimas de la opresión y, por lo tanto, este tema asoma con frecuencia en mis piezas teatrales. Nada ha de extrañar, pues, que un día cediese a la tentación de abordar una ‘Antígona’. Mi vieja y joven heroína, al lado del abundante catálogo de Antígonas…, ¿resulta española por estar escrita en esta lengua? ¿O vive y muere en esta Grecia de los Coroneles donde se desarrolla la fábula? ¿Se hermana más bien con la poética que con la ética? Me ha quitado mucho sueño esta cavilación. 28

López (2015). In exile like María Zambrano and José Bergamín, José Martín Elizondo (Getxo, Vizcaya, 1922 – Toulouse, 2009) leaves Spain, at the time under a dictatorship, at age 25 to eventually settle in Toulouse, the city that hosts the greatest number of Spanish exiles in mid-20th century. There he creates the “Amigos del Teatro Español” (“Friends of Spanish theatre”) association, designed to promote the nonconformist nature of protest theatre, staging plays by authors banned in Spain such as Pedro Salinas, Rafael Alberti, Lauro Olmo, Valle-Inclán, Miguel Hernández, etc. Besides managing the different ate activities, Martín Elizondo writes extremely powerful works, e.g., Juana creó la noche (Juana created the night) (1960), Durango (1961), Las iluminaciones (The Illuminations) (1976).

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Con todo, la heroína se ha ido abriendo camino en su cárcel de mujeres cara a los perros de Creonte. Dentro de esta cárcel trata de significar que los enfoques que se le pueden dar a la naturaleza del poder son muchos e inagotables y que en ello va suspendido el destino nuestro, sin olvidar que, consciente o inconscientemente, el poder, con bastante frecuencia, se las arregla para robar el fuego del terror y amenazarnos con él.29 (I lived many years among people who were victims of oppression and therefore this subject often emerges in my plays. It should not come as a surprise then that one day I yielded to the temptation of approaching an ‘Antigone’. My old and young heroine, compared to the abundant catalogue of Antigones…, does she become Spanish because she is written in that language? Or does she live and die in this Colonels’ Greece where the fable takes place? Is she more akin to poetics than to ethics? Thinking about it has robbed me of much sleep. However, the heroine has been gaining ground in her women’s prison, in the face of Creon’s dogs. Inside this prison it is a matter of the approaches that can be made concerning the nature of power, which are many and inexhaustible and that in it our destiny is suspended, without forgetting that, consciously or unconsciously, power quite often manages to steal the fire of terror and threaten us with it.) Although different, the scenic space easily reminds one of the Zambranian tomb: the play is set in a women’s prison in contemporary Greece, governed by the dictatorship of the Colonels. The characters are women inmates who play the role of the ancient tragedy’s characters and who have Sophoclean names: Antígona, Nodriza (Nurse), Hemón, Tiresias, La Menoecea, Creón. Besides them, a group of prisoners whose roles are: Detenida A (La Delatora) (Prisoner A, the Informer), Detenida B, Detenida C, Detenida D (La Nueva) (the New One). La Delatora and La Nueva have a specific role. Besides them: La guardiana (The woman guard), Jefe de Prisiones (The Prison Chief), Dos guardianes (Two guards), Dos perros lobos (Two wolf-dogs). The set chosen encircles the characters, which in itself is suggestive of the absence of physical freedom, and is intensified by a rather humiliating, sometimes extremely tough treatment of the prisoners. Although there is no room in this essay to analyze these women-characters, it is important for our subject that we mention the presence in Elizondo, as in Zambrano, of a Nurse, whom the playwright grants a strong protagonism in the tragedy played by the women prisoners, and whom 29

Elizondo (1988) 13.

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he created in accordance with the pattern of classical Nurses: always protecting of the protagonist, offering her advice, being afraid for her, helping her, sometimes even becoming the conscience of her mistress, with extremely long interventions, she is the first character to appear in Antígona entre muros. And to conclude, we should mention the fact that there are two Antigones in recent Portuguese literature, both written by women and published in the 1990s, in which we believe the influence of María Zambrano’s La tumba de Antígona can be traced. They are Perdição. Exercício sobre Antígona (Perdition. An exercise on Antigone) by Hélia Correia, and Antes que a Noite Venha (Before the night comes) by Eduarda Dionísio. Both are analyzed in this volume by someone who is better equipped to do it than we are: Professor Maria de Fátima Silva.

part 2 Portuguese Reception of Antigone (20th–21st Centuries)



chapter 7

António Sérgio’s Antígona: “a social study in dialogue form” Carlos Morais …António Sérgio’s Antígona is not a work of dramatic literature, like all the other ‘Antigones’, but rather a social study in dialogue form, like Renan’s “Philosophical dramas”. sérgio (1931) 46

⸪ 1

Introduction: From Light to Darkness

A mixture of light and darkness fell over this “cadaverous kingdom”1 of ours after the 28th May 1926 revolution. Nebulous uncertainties and an immense dark torpor came upon the luminous hope for the materialization of a dream 1 Quoted from António Sérgio’s lecture “O reino cadaveroso ou o problema da cultura em ­Portugal” (“The cadaverous kingdom, or the problem of culture in Portugal”) (1929), included in vol. 2 of Ensaios (Essays) (Sérgio (1972a) 25–26), the expression translates the country’s political and cultural state in the late 1920s. António Sérgio (Damão, India, 1883 – Lisbon, 1969) was a great Portuguese thinker, pedagogue and polygraph of the first half of the 20th century. He authored numerous essays, was the founder of the Pela Grei (For the common people) journal (1918–1919), wrote for the journals Águia (Eagle) and Seara Nova (New harvest field), and was a member of their editorial bodies together with Raul Proença and Jaime Cortesão. He was politically active during the First Republic (1910–1926), having served as Minister of Education in Álvaro de Castro’s cabinet (1923). With the end of the First Republic, after the 28th May 1926 military coup, he became a strong opponent of both the military dictatorship (1926–1933), as a member of the Liga de Defesa da República (League for the Defense of the Republic), and the Estado Novo (New State) regime, under António de Oliveira Salazar. As a champion for democratic socialism, during Salazar’s long consulate (1933–1968), the end of which practically coincided with Sérgio’s death, he joined the Movimento de Unidade Democrática (Movement for ­Democratic Unity), set up the Comissão Promotora do Voto (Committee for the Promotion of ­Voting) (1953) and was a supporter of Norton de Matos (1949) and Humberto Delgado (1958) as candidates for the Presidency, against the candidates of the regime. © koninklijke brill nv, leiden, ���7 | doi 10.1163/9789004340060_009

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made of discontentment. This description translates the different states of mind or the different attitudes that characterized the Portuguese soul during the military dictatorship that ruled the country by force of arms between the end of the First Republic and the advent of the New Corporative State that was to plunge the nation into a deep and tenebrous silence. Although based on a not too clear or coherent political and ideological program,2 the movement started by Gomes da Costa and Mendes Cabeçadas in Braga and Lisbon, respectively, had the initial support of a great portion of the population as well as of the political parties’ leadership in general. In spite of the fact that they often had opposite and contradictory objectives, they all shared the same ambition of seeing the end of the social tumults that had spread throughout the country, of bringing the instability in Parliament and in the government to an end and, most especially, of overturning the corrupt, almost absolute power of the Partido Democrático (Democratic Party). It is thus obvious that, essentially, besides a general, albeit very vague and diffuse will to regenerate the Portuguese constitutional system, they had really not much else in common.3 As soon as the short-lived unifying revolutionary euphoria vanished and the different positions in the military and political chessboard begun to be defined and clarified, deep and irreconcilable ideological issues, notably concerning the nature of the regime, of the party system, and of the relationship between the State and the Church4 were rekindled in the face of the utter diversity of projects and interests. Soon the more liberal Republican forces, like the democratic left and the “seareiros”,5 started to clash with the revolutionary 2 In an interview to the daily newspaper Diário de Lisboa, on being asked about the nature of the movement, General Gomes da Costa described it in rather vague terms: “exclusively military, neither conservative nor radical … for national reemergence”, and having the main objective of “moralizing public administration”. See Oliveira Marques (1998) 278. 3 See Rosas (1994) 151 sqq. For the author, “the end of the Democratic Party’s ‘dictatorship’ was really the only thing binding the ample social and political fronde that supported the military intervention”. Despite the fact that the military uprising was based only on a very vague “minimum program”, that fact was in itself enough to grant it the “maximum support” (in some cases an ambiguous one) of the anodyne mass of the population, dissatisfied with the state of things and craving for a new Republican political order, “the content of which no one was in a hurry to make explicit” (154). 4 On the issues that generated new divisions as well as the clash of different tendencies, whose conciliation provided the basis for the establishment of the Estado Novo, under the 1933 constitutional settlement, see Cruz (1986) 75–100; Cruz (1988) 38–40. 5 That was the name by which the group of intellectuals opposed to the dictatorship and who wrote for Seara Nova, a journal of doctrine and criticism with political and pedagogical aims, was known by.

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movement which, on June 17th 1926, after Mendes Cabeçadas was forced to resign by Gomes da Costa, severed relations with the political parties and the parliamentary regime and started its irremediable course towards totalitarian tendencies.6 It is true that in the troubled final months of the First Republic, some of their members, notably António Sérgio, had stood up for a transitory and sensible “Dictatorship of Reformation”, for the benefit of not just one person or one class, but the Nation, a regime that would prepare the advent of new, true Democracy,7 an “imperative of conscience as lasting as the human consciousness”.8 However, while gradually defining its course among riots and palace coups, the dictatorship gradually started to deny the greatest good of spiritual beings, which is freedom.9 Therefore, since Sérgio believed that absolute authority “can only be justified as a means to freedom”,10 he inevitably joined the opposition, as did all the democratic-liberal forces. If the military movement had defined its political path with the demotion of Cabeçadas, with the end of Gomes da Costa’s short consulate, on July 9th

6

7

8 9 10

Having links with the Republican right, notably Cunha Leal’s União Liberal Republicana (Republican Liberal Union), Mendes Cabeçadas personified the military who advocated a reform of the regime respecting constitutional legality. His removal by Gomes da Costa, who advocated a break with the existing system, signals the beginning of the turn towards a totalitarian, nationalist military dictatorship. See Cruz (1986) 76, 81–82; and Rosas (1994) 158–162. See Sérgio (1925) 168; also Sérgio (1957) 14. Two years before, António Sérgio had shown some signs of support for the dictatorship established in Spain by Primo de Rivera, considering it an “an extremely interesting political experiment”, simply because it had put an end to the “behavior of the parties, the consecration of a parasitical and utterly immoral structure in the country”. Notwithstanding the identical situation of crisis in Portugal, it remains obvious that at the time Sérgio would only have supported a similar regime as a last resort, for he still entertained the hope that the Portuguese politicians might have “been wise enough to join the reforming movement, with the result that all of them would survive the crisis with no dictatorships or State coups, militarism or revolutions”. See Sérgio (1923) 64. Sérgio (1975) 179–180. Quotations from António Sérgio’s Ensaios (Essays) are based on the Obras Completas (Complete Works) edition published by “Sá da Costa”. Sérgio (1975) 171; and Sérgio (1957) 17–18. For Sérgio (1929b) 298, freedom is “a moral ideal” and “the guarantee of freedom […] a political ideal”. Sérgio (1975) 171. See again Sérgio (1974) 22–23. Besides “Diálogos de Doutrina Democrática” (“Democratic Doctrine Dialogues”), this volume published by Sá da Costa, also ­includes “Democracia” (“Democracy”), “Alocução aos Socialistas” (“An Address to the Socialists”) and “Cartas do Terceiro Homem” (“Letters from the Third Man”).

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1926, it began stabilizing and consolidating its dictatorial power around the figure of General Carmona. Some few weeks after the Braga uprising it had become clear that what initially had seemed to contain a luminous hope had been for many, especially for those in the left wing of the political spectrum, nothing but – and I request permission to quote Pessoa – “um brilho sem luz e sem arder/como o que o fogo-fátuo encerra”11 (“A brightness with no light, no burning/like the light of a will-o’-the-wisp”). Not even the illusory attempts at a more conciliatory politics by the cabinets of Vicente de Freitas or Ivens Ferraz (1928–1930)12 were able to restore hope to the opposition, who saw their space for intervention become gradually smaller and their fundamental freedoms curtailed. Progressively, the right was gaining ground in all sectors of society, enabling the slow but sure political rise of Oliveira Salazar, who, in 1930, as minister of the Domingos Oliveira cabinet, starts to sketch the guidelines for a new constitutional project and to shape the theoretical foundations of the Estado Novo. During those turbulent years of military dictatorship, the only thing the opposition could resort to was either conspirative resistance, mainly undertaken by political exiles from abroad, or armed revolt. Therefore, between 1927 and 1931 Portugal lived a “larval civil war” with a number of invariably unsuccessful oppositionist coups.13 After the Oporto uprising – the first and the most important one –, on February 3rd 1927,14 many members of the resistance in exile decided to set up the Liga de Defesa da República, commonly known as Liga de Paris15 (Paris League). This civic organization was situated above party politics 11 12 13

14

15

Lines from “Nevoeiro”, a poem by Fernando Pessoa’s Mensagem. See Pessoa (1995) 106. Oliveira Marques (1998) 383–384. See Rosas (1994) 206 sqq. The five unsuccessful oppositionist movements during those four and a half years, from February 3rd 1927 to August 27th 1931, were set mainly in Oporto, Lisbon, and the Madeira Island. According to Oliveira Marques (1998) 381, “the practical outcome of all those uprisings and conspiracies was the development of more severe repressive mechanisms”, with the harshening of censorship, police persecutions, and detentions among the opponents to the regime. On this, see also Fardilha (1998). See Rosas (1994) 214–218. This uprising was supposed to have erupted simultaneously in Oporto and in Lisbon. However, it was only as late as February 7th that the rebellion started in the capital; the historian describes it as a “remorse uprising”, because it was triggered “almost only by desperate solidarity towards the isolated combatants in Oporto” (216). On the Lisbon uprising, see Bandeira (1987) 29–46. The idea of setting up the League emerged in Galicia, “among the emigrants who were living there and who launched its foundations. In Paris there were only the elements that gave an expression to an already organized League, drafting its program, which was in fact no more than a detailed explanation of the foundations organized in Galicia”. See Acta (Proceedings) n. 2 of the League, reproduced in Oliveira Marques (1976) 13.

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and until 1932, despite some ideological differences within, it remained one of the major strongholds of the opposition, becoming, in Sérgio’s words, “the best hope of the civic consciences of the Nation”.16 2

António Sérgio: A Face of the Opposition in Exile

Forced to exile as a consequence of his active involvement in a campaign against a loan that the dictatorship has sought to obtain from the London financial markets,17 and after he had had to “mill his bread with winds and w ­ aters of foreign lands”,18 first in Spain and then in France, António Sérgio eventually joins the League, on June 17th 1927, as a member of its governing board. There he becomes one of the most visible faces of the opposition in exile, being the protagonist of most of its political action, which he saw as “a plain instrument of pedagogical action – the sound mainstay, the ultimate b­ asis of all society reforms”.19 One of the reforms Sérgio was especially committed to was the reform of mentality.20 Through the critical and polemical essays he regularly published, especially in the Seara Nova journal, and through the pamphlets he disseminated among friends and correligionaries, Sérgio sought to implement Proudhon’s maxim “democracy is demopaedia”,21 instructing and raising the awareness of the living stones of the People, through Reason and enlightened Idea, towards true Democracy, with more justice and holding freedom as the supreme good,22 where government would be exercised with intelligence, through persuasion.23 16

17

18 19 20 21 22 23

Words written in a “Carta aberta aos oficiais portugueses que ainda admitem a ditadura” (“Open letter addressed to the Portuguese officers who still endorse dictatorship”), circulated during the second half of 1927 and published in Oliveira Marques (1976) 147. The declaration against the loan, signed by António Sérgio on behalf of the Seara Nova group, was delivered on January 12th 1927 at the Embassy of Great Britain and the ­Legations of France and the United States. See Oliveira Marques (1976) 48–49, 86–89; and Sérgio (1974) 4–5. Oliveira Marques (1976) 147. Oliveira Marques (1976) 146–147. Sérgio (1925) 168. As Magalhães-Vilhena (1960) 29 writes, “it is through the reform of mentality that Sergian philosophy aims to become part of the Portuguese social reality”. Sérgio (1926) 292–293; Sérgio (1975) 239; and Oliveira Marques (1976) 73. See Sérgio (1925) 168; Sérgio (1974) 21; Sérgio (1975) 171; and Sérgio (1957) 18. See Sérgio (1927a) 22. In this article, written at the height of the military dictatorship, the author claims that “the Portuguese crisis is not an authority crisis […] it is an intelligence crisis”.

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The acknowledgement of the “luminous principles of Democracy” – which in themselves exclude the endorsement of the “politics of Force, of tyranny, of hatred and of crime” – requires a permanent and renewed pedagogical and critical apostolate.24 For that reason, in 1930, after having lived for over three years as an exile in Paris and presumably encouraged by the possibility that the end of Primo Rivera’s dictatorship in Spain, on January 28th 1930, might help disrupt the Portuguese dictatorial regime, António Sérgio decided to write an Antigone in three acts. By recreating Sophocles’ tragedy Sérgio was again showing how much he ­appreciated the Greeks. In his opinion, their “burst of Spirit” rendered them “infinitely superior to the Latins”; they were the only ones deserving of the title of masters, because only from them “do we receive lessons that make us soar up – free, humanize, spiritualize, fly”.25 This is the liberating spirit through which Sérgio recuperates “a seemingly ancient subject which is in reality a very modern one”.26 3

Antígona: A Social Study and a Propaganda Manifesto

Quickly drafted in about two weeks as “a mere something I need to get off my chest and a fantasy that affords me pleasure”, the text was brought by a

24

25

26

As point of fact, in his opinion, “Portugal will only begin to regenerate when there are enough men committed to understanding and to understand themselves”. See “O 1.º manifesto da Liga” (“the Liga’s first manifesto”), in Oliveira Marques (1976) 75. To the politics of Force the author of this manifesto (Sérgio in all probability, considering the style) opposes “the politics of the Spirit, which is the politics of freedom, of fraternity, and the law”. See also Sérgio (1975) 218–219. “O clássico na educação e o problema do Latim” (“The Classics in education and the problem of Latin”), in Sérgio (1972a) 121. In this polemical lecture delivered in Lisbon, “at the Portugal Intellectual Union Hall, in a tumultuous session with much shouting from the ‘Integralists’, in the month of May 1926”, Sérgio criticizes the “bad Latin” (“latim de latinório”) that tastes like cork and the “latinophiles” who know nothing of the Latium tongue, as opposed to the Latin of Latinists, praising pari passu the “mental superiority” of the Greeks, whom he considered to be the “true classics”. Sérgio published an excerpt of this text, under the same title, in Seara Nova 146 (1929a) 19–21. On the objectives of this lecture and its impact at the time, see Cruz (1973) 232–235. Comments on the Antigone myth by António Sérgio himself in a letter sent from the exile in Paris and addressed to his friend Joaquim de Carvalho. Dated July 22nd 1930, the letter also informs that Sérgio was trying to find a publisher for his Antígona and that he had already written to Seara Nova and to Renascença to that effect. See Catroga e Veloso (1983) 977.

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relative of Afonso Costa, and Sant’Anna Dionísio was entrusted with the whole editing, publishing and distribution process.27 After it was published, towards the end of 1930,28 the “obrita” (“little piece of work”) or “folheto” (“booklet”), as the author often described it, was clandestinely circulated in the beginning of 1931, and soon after became the object of a controversy instigated by the C ­ oimbra nationalist students’ periodical Acção. In two articles signed by ­Joaquim M ­ endonça and Miranda Rocha and published in issues 8 and 9 of the same periodical, Sérgio was accused of having paraphrased Jean Cocteau’s Antigone, or of having in some cases translated it more or less freely, departing from it solely “to give vent to his politician’s passion”, and thus transforming the work into a “repository of partisan hatred, so inferior in quality that it would not reach the level of a common pamphlet”.29 To sustain their claim that Sérgio’s text was a “literary fraud”, the two article writers produced a comparison between the French play and the corresponding passages in Act 1, scenes 2 and 8, as well as Act 2, scenes 3, 4, 5 and 6 in Sérgio’s text. It should be noted that Cocteau’s Antigone, premiered on December 20th 1922 at the Théâtre de l’Atelier, Paris, with décors by Picasso, music score by A. Honegger and costumes by G. Channel, immediately became a reference in French dramaturgy because of the simple, daring and not very canonical manner it revitalized an ancient tragedy. Staged again in 1927, it was published a year later, when Sérgio was living in the French capital as an exile.30 Hence, it is not difficult to assume that the Portuguese author knew about the play or that he used it as a reference when recreating Sophocles’ myth, as shown in some of the examples – though not all – quoted in Acção. However, those very ­occasional similarities, mostly at the level of diction, do not in themselves demonstrate that plagiarism was committed, because, among other reasons, they were taken from scenes common to the Sophoclean archetype.31 It can therefore be said that both Cocteau and Sérgio flew over the Greek myth,

27

28 29 30 31

On this, see Dionísio (1975a) 10; and Dionísio (1975b) 10. In these two articles, the author transcribes a number of letters addressed to him by Sérgio, in exile, and from which the complex process of publishing Antígona can be traced. All quotations from this work will be from the only edition of “República”: António Sérgio, Antígona. Drama em três actos, Porto, Ed. República, 1930. See Mendonça (1931) 2; and Rocha (1931) 3–4. See above Fialho’s analysis of this play, p. 57 sqq. If one excludes the six abovementioned scenes, where it is nonetheless possible to discern Sérgio’s presence, one can conclude that the remaining scenes in acts 1 and 2, as well as the whole of the third act can be considered almost exclusively Sergian.

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a­ lthough with different aims and in different directions.32 As Fialho demonstrates, the French author, engaged as he was in the development of a new dramatic aesthetics – the “aesthetics of the minimum” –, and aiming to reduce the excessive importance afforded the verbal component at the expense of the visual and the sound elements, condensed the Sophoclean text without introducing shifts or cuts in the action, removed ornaments and digressions, and added two small references to contemporary issues.33 On the contrary, in his recreation of Sophocles’ Antigone, Sérgio kept only the essential, which served as a pretext, as we shall presently see, to introduce a number of innovative inflections in the primitive dramatic sequence, and also, in line with his thought, to include systematic and more or less veiled incursions into contemporary politics. These reasons easily explain why, when informed about the Acção ­article by Câmara Reis,34 Sérgio reacted immediately and with great ­indignation. In an unsigned text published in Seara Nova, after ironically expressing great joy at the advertising of his work by “the boys from Coimbra” (“mocinhos de Coimbra”),35 the author refuted their accusations with the following words: Os passos tomados de Sófocles – e não de Cocteau – na primeira cena, passos que todos os autores de “Antígonas”, em todas as línguas, têm tomado, são absolutamente necessários; é forçoso tomá-los para se fazer uma “Antígona”: porque são aqueles que fazem conhecer ao espectador o nó e o ponto de partida de toda a acção.36 32

33 34 35

36

At the beginning of his Antigone Cocteau describes his plain, linear rewriting, or, as he prefers, translation, of Sophocles through the metaphor of flying over the myth. See ­Cocteau (1948) 9. Fialho (1991) 125–152. On this, see also Fraisse (1974) 115–118. Information included in a letter addressed to Joaquim de Carvalho by Sérgio, dated March 21st 1931. See Catroga e Veloso (1983) 990. A similar ironic expression of joy is manifested by the author in the letter mentioned in the previous note, as well as in another letter addressed to Sant’Anna Dionísio, dated March 18th 1931, where he recommends that there should be sent “to Coimbra some co­ pies and, if possible, with a band saying: it seems that the author’s enemies are completely right in saying that this book includes extensive, extremely bold, phenomenal plagiarism, and is a ‘below zero’ piece of work as concerns its concept and style. In any case perhaps it would be better to read it, just to make sure”. See Dionísio (1975b) 10. Sérgio (1931) 46. It should be mentioned that Sérgio responded only to the “mocinhos de Coimbra” first attack since Seara Nova was issued the day before Miranda Rocha repeated the accusation of plagiarism in a second article published in Acção (see, above, n. 29), refuting the arguments put forward in a violent text written in defense of Sérgio and published in the newspaper Mundo Novo.

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(The passages taken from Sophocles – and not from Cocteau – in scene 1, passages which all authors of “Antigones”, in all languages, have taken, are absolutely necessary; to borrow them is mandatory if one wants to write an “Antigone”: because they are the passages that enable the reader to identify the whole action’s knot and point of departure). Thus excluding the desis (Aristotle’s term for “knot”, “point of departure”37) ne­ cessary for informing the reader about Creon’s edict and Antigone’s self-willed decision, despite being based on the Sophoclean model, Sérgio’s play necessari­ ly distances itself from it in that it gains a soul of its own, a very Portuguese character that leads the storyline towards a completely new lysis38– a lysis, as we shall see, of luminous hope. In fact, as the author also explains in the article he addressed to the young Acção “integralists”, this Antígona of his could have only been written by a Portuguese, at that precise moment of Portuguese history. The reason is that he had not exactly intended to write a dramatic piece for the stage,39 as with many other Antigones in western literature, including Cocteau’s; he had sought to produce a study of the sociopolitical situation in Portugal in the 1920s, using a dialogue form.40 This mode of presentation, one that Sérgio had used before in some of his essays, although, obviously, he now copies the Sophoclean agonistic model, can also be identified with Plato’s dialogues or with Renan’s dramas and philosophical dialogues.41 Given its plain and direct presentation of the different 37

38

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Aristotle (Poetics 1455b 26–28) defines desis (“knot”) in the following terms: “I call ‘knot’ the action that unfolds from the beginning to that climax where a change towards either happiness or misfortune occurs”. To this reversal of events, according to the principle of verisimilitude and necessity, Aristotle calls peripeteia (Poetics 1452a 22–24). Closely connected with the previous one is Aristotle’s definition of lysis. See Poetics 1455b 28–29: “I call lysis (‘denouement’) that which follows the beginning of the change and leads up to the end”. In spite of having declared that his play was not meant for the stage (see Sérgio (1931) 46), the author scattered stage directions throughout the text, including some very long and detailed ones. See Sérgio (1931) 46; and above the epigraph that introduces the present essay. In the author’s opinion, it was the fact that he had used the Antigone theme to produce a study on the contemporary sociopolitical situation that really infuriated the Acção people; that would not have happened had he only been “inspired by Cocteau – almost a plain translator of Sophocles” (46). According to Sérgio (1931) 46, it was to Renan and not to Cocteau that a certain French critic compared his Antígona, “not only in terms of genre but also of quality”. For Renan (1988) iii, considering its characteristics, the dialogue is a fit vehicle for expounding philosophical thoughts, for it is “a mode of exposition where nothing is stated,

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sides of a problem, the dialogue form has a considerable pedagogical value. As a matter of fact, since it provides a confrontation of ideas between two or more interlocutors, the dialogue form helps develop a clearer explanation and analysis of the principles and values advanced by the author, without the need for clearly stating them, and could therefore contribute to prick, like a bumblebee, the critical, civic awareness of the reader (not the spectator) driving him or her towards a firmer adherence to the cause being upheld.42 As critical readers also, let us go back to the late 1920s to better examine what Sérgio hid behind the mask of the Sophoclean myth in his Antígona, also defined by the author as a “propaganda manifesto” or a “drama-manifesto”.43 The analysis will be divided into two parts, according to Aristotle’s distinction between desis and lysis.44 3.1 DESIS 3.1.1 On the Conflict, the Principles, and the Agents Sophocles’ play exhibited a whole rhetoric of committed protest and freedom which had its origin in the conflict between Antigone and Creon, following the latter’s edict that interdicting the burial of Polynices, who had fought against Eteocles in a fratricidal war. Using this key element (the indispensible minimum, as the author puts it) of the Greek tragedy’s desis, through an implicit invitation to dreaming, evasion, and daydreaming, Sérgio seeks to force his readers out of their seclusion within themselves, and, through a permanent game of masks and implicit references, tries to make them better appreciate their present happiness “through the image of the great wrongs of the past”.45

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44 45

where everything is induced, welted, nuanced”. See also Dialogues et Fragments Philo­ sophiques (1895) (Philosophical Fragments and Dialogues), by the same author, where, also in the preface, he comments on the importance of using dialogue in philosophy. See Sérgio (1973) 123. In Matos’ opinion (1983) 539, dialogue, used in previous essays by Sérgio, is suited “in a particularly felicitous way to Socrates’ pedagogical method – ­maieutics – intended to awaken in the mind the truth already contained in it”. On this, see also Magalhães-Vilhena (1976) 127–128. These two expressions, by means of which Sérgio defines his work, are present in his aforementioned letter sent to Joaquim de Carvalho from Paris. See Catroga e Veloso (1983) 990. On the definition of these concepts, see, above, n. 37 and 38. Sérgio (1958f) 7–8. In a year of high expectations concerning a possible change in the country’s political orientation like 1958 – a year of presidential elections, opposing ­Humberto Delgado and Américo Tomás – Sérgio approaches the subject again in this “Jornada Sexta” (“Sixth Day”) and, reworking only scenes 1, 2 and 3, Act 1, so as to adapt them to the then current situation, provides a critical interpretation of them in the

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Wearing the mask of Carmona, Creon represents that which, through the mouth of the First Officer (Primeiro Oficial), Sérgio defines as the arbitrary politics of Force – the force that rules, that is holy, that is law (36). Like any other tyrant, as Critoboulus voices in his long speech, he is able to hold on to power by neutralizing all forms of opposition through persecution, crime and by setting up strict censorship and police surveillance, gradually expelling “from civic rights – exiled, outlawed, slandered, imprisoned – the highest and most enlightened citizens of Thebes” (26). Enjoying the support of the royalist partisans and the members of the Priests College (in a clear allusion to the monarchists and to Salazar and his Catholic Center supporters), he repeatedly aligns his speech and his action with the defense of religion and Order – the “order of the sword”, as Antigone defines it (56) –, against the impiety of the lords of disorder, the democrats and the philosophers of freedom, those idealists financed by foreign gold. And, in order to more easily impose that order, he advocates a strong, safe government, supported by the “perfect union”46 and centered upon the figure of a leader: O maior dos bens é um governo forte, que imponha a ordem a todo o transe e que não deixe falar os idealistas. Ora, a ordem da sociedade exige um chefe; exige (…) a obediência de todos ao arbítrio do chefe (…). Ora, a sociedade encarna no chefe; no caso presente, a sociedade sou eu. (69) (The highest of goods is a strong government capable of imposing order at any cost and not allowing the idealist to speak. Now, the order of society demands a leader; it demands […] obedience from everyone to the leader’s will […]. Society incarnates in the leader; in the present case, society is me). By petulantly identifying society and the law that regulates it with his subjective and individual will,47 Creon is, in Antigone’s words, a blind man who

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f­inal dialogue between the “Actor” and the “Ouvinte” (Listener) (Sérgio (1958f) 28–30). See, ­below, 153–159. Sérgio (1930) 35. Note the implicit reference to the short-lived União Nacional Republicana (Republican National Union), established in late September 1927 and abolished in February 1928 – the first congregating force of the pro-dictatorship currents, which would later support Carmona’s election – or the União Nacional (National Union), which will be present throughout the Estado Novo (New State) as the single party and was formed in mid 1930, when Sérgio “scribbled” his tragedy. See Sérgio (1930) 37, 52–54. When, in passages like this, Creon mentions laws, decrees or orders he adds the possessive “my”, which leads Antigone to consider them a tyrant’s “whim”.

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c­ annot see the light (57). Precisely that light which, at the very beginning of scene 3, act 1, the heroine calls to her aid, to guide her and to give her courage, dissipating her fear, “the chimeras and the fear of death in the sheer rapture of its splendor” (21). Guided by this “light of clear intelligence” and being free (21–22), ­Oedipus’ daughter, who entertains no “instinctive respect”, no “afflictive fear”,48 ­affirms her unfathomable faith not in the order that comes from the sword, like ­Creon’s, but in the order “that comes from the soul, […] from justice, from ­mutual respect, from generous work for the good of the people”, living and acting “as if the clearest ideas in her mind represented the essential order of the world” (56). By rising above the biological plane and ascending to the spiritual plane, she voices, in line with Sérgio’s thought, which echoes Kant’s,49 not the individual will of a particular class or individual, like Creon, but rather the general will, which, liberating itself “through intellectual consciousness from the mere subjectivity of sensitive consciousness”, identifies itself with an objective, rational, general thinking attitude which becomes a universal law.50 The remaining characters gradually position themselves around this revivified central conflict. Some of them we recognize from the Sophoclean tragedy, despite the changes introduced by Sérgio in line with the new meaning generated by his rewriting of the myth. Others were created by the author, most of them designed to more intensely underscore his thought and his position concerning the events that marked the Portuguese political life in the late 1930s. The first of the two sets, in which Eurydice and the Chorus, whose role is played by a heterogeneous group of characters,51 are significantly absent, includes four, somewhat redesigned, characters. Although she is still able to ­summon up the courage to share her sister’s guilt (57–60), tormented from the

48

49 50

51

These are the words used by the Libertarian in “Diálogos de Doutrina Democrática” (“Democratic Doctrine Dialogues”) (Sérgio (1974) 24) to describe the critical, independent attitude which a “free soul” should take before a ruler, irrespective of whether he/she is liberal or otherwise. See also Sérgio (1975) 180. In the third variation to the 1930 text, Sérgio (1958) 28 defines his Antigone, in line with the values he upholds, as a Kantian and a Christian. See, below, 158–159. See Sérgio (1974) 88–89. The author discusses these matters in Sérgio (1934a) 1, 4; Sérgio (1934b) 1, 4; and Sérgio (1958a) 9–14. According to Sérgio’s philosophical thought, Reason, which cannot be reduced to sensitive perception, is the root and the basis of everything. On this, see Magalhães-Vilhena (1960) 10; and Magalhães-Vilhena (1976) 128–129. See, below, pp. 126–130.

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start by a feeling of agony that “crushes the soul with iron claws” (20),52 ­Ismene symbolizes those who, disagreeing with the arbitrariness of dictatorship, fearfully surrender to it, abdicate their duty to fight for ideals and renounce their civic commitment.53 The Sentinela (Sentry), with a similar profile to the original Guard in Sophocles, is a selfish, uneducated, unsympathetic figure whose only concern is to save his own skin. Tiresias, announced from the beginning through the recurrent music played by the piper who accompanies him (23, 45), is the same wise and prudent prophet previously seen on Greek stages, and who, among premonitory warnings, advises Creon not to persecute the dead, not to tyrannize the living and to rule with freedom (62–65). And last, young ­Haemon. Although respectful of his father’s decisions, he does neither understand nor accept his arbitrary decision to forbid Polynices’ burial – thus ­representing the general feeling. Tolerant and liberal – and, for that same reason, esteemed by the democrats – Haemon is entrusted by the king with the negotiation of a transition to Democracy. After the negotiations fail, for the reason that Haemon was betrayed by his own father, he rides the “steed of sensibility”54 and, for the love of his Antigone and the freedom she represented,55 which had been latent in his spirit for a long time, he starts a revolution that, as we shall see, will prove magnanimous towards the supporters of the dictatorial regime. 52

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This element, either explicitly emphasized by Ismene or implicit in the constant doubts and interrogations that torment her (cf. Act 1, scenes 1 and 2), was stressed by the author himself in his aforementioned answer to the Coimbra newspaper Acção: “in that very first scene, albeit an imitation of Sophocles, the young ‘Acção’ boys could have found an interesting example of originality: the description of Ismene’s anxiety, which has been praised by a doctor and was absolutely authored by António Sérgio” (Sérgio (1931) 46). See Sérgio (1958) 29. A metaphor from the aforementioned “Carta Aberta aos oficiais que ainda admitem a ditadura”, transcribed in Oliveira Marques (1976) 146. In this letter, after comparing Portuguese politics previous to the 28th of May to a “lame dunkey” and the dictatorial regime to “a horse of the craziest kind” that kicks and “que por pouco mata” (nearly kills), Sérgio calls for the adoption of, in this particular case, the aphorism that playwright Gil Vicente used as a motto in his Farsa de Inês Pereira (Inês Pereira’s Farse): “I’d rather have a donkey that carries me than a horse that throws me down”. In his opinion, the Portuguese people should get rid of the untamable beast, not in order to restore the “jackass” system, which should be buried forever, but rather to rescue and restore their homeland, riding the ­“robust steed of Sensibility”. “Love” and “freedom” are two topoi innovatively associated to Haemon. Although also present in Sophocles, the Love topos is more explicit in Sérgio. As for the second, a completely new reference, it is a consequence of the author’s politicizing rewrite of the myth.

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Within the second group of characters – those created by Sérgio – we can find Creusa as the Nurse. Like Hélia Correia56 does six decades later, Sérgio recuperates this typical figure of Greek theatre, and gives her the meaningful name of Creusa, the feminine form of Creon. In the same measure as Creon’s actions represent his distance from Antigone, Creusa’s signify proximity and complicity. She is the confidante, the faithful companion who, desperately grieving Antigone’s fate, tries to the very last moment and to the limit of her strength, to get Antigone’s sentence to be buried alive suspended (105): CREÚSA: Peço, peço que suspendam! Pelas vossas mulheres, pelas vossas mães, pelas vossas filhas, por tudo e tudo que neste mundo… (arrasta-se para os pés de Ortágoras) Ouve, senhor, beijo-te os pés, ouve-me! Espera, espera! Um momento só! Espera! Olha para ela, vê-a! A mulher mais pura que veio ao mundo, a alma mais nobre de toda a Grécia! Espera, espera! Até à noite, só até à noite! É um crime hediondo o que vais fazer! Suspende, senhor! Suspende! Beijo-te os pés, suspende! (cai com o rosto sobre os pés de Ortágoras, que abraça e beija) (CREUSA: I beg of you, I beg of you to suspend it! For your wives, for your mothers, for your daughters, for everything in this world that… (she drags herself close to Orthagoras’ feet) Hear me, lord, I kiss your feet, hear me! Wait, wait! Only one moment! Wait! Look at her, see her! The purest woman who ever was born, Greece’s most noble soul! Wait, wait! Just till the evening, just till the evening! It is a heinous crime the one you are going to commit! Suspend it, my lord! Suspend it! I kiss your feet, suspend it! (she falls with her face on Orthagoras’ feet, encircling them and kissing them)) Besides the Nurse, Sérgio creates two heterogeneous groups of characters who, with their different sensitivities, represent the ambiguous views of the archetypal Chorus: one includes officers, soldiers and spies, who gravitate towards power; the other is composed of anonymous people, who suffer the impact of arbitrary palace decisions.57 56 57

H. Correia, Perdição – Exercício sobre Antígona. Florbela. Teatro, Lisboa 1991. On this ­ ortuguese recreation of Antigone’s myth, see, below, 265–284. P Among the most complex character adaptations pertaining to any recreation of Greek drama is the Chorus’. Considered by Aristotle as one of the actors, a part of the whole participating in the action, this collective character, developed in the Greek theatre orchestra, reciting, singing and dancing, was not adequate for either the dramatic economy of modern theatre or the scenic space of an Italian stage, and certainly not agreeable

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The second group, one of the two faces of Sérgio’s Chorus, is represented by an old man in rags, symbolizing the whole starving population who carry the weight of taxes on their back; by the taciturn citizen, representing the role of all the opponents to the regime who were persecuted, imprisoned and tortured; and also by the shepherds, who represent the peacefulness and the quietude of rural life. Far from the political agitation of the city, the function of these shepherds (Corydon, Tityrus and the “little shepherd”) is to introduce and to provide a framework for the main action in Act 3, which takes place in the side of a mountain near the cave where Antigone is to be buried alive, and where in the past, as Corydon sings in a short elegiac intermezzo referring to stasimon iv of Sophocles’ Antigone,58 Euryala, the little shepherd girl, had died on a stormy day (88–89).59 The first group, comprising officers, soldiers and spies, represents the force that helped establish the dictatorship, and, given the heterogeneous opinions of the different characters, it illustrates a variety of positions within the army,60 vis-à-vis Creon’s dictatorial regime, which in Sérgio’s tragedy symbolizes the absolute power extant in Portugal since May 1926. Eutyphro, one of the officers,61 personifies those who, waiting for some ­random solution to occur, let remorse and doubt lay dormant and passively accept the situation, even if they disagree with it. Enjoying the support of the

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to the spectators’ taste. Faced with this problem, Sérgio decided to separate the Chorus, ­transferring its role to the two aforementioned groups of characters. On this, see Cuccoro (2014) 33. As Pattoni (2010) 149–150 writes, “The fourth Sophoclean stasimon includes exempla of mythological heroines or heroes (Danaë, Lycurgus, Cleopatra and Phineus) who had to submit to cruel Ananke, finding their death in a situation of imprisonment or constriction (with images of blockage, closure, or blindness being recurrent), just as the fate of Euryala is a sort of paradeigma oikeion for Antigone’s story: a girl who died before her time, and, even worse, in the same cave”. On this idyllic intermezzo and its functions in the dramatic economy of the play, see ­Pattoni (2010) 149–151, and below, 136–138. Those differences were so wide that the military authorities were often disrespected by lieutenants and junior officers, as were also political appointees. The Second Officer ­(Segundo Oficial), who had just intemperately criticized Apollodorus (a cryptonym for the Minister of Finance, Sinel de Cordes), makes an allusion to that: “Creon is not the boss here: we are. Creon will do whatever we want. He has no choice!” (31). On “lieutenentism” and Apollodorus, see, below, 131–132. To avoid breaking scenic illusion, Sérgio chose Greek anthroponyms for these officers. Three were probably adopted from Plato, one of his masters alongside with Spinoza, Descartes and Kant: Orthagoras (Prot. 318c 5), Critoboulus (Apologia 33e 1, 38b 7; Euthydemus 271b 3, 306d 5; Phaedon 59b 7) and Euthyphro (Euthyphro 2a 5, passim). As for the other

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First Officer (Primeiro Oficial), the Third Officer (Terceiro Oficial) and also of some spies, Orthagoras represents the faction of those who blindly support power, opposing any possibility of transition or political openness. Near the end, however, when he learns that the revolution led by Haemon had been successful (one of Sérgio’s many innovations) and that they had been abandoned by Creon, Orthagoras cowardly retreats, for fear of his life, aligning himself, out of self-interest, with the new liberating forces. His change becomes quite clear in a speech where, in much agitation, he addresses Hegesias (another officer) who in the play illustrates the uncritical attitude of those who, without questioning, merely follow their superiors’ commands (113):62 ORTÁGORAS – (Para Hegésias) E nós, que soterramos Antígona? E agora?… Espero que Hémon perceba… que obedecemos às ordens do pai dele… Foi o pai dele que a mandou soterrar… Cá por mim sempre me repugnou cumprir tal ordem… Mas Creonte mandava… que havia eu de fazer? Ele é que insistia em empregar a força… Eu dizia-lhe, pelo contrário, que o despotismo se prolongava demais… que era tempo de acabar com isto… de voltar ao governo da democracia… Bem sei que a democracia funcionava mal… mas então, melhorava-se! O despotismo, por natureza, é um recurso transitório e rápido.63 … Já tínhamos reali­ zado a nossa obra, o nosso programa… Mas ele não me ouvia, nunca me quis ouvir! (Passeia agitado) O resultado… vêmo-lo aí… Que vai ser de nós? (Aplica o ouvido) Que é isto? Sinto rumor… São eles que sobem… E Creonte, hein? Tratou de fugir… Abandonou-nos… Nós que aguentemos, agora, com a responsabilidade das suas loucuras… que tratemos sozinhos com os democratas… Ouvi a um deles – não me lembro a quem – que é princípio da democracia o ser generosa… Se são democratas, hão-de

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two, Alcimachus can be found in Herodotus (6. 101) or in Demosthenes (47.50, 47.78), and Hegesias in Plutarch (Alexander 3.3; Moralia 497d 5, 844b 6). In fact, he had been assailed by doubts in the past, after some dissentions within the army when Antigone was imprisoned in the cave, at Creon’s command. According to him, the despotic regime, which should be no more than a “temporary and quick resource”, was taking much too long to be replaced (117), though it had never been able to completely silence contrary voices or eradicate “that old freedom mania deeply rooted in the human soul” (113). These words by Orthagoras which imply, at the end of the play, a degree of identification with Critoboulus and Alcimachus, echo Sérgio’s thought regarding the admissibility of a dictatorship though only as a temporary regime to prepare the advent of a new, true democracy. See Sérgio (1975) 171–175. Here Orthagoras translates Sérgio’s thought concerning the admissibility of a dictatorial regime only as a transition towards a new, true democracy. See Sérgio (1974) 11, 27, 151; ­Sérgio (1975) 174–175; and above, 115.

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ser fiéis aos seus princípios, hão-de ser tolerantes, hão-de ser liberais… generosos connosco… E Critóbulo, em suma, tem obrigação de ser bom camarada… (ORTHAGORAS – (To Hegesias) And what about us who have buried Antigone? What happens now?… I hope Haemon understands… that we were following his father’s commands… It was his father who ordered us to bury her… Me, I’ve always been disgusted that I had to obey his order… But Creon was the boss… what was I supposed to do? He was the one who insisted in using force… I told him, on the contrary, despotism was lasting for too long… that it was time to put an end to all this… to go back to the government of democracy… I know perfectly well that democracy had gone wrong… but then it should have been made better! Despotism is by nature a temporary, quick resource … We had accomplished our work, our program… But he just didn’t listen to me; he never wanted to listen to me! (Walks to and fro in agitation) The consequences… there they are before our eyes… What is going to become of us? (He listens intently) What is this? I can hear noises… They are coming up… What about Creon then? He was quick to fly… He forsook us… And now we must put up with the responsibility for his madness… deal with the democrats by ourselves… I heard from one of them – I don’t remember whom – that the principle of democracy is to be generous… If they are democrats then they shall be faithful to their principles, they’ll be tolerant, they’ll be liberal… generous to us… And, in short, Critoboulus has a duty to be a good comrade…) And last, Critoboulus and Alcimachus, together with some Officers (Second, Fourth and Sixth),64 represent those who, being ashamed of their forced solidarity for despotism (24), whose cause they doubt, crave for the restoration of freedom and respect for the dignity of all, and want a return to democracy, though not the model that existed before the dictatorship had been established: CRITÓBULO (dirigindo-se a Eutífron): A liberdade… parecia-nos outrora uma palavra vã, mas hoje… hoje, Eutífron, vejo bem a miséria que sem ela somos; hoje, Eutífron, percebo bem o que a liberdade é! […] Não ouves uma voz a dizer-te baixo, uma voz saída do melhor de ti – a dizer-te ­assim: respeita a dignidade da consciência humana; não faças empenho em escravizar ninguém! (27)

64

With his single, extremely short and innocuous speech (30), the Fifth Officer’s position vis-à-vis the dictatorial power cannot be discerned.

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(CRITOBOULOS (talking to Euthyphro): Freedom… it sounded like an empty word in the past, but now… now, Euthyphro, I can see clearly how miserable we are without it: now, Euthyphro, I understand what freedom really is! […] Do you not hear a voice telling you softly, a voice that comes from the best in you – telling you this: respect the dignity of human conscience; do not choose to enslave people!) Initially justified by many as a necessary evil to attain a higher good, because it denied freedom through strict censorship and held on to power by means of many crimes, the dictatorship no longer satisfied, in Tiresias’ words, the needs and expectations of this military faction or of the population at large (64–65).65 Those crimes included the ones committed in the aftermath of the fratricidal war opposing Eteocles and Polynices, which mirror the crimes committed in Portugal after the February 1927 uprising. The event will be discussed in the next section in the context of some other more or less veiled references to the sociopolitical situation in Portugal at the time. 3.1.2 On the Sociopolitical Context of the Time 3.1.2.1 The 3rd February 1927 As a consequence of the discontent of some liberal and left-wing Republican military sectors, on February 3rd 1927, a revolutionary uprising led by General Sousa Dias broke out in Oporto. Although it had been planned to take place simultaneously in different parts of the country, the Oporto combatants were only joined by the Lisbon rebels as late as the 7th, when they were already besieged and about to surrender.66 Due to the lack of synchrony in the organization of the “reviralhista” (oppositionist) conspiracy, the dictatorial government was able to smother it, albeit not easily. The retaliation that ensued included manhunting and summary executions67 and can be glimpsed through Ismene’s words when she lists the many misfortunes that had felt upon her family: ISMÉNIA: E vejo os soldados do tirano – aqui, aqui onde estamos agora, minha querida Antígona – a matarem os revoltosos já vencidos… já desarmados e vencidos… (15)

65

66 67

Tiresias’ sensible opinion, which corresponds to Sérgio’s, condensates not only the feeling of the people in general, also voiced by Haemon (75), but also that of the different military factions, expressed by Alcimachus (98–99) and Orthagoras (117). See, above, n. 13 and 14. On this, see Rosas (1994) 218.

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(ISMENE: And I can see the tyrant’s soldiers – here, here where we are now, my dear Antigone – killing the defeated rebels… now disarmed and defeated…) 3.1.2.2 “Tenentismo” (The Lieutenents’ Movement) Despite the fact that it had only recently been established, by dealing such a severe blow to the opposition, the dictatorship started to consolidate and to grow roots. But the hierarchy had not yet been adequately set up. Perhaps because of their inability or their incompetence, the military who were in command of the operation and who held the executive power were not shown due respect, and they often obeyed the orders of lieutenants and junior officers’ “soviets”, which in fact held the power for a while. The Second Officer (Segundo Oficial) implicitly alludes to that when he says: SEGUNDO OFICIAL: Quem manda aqui não é Creonte: somos nós. ­ reonte fará o que nós quisermos. Que remédio tem ele! (31) C (SECOND OFFICER: Creon is not the boss here: we are. Creon will do whatever we want. He has no choice!) And he merely repeats what the author of Ensaios had written in his “Carta aberta aos oficiais que ainda admitem a ditadura” (“Open letter addressed to the Portuguese officers who still endorse dictatorship”):68 Lavra no exército de que fazeis parte a mais repulsiva das anarquias; os quartéis da tropa estão convertidos em assembleias comiciais; os ministros tratam-se em pleno conselho pelos mais abjectos dos palavrões; os oficiais amantes da Ditadura tomam a pena dos panfletários e atacam os escândalos dos seus generais; os chefes que erguestes a governantes apanham bofetadas de um subalterno, que depois passeia triunfador. (The most repulsive of anarchies rages in your army; the army barracks have become rallies; during council meetings the ministers call one another the most indecent names; the army officers who are lovers of the Dictatorship take the pen of pamphleteers and attack their generals’ scandals; the government leaders you put in power are slapped in the face by a subaltern who then parades in triumph.) 68

Oliveira Marques (1976) 138–139. In this book (142, 156 e 157) there can be found other references to “tenentismo” (lieutenents’ movement) and the abusive power of the ­“lieutenants’ soviets”.

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In the last sentence, Sérgio is alluding to a somewhat bizarre episode that aptly illustrates the disorganization and the indiscipline that was spreading within the armed forces. In the summer of 1927, Lieutenant Morais Sarmento, accompanied by Captain David Neto and Captain Fernando Rodrigues, invaded the Palácio das Necessidades, in Lisbon, insulting and even physically assaulting, with total impunity, the ministers who were having their Council meeting.69 In Sérgio’s Antígona, the episode is ironically recounted through Critoboulus’ indignant words: CRITÓBULO: Estamos a servir uma tirania asquerosa, uma farsa vilíssima. Tiranizar o povo para o roubar, e roubá-lo para o tiranizar: eis o que é. Creonte é um bobo… Outro dia, no palácio, foi agredido por um jovem da guarda; e o jovem – caso estupendo! – foi premiado: subiu de posto! (25) (CRITOBOULUS: We are serving a loathsome tyranny, the vilest of farces. ­Tyrannizing the people in order to steal from them and stealing from the people in order to tyrannize them: that is how it is. Creon’s a buffoon… Only the other day he was assaulted in the palace by a young member of the guard; and the young fellow – what an amazing case! – was rewarded: he was given a promotion!) 3.1.2.3 Apollodorus/Sinel de Cordes One of those ministers attending that same Council meeting was probably Sinel de Cordes, who was responsible for a disastrous financial policy that dragged the country into a serious economic crisis. Although Cordes is not one of the characters in Sérgio’s Antígona, he hides behind the mask of a certain Apollodorus, whom some of the officers regard as incompetent: QUARTO OFICIAL: Desbaratou como um louco os dinheiros do Estado, que distribuiu à doida pelos seus amigos. Depois fez-nos andar a pedir esmola, de Norte a Sul… É um incapaz: repito! Abaixo Apolodoro. (30)70

69

70

See Oliveira Marques (1998) 376–377; and Oliveira Marques (1976) 101–102, 138–139; it includes critical remarks by the Paris exiles concerning this ridiculous episode with ­Lieutenant Sarmento as protagonist. This opinion of the Fourth Officer (Quarto Oficial) is later corroborated in Diálogos de Doutrina Democrática (Sérgio (1974) 4), in the words of the Libertarian, offering his opi­ nion to the Statesman: “You see, since there was no control of any kind, the Brigadier started to fool money away. The government periodical – the Official Newspaper – published lists of extraordinary loans the victorious quarter-master took out to then dole it out just

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(FOURTH OFFICER: He squandered public money like a fool, and he gave it out to his friends. Then he made beggars of us, asking for charity from North to South… He is totally incompetent! Down with Apollodorus.) Surrendering to the army officers, Creon eventually suggests that a member of the Priests College should replace Apollodorus, a clear allusion (yet another one) to Salazar, who will later replace Sinel as Minister of Finance. He gives in, despite knowing that Apollodorus had been throwing money around to ensure the continuation of his dictatorship: CREONTE: Apolodoro, na verdade gastou como um louco. O Tesouro de Tebas ficou vazio. Mas tinha que ser. Precisávamos muito de arranjar amigos, e é sempre com dinheiro que os amigos se arranjam. Depois a espionagem também sai caríssima. Mas claro que se não dispensa… (46) (CREON: Apollodorus has really squandered money like a madman. The Theban Treasury was emptied. But he had to do it. We really needed friends, and friends can always be found by means of money. Then spying is also extremely expensive. But of course one cannot do without it…) Justifying the second part of the name Apollodorus – doron, which in Greek can mean “a corrupting gift” – the minister did in fact squander public monies in his policy of cronyism and subsidy-granting based on dubious criteria. The resulting budget deficit increase led Sinel to seek international loans, starting with the London financial markets, followed by the Society of Nations.71 3.1.2.4 The Exiles and the Scythians As explained before, António Sérgio and other political exiles strongly opposed those loan requests, which, in point of fact, did not come to materialize. Accused by Creon, as they had also been by the government, of discrediting their country abroad, “trying to convince people of things that are not true” (71), the expatriates became the object of rumors and detraction intended to damage their reputation in the eyes of the public. That is the meaning of the order Creon gives to Orthagoras: CREONTE: Faze espalhar pela cidade – mas com jeitinho, entendes? – mais umas mentiras sobre os exilados. Por exemplo: que temos ­provas

71

as he pleased. He went so far as to lend money to individuals at a five or six percent interest rate, the same money that the State had borrowed at nine. Crazy, as you can see”. See Rosas (1994) 169–170. On the echoes of this request for a loan in Portugal, both in the press and in public opinion, see Oliveira Marques (1976) 181–278.

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nas nossas mãos – mas provas decisivas, incontestáveis – de que eles receberam das mãos dos Scitas… Que te parece?… Três milhões?… Quatro milhões?… Quatro milhões, hein?… Quatro milhões, não achas? Isso: que receberam dos Scitas quatro milhões. Provas ali, incontestáveis! (esfregando as mãos) Ah! Ah! Vai ser de efeito, hein? (baixo) Claro, forja tu as provas. (48) (CREON: Spread a few more lies about the exiles around the town – but very carefully, you understand? For example: that we have proof – irrefutable and overwhelming proof – that they have received money from the Scythians…What do you think?… Three million?… Four million?… Four million, eh?… Four million, don’t you think? Exactly: they have received four million from the Scythians. Solid evidence, irrefutable! (rubbing his hands) Ha! Ha! It’s going to have an impact, eh? (in a low voice) Of course, you must forge the evidence.) Considering that Scythia was the name the Greeks gave to the territory located in eastern Europe, between the Carpathian Mountains and the Don river, and more specifically, that in the late 1930s the area belonged to the Soviet Union,72 the “lies about the exiles” suggested by Creon clearly reproduce the rumors disseminated by the newspaper Imparcial on July 4th and 5th 1927.73 According to the forged news, against which Sérgio indignantly defended himself in some of his writings, “the political expatriates, the sinister leaders of the gangs ­Portugal had to suffer during sixteen years of scandals” and who were then living freely “in wealthy exile” had received, through the mediation of António Sérgio, four million francs from the Bolsheviks to establish a communist regime in ­Portugal.74 Thus, the repetition of this “Bolshevik” (metaphorically called Scythian) refrain echoed a military strategy which aimed at intimidating the population through the specter of communism, intentionally identified 72 73

74

See Simon and Spawforth (1996) s. v. The Libertarian in Diálogos de Doutrina Democrática (Sérgio (1974) 15) also mentions the disinformation campaign launched by the same newspaper to discredit António Sérgio and his companions in exile. See Oliveira Marques (1976) 76–84. Other allusions to the Bolshevik money supposedly received by the exiles and the military dictatorship opponents can be found in other documents pertaining to the Liga de Paris and published in Oliveira Marques (1976) 64 e 140, as well as in Sérgio’s play, namely in speeches by Creon (33, 41, 42, 47, 62), the Quarto Oficial (34) and Tiresias (63). The Liga refuted all the accusations in “Nota enviada aos jornais e aos ditadores” (“A note sent to the newspapers and the dictators”) in July 1927. See Oliveira Marques (1976) 84–85.

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not only with the exiles but with all democrats75 – those souls of death, rioters and incendiaries (41–42), as Creon, a cryptonym of Carmona, described them. 3.1.2.5 Lysander of Orchomenia/Primo de Rivera According to Sérgio, by resorting to this “foolish talk about Bolshevism”, the government turned the Portuguese into slaves of Spain, since “the very idea of this dictatorship – with its bruttish suppression of freedom of thought – had in itself been a Spanish-style nonsense”.76 However, the Spanish threat counterargument wavered by the opposition was not entirely groundless. In fact, because there was similarity, as concerns both their causes and their ideas, in the genesis of both dictatorships, it would only be logical that they might converge regarding, for example, strategic issues. That was the reason why, based on the news disseminated both by the Spanish and the French press, António Sérgio became convinced, or did not hide his fear, that, should there be a democratic revolution in Portugal, the dictatorship would count on the military support of Primo de Rivera.77 That was also Creon’s belief. After Tiresias’ premonitory advice that he should change his political approach, he answers that he counts on the support of his neighbor Lysander of Orchomenia in case a new uprising should threaten his position: CREONTE: Nova revolta? Não creio. A espionagem vela, e faz bom serviço. Eles estão sem força, quebrados de todo… Lisandro de Orcoménia prometeu apoiar-me. Se fosse necessário, em poucas horas, com as suas tropas, chegaria a Tebas… (67) (CREON: A new uprising? I don’t believe so. Intelligence is alert, and they’re doing a good job. The opposition is fragile, they’re completely

75

76

77

See Sérgio (1927b) 78: “Since Russia is the true devil for the good bourgeois of today, you (my enemy and benefactor!) believe you can get me into real trouble by spreading the word around in the Chiado that I have sold my soul to the Russian government and am getting money from Moscow”. On this, see Sérgio (1958d) 11. Oliveira Marques (1976) 145. To the spectre of communism raised by the military dictatorship, the exiles and the democrats responded with the spectre of the “Spanish threat”. See Torre Gómez (1985) 123. Oliveira Marques (1976) 25–26, 139–140. Afonso Costa was entrusted by the Liga de Paris with the task of inquiring into the Spanish government intentions should a revolutionary uprising occur in Portugal. Contrary to António Sérgio’s fears, he was firmly convinced that Primo de Rivera would not intervene. See Oliveira Marques (1976) 27–28. Sérgio, however, would still remain doubtful.

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b­ roken… ­Lysander of Orchomenia has promised his support. If necessary, he’d be in Thebes with his troops within a few hours…) Within the play’s permanent game of masks, Lysander of Orchomenia represents General Primo de Rivera,78 the Spanish dictator in power from ­November 12th 1932 to January 28th 1930, when he relinquished his office to General ­Dámaso Berenguer, whom king Afonso xiii entrusted with the transition from a dictatorship to constitutional legality.79 The end of Primo Rivera’s consulate certainly sparked off a wave of hope among the democrats and unleashed a surge of doubt and apprehension among the supporters of the military dictatorship, personified by Creon. ­Because the event was of major importance to Sérgio, he transforms it in his play into the driving force that propels the desis metabole towards a lysis of luminous hope, which occupies the whole of the third act. 3.2 LYSIS: The Luminous Hope The final part of Sérgio’s play is set in a bucolic environment, peopled by characters from Theocritus’ Idylls,80 who, on a bright Spring day, by the “great pass of the sepulchral cave” (81), sing rustic tunes and engage in dialogue in decasyllables, interspersed here and there with six- and twelve-syllable lines.81 In this 78

79 80

81

Orchomenia, a toponym created by Sérgio, can be identified with Orchomenos, a Greek city in Boeotia, near Thebes (see ocd, 4th edition, eds. Hornblower, Spawforth and ­Eidinow (2012) s. v.). If in the Portuguese Antígona Thebes corresponds to Portugal, then Orchomenia would correspond to Spain, with Lysander personifying the general who was then ruling the country, i.e., Primo de Rivera. See Feliciano Montero y Javier Tusell (1987) 466 sqq. Sérgio was obviously careful to set his bucolic scene in Greece while he very freely recreated Theocritus’ Idylls. Besides the characters of Corydon, from Idyll 4, and Tityrus, from Idylls 3 and 7, some passages by the Syracuse poet are still discernible behind Sérgio’s recreation. For instance, lines 9–10 of Corydon’s first speech (86), the young shepherd boy’s line and half-line (87), and lines 4–5 of Corydon’s third speech (87), partly inspired in lines 44–46 of Idyll 4, lines 102–103 of Idyll 5 and lines 4 and 11 of Idyll 1. Cuccoro (2014) 135, n. 88, adds Idyll 3 “a rustic paraklausithyron, i.e., a song performed in front of a closed door, where the maiden hidden inside a cave motif can be found”. On the reception of Theocritus in Portugal, see Rodrigues (2000). When imitating Theocritus’ Idylls, Sérgio took the care to transpose the Greek hexa­ meters into decasyllables because, besides being the meter that best translates the Greek rhythmic movement, given its “undulating musicality”, they also represent the shepherds’ singing better. The twelve-syllable lines (three, if we add the second line of the little shepherd’s speech, with 4 syllables, to the first line of Corydon’s second speech, with 8 ­syllables) and the 6-syllable lines (9 in all) scattered through the lyrical dialogue (86–89)

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peaceful, somewhat insouciant atmosphere, everything reaches them “like a noise from afar” (90). Their peacefulness is however broken by the arrival of the soldiers who are bringing Antigone. Worried about the negative impact that a change of policy in Orchomenia might have on his power, Creon had decided to send Antigone there because, at a troubled and uncertain time like that, her presence in Thebes could be dangerous, seeing how she was cherished by the people. In the meantime, protecting his own interests, he decided to prepare two alternative solutions to ensure that, at the appropriate moment, he could choose the one that better responded to the way the events might develop: the repressive option, with the help of Orthagoras; or, alternatively, the transition solution, for which he asks the collaboration of sensible, liberal Haemon, who commanded the respect of the democrats. Should the dictatorial regime gain control of the situation, then the repressive mechanisms would be intensified, Antigone would be imprisoned in the cave and die. In case the democrats won, Antigone would be held hostage to negotiate the transition. A mistake or some hastiness in his analysis of the events led Creon and his supporters to believe that they had neutralized all foci of opposition. Therefore, as had been planned, Antigone, who says good-bye to the light, is imprisoned in her tenebrous cave, as happens in Sophocles’ original tragedy. When the news finally arrive that the revolution led by generous Haemon and by Critoboulus had been a success, with Creon leaving the country, it is already too late. Haemon hangs himself beside dead Antigone, thereby consummating their espousals with darkness. In death, however, they both gain the freedom which they had fought for and which they had granted to Thebes, where a generous, tolerant and liberal democracy is set up82 and dedicated to Pallas Athena, “the persuasive goddess of light and freedom” (123). Critoboulus is given the final words, expressing hope for a better future and definitely summarizing António Sérgio’s “demopedic” design, implicit in the writing of his “social study in dialogue form”:

82

do not really become dissonant even if they introduce a variation in the pattern. In fact, if we consider the fact that each of the twelve-syllable lines in Corydon’s second speech is equivalent to a set of two six-syllable lines, given its two-part rhythmic nature, we have a pattern of rhythm composed of two tonalities: the decasyllables, which are predominant, and the six-syllable lines, which are considered “versos quebrados” (“broken lines”), nearly half-lines of the heroic decasyllables. On these poetic meter aspects, see Carvalho (1991) 32–40. This is also the democracy that Sérgio praises in a text written in Madrid, in January 1927. See Sérgio (1972b) 159.

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CRITÓBULO: Juremos a nós mesmos que faremos o futuro melhor que o passado, para que a tirania não se erga mais – não, nunca mais! P ­ erante nós, vemos agora uma faina imensa: tenhamos ânimo de a levar por diante e ponhamos a esperança na mocidade de Tebas! Ela, enfim, nos ­salvará a todos, se souber inspirar-se na santidade de Antígona!… (122). (CRITOBOULUS: Let us make a vow to build a future that is better than the past so that tyranny won’t ever rise again – no, not ever again! Before us we see intense labor: let us take heart to carry it out and lay our hopes in the Theban youth! They will finally save us all if they let themselves be inspired by the sanctity of Antigone.) 4

Conclusion: From Darkness to Light

By vivifying Sophocles’ myth through his Portuguese soul,83 probably inspired by the winds of change that blew from Spain, Sérgio was completing yet another chapter of his pedagogical and political mastership. Against torpor and the lethargic tendency to wait for problems to solve themselves,84 his allegoric recreation, making allowances to the age in which it was written, offered its readers an example of unselfish civic commitment. With his innovation of the archetype, from the darkness of Antigone’s sepulchral cave the author brought forth light – the light of the Spirit and of Freedom, with which he intended to illuminate and awaken people’s consciences to the need for resisting the extant despotic regime, in order to, in the short term, bring about the restoration of democracy, a political system which, he believed, required from citizens “their maximum awareness”.85 However, more than forty years were to pass before Critoboulus’ apology, inspired by “the sanctity of Antigone”, would be fulfilled and, with it, darkness would be replaced by Reason and Light, and the Force would be conquered by the Spirit and by Freedom.

83 84

85

In doing it Sérgio was following Nietzsche’s thought (Menschliches, Allzumenschliches. Ein Buch für freie Geister, II. §136), quoted as an epigraph to his work. See Sérgio (1930) 7. See Magalhães-Vilhena (1976) 130, for whom Sérgio’s philosophy has an essentially activist character – a philosophy that does not acknowledge the possibility of a victory without resistance, fight, and effort. Sérgio (1974) 52. See also Sérgio (1971) 233.

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Sérgio would not live to see his dream of change come true. His Antígona, however, would go down in the history of 20th century Portuguese literature and culture as …um instinto de luz, rompendo a treva, Buscando, entre visões, o eterno Bem.86 … an instinct of light, breaking the darkness, Seeking, among visions, the eternal Good. 86

Nocturno 10–11, a sonnet by Antero de Quental (1842–1891), a poet who had a major ­influence upon António Sérgio’s thought.

chapter 8

António Sérgio’s Antigone Revisited: Two Invectives against the Salazar Dictatorship Carlos Morais Let us understand – freedom is the sunshine of souls. antónio sérgio (1953–1957) 115

∵ In the second half of the 1940s, the dictatorial regime that had ruled Portugal since 1926 reacted to the new post-war order and wave of democratization that was sweeping through Western Europe by initiating a process of opening-up that gave the opposition forces some hope that a political transition to a postSalazar regime might be possible. However, this soon proved to be no more than a fleeting illusion, as became clear early on with the frustrated attempt to get General Norton de Matos1 elected. Given the lack of minimal conditions of equity to stand against Óscar Carmona,2 the regime’s candidate, the ageing general ended up withdrawing from the elections in February 1949. Shielded by a context of economic growth that brought a relative improvement in the population’s living conditions (they had been spared the horrors of the war by Portugal’s “neutral” position during the conflict), the dictatorship gained a new lease of life, resuming its repressive mechanisms and political/ ideological aggression in an even more refined way. The opposition, divided and demoralized, monitored by the political police and constrained by censorship, withdrew into a defensive silence, which was only tenuously broken by 1 General Norton de Matos (1865–1955) held political and military posts during the 1st Republic (1910–1926), and was Governor General of Angola and Ambassador of Portugal in London. He was one of the opponents of the Estado Novo, standing for President of the Republic against the regime’s candidate, Óscar Carmona. As his demands for freedom to campaign and for electoral supervision were not granted, he withdrew his candidacy. 2 Marshall Óscar Carmona (1869–1951) was the 11th President of the Portuguese Republic, in power from 1926, shortly after the establishment of the military dictatorship, till his death in 1951, during the Estado Novo. © koninklijke brill nv, leiden, ���7 | doi 10.1163/9789004340060_010

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interventions in the successive façade elections or by timid actions of a political and cultural nature that managed to evade the control of the censors. This was the case with the staging of António Pedro’s Antigone by the Porto Experimental Theatre, defined boldly by the Chorus as a “tragedy of freedom”.3 However, in these years of torpor, there were some opposition figures that never desisted from their opposition to the Salazar dictatorship.4 Amongst them, the writer, thinker and polemicist António Sérgio stands out. A notable member of the Social Democrat Directory, his intervention took the form of a committed presence in civic associations, and his writings, which he used as pedagogical tools with which to influence minds. In this drive against the Estado Novo, which he kept up right to the end of his life, he ultimately revised his Antigone, rewriting it twice in around 1950 and 1958. 1

The (Unpublished) c.1950 Edition: Protest against the Salazar Dictatorship

With the clear political and pedagogical objective of pricking consciences that had gradually been taken over by torpor, Sérgio went back to his Antigone in around 19505 and wrote a 2nd edition, introducing profound changes in order

3 Pedro (1981) 261. On this play, see Morais (2001) 85–101, and below, 175–191. 4 António de Oliveira Salazar (1889–1970) was Finance Minister between 1928 and 1932, and President of the Council (corresponding to Prime Minister) from 1932 to 1968. During this time, he directed Portugal’s destiny in a dictatorial manner, creating mechanisms of repression and propaganda such as censorship, the Portuguese Youth movement (Mocidade Portuguesa), the National Foundation for Joy in Work (Fundação Nacional para a Alegria no Trabalho or fnat) and the Secretariat for National Propaganda (Secretariado de Propaganda Nacional, spn), from 1944 the National Secretariat for Information, Popular Culture and Tourism (Secretariado Nacional de Informação, sni). These institutions are parodied in the 1950 edition of the play. 5 Though the typescript is undated, there is a reference near the beginning that allows us to surmise it will have been written around 1950. In fact, if we consider that, in the prologue (5), Polynices is the “sublimated essence of a few good friends, some Portuguese, others foreign (…), encountered over the course of a harsh life” and that they are “mark of his humanist ideal”, Sérgio mentions, as examples of his claim, that only friends that have died, famous names such as: the Frenchman Paul Langevin (1872–1946), the Swiss Édouard Claparède (1873–1940) and the Portuguese Father Manuel Alves Correia (1881–1948) and Raul Proença (1884–1941). Later, he pencilled in the name of Marc Sangnier (1873–1950), “precursor, in the good land of France, of what has come to be called ‘Christian democracy’” (Sérgio (1953–1957) 130–131). References like these allow us to deduce that this undated and unpublished text will probably have been written around 1950.

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to adapt the work to the new political context of the time. It opened with this long meaningful dedication: A todos os que nasceram para serem livres; aos jovens portugueses – cada vez mais raros – não escravizados a um sectarismo político ou a qualquer espécie de dogma filosófico, aptos para os voos da investigação libérrima, com o gosto de pensarem por si mesmos e capazes de dúvida metódica; aos que entendem o carácter eminentemente humano da doutrina e da prática do cooperativismo integral, profundamente revolucionário, pelo qual o povo realiza ele próprio – autónoma e criadoramente – a sua emancipação social-económica, sem ter necessidade de se meter a reboque de chefes políticos autoritários; e aos poucos que actuam por amor do povo sem buscar as auras da popularidade. (To all that were born to be free: to those Portuguese young people that are not enslaved to political sectarianism or to any kind of philosophical dogma (an increasingly rare thing), and who are prepared to undertake free investigation, thinking for themselves and capable of methodical doubt; to those that understand the eminently human character of the doctrine and practice of integral cooperativism, and its profoundly revolutionary nature, through which the people itself fulfils its social and economic emancipation autonomously and creatively, without the need to hook up to authoritarian political leaders; and to those few that act out of love for the people, without seeking the aura of popularity.) This revived piece (which he defines on the frontispiece as a “historicophilosophico-political dialogue in dramatic form”) is a parody of Salazarism and the political discourse in effect at the time, a true “bohemia of the spi­ rit”, “deliriously anachronistic” (c.1950: 4–5). However, the work ultimately remained unpublished, and part of it (the ideological altercation between Creon and Haemon in the second half of Act ii, as well as most of Act iii) was eventually lost, probably during the one of the various moves on undertaken by his collection. However, from the character list and scenery design for the last act, found amongst the typescripts of the 2nd edition, it appears that the dramatic sequence of the last part of the play would not have been very different from that of the 1st edition.6 6 See figure 8.1. In fact, the character list of the 2nd edition included the shepherds, Coridon and Tityrus, who only come on stage in Act iii as in the 1st edition. What is more, Sérgio’s design for the scenery for the 3rd Act shows a bucolic scene in keeping with the description in the stage directions in the 1930 text: “Landscape of rocks and vegetation on the slope of a

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Figure 8.1

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Scenery for the 3rd act

Thus, while there may have been adjustments made to the language, and possibly allusions to the new sociopolitical context of the mid 20th century, Act iii seems also to have taken place in a bucolic scene, peopled by characters taken from the Idylls of Theocritus, ending with a message of hope in a better future of freedom and justice.7 Similarly, the designs that he made for the scenery of the 1st act and some costumes (Fig. 8.2 and 8.3, below) seem to contradict the claim given in the prologue of the 2nd edition that this Antigone is not a work of theatrical fiction but rather a civic project of a “preacher-essayist, who has been dragged into the maelstrom of politics by the cyclonic winds of the public confusion” mountain. In the foreground, at the left, a cliff face with the mouth of a cave, into which it is possible to go down by a few steps, hidden to the audience. On the right, another cluster of rocks, covered with vegetation, with a boulder at the base, where three people could sit. Behind this, in the centre, a small mound of earth with two or three natural steps, and behind that, lower down, a ramp which rises up at the right, out of sight. Then hills covered with vegetation, with two or three cypresses, and in the background, a blue sea under a clear sky. On the horizon, far away, the bluish shape of earth. A bright spring day” (Sérgio (1930) 85). 7 On this matter, see, above, 136–138.

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Figure 8.2 

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Scenery of the 1st act

(Sérgio (c. 1950) 2). In fact, these sketches, with detailed notes about props and shapes, colours and materials to be used for the scenery and wardrobe,8 seem 8 The design for the scenery of the first act (Fig. 8.2) includes props, such as the throne and skins (on the throne and the column on the right hand side) and specifies the materials to use or imitate (e.g., granite), in addition to those mentioned in the stage instructions: “A square in Thebes. In the background, a portico with staircase near to Creon’s palace. On the upper level, the bases of Doric columns. Simple schematic scenery in pale tones. When the curtain

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Figure 8.3  Costumes rises, it is night. Pale moonlight” (c. 1950: 10; identical description to the 1930: 11). In Fig. 8.3, the sketch of some costumes is accompanied by interesting detailed descriptions, which no stage directions or textual reference mentions. Thus, Haemon in Act ii has very light blond hair, ribbons and curls, a dull silver breastplate and red tunic. In the same act, Creon enters on stage in a light-coloured tunic with yellow triangles, a blue mantle with brown horizontal band and silvery stripe, and bar of the same blue in the tunic. Creusa appears with a black tunic with yellow horizontal stripes around her face, and a brown mantle. Tiresias has white curly beard and hair. The soldiers Orthagoras (Ortágoras) and Critoboulus (Critóbulo), in Act iii, appear in helmets.

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to prove that the author will have considered the possibility that his text would be staged (c. 1950: 4). Whether or not this was his intention, it is clear from the typescript, with its interesting handwritten additions, that he retained the same civic concerns were manifested in the 1st edition, as proved by the opening words of the prologue:9 Este “apólogo dialogal” é, em parte, como que um caderno de memórias, ou coisa que o valha; em parte, o testamento político de um sonhador sem emenda; em parte, uma espécie de sermão de um moralista cívico (…); [é] uma sorte de depoimento e de pregação popular por um homem que nasceu pregador-ensaísta e a quem os ventos ciclónicos da barafunda pública arremessaram à força para os turbilhões da política, para a celeuma das turbas, para a actuação clandestina, e que vem aqui divagar do que presenciou e pensou, e da “moralidade” que tira da sua própria experiência. (This “dialogal apologue” is in part book of memoirs, in part the political testament of an incorrigible dreamer, in part a kind of sermon by a civic moralist […]; [it is] a kind of testimony and folk sermon by a man that was born to be a preacher-essayist, who has been dragged into the maelstrom of politics by the cyclonic winds of public commotion, to the turmoil of the mob, to clandestine action, and who is here drifting away from what he has witnessed and thought, and from the “morality” that he has drawn from his own experience.) Even if he was aware that the subject and dramatic form would not be easy to adjust, he decided to take the risk, believing that this was a useful way of denouncing the realities and conflicts that persisted in Portugal at the time. He did so in an extravagantly imaginative way, using symbolic interlocutors that became emblems of opinions and political tendencies.10 Though this parodic version is invested with new functions, in accordance with the change in the themes covered and the targets of contestation, the characters are essentially the same. As we might expect, the principle of tragic conflict is practically unaltered, similar to the original, although adapted to the Portuguese sociopolitical context. Creon’s decree, treated as a dictator’s whim or folly, is counterpointed by Antigone’s inflamed rhetoric about the unwritten­

9 10

Sérgio (c. 1950) 2. Sérgio (c.1950) 2–4.

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universal laws of conscience that underpin all good and all justice (c.1950: 66– 67), which he ridicules: ANTÍGONA – Acima dos decretos de qualquer tirano estão as leis não escritas da consciência, universais e imutáveis. CREONTE – As da consciência? Aonde se vai isso achar? ANTÍGONA – Aonde havia de ser, Creonte? Em nós mesmos. Na unidade unificadora que a consciência é. Descobrimos a lei no nosso próprio ânimo, coetânea da luz que se faz nele. Topamos aí… como dizê-lo?… um princípio de universalidade e de coerência íntima, uma norma de unidade e de reciprocidade entre as almas, que inspira ao mesmo tempo o sábio e o justo. A de uma harmonia interior, que é para nós o bem. O Bem intelectual, o Bem moral. CREONTE – Bravo! Temos retórica! Deixa-me rir! A senhora filósofa a doutrinar a gente! Bonito! Como se eu não tivesse também doutrina! Como se acaso me faltassem a mim filósofos, que escrevem as coisas como eu as quero! Teóricos da autoridade, da tradição, da ordem!… Há escribas para tudo, fica tu sabendo! Porque é só pagar! Eu pago, eles escrevem, a Propaganda pública, e o Universo crê! Poetas, historiógrafos, oradores, novelistas exaltam a ditadura paternal dos Chefes, os edifícios monumentais de que se enche a Terra, a firmeza do pulso com que se castiga e rege. Pois pudera! Encarregámos o Nicócoras de comprar literatos. E não só de aqui, mas de lá de fora também. Graças ao Nicócoras e ao dinheirinho do imposto, o nome do Ceréfilo está correndo os orbes. Aos donos do oiro nunca faltam retóricos − dos que proclamam as lérias em que todos crêem. Ora a filósofa! Pois que julgavas tu? (ANTIGONE – Above the decrees of any tyrant are the unwritten laws of the conscience, universal and immutable. CREON – Of the conscience? Where are you going to find those? ANTIGONE – Where do you think, Creon? Within ourselves. In the unifying unity that is conscience. We discover the law in our own souls, contemporary with the light that glows there. We glimpse there… how shall I put it?… a principal of universality and intimate coherence, a norm of unity and reciprocity between souls, which inspires both the wise and the just. It is the conscience of inner harmony, which for us is the Good. The intellectual Good, the moral Good. CREON – Bravo! We have rhetoric! Let me laugh! Madam philosopher indoctrinating us all! Lovely! As if I didn’t have doctrine too! As if by chance I needed philosophers, to write the things I want them to! Theoreticians of authority, tradition, order!… There are scribes for everything,

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you should know! Because all you have to do is pay them! I pay, they write. Public propaganda and the universe believes! Poets, historians, orators, novelists glorify the paternal dictatorship of the leaders, the monumental edifices that fill the earth, the firmness of the pulse with which we punish and rule. Because we can. We order Nicócoras to buy the literati – not only from here, but from abroad as well. Thanks to Nicócoras and the money that comes in from taxes, the name of Ceréfilo is circulating around the globe. Those that have gold have all the rhetoric that they need – from those that proclaim the mumbo-jumbo in which all believe. Hark the lady philosopher! Who do you think you are?) In this debate about principles, the mask of the Greek tyrant continues to hide Carmona, though now converted into a symbol of the fascist dictatorship (c.1950: 4), which for years had counted on the “unshakeable support of all governments of authority and force – the of Mussilandro, Efrâncoras, Petenião, Hitlérides” (c.1950: 48).11 This dictatorship has withstood the test of time, thanks to the censorship, instruments of torture, slow death camps, espionage and network of informers and the surveillance of suspected opposition movements by the “State Police” (c. 1950: 4), commanded by the officer Orthagoras. In addition to this base institution, which is particular to all fascist or Nazi regimes, as Sérgio writes in the prologue (c.1950: 4), the regime also enjoyed the support of the upper echelons of the Church with its promotion of the phenomenon of “Fátiras” and the “materialities of [its] cult” (c. 1950: 73), which help keep the people subjugated by feeding their superstitions.12 Referred to jokingly, this religious space thus symbolizes the communion of interests between the state and the Church, as these words from Antigone make clear (c. 1950: 72–73): ANTÍGONA – A acreditar [nos milagres], Creonte… só naqueles que se passam nas consciências dos homens, no seu interior. Naqueles que consistem em espiritualizações das almas. Quanto aos outros… queres que te diga?… parecem-me sortes de prestidigitação pueris, como o do sol em 11 12

Parodic reference to the great European dictators of Italy, Spain, France and Germany: Mussolini (1922–1943), Franco (1939–1975), Pétain (1940–1944) and Hitler (1933–1945). Allusion to the apparitions of Our Lady to the three shepherds (Francisco Marto, Jacinta and Lúcia) in Cova da Iria, Fátima (here called “Fátiras”), which took place on the 13th day of each month between May and October 1917. On the last day of the apparitions (13th October 1917) thousands of believers witnessed the so-called “miracle of the sun”, mentioned jokingly in the text transcribed below. On this matter, see Morais (2009) 463–464.

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Fátiras a girar à doida, qual roda de um carro […]. Tristes superstições e materializações mesquinhas, a que se agarra a boçalidade das multidões ineptas! Superstições que cultivas, porque te convém cultivá-las! (ANTIGONE – To believe [in miracles], Creon… only in those that occur in the consciences of men, in their inner natures. In those that consist of spiritualizations of souls. As for the others… do you want me to tell you?… they seem to me like childish conjuring, like the one about the sun spinning crazily in Fátiras, that cartwheel […]. Sad superstitions and petty materializations, which the inept multitudes cling to in their ignorance! Superstitions that you cultivate, because it suits you to do so!) In order to promote its ideals within the family and society, the dictatorship also makes use of organizations like the “Theban Youth” (“Mocidade Tebana”) and “Joy at Work” (“Alegria no Trabalho”), which were at the service of ­“Political Propaganda” (c.1950: 4, 48, 56),13 directed by Nicócoras, code name of António Ferro (1895–1956). Nicócoras is described in the play as “the slave of Ceréfilo (i.e., Salazar14), he of Propaganda” (c.1950: 31). This Greek-sounding name is obviously an amalgam of the “Ni” in the abbreviation sni (National Secretariat for Information) and “cócoras” (“crouch” or “squat”), the servile attitude of someone that is unconditionally in the service of power, which, in Sérgio’s view, was the case of António Ferro, the person ultimately responsible for the regime’s cultural policy and for the promotion of the image of its leader, as well as for the activities with the Portuguese Youth (Mocidade Portuguesa) and the National Foundation for Joy at Work (Fundação Nacional para a Alegria no Trabalho, fnat), which are also parodied in the play. Responsible from 1933 to 1949 for the Secretariat for National Propaganda (Secretariado de Propaganda Nacional, spn), appointed from 1944 National Secretariat for Information, Popular Culture and Tourism (Secretariado Nacional de Informação, sni), Ferro also authored the book Salazar: o Homem e a sua Obra in order to promote the figure of Oliveira Salazar in Portugal and abroad, as Creon mentions in the text transcribed above.15 He was also the force behind the so-called “Politics of the 13 14 15

Parodic reference to the propaganda organizations of Salazar and the Estado Novo. On this subject, see n. 4. In order to glorify and promote the figure of Salazar abroad, António Ferro’s propaganda manual, Salazar: o Homem e a sua Obra, was translated into several languages including French (Salazar: le Portugal et son chef, trad. Fernanda de Castro, précédé d’une note sur l’idée de dictadure, par Paul Valéry, Paris Bernard Grasset, 1934); Italian (Salazar: il Portogallo e il suo capo, traduzione dal portoghese di Corrado Zoli, Roma, Sindacato italiano

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Soul” (“Política do Espírito”),16 the cultural programme that sought to reconcile the old folk traditions and national values with the modernity of the day, glorifying the regime and its leader. Throughout the play, there are various references to literary awards, traditional festivals (festas castiças), parades, street parties, public works and their inaugurations, all designed to entertain and distract the people, who had to remain poor, picturesque and faithful to the past, never concerning themselves with things that were outside their competence.17 This national culture project and its use as a vehicle of propaganda is parodied (culminating in the traditional greeting of “Chefe” or “leader”) in Nicócoras’ first speech, when he announces that he has used taxpayers’ money to make Ceréfilo into the “Great Ceréfilo” (“Grão-Ceréfilo”) or “Ceréfilo Maximus” (“Ceréfilo Máximo”) of worldwide prestige (c.1950: 32): NICÓCORAS – Venho de uma ceia. De uma ceia do espírito, está bem de ver. E amanhã…amanhã o almoço, para anunciar os prémios. Os prémios para as letras, os prémios para as artes. Com bom almocinho, que se não dispensa. A política do espírito requer almoço. Isto vai óptimo, queridos amigos! São os saldos no orçamento, as pousadas lindas, as muralhas remendadas, as diversões, as danças. E obras públicas, por Zeus! Para fazer réclame! Alegam que o povo está a morrer de fome… Patetas! Mas a política do espírito que tem que ver com o povo? O povo, para a política do espírito, só tem de ser pitoresco. Não vos parece, amigos? Ná, ná: política do espírito, política do espírito! O nosso Ceréfilo é que é o novo Homero. O poeta das cifras, percebem vocês? Adoremos o homem, que é o deus do saldo! É o ponto final de toda a minha história! Ponhamos o seu busto por toda a parte! Quem manda, amigos? Quem é que nos manda? Pois quem há-de ser? (levantando o braço) Ceréfilo, Ceréfilo, Ceréfilo! Poeta, poeta, poeta… das cifras, das cifras, das cifras! (NICÓCORAS – I come from a supper. From a supper of the spirit, it’s good to see. And tomorrow… tomorrow, lunch, to announce the prizes. Prizes for letters, prizes for the arts. With a good lunch, that is i­ndispensable.

16 17

arti grafiche, 1934); Spanish (Oliveira Salazar: el hombre y su obra, prol. de Oliveira Salazar e Eugenio D’Ors, Madrid, Fax imp., 1935); Konkani (Salazar Munis Anim Tachó Vaur, trad. António Reveredo, pref. Oliveira Salazar, Lisboa, Of. Gráficas da Soc. Ed. ABC, 1938) and English (Salazar: Portugal and her leader, translated by H. de Barros Gomes and John Gibbons, with a preface by the late Sir Austen Chamberlain and a foreword by Dr. Oliveira Salazar, London, Faber and Faber, 1939). For the theorization of “politics of the spirit”, see Ferro (2007) 225–229, and also 57–59 and 155–159. See Sérgio (c.1950) 59–60.

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The politics of the spirit requires lunch. This goes very well, dear friends! There are the budget balance, the beautiful hotels, the mended city walls, the entertainments, the dances. And public works, by Zeus! To lodge a complaint! They allege that the people are dying of hunger… Fools! What has the politics of the spirit got to do with the people? For the politics of the spirit, the people have only to be picturesque. Don’t you think so, friends? No, no: politics of the spirit, politics of the spirit! Our Ceréfilo is the new Homer. The poet of ciphers, do you understand? Let us love this man, who is God of the trade balance! He is the full stop of all my history! Let us place his statue everywhere! Who is in charge, friends? Who tells us what to do? Who else could it be? (raising his arm) Ceréfilo, Ceréfilo, Ceréfilo! Poet, poet, poet… of ciphers, ciphers, ciphers!18) Though Ceréfilo (which means “one who likes Ceres, goddess of agriculture and harvests”) never appears on stage, he is repeatedly invoked during the course of the action. Like the goddess that lends her name to the formation of this hybrid (“Ceres” + “philos”), the cold figure that hides behind him (i.e. Salazar) was considered by his opponents to be a narrow-minded peasant who mercilessly harvests taxes from the people in order to balance the public accounts of Thebes at any cost, unable to appreciate the dignity of spirit, love of truth and justice and luminous principles of freedom and democracy. This is clear from Antigone’s acerbic remarks about his hypocritical, inhuman and flameless authoritarianism; for Creon’s protégé is not only the “marshall of the budget” (c.1950: 92), he is also the only one that can prevent Thebes from falling into the claws of the sinister extremists, broadly justifying “a few pushes and shoves” (c.1950: 48):19 18 19

This final part of Nicócoras’ speech parodies a rhyme intoned by the Legion and Portuguese Youth during Salazarism: “Quem vive? Portugal, Portugal, Portugal! Quem manda? Salazar, Salazar, Salazar! Who lives? Portugal, Portugal, Portugal! Who commands? Salazar, Salazar, Salazar!” In Sérgio’s parody, the word “Portugal” is replaced by the cry “Thebes, Thebes, Thebes!” and Salazar by “Ceréfilo, Ceréfilo, Ceréfilo!”. Spoken in the play by a “Civil”, these words allude to a phrase uttered by Salazar in one of the interviews he gave to António Ferro, published in the book Salazar. O Homem e a sua

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ANTÍGONA – Com sua alma tacanha de cultivador de aparências, de calculador astucioso, é incapaz de apreciar a dignidade do espírito, a profundez da consciência, o largo voo idealista, o amor da verdade, da sinceridade e da luz. Sem humanidade e sem chama, delicia-se à grande na concupiscência do mando, e para poder deliciar-se na concupiscência do mando consente e encobre todas as malversações dos seus homens. A podridão mascarada é o seu ideal de política. (ANTIGONE – With his narrow-minded soul, only concerned with cultivating appearances, crafty and calculating, he’s incapable of appreciating dignity of spirit, depth of conscience, soaring ideals, the love of truth, sincerity and light. Without humanity, and without a flame, he delights in the concupiscence of his command, and so as to be able to delight in the concupiscence of his command, he consents to and covers up all his men’s malpractices. Masked putrefaction is his political ideal.) (c.1950: 94 b–c) Indomitable and generous as in Sophocles’ play, Sérgio’s heroine, expressing admiration for all who protest and show their indignation in the darkness of Thebes, is firmly decided to oppose this “masked putrefaction”, the despotism of Creon and Ceréfilo that asphyxiates all, guided by the free clear light of Spirit, of Reason. In defence of the truth, of dignity, of the order that arises from justice, Oedipus’ daughter embodies (in Sérgio’s words, inscribed in the prologue) a facet “of anti-fascism, of aspiration to freedom, of social revolutionism” (c.1950: 4). As in the first edition, her ideals are shared not only by Polynices (who is already dead, the sublimated essence of the revolutionary spirit, c.1950: 5), but also by the young Haemon, pondered and respected by democrats, the caustic soothsayer Tiresias, and also Critoboulus (Critóbolo), an army officer who admires those that fight for freedom of the soul in the straight clear trench of conscience (c.1950: 39). Partly a “political testimony of an incorrigible dreamer” (c. 1950: 2), this second edition was never published, as has already been mentioned. However, Sérgio made use of the first three scenes to form the central body of his “Sexta Jornada” (“Sixth Day”) of Pátio das Comédias, das Palestras e das Pregações (Courtyard of comedy, lectures and sermons), his third variation on the myth

Obra (1933) 82. There, the dictator justifies the torture of political prisoners as a form of intimidation and way of discovering conspiracies working against the regime.

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of Antigone, which was published in 1958, the year when he was strongly involved in General Humberto Delgado’s presidential election campaign.20 2

The 1958 Edition: A Protest against Presidential Electoral Fraud

This candidature sought to arouse people from their lethargy by instilling hope, breaking the silence that had gagged them since 1926. Bringing together the various opposition parties and attracting powerfully explosive popular support, with its promise to return democracy to the country and restore the essential freedoms, General Humberto Delgado (who was nicknamed “the fearless general” because of the courage with which he challenged Salazar with his famous “Obviously, I would sack him”21) unlike Norton de Matos actually managed to fulfil his promise to stand for election against the regime’s candidate, Admiral Américo Thomaz.22 He would never have been able to enjoy victory due to the widespread electoral fraud, which was immediately denounced inside and outside the country. However, his intrepid attitude and the growing wave of enthusiasm triggered by his American-style rallies in the main cities of the country, particularly Porto (14.5.1958), provoked a powerful political upheaval which shook the iron structure of the regime and aroused the dormant consciences.23 It was in this context of sociopolitical convulsion that António Sérgio, continuing his constant pedagogical apostolate, wrote his “six Days” of the Pátio das Comédias, das Palestras e das Pregações (Lisbon, 1958). These six short works sought to fulfil the Proudhonian maxim “Democracy is demopedia” by educating the “living stones” of the nation through reason and clear ideas for a true democracy of justice and liberty.24

20

21

22 23 24

Though he participated in the military coup of 28th May 1926 and initially supported the Salazar regime, General Humberto da Silva Delgado (1906–1965) later became the face of the opposition to the dictatorship in the presidential elections of 1958. Serving as the motto for an exciting opposition campaign, this phrase was pronounced by Humberto Delgado at a press conference held in the Café Chave de Ouro in Lisbon on 10th May 1958. Américo Deus Rodrigues Thomaz (1894–1987) was the 13th President of the Republic of Portugal (the last of the Estado Novo), and was in office between 1958 and 1974. For these matters of domestic policy in the post-war period, see Rosas (1992); Rosas (1994); Reis (1989–1990); Cruz (1988). See Sérgio (1974) 239.

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In order to explain his ideas in these small books, Sérgio resorted to the dramatic dialogue, a tried and tested pedagogical strategy in the tradition of Plato’s dialogues and Renan’s philosophical dramas. The dialogue form, with its simple direct way of presenting different facets of a problem, each through a different interlocutor, was undeniably effective in achieving its central aim of prompting the reader to join the cause.25 Thus, the analysis of principles and values put forward on the speculative stage of the Pátio da Comédias is made clearer through the contrast of ideas presented by the different interlocutors who, session by session, defend their positions on matters of a philosophical, social and political nature. The “Actor”, as moderator, recites the prologues and launches topics for discussion, while the “Listener”, in the part of fictitious spectator, replies with his considered opinion, which often reflects Sérgio’s own view. A similar role is played by “Tia Joaquina”, an experienced woman of the people, who is wise and libertarian, and in constant conflict with her conservative reactionary nephew “Manuel das Luzes”, a young graduate of the Coimbra academy. The Pátio das Comédias cycle opens with an opuscule in which the author recovers the main ideas expounded in Democracia, a 1934 treatise that draws, like many of his other essays, upon the rationalist thought of Kant. In the following four, the debate centres on the opposition between the evils of the ­monopolizing corporativist state in power, which he rejects, and the incommensurable advantages of a cooperative democracy, which he advocates. ­Unlike democracy, which has its essence in freedom, justice and moral fraternity, and is thus “the only democracy that is truly of the people” (Jornada Terceira, 26),26 corporativism is “a means of depriving workers of their natural right of association” (Jornada Quarta, 29; Jornada Quinta, 29), words that were taken from the famous letter that the Bishop of Porto, D. António Ferreira Gomes, sent to Salazar on 13 July 1958, in the wake of the fraudulent presidential elections.27 In suffocating the expression of free thought, this model of governance ­implied 25 26

27

See Sérgio (1973) 123. On this subject, see Sérgio (1953–1957) 317. In this letter of the volume Cartas ao Terceiro Homem (Letters to the third man), the author argues that his true purpose is pedagogical and cooperative indoctrination. See AA.VV., D. António Ferreira Gomes: nos 40 anos da Carta do Bispo do Porto a Salazar (D. António Ferreira Gomes: 40 years after the Bishop of Porto’s letter to Salazar) (1998) 189. António Ferreira Gomes (1906–1989) was bishop of the Diocese of Porto between 1952 and 1982. This letter (called a “pro-memoria”), in which he firmly demanded “respect, freedom and non-discrimination, which the honest citizen deserves in any civil society”, cost him a decade in exile (1959–1969). He returned to his post in the consulate of Marcello Caetano (1968–1974).

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(in the opinion of Tia Joaquina, also shared by the author) “the modernization of our economic structure and [worsened] the conditions of the poorest sectors of the population, leading them to despair, indignation and hate” (Jornada Quarta, 12). Rather than de-proletarianizing the most needy, as the Church’s social doctrine proposed, it would proletarianize them even more (Jornada Quarta, 12, 24; Jornada Quinta, 29). Thus, his forthright attack on Salazar’s despotic regime, defended blindly by the nephew Manuel das Luzes, is not unexpected. It appears near the end of the “Fifth Day” of this heated intervention (Jornada Quinta, 19–20): O teu regime é absurdo. Absurda a pretensão tirânica de suprimir perpetuamente a liberdade cívica. Absurda a noção do partido único. Absurdo o sistema do corporativismo de Estado. Absurda a educação pela «Mocidade Portuguesa». Absurdo o intuito de regenerar o País à força de acúmulos de pedras mortas. Absurdo o abandono do humanismo eterno a favor de um economismo de cariz fontista. Absurdo o sacrifício do povinho agrário à ganância desenfreada dos negocistas… (Your regime is absurd. Absurd your tyrannical pretension to perpetually suppress civic freedom. Absurd the notion of the single party. Absurd the system of state corporativism. Absurd the education by the “Portuguese Youth” (“Mocidade Portuguesa”). Absurd the intention to regenerate the country by accumulating dead stones. Absurd to abandon eternal humanism in favour of “Fontist” economism.28 Absurd to sacrifice farming folk to the unbridled greed of the businessmen…) This was November 1958, still in the aftermath of the convulsive elections of 11th June.29 Following a protest against the government’s prevention of the 28

29

The term fontista (fontist) derives from the name of Fontes Pereira de Melo (1819–1887), one of the most important Portuguese politicians of the second half of the 19th century, who promoted an ambitious programme of public works. What Sérgio was criticising in this passage was the regime’s concern with works and infrastructures, which he called “dead stones” (“pedras-mortas”) to the detriment of the people who were the “living stones” (“pedras-vivas”) of the nation. On p. 8 of this “Jornada Quinta”, there is a mention of the Pope having died the previous month. As Pope Pius xii died on 9th October 1958, we would not be wrong in suggesting that this text was written in November. There are also references in this opuscule to the letter that the Bishop of Porto sent Salazar on 13th July of that year, and also to the ii Development Plan for the following six years (1959–1964), publicized in August on the occasion of a government reshuffle.

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entry into Portugal of the English Labour mp Aneurin Bevan, who was coming to give a lecture at the invitation of the democratic opposition, Sérgio was arrested a fourth time (the other occasions had been in 1933, 1935 and 1948) “for investigations”, as described in a note divulged by the press on the 26th November.30 This, however, did not deter him or dampen his militancy. Indeed, it had the reverse effect. In the final opuscule of the Pátio das Comédias, das Palestras e das Pregações, he decided to return to the myth of Antigone, not to the 1930 edition, but to the one from the 1950s that had remained unpublished. From this reformulated 2nd edition (a true “bohemia of the spirit”), Sérgio took the first three scenes, which he touched up to form the central body of the “Sixth Day” (“Jornada Sexta”) of the Pátio das Comédias, which therefore became his third variation on the Antigone myth. Composed at the end of 1958, this opuscule has the same structure and length as the five earlier “Days”, but now Antigone and Ismene replace Tia Joaquina and her nephew Manuel das Luzes in the dramatized ideological confrontation. To this central core (the minimum necessary to understand the node of the action, which already contains the necessary rhetoric of protest) he added an explanatory epilogue in the form of a dialogue between the Listener and the Actor, and also a brief prologue spoken by the latter.31 The audience/reader is invited to envisage the scene and use his/her imagination to experience the evils of Thebes in former times (Jornada Sexta, 7–8). Ismene comes onto the (mental) stage after the prologue in the company of Creusa, her lady-in-waiting, a character that is absent from the Sophoclean para­digm. Tormented by fears and anguish, Oedipus’ daughter heads for Creon’s palace for a secret meeting with a woman whose identity she does not know. In the dialogue with Creusa, a brief reference to the silence and the calm that has followed the battle between the two brothers, now dead at each

30 31

See Baptista (1992) 67–84. This metatheatrical prologue (as is the epilogue, which uses a similar technique) was probably inspired by the prologue of António Pedro’s Antigone, which was itself probably influenced by Anouilh (see, below, 185, n. 39). Correspondence exchanged between the two writers allows us to conclude that António Sérgio knew António Pedro’s tragedy. In a letter addressed to Sérgio, probably dating from 1954 (Letter 48-A of the collection existing in the António Sérgio Museum-House), António Pedro wrote: “We have just staged an ‘Antigone’ of mine to great public and critical success. I am sending you the programme, which of course makes reference to your own version of this Sophoclean subject”. António Sérgio’s response is in the Pedro collection, reference E5/32. On this matter, see Mendes (2011) 163, and Morais (2012) 519–521.

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other’s hands, becomes a pretext for the introduction of a reference to topical matters, which did not appear in the 1930 text. Although the 2nd edition32 omits the significant allusion to the tyrant’s “ferocious police”, this 1958 opuscule nevertheless conserves the no less significant reference to the “feigned peace” that was experienced at that time (Jornada Sexta, 9–10): ISMÉNIA – […] A revolta foi sufocada… E depois… depois, Creúsa, foi matar, matar, matar!… Pareceu-me deveras que enlouquecia… E agora… que silêncio!… que solidão!… que paz! CREÚSA – Paz aqui, ao pé do palácio; mas nas sombras dos cárceres, nos subterrâneos, nesses campos hediondos da morte lenta… quantas agonias, quantos prisioneiros, que milhares de dores! ISMÉNIA – Sim, que milhares de dores! Tudo mentira, nesta paz fingida! (ISMENE: […] The rebellion was quashed… And then… then, Creusa, it was kill, kill, kill!… It seemed to me that he must have gone crazy… And now…. What silence! … what loneliness! … what peace! CREUSA: Peace here, near the palace; but in the shadows of the gaols, in the underground dungeons, in the heinous death camps… so much agony, so many prisoners, so many thousands of pains! ISMENE: Yes, so many thousands of pains! All a lie, in this feigned peace!) This peace is supported by repressive measures, such as censorship, espionage and networks of informers, which effectively gag and incarcerate all that oppose Salazar’s despotic regime, here represented by Creon, who “symbolizes the fascist attitude in its deepest aspects”.33 The contestation of Creon’s “hypocritical tyranny” (Jornada Sexta, 12) becomes more intense in the second scene, which uses the essential ingredients of the Sophoclean tragedy for undeniably political and pedagogical aims. Emerging from beneath the mantle that covered her, Antigone, while showing comprehension and docile affection, has little patience with the fears of the fragile and “sick” Ismene, pursued by ghosts of her brothers and parents in an “imagination [that] increases fear” (Jornada Sexta, 16). Like her Sophoclean counterpart, she has a plan that cannot wait. However, before carrying it out, 32 33

Sérgio (c.1950) 11. Sérgio (c. 1950) 4.

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she wants her sister to know. Thus, she tells her that she is going to infringe Creon’s arbitrary command and to grant burial rites to the body of her “Master” and brother, Polynices, who, like her, represented (in the words of the author given in the Prologue of the 2nd edition) a “facet of aspiration to freedom”.34 Symbolizing all defeatists and all who, through family bonds, are reluctant to fight “for ideas and civic heroism” (Jornada Sexta, 29),35 Ismene tries to dissuade her from her rash intentions, telling her that women were born for sacrifice and pain, and not to fight against men (Jornada Sexta, 17). With this ­famous topic, recuperated from the Sophoclean model, she tries to show her that she will gain nothing with her “fiery temperament” (Jornada Sexta, 19), her rash desire, inherited from Polynices, to revolutionize the world, rising up blindly against things that are beyond her forces (Jornada Sexta, 17). However, this attempt is in vain. Sérgio’s heroine is as indomitable and generous as her Sophoclean counterpart, expressing admiration for those who protest and become indignant in the Theban darkness. She is firmly decided to oppose Creon’s insult to her brother and fight with all her strength against the despotism that is suffocating them all, guided by the clear free light of the spirit, of reason (Jornada Sexta, 21–22), the light that she will invoke in her exile in the monologue in the third scene (Jornada Sexta, 26–27), to give her courage and free her from egoism and fear of death, so as to be able to fight for justice and freedom. Moving up with daring determination from the biological plane to the plane of the spirit, she interprets (in Sérgio’s thought, which he has calqued from Kant) not the individual will of a particular person or class, like Creon, but the general will that is identified with an objective, rational general form of reasoning established in universal law.36 Thus, reading this short new dialogue-homily, we can conclude, in keeping with what was said in the explanatory epilogue by the “Listener”, that Sérgio’s Antigone is Kantian and, in a certain sense, also Christian. She is Kantian because, against the absolute reason of the state, she proclaims not so much “the rights of religious piety [and] fraternal love”, like Sophocles, but rather “the rights of free human conscience, those of rational law to which the spirit, eternal and inalienable, aspires” (Jornada Sexta, 28).37 She is Christian because, 34 35 36 37

Sérgio (c. 1950) 4. Sérgio (c. 1950) 4. See Sérgio (1958a Jornada Primeira) 9–14; and Sérgio (1974) 88–89. On this matter, see Magalhães-Vilhena (1960) 10; and Magalhães-Vilhena (1976) 128–129. Agreeing with the “Listener”, the “Actor” states later on that the tragedy occurs “on the level of the spirit, without place in space, without century in time. It is the spirit rising up against power that corrupts – which corrupts always” (Jornada Sexta, 30).

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in accordance with Sérgio’s thought, the democratic ideal that she defends is homogeneous with that of Christianity, “it is the political translation of the gospel” and “has the nature of a religion”.38 But it is clearly political in its essence, as Sérgio himself recognises, when he writes, in the prologue to the second edition:39 …ante os factos políticos do meu tempo, eu lembrei-me por meu turno de que existia o Sófocles e rabisquei este apólogo (…). Através do artifício de uma antiga história, eis o debate que é de hoje, sobre temas sociais que são de hoje. Mais: em linguagem que é de hoje, com modos de pensar que são de hoje, sem nenhum rebuço ou cautela. (…before the political facts of my time, I remembered for my part that Sophocles existed and scribbled this apologue (…). Through the artifice of an ancient story, this is a debate of today, about social themes that are of today. What is more, it is in a language of today, with ways of thinking that are of today, without sweeteners or caution.) In fact, at the origin of these two dramatic and ideological exercises are, as we have seen, political contexts that are conducive to the revitalization of the Antigone myth, and the revision of the 1930 text. Out of the darkness that has begun to settle in the years immediately following the end of the 2nd World War, after the false hope of an opening-up of the regime and an evolution to post-Salazarism, the heroine, borrowing her voice from the author, is intrepid in condemning the tyranny that suffocates, vindicating that freedom that is the supreme “sunshine of souls”.40

38

On this approximation between the values of democracy and Christianity, see Sérgio (1975) 169–171, 180; and Sérgio (1957) 15. 39 Sérgio (c. 1950) 3–4. 40 Sérgio (1953–1957) 115. On freedom as the supreme good, see too Sérgio (1974) 21–22, 329; Sérgio (1975) 171; and Sérgio (1957) 18.

chapter 9

Júlio Dantas’ Antigone: Or the Martyr of Late Romanticism Maria do Céu Grácio Zambujo Fialho Júlio Dantas was one of the best known Portuguese intellectuals of the early 20th century. He was born in the city of Lagos on the Algarve coast in 1876 and died in Lisbon in 1962. He studied medicine at the School of Medicine and Surgery in Lisbon, going on to specialise in psychiatry, which he practised as a military doctor. Dantas was a public figure involved in a wide range of different activities. In addition to being doctor, he was also a journalist, diplomat, politician and, from early on, a writer of fiction and later essays. His authorial activity included novels, poetry (in the late Romantic Parnassian style, considered rather conservative and outdated by intellectuals of the age that were open to new intellectual currents) and theatre. He was also an accomplished translator, producing Portuguese versions of plays such as Shakespeare’s King Lear (published in Lisbon, 1905) and Edmund Rostand’s Cyrano de Bergerac (1899). He taught at and directed the National Conservatory of Lisbon, and founded the association that later became the Portuguese Society of Authors. His merit and cultural prestige were publically acknowledged when he was first admitted to and then repeatedly elected president of the Academy of Sciences, and awarded honorary doctorates in Brazil and by the University of Coimbra in 1954. His political activities and positions were far from straightforward. He was a parliamentary deputy during the Monarchy and a Minister in the First Republic. After the military revolution of 1926, that established the Second Republic and opened the way to the right-wing dictatorship known as the Estado Novo, Júlio Dantas had also presided over the Centenaries Executive Board, directing the Portuguese World Exhibition, which took place in Lisbon in 1938–40. Nevertheless, his prestige and experience in international affairs justified that he was appointed to the Commission for Intellectual Cooperation of the Nations Society and presided over the Special Embassy to Brazil after 1940. Then in 1949 he was appointed Portuguese Ambassador to Brazil (Rio de Janeiro). In these functions he had outstanding role in the development of a spelling agreement with Brazil.

© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, ���7 | doi 10.1163/9789004340060_011

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In 1915, the second issue of the magazine Orpheu came out, marking the arrival of Portuguese modernism, with the participation of Pessoa, Sá Carneiro, and others. The Lisbon bourgeoisie, used to the traditional canons, was scandalized, and Júlio Dantas took it upon himself to criticize the young modernists vehemently. This provoked a response from Almada Negreiros, one of the members of the group, for whom Dantas represented the outmoded writing style and canons of late Romanticism (and of course Dantas had initially supported the monarchy only to become a top-ranking republican after the Republic was instituted). After the publication of Negreiros’ famous Anti-Dantas Manifesto (1915) in reaction to the première of Dantas’ play, Soror Mariana,1 Dantas became a byword for conservatism, particularly after he entered a new phase in his political life with the advent of the Estado Novo. Only later on did academics such as Vitorino Nemésio and David Mourão Ferreira publically recognise the quality and flexibility of Júlio Dantas’ work (especially his prose). Despite the criticisms, Júlio Dantas, who was a man of letters with a solid cultural background, is one of the most popular playwrights of the early 20th century. Of his many theatrical creations, mention should be made particularly of the extremely popular A ceia dos cardeais (The Cardinals’ Supper) composed in 1902 and performed numerous times on stage and television. We should also recall A Severa (1901) about the legendary figure of singer Maria Severa Onofriana,2 who is credited with being at the origins of the Lisbon fado tradition.3 In addition to being performed on Portuguese stages,4 the play was 1 Bigotte Chorão (1967) 406–408. 2 Maria Severa was mythologized as the founder of Lisbon fado. Her father, of gypsy origin, was a fisherman in Ovar on the northern coast who, like many, migrated to the capital with her mother. She was born in 1820 in the much sung-about Rua da Madragoa, a poor area of town connected to fishing and the sale of fish, where her mother had a tavern. She moved from there to various other locations before settling in the Mouraria neighbourhood in the street which, through her, became famous in fado – Rua do Capelão. She died at the age of 26. Her brief existence marked the imaginary of fado. A young bohemian prostitute, she had an exotic beauty and an unusual expressivity in her singing, carving out a place for herself in the world of song. She was associated to the culture of bull fighting, and was well known to the bohemian noblemen of her time. 3 The Lisbon fado tradition is different from the Coimbra one, which represents the student tradition and is therefore more cultured, typically sung by male voices. Due to the intervention of two famous names – Luiz Goes, who graduated in medicine, and José Afonso – it gave rise to the resistance ballad. 4 The play was staged in 1955 at the Monumental Theatre in Lisbon with the figure of Severa played by the famous fado-singer Amália Rodrigues.

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also made into a film by José Barros Leitão (the first sound film produced in Portuguese), which premièred at the São Luiz Theatre in 1932 and ran for six consecutive months. As we can see from his writing and translation activities, Júlio Dantas knew the European dramatic tradition very well, including the Graeco-Roman. The fate of the house of Oedipus was familiar to him, judging by the play that will be analysed in this chapter it brings together aspects of other plays by Sophocles (Oedipus the King and Oedipus at Colonus5). But he also knew the versions by Aeschylus (Seven against Thebes) and Euripides (The Phoenician Women), as he admits on the title page of his edition of the play: “Play in 5 acts, inspired by the work of Greek tragic poets, especially Sophocles’ Antigone”.6 Dantas does not, therefore, follow one model in a linear fashion, but rather combines dramatic elements from other tragedies dealing with the Antigone theme.7 The myth of Antigone remains close through Sophocles’ archetypal play and the various re-readings and appropriations that have been made of it, within the two interpretations deriving from Hegel’s reading: on the one hand, the notion of a dual tragedy of fate, a tragic impasse between the values of state and family represented by Creon and Antigone respectively; and, on the other, the reading that makes Antigone into the heroic martyr of resistance, of any resistance,8 in accordance with the creative appropriations that tradition, since Romanticism, has made of it.9 When Júlio Dantas wrote his Antígona, he was situating it within the “Antigone-martyr” tradition of creative appropriations. Various factors may account for this option. For one, the play was ready in 1946 (i.e. soon after the end of the Second World War), which meant that the public would have been particularly sensitive to the voice of sacrifice and resistance.10 It was also composed for the debut performance of the young actress Mariana Rey Monteiro, the daughter of Amélia Rey Colaço and Robles Monteiro, in the main female part,11 5

6 7 8 9 10 11

In fact, even before suspicions fall upon Antigone, Oenopides, faced with her disappearance at night, conjectures that she might have fled to Athens, where she had previously been well treated by Theseus (Act ii, Scene ii). The edition used is from Livraria Bertrand, 2nd edition, undated. Fialho (2001) 74. See Fialho (2000) 29–33; Morais (2001) 7–12. In Cocteau’s Antigone, resistance is above all aesthetic in nature, against the dictatorship of the aesthetic “-isms” that were popular at the time (e.g. Dadaism, Surrealism). This profile is in keeping with the use of a dramatic topos of Euripidean tragedy, noted by Silva (2001) 40: the voluntary sacrifice of the damsel. Mariana Rey Monteiro was accompanied on stage by the young talented actress Maria Barroso playing the role of Ismene. A political activist in the resistance against the Estado

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to be staged at the D. Maria National Theatre by the Rey Colaço-Robles Monteiro Company with which Dantas had had close relations as composer-director. The romantic aspect, exacerbated in the play, was also in keeping with the author’s writing style and aesthetic options. Finally, given the sinuosity of Dantas’ political trajectory, we could perhaps see his key plays as offering a justification of his political options:12 that is to say, in constructing Creon as the “villain of the piece”, he could have been making a veiled criticism of the dictator of the regime that many believed would not survive the recent Nazi defeat. Anyway, Antigone is here a special martyr of a peculiar resistance: the resistance of “heart” expressed by a high level of emotional speeches.13 The romantic profile and the emotional rhetoric of his princess Antigone befit the profile and the figure of young actress Mariana Rey Monteiro (1922– 2010) in the context of a performing tradition much appreciated by the public. With her thin figure, combined with her big sad dark-brown eyes and her sweet but firm voice, she was the ideal actress to play female aristocratics and nobles.14 Whatever the reason, we should not overlook a peculiar coincidence that leads us to an “esprit de l’époque”: 1946 was the year of publication of Jean Anouilh’s Nouvelles Pièces Noires, which of course contained his own version of Antigone. Dantas’ play is structured into five acts, with as many episodes and stasimons as the Sophocles’ play. However, it begins with a substantial difference: there

12

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Novo, Barroso became one of the founders of the Portuguese Socialist Party, alongside her future husband, Mário Soares. F. Dacosta, “Almada e Dantas a nu”: facebook.com. A Ceia dos Cardeais (1902) represented the confirmation of the sympathy for the monarchy and his support for the Church. In 1911, during the conflict between the Catholic Church and Portuguese state during the First Republic on account of the Law of Separation, Dantas published the play A Santa Inquisição (The Holy Inquisition, 1910), attacking the Inquisition. In the early phase of Salazarism, he published Frei António das Chagas (Friar Anthony of the Wounds) in praise of those that were sacrificed for the fatherland (“praise of those that were sacrificed, immolated for the Fatherland”). Already in 1922 a poet, José Dias Sancho (1989–1929), criticized causticly Dantas’ style: “Rostand, sem dúvida, tem sido o seu figurino predominante, desde a tradução que fez do Cyrano…Júlio Dantas creou uma personalidade, todavia: amassou o romantismo, o rea­ lismo, o parnasianismo, o preciosismo simbolista n’um pires de Sèvres, e conseguiu uma forma própria, de si mesmo, inconfundível, a que poderemos chamar, genericamente, − lindismo” (J.D. Sancho, 1922, Ídolos de Barro: Júlio Dantas, Lisboa, 66). Since then she played major texts of western dramaturgy – as A Streetcar Named Desire, by Tennessee Williams, or Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen. See: http://www.cmjornal.xl.pt/ cultura/detalhe/mariana-rey-monteiro-a-aristocrata-do-palco-era-mulher-doce.html.

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was no prologue; the Athenian public learned about the latest events in the dramatic situation through the dialogue between Antigone and Ismene. ­Dantas begins the play with a dialogue between one of the members of the group known as the “Elders” (Oenopides) and Aegaeon, whose function is similar to that of the Guard in Sophocles, but broader and worked in a different direction: he is the commander of the king’s personal guard, and does not have that touch of vulgarity typical of Sophocles’ popular figures. The start of this dialogue evokes the tone of jubilation adopted by the Chorus of Elders of Thebes (taken up again in Scene iii) in the parodos of Sophocles’ play, in alluding in a more serious tone to the fate of the two brothers fallen in war. Aegaeon visualizes this struggle in terms reminiscent of Seven against Thebes (“They disputed the paternal inheritance, king against king, brother against brother”), to which are associated echoes of the Homeric epic and Aeschylus: “two giant trunks, struck down by Zeus’ anger”.15 Day breaks, just as it does at the end of the Antigone-Ismene dialogue in Sophocles. Thus, Dantas renounces the abrupt effect of the initial dialogue between Oedipus’ daughters that begins the Sophoclean play – a dialogue in which the two sisters are far apart, Ismene fearful but accommodating and Antigone determined, devoted and loving towards the dead but with words of hatred for her sister, who will not accompany her on her initiative (Sophocles, Antigone 86–87 and 93–97):16 ANTIGONE – Oh, proclaim it aloud! I shall hate you much more for your silence if you do not announce these things to all. ………………… ANTIGONE – If you say this, you will be my enemy, and will also be rightly called an enemy to the dead. But leave me and my folly to suffer this evil. For I shall suffer nothing as bad as an ignoble death. This effect is muted down in the Portuguese play. Antigone calls her sister coward and “too prudent”, but this is not enough to break the bonds that join them. Antigone’s words have the passionate melodramatic tone typical of late ­Romanticism, as can be seen in the following example (Act i, Scene ii):

15

16

Cf. the simile in the Iliad likening the death of Imbrios on the battlefield to an ashtree cut down (Iliad 13.178 sqq.), or Asios toany oak or poplar or fir that the lumberjacks cut down (Iliad 13. 178 sqq.). The English translation quoted is always from Brown (1987).

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ANTIGONE – In this crater, I bring water and honey for the libations. If you want to accompany me, we will steal Polynices’ body and run away with it. If I have to go alone, I myself will dig the earth with my own hands, I will water it with my sweat and my blood, I will try to warm it against my breast, as if your grave – unfortunate brother! – were a child’s cradle… In the same scene, responding to Ismene, who asks if she is ready to disobey Creon’s orders, Antigone utters her famous claim about the principles that guide her (“the god’s unwritten and unfailing rules”, Sophocles, Antigone 454– 455), which in Sophocles is of course given before Creon. This time there is a subtle alteration: My laws are written here, in my heart. The theme is taken up before Creon, but in a gentler mode than in Sophocles’ version. We can imagine that the claim made in Act i will have been accompanied on stage by the corresponding gesture, and in fact, references to the heart and the emotions preponderate in the play.17 The scene and dialogue between them ends, significantly, with the following exchange of words: ANTIGONE – Yes, you are too prudent to be Oedipus’ daughter. You’re not worthy of the name you use or the arms you bear, which one day you’ll be too weak to carry. The prince, our brother, lies down there near the river, exposed to the birds of prey and the insults of the people. Each bleeding wound opened in his body by the Scythian sword is a screaming voice crying out for us. Do you not have the courage to fulfil your duty? All right, then. I shall go alone. I shall go as far as my strength allows me. – My brother! My brother! ISMENE – What if they hear you, Antigone? ANTIGONE, leaving by the L. – Men are cruel, the gods have abandoned you. Our sister is afraid…I shall go, I’ll go! ISMENE – Protective gods, watch over her! She leaves by the R. climbing the palace staircase while the ELDERS OF THEBES begin to appear from the Background, leaning on their croziers. Antigone does not provoke her sister with harsh words to publically denounce her transgressive initiative. Thus, the bonds that join them are not severed. But 17

Fialho (2001) 78–79.

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Dantas’ Antigone is emotionally heightened, giving voice to an impassioned melodramatic speech, though without the harshness of Sophocles’ version. The Scythian sword represents another allusion to the predictions of Seven against Thebes. Dantas’ Antigone does not speak of madness; rather, it is her sister, Ismene, who considers that she has lost her senses and is acting rashly. The protagonist explains the motive for her action as an imperative of conscience, of family honour. The Elders will see in her behaviour an impulse of the heart, while her words (which she uses to project an image of serenity that does not in fact correspond to her strongly emotive nature, impelled by the laws of the heart) help construct the image of a martyr-heroine – a profile that is not Greek (still in Act i, Scene ii): ANTIGONE – Put your hand over my heart. See how calm it is. All who take the course of honour are calm. Again the motif of “heart” is verbalized. With the entrance of the Elders, we can see that, structurally speaking, Act i Scene iii corresponds to the parodos of the Greek tragedy. In accordance with the aura of martyrdom, Act ii Scenes iv and v (corresponding to the confrontation between Creon and the princess in Sophocles’ episode ii) have been reworked. The bristling vivacity of the rapid dialogue between, first, the princess and the king, then between the two sisters in the Greek play, gives way to two scenes constructed around Antigone, dominated by her interventions. In these, the presence of the original text is perceptible, adapted to exacerbate the affects that characterize the Portuguese protagonist, who here maintains the harsh accusatory tone with Creon in an expression coloured by Romantic rhetoric: ANTIGONE – They are laws dictated by passion and anger, like yours. They are laws that are abhorrent to human feeling. They are laws that forbid a daughter to cry for a father and a sister, or to shroud a brother. They are laws that Zeus never inspired. No. No one owes obedience to laws that consider tears an affront and mercy a crime. Are you going to kill me because I fulfilled my duty of fraternal love? What does that matter! I wish I had more lives so that I could give all of them to my brother. Later she will say: Why do I want your clemency? Do you think I’m going to crawl on the ground asking your forgiveness? It’s not me that’s the criminal here: it’s

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you. It was you that drove my old father into the eternal night of blindness; who sent him into exile; who persecuted him; who covered him with misery and opprobrium. It was you that led my mother to despair and death. It was you that lit the fratricidal flame in my brothers’ hearts. I owe you hunger, shame, exile, orphanhood. It’s you – deathly shadow – it’s you that should be begging forgiveness from me! Echoes of the Phoenician Women are here taken up in order to construct the binomial of victim/executioner or martyr/tyrant (e.g. Phoen. 1650–1660). Creon describes the walling-up of Antigone (who is qualified in his mouth by rebelliousness and insubordination) as a ‘torment’. These traits are emphasised at the end of Scene iv, with Creon vainly trying to order Antigone to prostrate herself at his feet. Ismene, for her part, assumes from the outset the role that tradition has assigned to her of the passive resigned figure. “It’s destiny” or “I am resigned”, she replies right at the beginning of the initial dialogue to her sister’s passionate interventions. Her voice is raised precisely in Act iii Scene v, as in the Greek original, in the vain attempt to associate herself with Antigone’s “guilt” and, finally, to plead for Antigone’s life. The emotional charge of her words is much stronger in the Portuguese tragedy, with the princess prostrate at the feet of her uncle, in a tone of supplication that verges on melodrama and contrasts with the attitude of Antigone, who refuses to kneel at the tyrant’s feet. As for Haemon, he occupies the stage for longer than in Sophocles. He comes to save Antigone and, as in the Greek play, the discussion leads to accusations of tyranny and autocracy against Creon, who does not govern a city emptied of citizens. The emotional tension around the protagonist intensifies with the inclusion of a dramatic moment which Sophocles carefully avoided in the name of sobriety and concentration of action: the farewell scene between Haemon (who, angry and desperate, does not tire of announcing his purpose of saving his bride or dying with her) and an innocent Antigone, who goes to meet death with the smile of idealized martyrs in Act iv Scene v. The old Astakos also tried in vain to offer his life in exchange for Antigone’s. In this scene, which is the last with Antigone on stage, the young woman tells Haemon her (affective) will: that he takes care of the fragile Ismene, also the daughter of Oedipus. These words are inconsistent with Sophocles’ protagonist. Indeed, Dantas duplicates the farewell, with this first one taking place before the public, while the second, with the suicide of Haemon, is recounted by the Messenger, as in the Greek play. In the Portuguese version, this role falls to Aegaeon, who also participates in the belated attempt to free the young woman. His last sight of Antigone alive is of

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a figure surrounded by a luminous aura – the martyr’s halo –, so that Haemon’s second leavetaking of the dying princess evokes the sepulchral embrace of Romeo and Juliet18 (Act v, Scene iii): AEGAEON – I had sworn to Haemon that my old soldiers would help me open the cistern and free Antigone as soon as the shadows of night fell. I swore it by the gods. He seemed calm when the princess, who appeared wreathed in a dazzling halo, came down, smiling, to her last abode. As soon as the stone had covered Zeus’ cistern, Haemon spoke to Oedipus’ daughter through a narrow crack in the wall: “Antigone, wait for me!” I even heard her reply to him, like a sweet murmur exhaled from the entrails of the earth: “Goodbye, my prince!” The guards moved the people away, who were biting their hands to keep from crying. When later we returned, Haemon spoke again to the princess; but Antigone no longer replied. He called her again, in desperate cries, gasping sobs, as if overwhelmed by the triple jaws of Cerberus’, howling, the caves of Tartarus. Silence. Deep silence. Haemon’s face – pale, drawn, furrowed with ardent tears – was horrific to behold. We removed the stone and – Oh, darkness, oh night, oh inferno! – Antigone’s body appeared before our eyes, just as her mother Jocasta’s had before, hanging from an iron ring by a cord fashioned from her own veils. Like the wild boar that has been wounded by the blade, and which leaps into his den to die, Haemon went down into the cistern, removed the princess from the cord that strangled her, and knelt down next to her lifeless corpse. His sword glittered, but I could do nothing to avert the blow, and the prince fell onto Antigone’s body in an immortal kiss, spurting blood. These were nuptials of death. Oh unhappy Thebes, hide your face in your hands. Oh, Greece! Oh, human hearth, you will cry for all eternity over the tomb of these children! Again we have the motif of the “heart”. This account, as we can see, corresponds to the Sophoclean play, but with substantial alterations: there is an initiative to help save Antigone, on the part of the head of Creon’s guard. As for Creon himself, he is absent from this episode. It is not him that weeps for his son in despair, but it will be Thebes, Greece, the whole of humanity, in a process of broad evocation that opens up the myth of Antigone to its future fertile reception.

18

The theme of Haemon’s love is introduced into the Portuguese play by Oenopides at the end of Act ii, even before the prince’s arrival.

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Creon’s absence helps confer a greater linearity upon his profile of tyrantvillain, without there being any gradual radicalization of attitudes (as occurs in Sophocles) in the confrontation with the other characters in the scene. Only his first speech maintains proximity with the inaugural rhesis of Episode I in the Greek tragedy. Thus, there is a blurring of the complex polysemous pool of political questions (in the etymological sense of the term) that Sophocles’ play problematizes and condenses.19 The motive for Antigone’s action is centred, as we have seen, on an imperative of conscience and feeling, translated into the notion that it is glorious to die for noble causes, against Creon, an unscrupulous tyrant (“Ignorant people, you do not yet know your king!” Act i, Scene v), the cause of all family misfortunes, from the blindness of Oedipus to the present situation, which leads to martyrdom and projects the pair of young lovers onto the death. Dantas suppresses Eurydice’s suicide, making her into another voice (the most emotive of all) of final condemnation of Creon. Thus, the queen’s characteristic withdrawal for suicide in silent despair gives way to a pathosridden lament for her dead son and a melodramatic accusation of Creon, designed to create a final crescendo that will profoundly affect the public at the end of the play (“The king is mad. Remove that bloodthirsty monster!”, Act v Scene v). Júlio Dantas does not omit the figure of Tiresias, but alters the dramatic moment in which he appears and the configuration of his part. This is one of the most original aspects of Dantas’ version. In Sophocles, Tiresias appears after the confrontation between Haemon and Creon as a messenger of the gods, who raises the alert beyond the border of “too late”, as the king finally agrees to suspend the sentence. But between his giving way and the arrival of the Messenger to announce the death of Haemon and Antigone to Thebes, there is only one stasimon. Dantas brings forward Tiresias’ presence on stage before the confrontation with Haemon. The fear and respect that the hieratic figure of the blind prophet infuses into the Sophoclean versions of Antigone and Oedipus the King is replaced by a reaction of rancour on the part of the Elders (Proceus calls him the “crow”), who associate him to Laios’ misfortunes. Tiresias arrives not on his own spontaneous initiative, but because Creon has called him. He advises the king to revoke the edict and revise the charge against Antigone, but without meaning to, arouses Creon’s anger, who insults

19

See Jens (1967) 295–310; Rocha Pereira (20077) 31–37.

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him. This provokes him to let forth the prophesy of doom. His words, which are veiled, provoke Creon into paroxysms of fury. This scene is constructed in a way that is closer to its counterpart in Oedipus the King than in Antigone. In the former, Sophocles uses the fact that the prophet comes to Oedipus against his will as a motive for his reluctant speech, causing his anger to explode against the protagonist, who thinks he perceives in the soothsayer vile motives to withhold the truth. While Júlio Dantas did not want to construct a Creon capable of giving way, even belatedly (which would preserve some traces of nobility in the figure), he converts him into the perfect villain, thereby bringing forward the confrontation with the prophet and the corresponding effects extracted from that. One of the most embarrassing problems that a modern playwright or director faces is the matter of the Chorus: what to do with the Chorus of an archetypical play? Modern dramaturgy has found a series of possible solutions between the two extremes of totally suppressing this collective figure and maintaining it, such as declaiming or rhythmically intoning its group interventions to evoke the lyric nature of its intervention in Greek theatre. Dantas opted for a Chorus that was not named as such but labelled only as the “Elders of Thebes”, senators, some of whom are individualized with their own profiles (such as Oenopides, Prokeus, Astakos), while others are merely referred to impersonally as “An Elder”, “Another Elder”, etc. Their interventions are in dialogue form and in prose, like the rest of the play. Oenopides takes up the motif of relief for the liberating victory, which already took place in Scene i, and invites them, as the Greek Chorus does, to greet the rising sun on the morning of the victory. He evokes the scene that follows the battle, with the field scattered with corpses after the attack on the seven gates of Thebes. However, the listing of the enemy captains is not Sophoclean; rather it closely evokes Seven against Thebes. This is followed by a dialogue between the Elders, whose opinions are not homogeneous. Throughout the play, they do not necessarily appear on stage simultaneously, and their viewpoints are not absolutely uniform, which enables the construction of dialogues that allow various sensibilities to be expressed. In general, the Elders that are named tend to offer longer utterances and are on stage more often than their unidentified counterparts. Dantas seems to be trying to make this multiplication of viewpoints correspond to the ambiguity of the Chorus’ interventions in Sophocles’ play, as regards Creon’s behaviour towards Antigone.20 A clear example is the following 20

Fialho (2000) 34 sqq.

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excerpt from Act iii Scene i of the Portuguese play, after the scene in which the young woman has been condemned to death by Creon. OENOPIDES – The king wouldn’t hear us. AN OLD MAN – Creon’s spirit is disturbed. PROCEUS – It wasn’t that he wouldn’t hear us. It was we ourselves that did not have the courage to tell him what he needed to know. ANOTHER OLD MAN – The powerful are subject to error more than other men. PROCEUS – You, Oenopides, could have put him in the picture. The people are restless. There have been riots at the Electra gate, and in the shadow of the cypresses from the time of Apollo. The king has to annul the sentence issued against Antigone. OENOPIDES – Why didn’t you tell him, if you know as much as I do? PROCEUS – Because he bade me silent. OENOPIDES – I understand that Creon’s orders should be withheld with regard to Polynices’ tomb. Someone that arms foreigners against their fatherland has no right to the same honours paid to one that defends the fatherland against foreigners. But I don’t agree with the sacrifice of Antigone, who, as a woman, obeyed the impulses of her heart. If the king is not deterred, Oedipus’ daughter will be taken to her ordeal tomorrow at sunrise. This attribution to the Elders of the range of possible perspectives assumed by critical views of the Greek play illustrates Júlio Dantas’ capacity for attentive and perceptive reading of Sophocles’ tragedy. The character of Aegaeon, who corresponds to the Guard (expanded) as well as being the commander of Creon’s personal guard, as we have seen, could also be the close interlocutor of the senators, thereby expanding further the number of figures inheriting the parts of the disintegrated Greek Chorus. This character dimension is clear in the dialogue with Oenopides in Act iv Scene i, after the confrontation between Creon and Haemon: AEGAEON – Is that you, Oenopides? OENOPIDES – I got nothing from Creon. When light breaks, Antigone will be taken to her ordeal. (After a pause). What do the people say? AEGAEON – They sleep. OENOPIDES – The king, overcome with agitation and dread, could not find sleep.

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AEGAEON – It’s always like that. The flocks sleep, the wolves keep watch. OENOPIDES – The guards should be warned. No one should gather at the walls of Cadmeia or at the place where Antigone will be taken. AEGAEON – Where are they taking Antigone? I’ve not yet received orders. Are they going to stone her in the quarries of Strophias? In that case, how can we prevent the people from watching the ordeal? No, Antigone will not be stoned. Are they going to cut her throat like a lamb? The gods will decide if her innocent blood will generate more crimes! Aegaeon, as the former commander of Eteocles’ guard in the battle, can thus bring a view of the fratricidal struggle between the two sons of Oedipus, as if he were a kind of messenger spokesman from off-stage. This is what happens in the opening scene (Act i Scene i). The account obviously contains echoes of Seven Against Thebes, as has already been mentioned, particularly in Eteocles’ words when he leaves the scene for the final combat with his brother (672– 675), also echoed in Euripides’ Phoenician Women, as well as the allusion to the deadly inheritance of the paternal curse. Each act begins with a scene involving the Elders of Thebes. It is tempting to identify parallels with Sophoclean stasimons. We have already seen that Act i Scene i echoes motifs from the parodos, though the theme configures Scene iii, expanded with Aeschylean motifs. As for the other interventions, they do comment on the action, opening a range of diverse opinions, but none of the interventions that open Acts ii, iii, iv and v are comparable to the Sophoclean stasimons. There is no formulation of the potential of human action for either good or evil, nor expanded formulation of the wish that moderation and just measure would always inhabit the citizens’ house, exorcizing the injustice that brings ruin (that theme is sparsely verbalized throughout the play). We do not hear the list of mythological examples of women sufferers, or the timid exaltation of the power of Eros and Aphrodite, whom Creon has just offended by belittling Haemon’s feelings for Antigone. It is thus not surprising that the Elders gradually incline in favour of Antigone, though by no means openly. Their reserve, which continues the contained attitude of Sophocles’ Chorus, is converted by Júlio Dantas into the theme of dialogue between them. It is a reserve dictated by fear of the tyrant, which is gradually overcome as the martyr Antigone’s fate becomes clear. By the end of the play, this voice (Oenopides’ and Astakos’ in particular, together with that of Eurydice) has become a voice of condemnation that judges the broken Creon and serves justice.

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In the differentiation of the named chorus members, Astakos is one that particularly stands out. He was counsellor of the house of Labdacids for three generations, and has traces of clairvoyance and hieratism imported from Tiresias (who is, of course, his contemporary). It is Astakos that offers himself up for sacrifice in Antigone’s stead. In conclusion, we will, like Stegagno-Picchio, abstain from discussing whether this drama is recognisably Neo-Romantic,21 although the centre of the action clearly lies in the “motives of the heart”, the laws of the heart, which include the affects and duties arising from family bonds, assumed with extreme emotional charge. Júlio Dantas’ Antigone is a work of reasonable literary quality by someone who is clearly at ease with dramaturgy and scenic effects, and who knows the public well. It is an Antigone in black and white, overspilling Sophocles’ Antigone to produce a synthesis of elements from Greek drama connected to the great myth of the house of Laios. The description of the battle between Thebans and the invaders contains elements from Homeric epic, while the last part develops a Sophoclean motif with stronger colouring in order to suggest to the public a well-known Shakespearean motif: that of the nuptials in death of the young lovers. For this reason, Haemon and Antigone take leave of one another before the public, while the account of their deaths, in a solitary frame in which Creon’s despair has no space, is expanded, so that the focus falls upon this Romeo and Juliet of Antiquity. Everything is concentrated around a flat unproblematic figure that is presented in exaggerated form in the light of the Romantic tradition of the hallowed martyr. That figure is gradually joined by the group of Elders that represents the “Chorus” in the play. When the desperate Eurydice, who does not kill herself, abandons Creon, denouncing him as mad, the terrified tyrant is left alone on stage with Astakos, the counsellor of the Labdacids, who, in this finale, almost becomes the daimon of the household. He presents Creon with the chains he has in his hand saying: This bronze chain has been kept for you. This suggests that it is Creon who is obliged to commit suicide, like the Roman dictators. Antigone’s halo, associated with her sacrifice and the nuptials in death, transcends time. The play clearly achieved the purposes for which it was written, namely, as it was already explained, to provide a space where the young actress Mariana Rey 21

(1969) 281 sqq.

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Monteiro could display her talents. Indeed this was her debut performance on the Portuguese stage in a leading role, the first landmark of what would become a brilliant career. Although the critical response to the play performance has been very varied and even contraditory, the young actress’s performance was met with unanimous applause.22 22

After the première, several newspapers published a number of reviews on the performance. On the 21st April 1946, “Diário Popular” pp. 1 and 6, published G. Saviotti’s review, while J. Quintela’s can be read in “Diário do Alentejo” 14th May 1946, p. 8. Both praise the play and the performance. In “Diário Popular” (21.04.1946, pp. 1–2) N.L. writes an interesting and very consistent article on the Antigone text, where he identifies the influence of Sophocles, of Aeschylus’ Seven against Thebes and of Euripides’ Phoenician Women. He mentions the huge success of the play, of Mariana’s performance and of the régie. To the opposite effect, in “Aleo”, 4th May 1946, Ariel, another critic referring to the play, mentions a “weakened Antigone”. The left-wing “República” (26th.4.1946) publishes a peculiar review by Ferreira de Almeida: the author balances. He writes that Dantas was inspired by J.M. Pemán’s Antigone, put on stage precisely one year before at the Teatro Español, Madrid. The critic suggest that the Spanish Antigone is superior to Dantas’, ironically commenting on his archaisms, technical, difficult words, anachronisms, such as the scene where Haemon swears by the Heavens and Hell. Mariana Rey Monteiro’s performance is nevertheless praised.

chapter 10

Taking Liberties: António Pedro’s Recreation of Antigone Carlos Morais 1.º Velho: [Esta é] a tragédia da liberdade. (1st Old Man: [This is] the tragedy of freedom)

antónio pedro, Antigone (New variation on Sophocles’ tragedy), 2611

∵ 1 Introduction In the words of Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen,2 long was the “night” and the “silence” into which free expression was plunged in Portugal for almost half a century, completely shackling conscious political action. The ­totalitarian regime, whose power was grounded in arbitrary mechanisms of repression and fear, often involving the assault on the intimate sphere of the ­individual  conscience, came to power on 28th May 1926 and persisted until 1 The text used is in a volume co-published by the Imprensa Nacional-Casa da Moeda/Biblioteca Nacional, prefaced by Luiz Francisco Rebello: Pedro (1981) 255–330. Written in Moledo do Minho and concluded on 20th November 1953, this play was published for the first time by the Porto Circle of Theatrical Culture in 1957. 2 From the poem “25 de Abril” (“April 25th”, Andresen (1991) 195), dedicated to the “carnation revolution” that marked the end of the long dictatorship that dominated Portugal for 48 years (1926–1974). See below, n. 62. Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen (1919–2004) wrote various books of poetry, revealing the strong influence of Classical myths and culture, and also various short stories (some for children), essays and theatre plays, including a poetic recreation of Euripides’ Medea, published in 2006 after her death, with a preface by Frederico Lourenço. She was an activist in the opposition to the Salazar dictatorship, and was elected deputy to the Constitutive Assembly in the first free elections after 25th April 1974. The quality of her literary work was recognised internally and externally and she received, amongst other awards, the Camões Prize (1999), the Max Jacob Étranger Prize 2001 and the Rainha Sofia Prize for Ibero-American Poetry 2003.

© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, ���7 | doi 10.1163/9789004340060_012

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25th April 1974, thanks to its capacity to adapt, if only superficially, to the ­political ­circumstances and contexts of those troubled decades. These were simple metamorphoses, however, which did nothing to alter the essence of the regime, nor the fundamental aspects of its politics as a whole.3 One of those “invisible changes”, as Fernando Rosas4 has called them, occurred when the old continent emerged from the horrors of the 2nd World War, in which Portugal had participated with its often ambiguous “collaborative neutrality”.5 With the allied victory, the Salazar regime6 initiated a superficial process of relative opening-up and “regime diversification”7 in order to “survive the ‘democratic wave’ that was sweeping across Europe”8 and adapt to a new order. For four brief years, there was “a certain slowing-down of repressive authoritarianism and political monopolism”.9 The atmosphere was (or ­appeared to be) conducive to ruptures and renovations in various domains. Right away, cautious actions of a political and cultural nature appeared in o­ rder to try to break the deep and terrifying “silence”. 2

António Pedro: “a perfect man of theatre”

Upon his return from London, where he had been based during the last two years of the Second World War as a journalist, working for the free voice of Portugal on the microphones of the bbc, António Pedro, a multi-faceted, restless “dilettante” with multimodal creative activity in various domains of the arts (drawing, painting, sculpture and ceramics) and letters (novel, poetry, essays, criticism and dramaturgy), taking advantage of the climate of apparent liberalization, decided to bring about a renovation, which he considered necessary, in theatre and its language and exhausted practices. In his opinion, everything that had been done in this domain in the preceding years involved – by all 3 The 28th May 1926 military coup put an end to the First Republic and initiated a military dictatorship which would last until 1933, with the coming into force of the Constitution that established the “Estado Novo”, the period of dictatorship in Portugal that lasted from 1933 to 1974, also called “Salazarism” in allusion to its founder, António de Oliveira Salazar, who headed it until 1968. On the military dictatorship, see, above, 114–116. 4 (1994) 419. 5 Rosas (1990) 52. 6 About the dictatorial regime of Salazar, see, above, 141, n. 4. 7 Cruz (1988) 38 e 42–43. 8 Rosas (1990) 57. 9 Cruz (1988) 42.

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possible or impossible means – forgetting what theatre was.10 Theatre, he wrote, years later in 1955, was something that unfortunately did not exist. Instead (he went on), there was shame at the situation and some well-guided and unguided attempts to change it,11 which included his own. These words echo Almeida Garrett’s sententious thought, inscribed into the introduction of Um Auto de Gil Vicente (A play by Gil Vicente) almost a century earlier, which sought to explain the theatrical sterility of a people that was so inventive in other branches of literature: O teatro é um grande meio de civilização, mas não prospera onde a não há. Não têm procura os seus produtos enquanto o gosto não forma os hábitos e com eles a necessidade. Para principiar, pois, é mister criar um mercado factício. […] Depois de criar o gosto público, o gosto público sustenta o teatro.12 (Theatre is a great civilizational force, but it does not prosper where it doesn’t exist. There is no demand for its products while taste does not form habits and with them the need. To begin with, it is essential to create an artificial market. […] Then of creating public taste, public taste sustains theatre.) 10

Pedro (1951) 10. This short essay on theatrical aesthetics, No. 2 in “Cadernos dum amador de Teatro”, (“Notebooks from a theatre amateur”) was presented for the first time at a conference held in the Porto Fenians Club on 24th May 1950. 11 Pedro (1957) 371. 12 (1991) 7–8. This claim from Almeida Garrett is also glossed by António Pedro (1951) 18 n. 1, where he writes that theatre is “an art without which a people becomes inferior”. It was Almeida Garrett (1799–1854) who introduced Romanticism into Portugal. He was also a great impulse behind the development of theatre in 19th century Portugal, and was responsible for the building of the D. Maria ii National Theatre and for the founding of the Conservatory of Dramatic Art. His poem in free verse, Camões (1825), is commonly accepted by critics as marking the start of Romanticism in Portugal. Of his vast literary output, which included poetry, novels and theatre, the most outstanding are Viagens na minha terra (Travels in my homeland, novel, 1846), Folhas Caídas (Fallen leaves, poetry, 1853) and Frei Luís de Sousa (Friar Luís de Sousa, theatre, 1844; masterpiece of Portuguese Romantic dramaturgy). Um Auto de Gil Vicente (A play by Gil Vicente, 1841) is another of his plays which, in the words of Picchio (1964) 229, “aims to put the figure of the founder of national theatre before the eyes of the forgetful spectator. The option is emblematic. In reviving Gil Vicente, Garrett wanted to resuscitate the theatre and at the same time declare that, after that first colossus, Portugal had no other real dramatic author”.

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Unsurprisingly, António Pedro, a “man of the theatre”, subscribed to these words. For him too, a dramatic text that was not to be performed was just an whim of the author,13 unnecessary, and destined only for libraries, like a baby born to be sealed in flask of phenol.14 Aware of this, António Pedro, following Garrett, attempted in his first experiments as director in Lisbon (with the theatre group “Companheiros do Pátio das Comédias” and in the “Companhia Teatro do Ginásio”) to educate public taste, thereby feeding the theatre habit and generating the need for an intense new theatrical activity. However, this was not very successful. Dissatisfied and misunderstood, not only by the most conservative sectors of society but also by the dissidents of the surrealist group to which he belonged,15 he distanced himself from the nauseating cultural life of Lisbon in 1951 to take refuge in Moledo do Minho, in search of possible happiness at a time when the “lead curtain” had already fallen over the political scene. Brief – or perhaps illusory – had been that tenuous ray of light that had cut through the dark night, momentarily illuminating the souls thirsty for “full clean daylight”.16 Salazarism had resumed its political and ideological haughtiness, while the opposition, controlled by the political police and by censorship, withdrew into a defensive silence.17 13

14 15

16 17

Pedro (1951) 34. Upon completing this thought, the author immediately claims that “só depois de encenada e representada a obra teatral se realizou. Até aí é literatura; só a partir daí como teatro se pode considerar” (“only after it has been staged and performed is the theatrical work truly realised. Till then, it is literature; only from then on can it be considered as theatre”). In fact, only on stage – through a magnetic flux that emanates from the text and unites author, director, actor and spectator – does the play realise all its dramatic, pathetic and psychagogic potential, because only the last link in the chain, the spectator, may assimilate and interpret all the acoustic and above all visual signs contained in the drama. In short, as we have written in Morais (1993) 17–20, the mise-en-scène (opsis) is fundamental for the concretization of the dramatic text (lexis) as an artistic phenomenon. See, below, n. 23. Pedro (1957) 371. On António Pedro’s surrealist output and activity, see Marinho (1987) 11–121 and above all 187–200 and 569–616; and also Lory Ferreira (1996) 6–94. This author also devotes a chapter to António Pedro’s theatrical activity (II. 1950–1966: O Teatro: ofício mágico de transposição sensível [“The theatre: magical craft of sensory transposition”], 95–128), with some pages (120–128) reserved for the comparative study of his Antigone alongside Sophocles’. Andresen (1991) 195. See, below, 191, n. 62. Rosas (1994) 503. In the opinion of the authors of this volume, “from 1949 (…), the Estado Novo resumed full control of the internal political situation. The defeat and disarray of the oppositions in the wake of the crisis of the 1940s, the restoration of relative unity at

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Despite the temporal coincidence, António Pedro’s withdrawal did not mean he had renounced his ideals or was on the defensive, much less that he had given up on his project to revive theatre in Portugal. If that had been the case, he would never have agreed so unhesitatingly to take up the position of artistic director of the Porto Experimental Theatre Group (tep) in the recently founded Circle of Theatre Culture, a company that helped alter the panorama of 20th century Portuguese drama.18 And although he confessed that he had done so with the kind of stubbornness “that leads vocational vagabonds to persist along a route only because it is a route and not because they know where it might lead”,19 the path he trod from that moment on led definitively to the encounter with the “perfect man of theatre” that he was.20 Over the course of ten years (1953–1962), he moulded actors, designed costumes, painted scenery and created shows in a committed fashion, always thinking of educating an audience which, particularly in Porto, was faithful, participative and supportive from the start, sustaining the need for his own staging proposals. In the words of Luiz Francisco Rebello, “the poet and painter that had never ceased to live within him joined forces to construct a succession of shows, almost every one of which was a landmark in the history of contemporary theatre in Portugal”.21 But finally he achieved the confluence and full orchestration of all the arts in a single spectacle with his Antigone, a new variation (“glosa nova”) on the tragedy of Sophocles in three acts and a prologue, written especially for the tep and performed at the S. João Theatre on 18th February 1954.22 Like a 5th

18

19 20 21 22

the heart of the regime and the national effects of the cold war atmosphere had returned the country to a grey apathy. On the surface, life was almost depoliticized and held no surprises. (…) These were the ‘leaden years’” (503). About the “Estado Novo”, see, above, n. 3. On António Pedro’s role in the formation and consolidation of the Porto Experimental Theatre Group (tep), see Babo (1957) 443–447, Lory Ferreira (1996) 112–119, and also Porto (1997) 47–141. As for the importance of independent, experimental and university theatre groups for the aesthetic renewal of theatre in Portugal, see Alves (1957) 437–442, Rebello (1964) 498–500, Porto (1989) 285–290, and Barata (1991) 351 and 361. Pedro (1957) 371. Rebello (1981) 10. Rebello (1981: 14). This was the second show put on by the Porto Experimental Theatre (tep) group, the doyen of professional theatre companies in Portugal, which operated from 1953, staging over 220 plays. This work was put on again on 16th November 1956 in the Algibeira Theatre in Porto, staged by António Pedro with costumes by Augusto Gomes (7th showing); and yet in 2003, in the Gaia Municipal Auditorium (193th showing). This last production, staged by Norberto Barroca with costumes designed in 1956 by Augusto Gomes, was part of the programme commemorating the Company’s 50th anniversary, which also served to pay

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century bc Athenian tragedian, António Pedro, simultaneously poietes and tragoidodidaskalos, was responsible not only for the mise-en-scène or opsis (i.e. that aspect of the work that can only be fully understood in the act of performance) but also for the dramatic text (lexis), which included the codes belonging to the narrow domain of literature.23 3

Antigone: Freedom and Liberties of a “palimpsest”

Pedro’s fascination with this theme from the well-known Sophoclean corpus was neither innocent nor by chance. Although he claimed in an autobiographical letter dated 16th October 1955 that he was not political and that politics was the only thing for which he had no time;24 although he considered (in the programme of the first performance) that this was a “play about love”,25 the political content of the tragedy is unmistakeable, particularly in the prologue when the Old Men of the Chorus say (260–261): 3.º Velho – [Esta é] a tragédia de quem se recusa a obedecer à lei em nome duma lei que é superior aos homens. 2.º Velho – Que é superior às circunstâncias em que os homens fazem ­certas leis. 1.º Velho – A tragédia da liberdade. (3rd Old Man – [This is] the tragedy of someone that refuses to obey the law in the name of another law that is greater than men.

23

24 25

homage to António Pedro, playwright and stage director, who was an important figure, as we have seen, both in tep and in the 20th century Portuguese theatrical scene in general. On these three productions, see Morais (1998) 59–62, Morais (2004) 41–43, Pereira (2010) 65–73. For productions by other theatre companies, see Silva (1998) 63–70, Silva (2001) 65–66, and Silva (2004) 38–44. For a definition of the concepts of “theatrical text” and “dramatic text”, two aspects of the theatrical phenomenon that are neither mutually exclusive or equivalent, see Aguiar e Silva (1993) 604–624. The Greek terms, making up two of the six elements which, according to Aristotle, constitute Greek theatre, are explained in Poetics 1450 a 7–10, 1450 b 13–19. On this matter, see what is said above. See opuscule of posthumous homage to António Pedro, organized by the Embassy of Cape Verde in July 1987, 18–19. António Pedro claims in the programme of the first performance: “For me, the theme of Antigone was an old temptation. And if my version has a motto that is not explicitly Sophoclean, the key of the tremendous and enticing conflict is in what I made Antigone say in the 1st act – only the impossible is worthwhile. Thus, my tragedy is a love story”.

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2nd Old Man – That is superior to the circumstances in which men make certain laws. 1st Old Man – The tragedy of freedom.) 3.1 On Freedom Taking advantage of the timeless rhetoric of protest and freedom which, in the Greek original, emerges from the conflicts that move the action,26 António Pedro repeated (with certain innovations) formulas that had already been explored by António Sérgio27 in 1930, shortly after the start of the dictatorship, and by Anouilh in France during the Nazi occupation.28 In these grey apathetic times, António Pedro hoped, with this second tep show, to arouse the critical awareness and civil commitment of the audience that participated in that “miracle of transposition of the whole work of art”.29 In this, says the Stage Director (“Encenador”), “the poets speak out of our mouth, the mouth of the actors, a language that serves us, and these s­entiments,

26

Lewis (1988) 35–50 politically contextualizes the Sophoclean play, proposing a new date – 438BC – for its staging. Thus, in his opinion, the public that was present at the performance of the tragedy may have glimpsed in it a veiled criticism of the fact that, after the War of Samos, the enemy soldiers were not buried, as happened to Polynices and his men. Ehrenberg (1954: 105 sqq. and 173 sqq.) also finds in the play allusions to Pericles and his political conduct, which is contested by Kamerbeek (1978) 6 e 39. 27 In this play, which remained in the “phenol of libraries” (there is no evidence that it was ever performed), António Sérgio, who lived in the early years of the dictatorship, politically updated the Sophoclean theme, when, for example, he makes Antigone say (Sérgio (1930) 55): “a subserviência do grande número é que torna possível o despotismo. Tens os censores; tens as masmorras; tens espiões. Só se pode dizer o que bem te apraz” (“It is the subservience of the many that makes despotism possible. You have censors; you have prisons; you have spies. The only things that can be said are the things that please you”). On this first 20th century Portuguese Antigone, see Morais (2001) 13–38 and above, 113–139. 28 In this tragedy, staged for the first time in the Théâtre de l’ Atelier, Antigone, rebelling against the despotic arbitrary power of Creon with a repeated and decisive “no”, interpreted the pulsing of the French resistance. In Portugal, Anouilh’s “pièce noire” was performed several times during the dictatorship, sometimes from the French original and at other times in Manuel Breda Simões’ Portuguese translation. See Silva (1998) 45–53, Silva (2001) 48–54, Silva (2004) 37–38. According to the first “news bulletin” of the Circle of Theatrical Culture, dated Spring 1951, the first production to be staged by the Porto Experimental Theatre was Anouilh’s Antigone – though in reality it never came to fruition. 29 This is how the character known as the “Stage Director” defines “theatre” in the prologue. See Pedro (1981) 257.

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better than our own voice”, an “admirable convention” which allows us “to live another life – the life of poetry – through which our own is clarified and illuminated” (257–258).30 As in Sophocles’ tragedy, Creon here is portrayed as a tyrant that arbitrarily exercises the right to speak whenever he wants, silencing all that oppose him (as Antigone puts it, 296 ~ vv. 506–507).31 Everywhere he perceives traitors who have allowed themselves to be corrupted for money (277 ~ vv. 221–222) and who plot in the city dumps (283). He glimpses conspiracies in the Chorus’ words, when they suggest that the partial burial of Polynices might have been the work of the gods (282–283 ~ vv. 280– 314), in Ismene’s look that brings the “mark of connivance” (296 ~ vv. 489–492) and in the prophesies of Tiresias, which he considers to be dishonest and ambitious (317–318 ~ vv. 1033–1047). As Creon is afraid, he provokes fear amongst the citizens in self-defence. Thus, to prevent them from challenging his orders and transgressing the edict (277 ~ vv. 215–217), he peoples the city with a subservient police which, as one of the Old Men of the Chorus points out, don’t have to be intelligent, but only “[bad] as rat-traps” (290). Though he declares himself to be a defender of the polis, placing the interests of the community first, the divorce between his power and the citizens is total.32 Authoritarian, he confuses justice and the law of the city with his own will.33 Insensitive and deaf to the criticisms which are murmured everywhere, he falls into injustice “through the blindness of being right”, according 30

31

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33

A few years before, in O Teatro e a sua Verdade (The theatre and its truth) – a conference organized at the Instituto Superior Técnico of Lisbon on 31st March 1950, and subsequently published in “Cadernos dum Amador de Teatro” (“Notebooks of a theatre amateur”), n. 1 (1950a)–, António Pedro had defined theatre as “a magical craft of sensory transposition” (14) and “a transposition of reality undertaken through conventionally accepted means before an audience” (18). On this matter, see also Pedro (1962) 37. In comparing sections of Pedro’s Antigone with Sophocles’ version, the following criterion will be used: the first number refers to the page of the Portuguese work, the second to the lines of the Greek tragedy, with the sign [~] meaning “corresponds to”. This distant and authoritarian exercise of power, which is also timeless, because it is ­typical of any tyrant, has already been seen in Sophocles’ Antigone. On this matter, see Deserto (1997) 467–486. Addressing the soldier that brought the news of Polynices burial and the infringement of “his” edict, Creon vociferates (283): “Com culpa provada ou sem culpa provada tem que haver um culpado, tem que haver muitos culpados no crime de desobediência que acaba de cometer-se. Se não houver um culpado, sereis vós que tendes culpa! […] Sereis todos enforcados se, até hoje ao anoitecer, não trouxerdes à presença da minha justiça quem se atreveu a desrespeitar a minha lei” (“With proven guilt or without proven guilt, there has to be a guilty party, there have to be many guilty parties in the crime of disobedience that has just been committed. If no one is found guilty, it will be you that is guilty! […] You will

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to H ­ aemon (311). Inflexible and obstinate, he persists in the conviction that he is in possession of absolute truth: Creonte – Nada me fará mudar os decretos que publiquei. […] Sei que estou na verdade. (318–319) (Creon – Nothing will make me change the decrees that I have published. […] I know I am right.) On the other side of this power are Ismene and Antigone, who represent two ways of suffering tyranny (261) and of experiencing the absence of freedom.34 The former represents the thought and behaviour of most citizens, who, while not agreeing with the iniquitous and despotic exercise of power, accommodate themselves to the acritical greyness, renouncing confrontation and contestation. Ismene considers it madness to force destiny which only reserves for them “bitterness and anguish” (270) and undertake an action that is beyond her feeble womanly forces (272 ~ vv. 61–62). Already for Antigone her female condition constitutes no obstacle. Obeying her conscience and sense of duty (270, 292, 294), she assumes from the outset the challenge that leads to the edge of the impossible. As she bluntly asserts, “only the impossible is worthwhile” (271 ~ vv. 90–92), considering it preferable “to die in faith” (272 ~ v. 97) – i.e. in defence of her conviction of just universal principles that no one can invalidate (293 ~ vv. 453–457) – than “vegetate in despair” (272). Fear plays no part in her vocabulary. Fear, in itself, is shame (297). For this reason, i­ nflexible and hard as her father (295 ~ vv. 471–472), and supported by the force of reason (295 and 296) with which in conscience is the people of Thebes (296), Antigone all be hanged if, by nightfall, you have not brought the person that disrespected my law to the presence of my justice”). 34 We have not included Haemon in this conflictuous triangle as we consider that he only associates himself to Antigone’s cause after learning of her fate. Only then, and more through love than conviction, does he define his position in the conflict before his father, making his beloved’s guilt his own (311): “Esse amor não me cega. Ilumina. Se Antígona pecou por honrar a memória dos seus, eu peco pela mesma culpa!” (“That love does not blind me. It illuminates. If Antigone sinned in order to honour the memory of her loved ones, I sin for the same guilt!”). At this time, the words uttered in the prologue by the Stage Director (“Encenador”) acquire their full significance, according to which the young prince symbolizes “a justiça pelo amor” (“justice through love” 261). In the Greek original, Haemon, who never openly declares his love for Antigone, always tries to speak in the voice of reason (see 683–757). However, he ends up betraying himself at the precise moment when he leaves the scene in bewilderment, saying that he will never be able to attend Antigone’s death (see 762–765).

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unwaveringly, and in a dialectic between intimacy and commitment, rebels both against Ismene’s fear and everything it represents, and against the tyrannical unjust order of Creon. At the climax of the conflict, she intrepidly and selflessly sacrifices herself (without hatred, because she was born for love)35 for the values in which she believes. It was the only course that would enable her to attain her freedom without concessions: Antígona – Manda que os teus carrascos exerçam sobre o meu corpo as sevícias que não podes contra a razão que me assiste! (296) (Antigone – Order your executioners to do to my body all those offences that you have been unable to commit against the righteousness that accompanies me!) Behind this “Greek mask”, António Pedro was thus stifling a cry of revolt against the totalitarianism of the Estado Novo, and surreptitiously expressing his yearning for justice and freedom. With the “Greek mask”, he managed to evade the close vigilance of the often arbitrary censorship machine and the surveillance of a political police, which, as in the play, was “[bad] as rat-traps” (290). For moments, the spectator, through an admirable “incantatory” convention, finds itself living another life – of poetry – in which his own life is clarified and illuminated (258). Light, again. A fleeting glimmer of light cutting through the long silent night… 3.2 On Liberties Taken But this “palimpsest”, which almost always allows the Sophoclean text to shine through, as we have seen, does not exhaust Pedro’s inventive capacity as regards the expression of this dream of freedom. Other liberties, on the aesthe­ tic, structural and functional levels, are taken in this confrontation with the original. Making use of “a language that is at the same time artistic and poetic, dramatically functional”,36 he produced an aesthetically different and original prologue, involving two new characters (the Stage Director and Artemisia)37 35 36 37

See 298 ~ v. 523. Rebello (1981) 23. We have not included here the characters created by António Pedro that have less dramatic importance such as the Electrician (“Electricista”) and Head Machinist (“Chefe Maquinista”), members of the “technical corps”, or the Town Crier, who replaces Creon in announcing the edict to the city.

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and a Chorus that is simplified in terms of its language and the number of members taking part. Although the prologue is in dialogue form, it alludes much less elaborately than Sophocles’ version to the essentially dramatic, to be developed and clarified over the course of the play.38 Rather, it is expository and metatheatrical.39 It is not Antigone and Ismene that are on stage but the Stage Director, that other face of the author, who interacts with members of the “technical corps ” (the Head Machinist and Electrician) and also with the Chorus and Artemisia. This prologue is a “manifesto of theatre as action”40 in the tradition of Pirandello, a critical dialogue about the functioning of the theatrical show, an analytical dismantling of the performance machine, which gives voice to “transtheatrical” characters that belong to the infrastructure of dramatic ­production.41 With a refined sense of theatrical convention, António Pedro, like the Sicilian playwright, combines illusion and reality on the same stage.42 In full view of the auditorium, these characters, under the guidance of the Stage Director, operate this “miracle of transposition” (257), in a scene that is designed to prepare the spectator for a sequence of dramatic events that have the special logic and atmosphere of the theatre (262). As they build and touch up the scenery, discussing technical and conventional aspects of staging, they also situate the action, expound the antecedents of the plot and, criticising the traditional definition of the tragic character,43 introduce the figures, as well as 38

39

40 41 42

43

See Hulton (1969) 49–59. For this author, “the apprehensive start of the Antigone, with its presentiment of yet further ‘ills bequeathed by Oedipus’, already suggests a tragic issue” (58). Similar techniques were used in the construction of the prologue a decade earlier in Anouilh’s Antigone, a play which António Pedro knew (see, above, n. 28), and which probably therefore influenced his own version. On this, see Mendes (2013) 113–114, who also finds influences of Brecht’s dramaturgy in Pedro’s recreation (114–118). Rodrigues (1961) 153. See Genot (1970) 131–137. Also on this matter, see Dumur (1967), Bosetti (1971), and Gardair (1972). Pirandello’s influence upon António Pedro was already clearly visible in his first two plays: the “one-act comedy” Teatro (Theatre), the first version of which was written in French (1934); and the “everyday farce” Desimaginação (Disimagination) (1937), an (incomplete) play written for a theatre project – “Teatro Diferente” (“Different theatre”) – which never ultimately came about. See Pedro (1981) 41–155. On the influence of the Sicilian author on this play, see Mendes (2013) 111–113. In the style of a “parabasis”, the Stage Director, addressing the audience, redefines the notion of the tragic character, going against the Aristotelian tradition to some extent (See Poetics 1449 b 10 e 24): “Quer a tradição que, na tragédia, as personagens tenham sangue real. É uma estupidez da tradição! Sangue diferente sim, é o que isso quer dizer. Sangue de personagem de tragédia é que eles precisam ter: um sangue circulando a um ritmo

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their respective functions in the dramatic economy (259–260). Finally, they define tragedy, firstly in general terms that echo Greek and Aristotelian thought, as “an action that arises between a certain number of characters that the poet created” (259) and which “exceeds the almost always miserable measure of man” (263);44 and then also characterise this tragedy in particular, as we have already seen, as a “tragedy of freedom”, in which “justice never gets done but is merely desired, after a battle of pride” (261). The Stage Director, who is an essential figure of the prologue, returns to the stage half way through the second act for a short metatheatrical dialogue in which he contests the Chorus’s comments about the role of destiny as a central character and engine of the dramatic action.45 For him, destiny, like fate, does not exist: rather, it is we ourselves that “make our inner joy with our own hands, though it is sometimes the joy that comes from suffering” (301). For this reason, to him, “fulfilling a destiny is neither happiness nor sadness, it is just being” (301). This is what happened with Prometheus and Adam, figures from the primordial moments of Greek and Judaeo-Christian culture, who wove their own tragedies. It is also what happened with all those who, in close empathy, participate in that spectacle and the very excess of their tragic characters: Encenador – O Creonte, a Antígona, a Isménia de cada um de nós, está nessa fome que vamos tendo, a cada passo, de comer o pomo que foi negado a Adão […] o desejo dum fruto que nos é vedado sem a possibilidade duma tragédia. (303) (Stage Director – The Creon, Antigone, Ismene in each of us is in that hunger that we develop at each step to eat the apple that was denied to Adam […] the desire for a fruit that is forbidden to us without the possibility of a tragedy.)

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que lhes permita uma dicção exacta e uma nobreza de gestos que não se confunda com a banalidade” (258) (“Tradition requires that the characters of tragedy have royal blood. That’s a stupid tradition! Different blood, yes, that’s what this means. The blood of the tragic character is what they need: blood circulating at a rhythm that gives them precise diction and a nobility of gestures that cannot be considered banal”). The agonistic and at times disproportionate behaviour of characters that propels the dramatic action aims, according to Pedro’s express thought (1950a) 28, “arouse the spectator’s sympathy, an Einfühlung, that satisfies the hunger for extra-normal emotion that is the reason why one contemplates a work of art”. This dialogue replaces the second stasimon of the Sophoclean tragedy, which deals with the theme of hereditary curse. See, below, 189.

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But this other Pirandello-like scene, the “play within a play”, does not come to an end with the Stage Director’s cogitations. The maid Artemisia, a decorative character typical of “bourgeois comedy” (another of the liberties taken in this recreation), takes advantage of the Director’s presence on stage to contest the secondary role she has been given in the prologue. In fact, this young maid gives the first reply to Antigone (usurping part of the role that fell to Ismene in the archetype), thus generating “the necessary expectations for the design of that main character” (260) and prepares for the action at the beginning of each act, dusting and embroidering. This is an accessory performance, in accordance with the character’s servile condition, which does not allow her the space to act autonomously or express her sentiments spontaneously. So, in the style of Pirandello, the Stage Director frees her from the narrowness of her role, giving her a life and autonomy of thought: Encenador – E se achas pouco, como eu acho, o que chamas andar a s­ aracotear-te, arranja um modo mais subtil de fazê-lo: pensa. (304) (Stage Director – If, like me, you don’t think that what you call moving and shaking your body is enough, then find a more subtle way of doing it: think.) From then on, Artemisia importance alters radically in the dramatic tessitura. She assumes her “new” role immediately, and when we meet her in the following scene, she is thinking, staring fixedly at a picture of an ant carrying a fly with its legs in the air. Haemon, who has just entered, is perplexed and confused, as the audience will certainly be too, not understanding the symbolism that she is trying to extract from the apologue. And it is not easy, we admit. From the well-known Fable 25 of Book iv of Phaedrus,46 later reinvented by La Fontaine (4.3)47 and Monteiro Lobato48 amongst others, Artemisia is less interested in the moral than in the characterization of the two animals, for her 46

47 48

Brenot (1989) 73–74. This fable, which is a variation of one with the ant and the cricket, has its origins in this Latin author. See Rodríguez Adrados (1979–1987) 542 (vol. i, 2), 153 (vol. ii), 332 and 466 (vol. iii). It is, according to him, a “cynical fable in favour of ponos or hard work and against tryphe or relaxation” (332, vol. iii). Collinet (1991) 124–125 e 468. Lobato (1972) 56. The story-teller, essayist, translator and editor José Bento Renato Monteiro Lobato (Taubaté, 1882 – S. Paulo, 1948) was an early exponent of children’s literature in Brazil. His best-known work is Urupês, alongside Sítio do picapau amarelo (Site of the yellow woodpecker) a series of tales which was made into a famous television series which charmed children and young people throughout the Portuguese-speaking world.

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immediate aims: the ant, rustic and hardworking; the fly, urbane, who has had everything relatively easily until the rigours of winter. The twisted reasoning is clarified right away by the young woman: she herself was the ant who was hoping that the prince (the fly in that picture) might lose its wings so that she could carry it with her. This unexpected and unusual declaration immediately elicits a confession of love from the dazed young man (though not for her but for Antigone, who has already been condemned without him realising it). This confession, which is less clear in the Sophoclean text, is repeated later, during Haemon’s debate with his father (310):49 Hémon – O coração não se reparte, ou não pode repartir-se quando se dá todo duma vez. Coração só temos um, e, quando o damos inteiro, o que sobra é fingimento. Não é isso o que me pedes nem aquilo que queria ­dar-te… Amo Antígona. (306) (Haemon – The heart can’t be shared, it can’t be shared when it gives itself all in one go. We only have one heart and when we give it wholly, what remains is pretence. That’s not what you are asking of me, nor what I want to give you… I love Antigone.) Though she is offended by Haemon’s commiseration that he cannot give her more than “a friendship that seems a lot like pity” (306), she does not lose heart with this first frustrated intervention. Now in the role of impassioned young woman rather than the “maid”, her performance in the third act is also invested with dramatic significance. Taking on the function of the messenger in the Sophoclean play, she brings news, first of Haemon’s self-incarceration in the same tomb as Antigone, and then, of his suicide. This unfortunate event, also confirmed by the young man’s bloody dagger, which Artemisia brings onto the stage, triggers two scenes that were not in the original play but are of rare

49

The fable is part of his book Fábulas (Fables), also designed for a juvenile readership, which was first published in 1922. These are his words (310): “Amo Antígona. Amo-a como se quer ao sopro da respiração, ao Sol que nos aquece o corpo e afasta do espírito os pesadelos da noite! Amo-a como à noite em que se sonha e o coração nos sobe pela leveza do ar. Amo-a como se quer quando se ama, e parece que nascem rosas pelos caminhos onde ela passa…” (“I love Antigone. I love her like breathing, like the sun that heats our body and draws us away from the nightmares of the night! I love her like the night in which we dream and the heart rises up on the lightness of the air. I love her just like it is when we are loved, and it is as if roses spring up on the paths as she passes…”). See, above, n. 34.

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artistic intensity and pathos:50 one protagonized by Eurydice who nurses the dagger as if it were her child (324); the other by Artemisia herself, who, terrified, shows her hands with the blood, now cold, of the young prince that she had loved (326–32751), to the audience and Chorus, who, in its final plangent intervention, bewails the chain of catastrophes that has just befallen the royal house of Thebes. This last character, the Chorus, represents the last of the liberties taken in António Pedro’s version. Although Artemisia (291) and then the Stage Director (304) state that the Chorus, consisting not of fifteen but of three Old Men of Thebes, is not important for the action of the play and is restricted to merely commenting on it, what we actually see is that, as in the original Greek play, which exemplifies Aristotle’s consecrated claim,52 it is in fact a character that participates coherently and actively in the dramatic plot. This Chorus interacts, gives opinions, advises and recriminates, and most of its joint interventions broadly correspond thematically to Sophocles’ choral odes.53 I say “most” because the 5th stasimon (vv. 1115–1154) is ignored while the 2nd (vv. 582–625), which deals with the motive for the inherited curse, is replaced by the metatheatrical dialogue about destiny, analysed above. The remaining four lyrical cantos, freely calqued, appear in António Pedro’s text with the same reflexive character, in accordance with the Chorus’ advanced age: the parodos (vv. 100–162), rejoicing in the peace achieved with the victory over Polynices (see 273–275); the 1st stasimon celebrating man’s superior capacities to organize into society (vv. 332–375);54 the “love ode” celebrating its irresistible power 50

51

52 53 54

For the critic of the newspaper Diário do Norte (19.2.1954), who watched the opening night, this final scene of the third act, marked by dramatic moments of silence, revealed “the artist with more grandeur. […] Rembrandt, the Flemish painter [seemed] to be present there in wonderment”. See Morais (1998) 60–61. See, in Gago (1998) 9, the photographic reproduction of this memorable scene protagonized by Dalila Rocha, when the play was put on again on 16.11.1956. By giving the role of Artemisia to this “star” of the tep, particularly as she had played the role of Antigone in the first staging of this tragedy (1954), António Pedro will surely have been stressing the enormous dramatic importance that he attributed to this scene. Poetics 1456 a 25–27. For a study of the Sophoclean chorus, see Burton (1980) 85–137, Gardiner (1987) 81–97, and Pulquério (1987) 35–53. The 1st Sophoclean stasimon is distributed across two different choral interventions in the Portuguese play (278–279 and 284–286). Although António Pedro’s text also cele­ brates the superiority of man “capable of dreaming, poetry and music” and of “inventing codes and laws”, the ideas contained in the 2nd antistrophe (365–375) are not developed in the way that is so fundamental for the exegesis of the Sophoclean play. On this, see

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(321–323  ~  vv. 781–801); and, finally, the 4th stasimon (vv. 944–987), which illustrates Antigone’s case by comparing it with that of other mythical figures (see 327–32855). However, the language, rhythm and style of Pedro’s choral texts are freely different, austerely ensuring the functionality of the Chorus’ performance in a theatre that claims to be renewed. From the proscenium, which replaces the Greek orchestra, the Old Men intone brief passages, consisting of short phrases, here and there joined together, which remind us of Greek antilabe or stichomythia.56 They also use repetition (which can take the form of a refrain, symmetry, comparison and imagery) and rhythm basically ternary (though with binary variations) in what are dramatically very impressive texts.57 The Chorus in António Pedro’s “palimpsest” is therefore unquestionably a participating character, as in Sophocles, which comments dialectically on the action and on human life.58 The only thing that is missing is the condemnation, here transferred only to Tiresias,59 of the tyrant Creon’s disproportionately obstinate behaviour in iniquitously preventing Antigone through a “battle of pride” from freely complying with an eternal law that is “superior to the circumstances in which men make certain laws” (260–261). Various liberties were thus taken in this recreation, the freely renewed construction of a “tragedy of freedom”,60 at a time of dictatorship. With this reinterpretation of the Sophoclean archetype, designed for a specific public, António Pedro managed to evade the tightened surveillance of censorship,61 surreptitiously expressing a stifled cry of revolt against the totalitarianism of the Estado Novo and a suffocated desire for justice and freedom.

55 56 57 58 59 60 61

Rocha Pereira (2010) 29 sqq. And the whole bibliography cited there, which systematizes the various interpretations of this ode. In the Portuguese text, the comparison, which is repeated like a refrain, is limited to “Niobe, daughter of Tantalus, around whom the stones grew like ivy” (327). On this matter, see the Chorus’s performance, 321–323. As an example, see the choral interventions in 273–275 and above all 284–286. Rodrigues (1961) 153. Pedro (1981) 329–330. Pedro (1981) 261. The National Secretariat for Information, Popular Culture and Tourism approved the performance of Pedro’s play with any cuts on 25th January 1954. As Mendes (2013) 110 mentions, the play’s acceptance by the Censorship Board was justified by the fact that it was a recreation designed for “a restricted audience, that of the then young c.c.t./t.e.p”.

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Twenty years before 25th April 1974, António Pedro and all those that c­ ollaborated in the performance of the new variation on Sophocles’ Antigone experienced for a moment the dream of “…o dia inicial inteiro e limpo onde emergimos da noite e do silêncio e livres habitamos a substância do tempo”62 (“…the initial day whole and clean Where we emerge from the night and the silence And free, inhabit the substance of time”)

62

From the poem “25 de Abril” (“April 25th”, Andresen (1991) 195). See, above, n. 2.

chapter 11

Antígona by António Pedro: Dialogues with European Aesthetic Currents Inês Alves Mendes 1

The Context

1.1 A New Play for a Newly Founded Theatre Company Antígona: Glosa nova da tragédia de Sófocles em 3 actos e 1 prólogo incluído no 1 acto (Antigone: New variation of Sophocles tragedy in 3 acts and 1 prologue included in the 1st act, from now on Antigone) was written by António Pedro da Costa in 1953 for the second performance of a newly founded theatre company: the Teatro Experimental do Porto (t.e.p.). Critics enthusiastically acclaimed the play after its première in 18 February 1954, in São João do Porto Theatre.1 t.e.p. was founded by a group of artists and intellectuals who aimed to overcome the lack of artistic theatre in Oporto, the second largest city in P ­ ortugal. Therefore, they set out to renew repertoire by presenting classical authors in an innovative manner and by staging national and foreign contemporary plays.2 t.e.p.’s first members, as can be observed by its first membership list (which displays the member’s occupation), came from different professional and socio-economic classes as well as different walks of life (see above Morais). In 1953, the association realized that its young actors lacked practice and a formal theatrical education. Hence, António Pedro was invited to join t.e.p. as its director. By accepting the invitation, António Pedro launched t.e.p as a professional theatre company, while reassuring a faithful and ever growing audience.3 The members of c.c.t./t.e.p. had already made clear they wanted to stage Antigone, even before the Oporto civilian authorities (Governo Civil do Porto) 1 See O Comércio do Porto, 19 February (1954) 7; Jornal de Notícias, 19 February (1954) 5; A ­ lmeida (1954) 2. 2 In the second article of the statutes, which refers to the aims of c.c.t./t.e.p., in paragraph b, one can read the following: “To elevate the moral, intelectual and artistic level of theatre by promoting the representation of the best national and foreign plays and to encourage playwrights, authors, artists and technicians” (Porto (1997) 246). 3 By 1959 t.e.p. had 5000 members.

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approved their statutes and their formal establishment as a company. In an internal circular, dated from 1951, the group states its aim of representing “a ­modern French theatre play, by its ‘Group of Experimental Theatre’: Jean Anouilh’s Antigone”.4 With António Pedro as director, the project took shape but not in the form of Anouilh’s Antigone, since that play was by and large forbidden in Portugal before the Carnation Revolution of 19745 (Rodrigues (1961) 153–157). Anouilh’s play can easily be seen as a metaphor for the oppression imposed by a tyrannical leader – hence its prohibition nationwide. The censorship office, then named “Secretariado Nacional de Informação Cultura Popular e Turismo”, approved Antonio Pedro’s Antigone on January 25th 1954 without any censoring or a single censor’s cut, only two months after its submission, as can be learnt from its license (license nr. 4249).6 The performance was restricted to adults only, which obviously limited the audience. Nevertheless, within the context of the New State the rewriting of Antigone was an act perceived with mistrust, due to the potentially subversive character of the revision itself. The successful approval of the performance’s text might have rested on the fact that it was authored by António Pedro (instead of Anouilh), and because the audience of the company was still very restricted. 1.2 The Director: António Pedro António Pedro, the author of the text and the director of Antigone, was a cosmopolitan artist. In the Portuguese panorama of the 1950s, Pedro stands out as an exceptional director thanks to his international career and his creative verve, as largely acknowledged by his contemporary critics (see above Morais). In 1934–35 he was enrolled at the Sorbonne’s Institute des Arts et d’Archeologie in Paris. During this period he became one of 20 signers of the famous M ­ anifesto of Dimensionalists, along with Kandinsky, Miró, Picabia, ­Duchamp and other avant-garde artists of the time. When the Second World War broke out Pedro was living in Africa. From here he moved to Brazil, in December 1940. Being in Brazil, Pedro had the chance to meet writers such as Carlos Drumond de ­Andrade, Oswaldo de Andrade and Jorge Amado, and the plastic artist Tarsila do Amaral. Not only did he meet the artists that launched 4 Available at the site of c.c.t./t.e.p., under the item “Documentos Históricos”, http://www .cct-tep.com/index1.htm, consulted on 14 May 2015. 5 The Carnation Revolution was a military coup that took place on the 25th of April of 1974. The coup overthrew the regime of Estado Novo, an authoritarian, fascist-inspired, right-wing dictatorial state established formally in 1933 by António de Oliveira Salazar. 6 Material in existence in the archives of Círculo Teatral de Cultura/Teatro Experimental do Porto, not catalogued. Made available by its director, Júlio Gago.

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Brazilian ­modernism, the contacts he forged during his stay also materialized in an invitation to expose his paintings in 1941, in the “Museu Nacional de Belas Artes do Rio de Janeiro”, and again in 1942, at the Industrial Exhibition of São Paulo. However, Pedro was not only a famous plastic artist. He was a renowned director and playwright, ceramist and poet. Furthermore, Pedro’s production at this time also encompassed his writings on theatre.7 From 1943 to 1945 Pedro lived in London, where he joined the Surrealist Group of London and displayed his paintings in the Arcade Gallery, side by side with Arp, Chirico, Max Ernest, Miró, Klee, Giacometti, Picasso and others. Thus, António Pedro was an avant-garde artist who had experienced four of the most dynamic cultural hubs of his time – Paris, London, São Paulo and Rio – and in all he joined pioneering artistic movements. He brought back this international experience to a country where censorship was highly developed and where artistic creativity was frequently prevented from finding expression.8 2

Renewing the Classics in the Portuguese 1950s

Adapting a Classical Play: The Lessons of Brecht and the “cartel des quatre” The rewriting of classical themes was highly politicized throughout the ­twentieth century, especially after the Second World War.9 In particular, Bertolt Brecht’s classical adaptations were revolutionary within the theatrical practices of their time. Brecht, who coined the term “adaptation” (Pais (2004) 37), carried out a desacralization of the classical text by reappropriating it through the lenses of a political and personal rewriting of tradition. The dramatic text was therefore unbound from the constraints of authorship and used primarily as a means to voice other perspectives. Accordingly, Brecht’s 1948 Antigone is placed in the context of the Second World War. The play became a legitimate method for social intervention and paved the way for other playwrights to channel contemporary social tensions into their rewritings of classical texts.10 2.1

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In 1949, between 13 and 28 July, Pedro published a series of 12 articles named “The case of the theatre in Portugal” (“O caso do teatro em Portugal”) in Diário de Lisboa. In 1959, in Jornal de Notícias, he published fortnightly theatre reviews under the section “Theatre, cinema and rádio” (“Teatro, cinema e rádio”). For an analysis of censorship during the New State period, see Santos (2004) 221–278. For ample information on the matter see Duroux and Urdician (2009); and also Mee and Foley (2011). In 1962 Pedro wrote Pequeno tratado de encenação (Pedro (1962)) This work functions as a guide to the art of staging and reveals Pedro’s familiarity with Brecht’s theory and pratice.

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As with Anouilh’s Antigone, many obstacles met its Brechtian counterpart before it could reach the Portuguese stage in 1969. Even though Brecht was finally presented, the audience of the play was very restricted since it was performed by an amateur group of university students.11 All of Brecht’s plays were in fact officially forbidden from being staged at public theatres before 1974, leaving the initiative of staging Brecht in the hands of amateurs and university students (Delille (1991) 38–39).12 However, Brecht’s poems, narratives, critical essays and even translated plays were permitted to circulate. The translation of one excerpt of Brecht’s Antigone (by the intellectual Luís Francisco Rebello), namely the Prologue to Antigone, appeared in April 1955, in number 139 of the literary magazine Vértice (the official organ of Portuguese Neorealism). The prologue introduces two sisters (named as “first sister” and “second sister”) who deduce that their brother has just deserted from the military since they find his personal objects lying around the house. They soon realize that he was hanged from a lamppost just outside their house. The prologue ends with the second sister leaving the house holding a knife to cut down the rope and recover her brother’s body while an ss soldier blocks her way. As can be observed, Brecht adapted the classical plot to his contemporary reality in a simple yet masterly fashion. Pedro learnt Brecht’s lessons, as his theatre writings testify, namely in his Pequeno tratado de encenação (Pedro (1962)) where Brecht’s theory and theatrical praxis are often mentioned. In the same line of composition, Pedro introduced several passages in his Antigone that aimed to frame Antigone’s death as that of a freedom fighter, as Morais suggests (see above Morais). But Pedro’s lessons in contemporary theatre and dramaturgy also came from his Parisian experience. Indeed, Paris was a core factor in Pedro’s artistic formation and meant that he was exposed to theoretical models whose influences were to linger in his work as a director. His stay in Paris, from 1933 to 1935, familiarized Pedro with the work of Copeau and his rewriting and adaptations of the classical plays. Copeau’s work was to be continued by the famous “cartel des quatre”: Charles Dullin, Louis Jouvet, Georges Pitoëff and Gaston Baty. Since Pedro lived in Paris while some of the most emblematic works of 11

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See Porto (1973) 230. On this play see also the interview granted by the play’s director, Mário Sério, to the newspaper A Capital, “Teatro universitátio: Entrevista com Mário Sério, encenador do Grupo Cénico da Associação de Estudantes do Instituto Superior Técnico” (25 June 1969) 5. There is a listing of all of Brecht’s plays staged before and after the revolution, up until 1990, in Do pobre B.B. em Portugal: Aspectos da recepção de Bertolt Brecht antes e depois do 25 de Abril de 1974 (Delille et al. (1991) 527–542).

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the cartel were staged,13 he might have learnt, along with them, to respect and to renew the canonical plays of occidental dramaturgy. Furthermore, the programme of Pedro’s Antigone displays the influence of the French authors by mentioning the contemporary rewriting of the myths by Chancerel, Cocteau, Giradoux and Anouilh. These last three playwrights were in fact made known by the “cartel”.14 Renewing repertoire while educating audiences was one of the aims of director and actor Jacques Copeau, founder of the Vieux-Colombier theatre. In his theatre writings (which he called Registres) as well as in his theatrical praxis, Copeau urges that naturalist décor be abandoned, while advocating a stripped space that enables the actor to regain the stage as his own. Needless to say, Copeau’s theatre stood against the commercial theatre, and in fact reacted against it, by demanding scenic austerity (Copeau (1974) 219–225). Pedro was familiar with Copeau’s work, as emerges from his address to the Fenianos Club, in 1950, as well as his writings on theatre for the press. In Jornal de Notícias (3 December 1958), António Pedro described Copeau as a revolutionary that created a theatre he very much admired. To Copeau, the first teacher and mentor of the cartel, the turn to the classical repertoire was a means to invest in the future of dramaturgy by renewing it (Whitton (1987) 57–70). Likewise, Pedro’s Antigone represents a renewing of repertoire by the means of rewriting a classical play. The prologue of the play aims to familiarize a contemporary audience with classical Greek tragedy, a genre scarcely staged in the 1950s in Portugal.15 The pedagogical character of the prologue (contextualizing and guiding the audience through the social dynamics of the play) can also be understood in the larger context of educating spectators, as defined by the statutes of the ­company (article 2, paragraph b). Pedro in fact rephrases these statutes in the 13

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Amongst others, La machine infernale by Cocteau was produced by Jouvet, in Théâtre ­ omédie des Champs-Elysées, in April 1934; La guerre de Troie n’aura pas lieu, by C ­Giraudoux, also produced under Jouvet, was staged in November 1935, in Théâtre L­ ouis Jouvet; Le canard sauvage by Ibsen was staged by Pitoëff, in May 1934 in Théâtre du ­Vieux-Colombier; Ce soir, on improvise, by Pirandello, was produced by Pitoëff, in ­January 1934 in the Téâtre des Mathurins. The work of Jean Cocteau was staged for the first time in Théâtre de l’Atelier by Dullin; work by Jean Giraudoux was staged by the first time by Jouvet, and that by Jean Anouilh by Pitoëff. As an example, the newspaper O Comércio do Porto enthusiastically acclaimed Antigone by Pedro on 19 February 1954. The review mentions that the play was a sucess even though the subject of the play was not “easy to grasp”. See “São João. Antígona: Glosa nova da tragédia de Sófocles em 3 actos e um prólogo, por António Pedro”, O Comércio do Porto (19 February 1954) 7.

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1954 programme of the play, when introducing the aims of the recently founded company c.c.t./t.e.p. (E5/381-A). Within this framework, the character of the Director (possibly the alter-ego of Pedro himself)16 states in the prologue that Sophocles had created Antigone as a dramatic character whose story can be reappropriated (13). The character of the Director highlights the relative unimportance of the written word in alerting the audience to the possibility of a modern revision of Antigone. Instead of focusing on the dramatic text rendered canonic by the authority of the author, the contemporary revision engages with the sociopolitical energies of its own time – something Pedro had learnt from Brecht. By contrast, for the “cartel” the revision of classical material means first and foremost an opportunity to tune into a humanist poetry without necessari­ ly engaging with the social issues of one’s own time. Indeed, the cartel were more interested in the universal themes encapsulated in the work of the classical playwrights than their connection to contemporary dynamics. Jouvet, in particular, aims to go beyond daily perceptions to another (deeper) level of perception: I deeply believe that the only valuable subjects in theatre are the permanent ones, which have been common to every generation since theatre first came into existence. (…) All the great theatre subjects are ­spiritualists and I don’t believe in a play or a staging that is not conceived with the feeling and the desire to present us with a little bit more than just the daily man, a little bit more than our ears can hear, a little bit more than our eyes can see. apud anders (1959) 163

The character of the Director, at the outset of the play, states the supremacy of theatre’s poetry over the triviality of daily life in terms rather similar to those of Jouvet: Director: We all go to the theatre to watch a miracle: the miracle of the transposition of all work of art. This one here suffers, the other one laughs from an anguish or a joy which is ours just because we adapted it to our

16

According to a proposal made by António Pedro to c.c.t./t.e.p (“Proposal to the Reading Counsel of the Circle of Theatrical Culture”/“Proposta ao Conselho de Leitura do Círculo de Cultura Teatral”) he was to perform the character of the Director. His name was afterwards struck through and was substituted by the actor Vasco Lima Couto (material ­available in the archives of Teatro Experimental do Porto, but not yet catalogued).

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poor daily romance where farce and tragedy, in its limits, are just outlined under the ordinary grease of our own dull life (Prologue 11). Pedro’s desire to renew the classical Greek dramaturgy is surely attuned with the efforts of the cartel, as his correspondence with Portuguese philosopher and thinker António Sérgio further testifies (see above Morais Chapter 10). In correspondence with Sérgio (probably dated 1954) he says about classical theatre: “To vivify it, to modernize it is not to betray it, it is instead to serve it by the best approach” (envelope 48 A, 1). As has been explained, Antigone by António Pedro is a play that is attuned to the work of other contemporary European playwrights and directors. Pedro’s theatrical formation, as well as his theatrical productions, stand out in the ­Portuguese scene of the 1950s precisely because of his exposure to European and Brazilian cultural hubs, as was contended at the beginning of this text (see above 1.2.). 2.2 Pirandello António Pedro’s Antigone is formally divided into a prologue followed by three acts. The prologue is constituted as a self-reflexive theatrical moment. The same thing happens again half way through the second act where there is, once again, a metatheatrical incursion. These two moments are displayed as separate sections throughout the drama. The prologue begins with the Director sorting out the costume for an ­extra. Other characters interact with the Director, such as an Electrician and a ­Stage-hand: the former wants to know if he can turn the lights on; the latter if he can open a trapdoor. These same characters (Director, Electrician) are present in Pirandello’s play Six Characters in Search of an Author (1921) and actors and director interact likewise in Pedro’s play. Indeed, the entire prologue section can be interpreted as a metatheatrical commentary that draws attention, simultaneously, to the dramatic ­Western tradition (with its conventions of verisimilitude) and to the reception of Greek classical tragedy. The disclosure of the production details, such as lights, set and clothing, reminds the audience that the stage is not merely a mimetic space, it also functions as a formal space of artistic creation (Licastro (1991) 211). These elements can be seen as part of a dialogue between the Portuguese play and Pirandellian aesthetics.17 More precisely, the play enters quite openly into a dialogue with Six Characters in Search of an Author.18 17 18

The presence of the Sicilian playwright, Luigi Pirandello, in António Pedro’s dramatic work has already been noted by Luís Francisco Rebelo (1981) and Carlos Morais (1999). From now on I shall refer to this play as Six Characters.

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If Pirandello’s drama works as a text that is indirectly interpreted in terms of aesthetic options, not only in the prologue but also half way through the second act, there is, however, a crucial difference between these two texts. Six Characters is a synthesis of various plays that merge into one: the comedy that the Actors represent at the beginning (“Il Gioco delle Parti”); the “comedia da fare” that the Characters demand to represent; and, finally, the play that includes all of these – a play about the nature of representation itself. In António Pedro’s Antigone, the different levels remain almost completely separate, safeguarding themselves. Thus, there are two moments with two distinct aesthetic styles. Therefore, despite the deconstruction of the theatre as a mimetic art (when the characters and the Director interact) there is, nevertheless, a border that assures, roughly, that there is no interference with the second level of action, which corresponds to the representation of the Sophoclean plot. The presence of the Director combines with a moment of dramatic distension and a recreational break that prepares the events to come. There is, then, a fluctuation between dramatic tension and recreational distension. Pirandello’s play Six Characters had its world premiere in 1921 and was ­successively revised in 1925 and 1927. It had an enthusiastic reception across Europe. Performed for the first time in France in 1923 and in Spain in 1924, it arrived in Portugal as early as 1923 and was performed in the Italian language in the Politeama Theatre, therefore limiting the audience to an elite able to ­attend a performance in a foreign language. Antonin Artaud synthethized accurately the novelty of the play in the context of the 1920s: “There is no play. The drama is going to be created in front of our eyes” (apud Santaremo (1999) 43). Between the beginning of the 1920s and the première of Pedro’s Antígona in 1956 there were ten performances of Pirandello in Portugal, but only one representation of Six Characters – the one in 1923 already mentioned (Ferro (2007) 123–142).19 Five of these plays were presented in Italian, five in Portuguese. The theatre reviews by the acclaimed critic Urbano Tavares Rodrigues in Theatre 19

In 1923, the play Six Characters In Search of an Author was presented in Italian at the Politeama Theatre. Two years later, in the same space and also in Italian, Each In His Own Way was staged. The “Teatro Novo” by António Ferro presents in Portuguese Right you are! (If You Think So), translation by Teresa de Barros. In 1930, Henry iv was performed in Portuguese and one year after, in a world première, I Am Dreaming, But Am I?, by the Rey Colaço-Robles Monteiro Company was presented at the National Theatre, in a translation by Caetano Beirão. In 1933, the famous Araújo Pereira staged Cap and Bells and in 1941 it was the turn of All for the Best. In 1946, the Teatro Estúdio do Salitre established itself with The Man with the Flower In His Mouth. One year later, At the Exit was staged and in 1950 two dramas were performed: Sicilian Limes and The Jar. In 1955, the National re-staged Right you are! (If You Think So).

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Nights render explicit the novelty Six Characters still represented in Portugal, in 1958, when it was finally re-staged. Tavares Rodrigues, in fact, ignored the first staging of the play in 1923 and welcomed the performance of Pirandello’s play as its Portuguese première (Rodrigues (1961) 121). If the presence of Pirandellian motifs did not have a wide expression in the theatre scene of 1950s Portugal, as can be inferred from Tavares Rodrigues’ comment, then the Pirandellian self-reflexive features of the play openly address the state of the performative arts in Portugal. Indeed, what is represented on stage is as relevant as the means by which it is accomplished, and the more so within the context of an institutionalized censorship that perceived innovation and a dialogue with foreign plays as synonyms of transgression. António Pedro, as a man of the theatre, was obviously familiar with ­Pirandello’s work. His theoretical production testifies to this. When, in 1950, Pedro gave a speech to the Fenianos Club, it was Pirandello he chose as an example of a playwright he would like to see staged more often in Portugal (Pedro (1950b) 17). The dialogue between Antigone and Six Characters is tangible on numerous levels, as has already been suggested. Nevertheless, in visual terms, it is even more perceptible. In the Portuguese Antigone the contrast between the contemporary characters and the classical ones is clearly made by means of costume. Earlier, Pirandello had made a similar choice. Indeed, in his stage directions he states that the Characters should all dress in black in order to ­distinguish them from the Actors (1997 [1933] 678). In the case of Antigone, ­according to photos of the reposition of the play in 1957, in Teatro da Trindade in Lisbon (annexe 1), and according to the costume design as conceived by Pedro himself (annexe 2), the character of the Director dressed in 1950s male fashion. The contrast between the 1950s costume and the Greek tunics visually marks a border in between two temporal spaces and two aesthetic choices: on the one hand, the representation of the Sophoclean tragedy, on the other the metatheatrical representation of the contemporaneous play en abîme. There is, then, a fluctuation between dramatic tension and recreational distension. Anouilh’s Antigone (1944) also uses metatheatrical techniques (see above). At the beginning of the play, all the actors are sitting down chatting, playing cards and knitting. Then the Prologue, embodied as a character, proceeds to present the characters and to contextualize the plot. Moreover, in the 1947 production of the play by Barsacq, at the Théâtre de l’Atelier, all the guards were dressed in leather jackets and black hats. The introduction of anachronistic elements not only modernizes the classical plot but also adds a layer of self-­ reflexivity to the play. Likewise, Pedro’s Director renders explicit the d­ imension of the theatrical performance, by wearing glasses and a cardigan.

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In the Footsteps of Brecht: Deconstructing Destiny as a Dramatic Category In the second act, the confrontation between Antigone and Creon is dramatized by resorting to the drums that illustrate, in a crescendo, the intensification of the dialogue between them (see E5/381 22–25). According to Pedro’s stage directions, Creon steps down from the throne to address Antigone and systematically climbs up its ladder whenever Antigone threatens him, in a digressive mode that acknowledges his menacing power. After their confrontation, Creon’s portrayal as a tyrant is further advanced by his isolation on the throne, while the drums continue to beat (E5/381 25). His isolation and his ­position on a superior plane, above everybody else, visually confirms the depiction of him as a tyrant. Moreover, the second act engages with the question of freedom vs despotism through the discussion of destiny as a dramatic category. 2.3

1st Oldman: One cannot escape destiny. 2nd Oldman: Nor can one be tied to destiny by ropes. 3rd Oldman: Destiny ties destiny, not men’s ropes. Director: (Coming in): Come on, no. No! There have already been too many comments of this kind! 1st Oldman: It is Sophocles that sets us commenting on the destiny of the Labdacids. 3rd Oldman: Mourning the burden of fate. 2nd Oldman: And singing the fortune and glory of the innocents. Director: Are there any innocents? What does it mean to be an innocent before fatality? Couldn’t it be that fatality (what is called fatality) is what we fabricate by our own hands in order to attain an interior joy which sometimes is only to suffer? 1st Oldman: That intervention spoils everything that justifies tragedy. 3rd Oldman: In tragedy, the action is justified by destiny. 2nd Oldman: Destiny is always the main character… Director: A trick! A trick, so that tragedy is more easily accepted. (acto ii, 41–42). This passage takes place immediately after Antigone is taken prisoner, handcuffed, leaving the old men of the Chorus in front of the scenery, while the curtains close behind them and a new metatheatrical incursion takes place. The dramatic moment cited above ironically parodies the second Sophoclean stasimon (582–630) when, after the arrest of Antigone, the Chorus reflects on the curses that fall upon the Labdacids. The first Old man inclusively expresses incredulity at the Director’s disapproval of his performance, which is faithful to the Greek text. Nevertheless, the play revisits the Sophoclean drama

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by placing the events in a human dimension where destiny is merely “a trick” and fatality is presented ironically as an element that allows the plot to unfold. The display of the necessary ruses in order for the “tragedy [to be] more easily accepted” deconstructs the categories of the tragic genre, understood in the classical sense, and redirects the audience to the fictitious and literary character of “destiny”. Therefore, on one plane there is the re-enactment of the tragic destiny of the Sophoclean characters, on the other plane (the metatheatrical) there is an ironic reading of the former. Ultimately, therefore, there is a pervading ambivalent and ironic register. Tradition and innovation are presented in the play within compartmentalized sections that allow a simple and immediate interpretation: the register of tragedy and the register of the metatheatrical moments that nullify tragedy itself. In fact, if there is no such thing as destiny, as the Director contends, then the play’s tensions must have human and social explanations. The dividing of the play within two different spheres that largely match two different genres is in tune with António Pedro’s convictions. Pedro considered only as noble the genres of tragedy and farce.20 Nevertheless, Pedro’s conception of farce was quite distinct from the general conception of the genre. For Pedro, “farce uses intelligence to laugh at ither and its owner” (apud Oliveira (2001) 195). The emphasis on the use of intelligence stands against the traditional conception that comedy and tragedy are “superior” genres while farce is an “inferior” genre since it enables a “low” kind of laugh. The character of the Director claims that tragedy and farce are “two sides of the same coin of man” (43).21 If there is such a thing as farce in Antigone then it has nothing in common with the grotesque and scatological comedy generally associated with this genre of buffoons. In fact, there are none of the elements customarily associated with farce: the confusion, the sexual innuendo, the disasters and the stereotypical characters (Baldick (1990) 82; Pavis (2007 [1987]) 164). Antigone oscillates between two registers: the grandiloquent style of tragedy encapsulated in the recreation of the classical tragedy and the humorous tone of the metatheatrical moments, which, according to Pedro’s perspective, could match the farcic genre. The deconstructing of the role of destiny is also one of the dramatic advancements Brecht put forward in the aftermath of the Second World War. The German director considered tragedy to be an artifact that was out of fashion 20 21

See Pedro (1955a) 7. In “Defesa da farsa” (see, above, n. 20), Pedro makes the same claim.

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since it conveyed a belief in destiny, a category Brecht intended to analyze and to expose to the audience as a fake. His Epic Theatre aimed to divide the audience by confronting it with a multitude of perspectives, and by fracturing it through manifold critical perspectives (Carney, 2005). Antigone’s Director also considers destiny a “trick” and exposes it as such. Nevertheless, in contrast to Brecht, whom Pedro deeply admired (Pedro (1962) 7), the Portuguese director as a dramatic creator establishes empathy with the audience through the character of the Director and, moreover, ensures the audience interprets the play and its action according to a unified and lineal perspective that is imposed by him in the metatheatrical moments. The will to renew the repertoire and the Portuguese theatrical scene is present in Pedro’s effort to bring Brecht to the stage with c.c.t./t.e.p. On 10 June 1955, the newspaper Jornal de Notícias announced that the t.e.p. had rehearsed Mother Courage and Her Children, translated from German by author and artist Ilse Llosa.22 Even though the play was announced in the media, it did not reach the stage as it was forbidden by the censors. Five years later, within the politically charged context of the fraudulent presidential elections of 1958 (see above), Brecht could finally be staged as a form of concession, and as a means of defusing the climate of national uproar.23 Unfortunately, Pedro did not stage the play. The Brazilian company Maria Della Costa brought to Portugal, to the Capitólio Theatre, The Good Soul of Setzuan and, five days after its controversial opening, the play was declared a nuisance to “public order” and was officially forbidden.24 22

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Llosa secured the translation rights with the publishing house that represented Brecht and published Mother Courage and Her Children and The Good Soul of Setzuan in 1962 by Portugália editora. In the programme to The Good Soul of Setzuan (as staged by João Lourenço to Teatro ­Aberto in 1984) it is mentioned that the exceptional license to represent Brecht, in 1960, was a fruit of diplomatic pressure from Brazil. In fact, after Humberto Delgado sought asylum in the Brazilian embassy, immediately after the fraudulent elections of 1958, the relationship between Portugal and Brazil was particularly tense. There was a need on the part of the Portuguese governement to make a concession towards Brazil in order to restablish diplomatic relationships and this materialized in the license for the Brazilian company Maria Della Costa to perform Brecht in Teatro do Capitólio. The play’s première was on 12 March 1960. After five performances, the play was cancelled since it was considered that public order had been adversely affected (Rebello (1977) 30). There were, indeed, demonstrations on behalf of the New State supporters, against the play as well as their opponents, and both interrupted the performance either to throw stink bombs or to acclaim freedom.

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3 Conclusion Within the censorship limitations of the New State, Antigone by A. Pedro manages to position itself alongside other European revisions of Sophocles’ play. In fact, this creative adaptation of the myth draws on the work of Pirandello, Brecht and the “cartel des quatre”. Deeply rooted in the Portuguese 1950s, Pedro elegantly addresses the social tensions of his time through the veiled means of the classical play. His cunning innuendos kept the censors at bay while drawing attention to the larger problem of the lack of artistic freedom in a country dominated by the New State apparatus. Given the fact that the classics were rarely staged in Portugal in the midtwentieth century, Pedro faced the double challenge of rewriting and staging Antigone for an audience that might not be familiar with the Theban cycle. Because of this, the play’s prologue appears exceedingly pedagogical to a contemporary audience. The play addresses not only the social tensions of 1950s Portugal, as the chapter by Morais (see above) has made clear, but it also brought to the forefront of the theatrical scene the urgent need to reconsider Portuguese dramatic praxis through a dialogue with European directors and European productions. In a moment of Portuguese national history when staging was often regarded with distrust, the choice of staging a play so rich in its dialogue with other European plays and aesthetics was an act invested with remarkable symbolism. In particular, Pedro’s engagement with the Brechtian lesson of deconstructing destiny as a tragic category is crucial to an overall understanding of the play. In a world abandoned by the gods, man alone must face man’s choices and take responsibility for the misfortunes that shape life. Redirecting social responsibility from the gods to humans means first and foremost understanding social crisis as a new form of tragedy. Antigone brilliantly illustrates the tensions felt by the Portuguese society of the 1950s, struggling with a lack of freedom and justice, while at the same time preserving Sophocles’ overall dramatic and aesthetic quality. The ongoing success of this balance has been made evident in recent stagings of the play.25

25

In 1996 the play was staged by the Grupo de Teatro de Letras Artec, in the University of Lisbon and, in 1999, by the Grupo Académico de Teatro Amador (g.a.t.a.) from Braga (Morais (1998a) 63–68). The fact that the play has been staged by university groups illustrates the erudition that is in evidence when an adaptation of Antigone that dates from the 1950s is performed (as opposed to staging more commercial or mainstream works).

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Archives

Archives of National Library of Portugal



Archives of t.e.p. (Teatro Experimental do Porto)

“Autobiography” by António Pedro, National Library of Portugal, archives of António Pedro, E5/454. Diário de Lisboa, chronicle “O caso do teatro em Portugal”, from 13-7-1949 to 28-7-1949, National Library of Portugal, Fundo Geral Jornais. Flyers announcing the performance of Antígona by António Pedro, National Library of Portugal, archives of António Pedro, E5/381-B (in Viana do Castelo, by t.e.p., 1954); E5/381-C (in Leça da Palmeira, by j.o.c., 1959); E5/381-D (in Oporto, by Centro Ramalho de Ortigão, 1959); E5/381-E (in Oporto, by Centro Ramalho de Ortigão, 1960). Fotographs of the reposition of Antígona by António Pedro, in Teatro da Trindade, ­Lisbon, from 19 to the 22 February 1957, photographer Aroso, National Library of Portugal, archives António Pedro E5/1047, 1057, 1058, 1063, 1068, 1074, 1047, 1067, 1053, 1056, 1060, 1066, 1069, 1070, 1071, 1072, 1073. Interview granted by António Pedro to the journalist José dos Reis from the newspaper A Voz (1961), on the occasion of Pedro’s resignation as t.e.p.’s artistic director, National Library of Portugal, archives of António Pedro, E5/329 [the interview is typewritten with handwritten corrections by António Pedro]. Jornal de Notícias, section Theatre, cinema and rádio, 1955, National Library of Portugal, Fundo Geral Jornais. Letter from António Sérgio answering António Pedro, National Library of Portugal, archives of António Pedro, E5/32, incomplete date (Tuesday) [probably from 1954]. Notes of António Pedro to the staging of Antigone by t.e.p. (1954), National Library of Portugal, archives of António Pedro, E5/381. Programme of the performance Antígona, by António Pedro, António Pedro, National Library of Portugal, archives of António Pedro, E5/381-A.

Censorship Process of Processo António Pedro’s Antígona (1954), Secretariado Nacional de Informação, Direcção Geral dos Serviços de Espectáculos, processes of censorship to theatre plays, processes 4249, 4762-A, 4391, archives of t.e.p. (Teatro Experimental do Porto). Fotographs of the settings and costumes from Antígona, by António Pedro (1954), archives of t.e.p. (Teatro Experimental do Porto, fotographs 9875, 9876, 9877, 9878). Programme of the performance the Good Soul of Setzuan (1984), National Museum of Theatre, number 181192.

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Archives of National Museum of Theatre



Archives of António Sérgio House

Fotographs of the reposition of Antígona by António Pedro, in Teatro da Trindade, Lisbon, from 19 to the 22 February 1957, photographer Aroso, National Museum of Theatre, numbers 85737, 85738, 85739, 85740, 85741, 85742.

Letter from António Pedro to António Sérgio, António Sérgio House, archive António Sérgio, Folder “Correspondência”, A 48, non dated letter [probably from 1954].

chapter 12

Creon, the Tyrant of Antigone on Stage: His Reception in Júlio Dantas and António Pedro during the Portuguese Dictatorship1 Maria de Fátima Silva In a theatre tradition that has not been particularly marked by Classical influences, as is the case with the Portuguese,2 it is particularly interesting when a theme imposes itself by reappearing in successive rewritings within a relatively short period of time. This was the case with Sophocles’ Antigone in 20th ­century Portugal. During the 48 years (1926–1974) of the repressive Salazar dictatorship, the theatre became a channel for the denunciation of the political and social pressures that were besetting the country at the time, and the Antigone theme acquired a particular salience for its pertinent message. Between the 1940s and ‘50s,3 there were several recreations of the Sophoclean model, in which a solitary voice – frail but determined – of a young woman challenges the all-powerful sovereign, Creon, who has gone down in tradition as one of the most emblematic symbols of absolute power and its excesses. Of the various Portuguese Antigones produced at that time, I shall focus here on two, which are significant because of their approach and because of the repercussions that they had on the stages that they visited around the country. They were Júlio Dantas’ 1946 work Antigone (play in 5 acts, inspired by the work of the Greek tragic poets, especially Sophocles’ Antigone) and António Pedro’s play of the same name (Antigone: New version of Sophocles’ tragedy in 3 acts and 1 prologue included in the 1st act, 1954).4 I shall examine the figure of the tyrant, focusing on what the Portuguese Creon has in common with the character in 1 On Salazar dictatorship, see, above, Morais pp. 113–118, 140–141. 2 See, above, Mendes, Chapter 11, and also Picchio (1969), Rebello (1984), Barata (1991). 3 Morais (2001) 85–86 justifies this insistence on the theme and its concentration in this decade with reasons of a political nature: “With the allied victory (1945), the Salazar regime, ‘to survive the democratic wave that was sweeping through Europe’ and adapt itself to the new established order, launched a superficial process of relative openness and diversification of the regime. (…) The atmosphere was (or appeared to be) propitious to ruptures and renewals in the most diverse domains. Immediately, timid actions of a political and cultural character followed with a view to breaking the deep and terrifying ‘silence’”. 4 See, above, Fialho, Chapter 9, and Morais, Chapter 10.

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the Sophoclean tradition, despite having been adapted to another political and social experience, that of 20th century Portugal. Upon comparison, the two texts may show some correspondence concerning the topics emphasized in different Portuguese plays on this myth and in the use of some details that specify the different personal sensibilities of each author. Staging solutions are also relevant for the final message to be conveyed.5 Although the figure of Creon has undergone many variations in the different Portuguese versions that depict him as the paradigm of the tyrant, there are certain resources and motifs that remain constant. Let us begin with the scenery of the exterior, which functions particularly well as a symbolic frame for the exercise of tyrannical power. The palace is, by convention, the scene where most of the action takes place, and it is exploited in different ways in these productions in accordance with clearly defined aims. In the Portuguese texts, the stage directions not only orient the actors’ movements, providing a visual complement to the words, but also reveal the dramatists’ concerns to mark the Classical source of their creation. In the detailed directions that Dantas gives for the initial scene, he clearly wishes to mark the space as specifically Hellenic: “Escadaria exterior de pedra conduzindo ao palácio real dos Labdácidas, que se levanta, à Direita, na majestade do seu peristilo dórico. À Esquerda, pórtico de cariátides arcaicas, debruçado sobre o caminho que conduz ao templo de Palas, e donde se avistam parte da cidade e os campos tebanos” (“External stone staircase leading to the royal palace of Labdacids, rising up majestically on the right to a Doric peristyle. On the left, there is a portico of Archaic caryatids, overlooking the path which leads to the temple of Pallas, and from where part of the city and the fields around Thebes can be seen”). It ends: “O mesmo cenário nos cinco actos da peça” (“The same scenery in all five acts of the play”). Rather than the minimalist framework of Greek theatre,6 Dantas prefers a construction where 5 Dantas wrote his play to satisfy the request made by Companhia Rey Colaço-Robles Monteiro, the resident company at National Theatre D. Maria ii (Lisbon) at the time, for the début of actress Mariana Rey Colaço Robles Monteiro (as Antigone), the daughter of the couple who directed the group. As a consequence of the Company’s prestige and of Dantas’ connection with the Portuguese regime, the performance was not subject to any restriction from the censure. Maybe ignorance about Sophocles and the political intention of his Antigone justify the fact that António Pedro had no problems with his play, which was enthusiastically applauded by the press. 6 Scholars agree that Greek scenery was characterized by sobriety, perhaps no more than a façade, with discreet hints suggesting a palace or a temple. Details, whenever necessary, where usually provided in the text itself, appealing to the spectators’ imagination. We may remember Arnott’s words (1989) 3: “… the fifth century theatre seems to have had nothing like scenery

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the Classical roots of the play are evoked through motifs of detail. The “external stone staircase” has an important function, as many of the tyrant’s movements and attitudes are concentrated here. It suggests hierarchical distance, but can also serve as the tribune for contact between the sovereign and the people of the city. It is also, naturally, the access route by which Creon appears on stage for the first time (29). Now, the reference to the staircase is complemented by details of the Theban king’s emblematic garb: “Creonte, aparecendo no alto da escadaria, envolto na púrpura, a fronte cingida da serpente de ouro de Cadmo” (“Creon, appearing at the top of the staircase, wrapped in a purple robe clasped at the front with the gold serpent of Cadmus”). Purple was of course the symbol of power in general, while Cadmus’ dragon, ostentatiously displayed, marks the new king’s legitimacy (a theme which, as we shall see, is amply discussed in the various versions). The character himself clarifies the objective of that accessory in his speech to the citizens (29): “O meu primeiro pensamento, ao colocar sobre a cabeça a coroa de ouro dos Labdácidas, foi chamar-vos, para vos agradecer a fidelidade e a comiseração que sempre vos mereceu a desventurada família de Édipo” (“My first thought, in placing on my head the gold crown of the Labdacids, was to call upon you to thank you for the loyalty and commiseration that you have always bestowed upon the unfortunate family of Oedipus”). By recalling the unfortunately lineage of that house, the utterer of these words is placed in the role of the last of its legitimate heirs. António Pedro opts for a similar strategy. After a parabatic prologue, the scenery is assembled in full view of the audience (267). It seems designed to evoke a Greek environment: a blue curtain lit up by a spotlight suggests the Hellenic sky; “uma coluna jónica, em frente a um pano vermelho de veludo” (“an Ionian column in front of a red velvet cloth”) indicates Creon’s palace and symbolizes his royalty. The staircase outside the palace is also used as access route for Creon, when he addresses his first speech to the people after being recently invested with his functions. The stage directions state (275): “Creonte está de pé no alto das escadas. Uma grande multidão de homens e mulheres enche o palco por completo” (“Creon stands at the top of the stairs. A large crowd of men and women completely fills the stage”). This marks the sovereign’s loftiness and the hierarchical distance separating him from those whose fates are in his hands. As the action unfolds, the events, despite their civic nature, are gradually internalized as the personal and family dimensions begin to prevail. Perhaps for this reason, António Pedro’s version leads us, in Act ii, inside the in our sense of the word: no backdrops, no realistic stage pictures, no scenic illusion. The only background was the façade of the skene building, decorated perhaps in architectural perspective but ubiquitous and unchanging”. See also Wiles (1997).

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palace to the throne room, where the dialogue between the sovereign and one of his subjects continues to be political while nevertheless implying (suggested by the very limits of the house) that these are relatives discussing the destiny of other family members. This then becomes the place of action of a sovereign that is increasingly remote from his people, and more centred on the conflicts that he has to manage within his own household. With the entrance of Ismene, who aggravates Creon’s vexation at being disobeyed, the stage directions state (298): “Enorme, de pé, sobre o estrado do trono, Creonte parece uma estátua” (“Standing on the estrade of the throne, Creon looks like an enormous statue”). The estrade also gives the effect of a staircase, creating the spectacle of a fictitious ancestor that is dehumanized by stiffness, and crystallized into an empty mould of authority rather than a true human king that is active in the relationships he has with each of his interlocutors. This will continue to be the scene of his human experience. From the heights of the throne, Creon repels and insults all who disagree with him, his son and his nieces, and then sinks into a posture of impotence – “sentado, cabisbaixo” (“seated, head drooping”, 315) – as if he has given in to a destiny that seems stronger than his will. It is in this attitude that he receives Tiresias, the seer, whose verdict he wants to hear. He only leaves the throne to find the remains of his victims, as he sinks into the hole that he dug himself through his own stubbornness. From the surrounding context, our attention is then drawn to the appearance of a sovereign that has only just been invested with power.7 And the first question this figure raises is of his own legitimacy. Evaluating it in relation to the matter of Labdacid ancestry, which Creon does not have, his access to power raises the question of the indisputable right to the throne. From the outset, his need to affirm this betrays the doubts feeding in his mind. In his inaugural speech, Dantas’ Creon (29) asserts that, if power has fallen into his hands as a result of fratricide between the children of Oedipus, the uncontested heirs of the Labdacids, then this in itself offers the conditions for him to be accepted by the subjects as the collateral heir: “A morte crudelíssima dos dois filhos varões do monarca… investiu-me, pela força dos vínculos do sangue, na plenitude da autoridade real” (“The cruel death of the king’s two sons … has invested me, 7 As regards the prologue constructed by António Pedro, which aims to inform the audience (who of course were less aware of the tradition of the Antigone myth and Sophocles’ paradigmatic version of it) of some essential aspects of the model and the variants to be adopted, mention should be made of the cast of characters and the symbolism expressed by each one. It is significant that the first to be mentioned is precisely Creon (259), hinting at the focus that will be adopted in the proportion between Antigone and the king. On the metatheatrical tone and function of this prologue, see Morais (2001) 94–95.

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through the force of blood ties, with full royal authority”).8 As is natural in times of crisis, Creon’s illegitimate power appears like a salvation, guaranteeing peace and normality – just as Salazar’s did after the anarchy of the First Republic. Indeed, this is a common starting point for tyranny.9 However, António Pedro offers another view of the same question in the preamble that precedes his version of the play, in which the fictional Stage Director characterizes each figure in broad strokes: the character reserves the following commentary for Creon (261): “Creon is king due to a twist of chance that was this double defeat”. The word “chance” (“acaso”) suggests illegitimacy and even some opportunism, despite the old citizen praising him as the legitimate king (261) and the general acclaim that greets him (267). The new king’s proclamation thus begins on a note of insecurity. It follows the Sophoclean model, and takes the form of an “inaugural address”, delivered in the public context (a moment none of the political readings dispense with10). The salutation used in each version is significant as it tells us something about 8

9

10

The same concern and argument are used by António Pedro (275) – “Morto o rei Édipo e mortos os seus filhos na batalha que enlutou a cidade, sou eu, Creonte, pelos direitos de sangue, o vosso legítimo rei” (“Now that king Oedipus is dead and his sons killed in the battle that has overshadowed our city, I, Creon, am now your legitimate king through the rights of blood”). See Sophocles, Antigone 173–174. Though limited and debatable in its reach, Wilamowitz’ reading (apud Calder (1968) 391) of Sophocles’ original as a political play serves this question well: “In strictly political terms, it is important to ask what the situation is and the question that are raised by it. This is a government in transition, at time of war – convinced of its own legitimacy and accepted by the citizens – which legislates against the enemies of the state. A well-placed agitateur, without due procedure, attacks the legitimacy of the legal provisions and denies the supremacy of the government. We might ask: how should the power confront this contestation within the social elite that cannot be ignored nor discreetly denied?” In Sophocles, Antigone 155–161, it is the coryphaeus that announces Creon’s coming and his general intention to present himself to the people and city as the new power in accordance with his own particular conception which has not yet been disclosed; Antigone has already referred to it, of course (33–34), justifying it as the king’s desire to assume direct responsibility of announcing that provision, which will be his first order, marking the start of his mandate and defining a type of action within what he considers to be “patriotism”. António Pedro gives this announcement to Ismene, and attributes, as his motivation, the desire to affirm his authority with determination (269): “Creonte, o nosso tio, é rei. Tal é o empenho que tem em que sejam cumpridas as suas ordens que, dentro em pouco, vem ele próprio aqui, ler o édito ao povo” (“Creon, our uncle, is king. So keen is he to see his orders carried out that he himself will shortly come here to read the edict to the people”). Dantas presents Creon publically without prior warning, perhaps playing with the effect of surprise in the midst of all the pomp and ceremony.

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the king’s mindset. Sophocles’ simple and general “Gentlemen” (Antigone 162, andres), which contributes to the ambiguity of the monarch and his positions, is replaced in Dantas (29) with the more elitist “Illustrious elders of Thebes” (“Velhos ilustres de Tebas”), which restricts his audience to the senators making up the chorus;11 while António Pedro (275), for his part, democratizes the king’s intervention with “Citizens of Thebes” (“Cidadãos de Tebas”), thereby opening up his speech to the whole city. From this opening, the precise words used by Creon vary from author to author, creating subtle effects. Dantas accentuates the demagogic tone, when the king praises his audience and thanks them for their “loyalty and consideration” (“fidelidade e consideração”, 29; cf. Sophocles, Antigone 166–169) as in a captatio beneuolentiae, with the hidden or even involuntary intention of eliminating the disagreement that he suspects is there. The very unpredictability of the succession, which has made Creon the collateral heir of Oedipus’ children, means that he now needs to declare a kind of programme of government in order to make his political options more comprehensible to his subjects (see Sophocles, Antigone 175–176). What in Sophocles (178–191) is a proclamation of patriotism and a pledge to unconditionally defend the homeland gains a new hue in this Portuguese version, acquiring the tone of a propaganda intervention (29–30): “Não vos peço, por enquanto, que confieis em mim. O Senado e o povo não podem cegamente confiar num homem cujas ideias e cujos sentimentos não conhecem” (“For the time being, I do not ask you to trust me. The senate and people cannot blindly trust in a man whose ideas and feelings they do not know”). Thus, the conception of power that it announces, grounded in 11

Sophocles’ decision to have a chorus of old courtiers, whose interests are aligned with those of the community rather than the protagonist’s, is maintained in the versions analysed here, certainly due to its eminently political content. But, in the Portuguese authors, the group tends to be fragmented and its members individualized, as are the opinions emitted. While António Pedro identifies the members of the chorus with a number (i.e. 1st Old Man, 2nd Old Man, 3rd Old Man), mixing the individual and the collective, Dantas prefers to give them a category, that of “senators”. With this status, the institutional character of the Theban monarchy under Creon becomes clearer and less incipient. And when controversial decisions are to be taken (such as that which condemns Antigone), these institutions also resound indirectly alongside the voices that are audible on stage. However, the tyrant treats them with indifference; at the hour of Antigone’s execution, Oenopides makes it clear that there has been a rupture in the management of the city (106): “O Senado de Tebas não votou a morte de Antígona. Mas, se é essa a vontade de Creonte, lançai-lhe aos pulsos a cadeia de bronze dos supliciados” (“The Senate of Thebes did not vote to send Antigone to death. But if that is the will of Creon, then let the bronze shackles of the tortured be placed on her wrists”).

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the interventive loyality of his subordinates, is truly ideological. Creon paints an unattractive picture of tyranny (30): “Sempre considerei como os peores dos mortais aqueles que espalham em volta de si a sombra, o silêncio e o terror. O poder, por si só, não confere a quem o exerce, nem a clarividência, nem a virtude” (“I have always considered those that spread shadows, silence and terror about them to be the worst kind of mortals. Power, for itself alone, does not confer foresight or virtue upon those that exercise it”); and then goes on to counter it with praise for democratic collective action (30): “Nunca a minha complacência sacrificará a qualquer interesse privado o bem supremo do povo” (“Never will I, in my complacency, sacrifice the supreme good of the people to any private interest”). He ends, as the action demands, with a threat, condemning traitors, “os inimigos dos deuses e do Estado” (“enemies of the gods and state”; see Sophocles, Antigone 182–183, 206–207) and with the concrete edict that determines that Eteocles will be buried while Polynices is to be excluded from the funeral rites. Although António Pedro’s Creon recognises the same ignorance of the people to his projects (275), he postpones any mention of his objectives to a later phase when they can be implemented. He does not seem to have (or to want to confess) any ideology, but allows time and action to reveal it. However, his words do contain an absolutist view of power: “É pelas obras que me ireis conhecendo, cidadãos de Tebas, a que deveis mais amor do que a vós mesmos” (“It is through my works that you will know me, citizens of Thebes, me to whom you owe more love than you owe yourselves”). As for the edict, it is not announced by the king himself but read out by an official, the Town Crier, with a formalism that is more bureaucratic than ideological, and is received with cheers from the people. Threats of death sentences to be applied to anyone that disobeys the edict offer a glimpse of how far he will go; this Creon saves himself for action, reducing his words to stereotyped formulae like someone that does not have an ideology, but allows imposition and authoritarianism to prevail. From this proclamation, which is common to all the versions, the reactions that follow become the thread around which the play coheres. In terms of structure, all the political rewritings of Antigone involve a succession of dialogues between the tyrant and various figures of different social levels, who support him or disagree with him. While in Sophocles, Antigone is alone in contesting him (one of his usual solitary heroines), here there is a network of reactions which, for different reasons, creates a veritable ideological controversy around the tyrant, involving very different arguments and justifications. The theme of justice (the conception and application of which is one of the sovereign’s main prerogatives and at the heart of his first decision) is, as we

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know, the central motif of the Antigone/Creon agon in Sophocles. The dimension that is here given to the question sets a human and civic conception of ­justice against a greater, timeless, universal law, dictated by the gods: the unconditional burial of the dead. While the central question of justice remains in the reception of the theme, its dimension changes; what was in Sophocles a matter of principle now becomes politicized, and involves, alongside Antigone, the expression of other opinions, projecting a social phenomenon onto an ethical question which, in Sophocles, involved different levels of the universe. Dantas precedes the scene between the two daughters of Oedipus, who discuss disobeying Creon and the need to bury Polynices, with another that focuses on the same question, but whose participants are the Theban senators. The effect of this replacement is clear. The same opposition between repudiation and agreement that drives Antigone and Ismene apart also divides opinions in this case. Some of the senators unconditionally accept Creon’s edict, first because they are inclined to obey the institutionalized power, and then also because the justification given by the state authority seems to them to be correct. Others, despite being fearful – like Ismene – raise some doubts; for Aegeon it is difficult to accept that the two corpses should be treated in such different ways, not because of the universal notion of respect due to the dead, but in recognition of their merits as warriors, irrespective of the causes they espoused. The reasons given are therefore political in nature. As in the Sophoclean model, this is followed by the scene between the two sisters. But here too some details have been altered in order to politicize Antigone’s motives. The desertion of Polynices’ body is explicitly interpreted by her as an offence on the part of Creon (who is, of course, the son of Menoeceus) towards their family; and during the conversation with her sister, there is repeated emphasis given to a line from which both descend – 18, “Resignas-te à desonra, tu, neta de Cadmo, filha de Édipo, − minha irmã?” (“Have you resigned yourself to dishonour, my sister, you who are grand-daughter of ­Cadmus, daughter of Oedipus?”); or, when she confronts Ismene with the duty of complicity in the burial (19), “Filha de Édipo: queres ajudar-me a cumprir o meu dever?” (“Daughter of Oedipus: will you help me fulfil my duty?”); and when she refuses (22), “Tu submetes-te aos tiranos? Onde está o orgulho da tua raça?” (“Are you submitting to the tyrants? Where is the pride of your race?”). Rather than focusing upon her commitment to the dead, Antigone now seems more concerned to defend their rights in the city where they were lords. This is a true prologue to the agon, which will be transformed in dissonances expressed around Creon himself. For before Antigone enters into open conflict with the monarch, with the usual arguments, the senators make themselves heard again. That is to say, neither of the two usual opponents – the young

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woman and the king – are alone here, for there are in fact different “parties” or currents of opinion in radically diverging positions. António Pedro, in a prologue of the parabatic type in which three old men from the chorus and Tiresias intervene, as well as the Stage Director, makes clear his debt to Sophocles and gives priority to the theme of justice. In successive commentaries, which briefly sketch out the content of the production that will follow, the Old Men of the chorus explain (260–261) that this is “a tragédia de quem se recusa a obedecer à lei em nome de uma lei que é superior aos homens” (“tragedy of someone that refuses to obey the law in the name of a law that is greater than men”), which is the same as saying “a tragédia da liberdade” (“the tragedy of freedom”). The law personified in the tyrant will be opposed by “Isménia e Antígona, os dois modos de sofrer a tirania” (“Ismene and Antigone, two modes of suffering tyranny”), and “Hémon, seu filho, a justiça pelo amor” (“Haemon, his son, justice through love”). Therefore, the tyrant has as his first prerogative the administration of justice – a human, non-absolute justice that has emerged from circumstances and is therefore relative. At its limits decisions result that are implicitly arbitrary. Justice and freedom are equivalent values; so if the tyrant creates the first, fruit of the social context, it will condition the other. In the debate between Creon and Haemon, consideration is given to how justice (valued as a weapon of power in the broadest sense) should be executed. Haemon accepts (308) the coercive violence of the law, provided it is right. But the view that Creon himself has of that prerogative shows us how easily the sense of “law” can become distorted, when “order” becomes “orders”, and power, conceived as a pyramid, funnels the majority interests towards the will of a single person (309): “As ordens do rei são as ordens da cidade. Sem essa ordem não há senão a anarquia e o caos… As cidades são como uma pirâmide. Qualquer desarmonia no arranjo das pedras da base faz desmoronar-se a cons­ trução toda…” (“The orders of the king are the orders of the city. Without that order there is nothing but anarchy12 and chaos. Cities are like a pyramid. Any disharmony in the arrangement of the base stones topples the whole structure …”). From his position on high, the tyrant tends to feel all-powerful, a kind of god on earth or agent accredited by a greater power to fulfil a mission. It thus becomes natural to use the possessive (“my”, “our”) and to replace “impose the law” with “demand order” (309). There is therefore a kind of rhetoric of justice, an argumentation with which the tyrant seeks to hide his own frailty and very human doubts in order to assume a fictitious security and authority (310). Haemon, in irritation, denounces him: “Há muitos que pensam contra ti. 12

About this same topic, see Cocteau, p. 67–68.

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Tu próprio, pelas tuas hesitações, pelo grande número de razões com que envolves a tua hesitação, duvidas da justiça do que fizeste” (“There are many that think against you. You yourself, with your hesitations, with the long list of reasons with which you involve your hesitation, have doubts about the justice that you have done”). Against the inadmissible fear that torments him, the tyrant stimulates pride; “um crime de orgulho mais grave do que a desobediência” (“a more serious crime than disobedience”), says Haemon, “é a queda na injustiça pela cegueira de ter razão” (“is falling into injustice through the blindness of being right”). Similarly, for Tiresias, with his divine clairvoyance, justice is an even greater good, which is only achieved on the human plane after a long learning process, when natural hybris finally gives way before disaster (261): “Mas a justiça faz-se tarde. A justiça, mesmo, não chega a fazer-se: deseja-se apenas, depois de uma batalha de orgulho. Este é ruim de vencer…” (“But justice is done late. Real justice never gets done; it is only wished for, after a battle of pride. That is the disaster of winning …”). After the scene between the two sisters, which sticks very closely to the Classical model, and Creon’s public proclamation, António Pedro broaches the theme of contestation/opposition in his own way. Anonymous voices applaud and approve the new king’s decision, even though, as in Sophocles, they are uncertain of whether there is agreement around them and fearful that there may be hidden reactions, purchased with money from invisible conspirators (Sophocles, Antigone 222, 322, 325–326). Then the three old men from the chorus are given space for a brief commentary – as if this were a stasimon on a theme (278): “São as cidades que são dos homens, ou os homens que pertencem às cidades?” (“Do the cities belong to men or men to cities?”). This political relation is based on an equilibrium between the parts, with cities, created by men, supporting the life of the men themselves. They are marked by the people that inhabit them and by the “bricks and mortar” that give them shape, and they seem great and eternal, in the perpetuity of materials that give them memory. But they are subject to the same ephemerality that affects the whole of the human condition of which they are part (279): “A grandeza não é outra coisa senão a ideia que dela se faz” (“Greatness is nothing more than the idea of itself”). The news that the king has been disobeyed is brought by the guard and tests the true dimensions of royal authority. The discord, which is present to some extent in all versions, now becomes active, and demands action from Creon. Disobedience and reaction lie at the centre of all the rewritings, but are manifested in different ways and with different intentions. Whatever the motive for the contestation, Creon reacts with suspicion and fear of hidden conspiracies, which reveals his frailty beneath the mantle of authoritarianism.

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Dantas’ version has two innovations as a starting point: firstly, the news is not brought by a common soldier but by the head guard, who blames the whole state institution in its efficiency before the central government; secondly, the corpse was not buried but has merely disappeared (33). The variant is explored further in the dialogue between the chorus and the king. The question of possible divine intervention in the disobedience, well known from Sophocles (­ Antigone 278–279), warrants some discussion; and even though the essential question is whether this is “the work of the gods or of men”, the responses point to the “humanization” and “politicization” of the episode, relegating the gods and their motives to second plane. The councillors’ considerations, each dictated by a concept of citizenship, go in this direction (37): “Enópides: Eu digo que foram os deuses, porque nenhum cidadão de Tebas seria capaz de desobedecer às leis” (“Oenopides: I say that it was the gods, because no citizen of Thebes would be capable of disobeying the laws”); “Proceu: Eu digo que foram os homens, porque os homens virtuosos aborrecem as leis injustas” (“Proceus: I say that it was men, because virtuous men abhor unjust laws”); “Ástaco: Pois eu digo que não foram, nem os deuses, nem os homens. Os deuses ocupam-se menos dos mortais do que eles pensam. E os homens, quando roubam, não roubam os mortos, roubam os vivos” (“Astacus: I say it was neither the gods nor men. The gods are much less interested in men than they think. And men, when they steal, don’t rob the dead, they rob the living”). Creon participates in this discussion with a strange attitude, anticipating the certainty brought by the head guard; he had realised during the night that his niece was gone from the palace (39). Oenopides produces an alternative reason for that absence: Antigone might have fled to Athens,13 where she has ties of hospitality with Theseus since their time in exile. This element, which draws on Sophocles’ Oedipus in Colonus, exacerbates traits that are increasingly visible in the new monarch, namely the suspicion of betrayal, and a consequent insecurity in his attitude. He imagines that Antigone did not abandon Thebes without a political intent – namely to arouse the animosity of the king of Athens and possibly launch an attack on the city of Oedipus, as yet poorly ­recovered after the recent conflict with the Argives; “e o ressentimento da prin­ cesa pode ateá-la” (“the princess may become inflamed with resentment”, 41). And he also imagines that, if she had done this, then she would not have acted alone, but with a network of accomplices surrounding her and urging her on. Opposition has a face; the “raça degenerada de Édipo” (“degenerate race of Oedipus”), like a kind of rival clan, hangs over his spirit like an eternal 13

Creon alludes vaguely to the escape hypothesis, in Antigone 580–581.

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shadow (41). That is to say, the divergence between Creon and Antigone is not about principles but about primitive allegiances and partisanship. António Pedro is more faithful to Sophocles at the moment of the announcement of the act of disobedience, merely adding an emotional charge (280–283). The guard is reduced to the ridicule of a seruus currens, who is prolific with commentaries, and exaggerated in his fears and dallying tactics, until he finally discharges the news that he was bringing. In his comic conventionalism, however, he prompts a comment from an observer that would be coherent within a dictatorial regime (290): “Para ser um bom polícia não é preciso ser inteligente. Basta ser mau como as ratoeiras” (“To be a good policeman it is not necessary to be intelligent. It’s enough to be bad like the mousetraps”). As far as Creon is concerned, the Portuguese dramatist piles on the comments that emphasise his impatience, fury and nervousness, which now have a specific objective to motivate them. The Creon/Antigone conflict, which sticks closely to the Athenian model, nevertheless marks a well-worn dichotomy between word and silence, particularly in Dantas’ rewriting. Antigone is naturally the protagonist of verbal contestation, in contrast with all around her, who hide similar sentiments beneath an ambiguous silence. On the other hand, usurping the power of the word is a prerogative of the tyrant, who silences all around him. The Portuguese ­Antigone – like Sophocles, Antigone 504–509 – has no doubts about the tacit support that applauds her decision in the shadows (51): “Todos os tebanos pensam como eu. Todos os tebanos te aborrecem como eu. Mas todos se calam, porque tu não os deixas falar” (“All the Thebans think like I do. All the Thebans loathe you as I do. But they keep quiet because you don’t let them speak”). An ­example of this is when the senators are concerned (as in Sophocles) not to confront the king with their disagreement. The monopoly cultivated by the tyrant is matched by the fear of those around him in a forced complicity that leaves uncorrected the errors to which the powerful are prone. Proceus, one of the senators, recognises this (61): “Não foi ele que não quis ouvir-nos. Fomos nós que não tivemos a coragem de lhe dizer o que era preciso que ele soubesse” (“It was not that he wouldn’t listen to us. We ourselves did not have the courage to tell him what he needed to know”). Against the pressure of silence the people react with insurrection: “à sombra dos ciprestes do templo de Apolo” (“in the shadow of the cypresses of the temple of Apollo”, 62), as if seeking divine protection, the Thebans manifest their disquiet. Creon, for his part, feeds that silence, aware that they are snarling softly (69) around him, which he feels to be a sign of his control and of the general obedience. This is how the tyrant understands the relationship with his direct interlocutors and with the people as a whole.

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When Antigone, condemned by the royal authoritarianism, leaves to her death, Creon still has one more public hearing, which is a kind of challenge to the reticence of those who attended the young woman’s execution. Before the mute silence of the old men, Creon piles on the questions.14 They are rhetorical questions because they do not expect a response, countering the monarch’s reading of events with what he imagines to be the questions lurking in the general silence. Creon begins with questions that implicitly censure the young woman’s behaviour, going on to praise his own actions as complying with justice, the truth and the collective good. With the silence that surrounds him, his words become a kind of intimate agon, his arguments interpolated by his own questions. This is the moment of the play when he is most turned in upon himself. He insistently asks those that are close to break their silence (128): “Olha para mim. (…) Tu não me ouves? Tu não me falas?” (“Why do you not respond? (…) Why do you turn away your eyes? What silence is this?”). But any sign of divergence, even when laconic, provokes his fury and he goes back to demanding silence. It is this silence that in fact condemns the tyrant: it condemns him to isolation, to the repudiation and incomprehension of his people, and also finally to the supreme punishment, when the corpse of the son whose death he brought about is placed in his arms. António Pedro is more sober in the exploration of this motif, though he nevertheless makes brief references to it (296). His Antigone is equally sure that she has the honourable people of the city on her side, and his Creon has the general agreement of the Thebans. But there are no doubts in any of them that this silence obeys the prerogative of the tyrant: “Um dos direitos dos tiranos” (“One of the rights of tyrants”), says Antigone, “é falar quando lhes apetece e não deixar falar quem tem argumentos para lhes opor” (“is to speak when they want while never allowing anyone to speak that has arguments opposing 14

“A que se deve, ilustres velhos, tão inexplicável consternação, como aquela que se apossou de todos vós? Tebas nunca viu caminhar para a morte uma mulher? Porventura a filha de Édipo, que acaba de sair daqui, é menos abjecta do que tantos outros criminosos? Quem, perante mim, será capaz de contestar que essa mulher (…) violou as leis, ultrajou o poder real, atentou contra a segurança do Estado, e – fúria hedionda! – corrompeu a tal ponto o ânimo do meu filho, que o levou a rebelar-se contra o pai? Nenhum de vós a defende?” (“Venerable elders, to what do we owe such inexplicable consternation as that which has taken hold of you all? Has Thebes never seen a woman walking to her death? Is the daughter of Oedipus, who has just come out from here, perchance less abject than so many other criminals? Who shall dare to defend Antigone in my presence? Who, before me, is capable of contesting that this woman (…) broke the laws, defied the royal power, attacked the security of the state and – heinous fury! – corrupted my son’s soul to such a point that he was led to rebel against his father? Do none of you defend her?”, 115–116).

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them”). As in Sophocles (Antigone 690–693), Haemon also participates in the game of word and silence that is unfolding on the subject of tyrants; the flattery of those closest tends to muffle the dull murmur of disagreement rising up all around (308): “Se tais censuras não te chegaram aos ouvidos, é porque a lisonja dos teus cortesãos abafa o que não enaltece o teu orgulho” (“If such censures did not come to your ears, it is because the flattery of your courtiers stifles anything that does not feed your pride”). Of the remaining Sophoclean episodes, the one that diverges most suggestively in the Portuguese authors is that involving Haemon, who is given a creative personality and unique way of acting. Dantas’ recreation of this episode is particularly significant. The Haemon scene is shifted to the end, which means that protagonism in the final outcome is removed from Tiresias and the divine machinations of which he is spokesman. Creon is constantly concerned with the threat of hidden conspiracies, wanting to know about Haemon’s love for Antigone, and wondering whether the Labdacid princess is plotting with his son (56). Hence, a logical consequence of such reasoning is that he suspects Tiresias of corruption; in Sophocles, the tyrant goes no further than an accusation addressed at the suspect race of seers (1035–1039),15 but in Dantas, this becomes a direct accusation against Haemon (74): “Foi o meu filho que te mandou injuriar-me? Quantas dracmas te pagou ele pela traição, velho imundo?” (“Was it my son that ordered you to insult me? How many drachmas did he pay you for the betrayal, old sinner?”). In Creon’s mind, this betrayal takes the form of a revolutionary conspiracy, which aims to divest him of his power, not just confront his authority; through these suspicions, Haemon becomes a kind of male counterpoint to Antigone in the way he contests his father the king.16 The dialogue between father and son is postponed to the end of the play, after Creon’s vague suspicions have accumulated and gained weight in his imagination, which means that the tyrant’s final confrontation with his destiny is unleashed by reasons that are human and political, rather than divine. The prince’s arrival is preceded by a dialogue between Creon and Eurydice, the royal pair; no longer confined to Sophoclean muteness, the queen, who is 15 16

António Pedro’s version is similar (317–319), as Creon acuses Tiresias of being corrupt and sinful, without however specifying any complicity. The text itself explicitly makes this approximation when Astacus, one of the senators, taking in his hands the chain that will imprison Antigone, asks the king (119): “Vês esta cadeia? É o grilhão ignominioso dos supliciados. Ninguém se atreveu a prender com ela os braços da filha de Édipo. Que queres tu agora de nós, ó rei? Queres que a lancemos aos pulsos do teu filho? – Não !” (“Do you see this chain? It is the ignominious shackles of the tortured. No one has dared to use it to fasten the arms of the daughter of Oedipus. What do you want of us now, king? Do you want us to put it on the wrists of your son? – No!”).

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a mother, has in Dantas the chance to defend her son. But all her efforts to free Haemon from the unfounded suspicions of his father result in the confession of an idea which contaminates Menoeceus’ lineage in Creon’s imagination with the same curse that affects the Labdacids (79): “Os crimes continuam na nossa família. A fatalidade arrasta-nos pelos cabelos” (“The crimes continue in our family. Fate drags us by the hair”). In Dantas, Haemon’s readiness to oppose his father does not result from a game of words alone. Creon’s fear that Haemon is plotting to kill him gains coherence from the fact that the young man comes on stage armed. The diplomacy shown by Sophocles’ prince is here replaced by another reading. Haemon’s attitude is more aggressive, though many of his words echo the Athenian model. This Haemon does not hesitate to place the condemnation of Antigone at the centre of his divergence with his father, nor to place his hurt feelings as a cause of that difference. But he also includes political arguments. He accuses the king of not paying attention to what the people say or think (83; Sophocles, Antigone 688–691) and claims forthrightly that his objectives are anything but noble (85): “Não chames justiça à vingança. Não chames justiça ao ódio. Tu sempre odiaste Édipo. Tu vingas-te, nos filhos de Édipo, do desprezo que o pai tinha por ti” (“No! Don’t call revenge by the name of justice. Don’t call hatred justice. You always hated Oedipus. You have taken revenge on Oedipus’ children for the disdain that his father had for you”). Wounded by this animosity, Creon also condemns his own son to death, not with a formal condemnation, as he did with Antigone, but by ordering his guards to kill him should he approach the palace again (94). Haemon reacts, killing the guards in an attempt to avoid the death of Antigone, which is now inevitable, not just because of the king’s rash cruelty, but also because of her own uncompromising nature. As in Sophocles, it is the tyrant’s characteristics – his rash excessive ­behaviour – which ultimately condemn him. He is condemned by the gods, who punish him in the extreme; by men, who point an accusing finger and throw stones at him; and by the court of his own conscience. António Pedro’s Creon becomes the vehicle for this insight learned through pain. Before the body of his son, the tyrant finally recognises (329) the difficulty in balancing the desired arete and its excess: “A vaidade a que chamei sabedoria” (“The vanity that I called wisdom”); “O orgulho a que chamei justiça” (“The pride that I called justice”); “A obstinação a que chamei firmeza” (“The obstinacy that I called firmness”). To which is added the true human tragedy: “Agora sei” (“Now I know”). “Mas agora é tarde” (“But it is too late”, 330).

chapter 13

Antigone: Code Name – Mário Sacramento’s One-act Play1 Maria Fernanda Brasete In 1958, Mário Sacramento published a play entitled Antígona – peça em um acto (Antigone: a play in one act) in the famous Portuguese literary journal Vértice,2 later including it in the published edition of his only known dramatic work, Teatro Anatómico (Anatomy Theatre) (Sacramento 1959), where it was suggestively labelled a “dramatic essay”. Unlike the other Portuguese “­Antigones” staged between the 1930s and ‘50s in Portugal and which have ­attracted the attention of reputable scholars,3 this play was never performed and thus did not 1 Doctor, essayist, literary critic, chronicler and writer, Mário Sacramento (1929–1969) was a Portuguese intellectual from Ílhavo, who became a symbol of the city of Aveiro, where he practised medicine and was also active as a man of letters. Essays formed the most substantial part of his oeuvre, and of his copious critical and literary legacy; the following titles stand out: Eça de Queirós – Uma estética da ironia/An aesthetic of irony (1945); Fernando Pessoa – Poeta da hora do absurdo/Poet of the absurd hour (1953); Ensaios de Domingo/Sunday Essays (the first volume published in 1959; Volumes ii and iii, published posthumously); Fernando Namora – O Homem e a obra/The Man and the Oeuvre (1967); Há uma estética Neo-Realista?/ Is there a neo-realistic aesthetic? (1967). Tireless in his selfless struggle against the dictatorial regime of the Estado Novo (also known as Salazarismo), he revealed himself to be a convinced Marxist, nourished by a humanist faith, who gave himself body and soul to political and cultural militancy against the status quo and the oppressive circumstances of the period of dictatorship in which he lived (see Morais 2001). A symbol of a generation of citizens, writers and thinkers that did not conform to the dictatorial regime, extremely devoted to public affairs, and committed to the antifascist struggle, Mário Sacramento, despite his predilection for literary matters, was an active politician, a man open to dialogue, who participated in all kinds of debates and in political sessions. He created the “Republican Congresses” and promoted the initiative “Dialogue with Catholics”, whose texts were posthumously collected in the (1970) volume entitled, Frátria, Diálogo com os Católicos (ou talvez não)/Phratria. Dialogue with the Catholics (or maybe not). On the important legacy of Mário Sacramento in the Portuguese historical-cultural and literary scene, see Sarabando et al. 2009 and Ferreira 2011. 2 Mário Sacramento’s play was published in isolation, under the same name, in No. 182, vol. xviii of the literary journal Vértice. 3 On the “Portuguese masks” of Antigone, very close to Sophocles’ play of the same name, and with a marked political and pedagogical aim, several Portuguese classicists have w ­ ritten

© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, ���7 | doi 10.1163/9789004340060_015

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figure in the list of 20th century Portuguese Antigones mentioned in the work Representações de Teatro Clássico no Portugal ­Contemporâneo (2 volumes), edited by Maria de Fátima Sousa Silva (2001). Having remained ­practically unknown until a very short time ago,4 it did not enjoy the same luck as other more fortunate Antigones – particularly three previous versions that are chronologically closer together: the Antigones of António Sérgio (1930),5 Júlio Dantas (1946)6 and António Pedro (1953)7 –, in which the dramatic recreation of the Sophoclean archetype also served to transmit a political message against the oppressive regime that was currently in power.8 Over the course of the forty or so years, of the Portuguese dictatorial regime of Estado Novo,9 Mário Sacramento made his name as a controversial thinker and a troublesome citizen,10 as well as not always being understood by his contemporaries, in the Portuguese intellectual and literary scene. Firm in his convictions and unrepentant in his desire for liberty, a challenging and controversial figure, although upright and tolerant, he also revealed himself in the journalistic texts that he published assiduously in newspapers11 of the period and also in the pages of this Diary for the years 1967 and 1968. Mário Sacramento’s incursion into dramaturgy was an occasional experiment: in his only published work – the tetralogy entitled Teatro Anatómico (1959) –, the author refers to another theatrical project “in preparation” (A Linguagem S­ ibilina/Sibylline Language), though we do not know if it had ever been finished or if it was left incomplete or unpublished at the back of a drawer. In his hard work as literary critic, Mário Sacramento revealed himself to be a tireless and critical reader of Portuguese (and foreign) authors, but it is in the third volume of Ensaios de Domingo/­Sunday Essays (1974) that we find a section entitled ­“Theatre Criticism” ­(221–245), dedicated

excellent essays which, under the coordination of Morais (2001), were published in the first supplement of the periodical Ágora. Estudos Clássicos em Debate. This brought together seven important studies, two previously unpublished, about five of the six known dramatic recreations of the Antigone theme. 4 A first study of Mário Sacramento’s play was published in the 4th edition of the volume Voltar a Ler, edited by Ferreira (2011). See Brasete (2011). 5 See, above, Morais, pp. 113–139, 140–159. 6 See, above, Fialho, pp. 160–174. 7 See, above, Morais, pp. 175–191, Mendes, pp. 192–206. 8 On the political-pedagogical dimension of António Sérgio’s Antigone, see, above, Morais, pp. 175–191. 9 The government of right-wing dictatorship that was led by Oliveira Salazar (known as well as “Salazarism”) and that had ruled Portugal from 1932 to 1968. 10 He was five times detained by the pide (International Police of State Defence) and imprisoned in Caxias (one of the political prisons of the Estado Novo). 11 E.g.: O Comércio do Porto, the Diário de Lisboa and the Aveiro weekly Litoral.

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to plays by contemporary playwrights. Although there are no references to the earlier Portuguese Antigones (though Mário Sacramento will certainly have known them), these writings reveal a dramaturgical awareness and theatrical sensibility of a critic that is intransigent and subversive, though attentive and lucid, who views theatre in its relationship between art and life. More than the other Portuguese playwrights, the iconoclastic writer of Aveiro seem to have combined political protest and literary-philosophical reflection on this attempt to reinvent the tragedy of Antigone in the socio-political context of his time. It seems essential to us, therefore, that any history of 20th century Portuguese dramaturgy should include this seventh Antigone by the Aveiro doctor cum writer, also inspired by Sophocles’ heroine. 1. Although he was not a “man of the theatre” as such, Mário Sacramento also functioned as a playwright in the mature phase of his intense essayistic activity with the publication of Teatro Anatómico (Anatomy Theatre). His ­interest in dramaturgy was also manifested on another level: in the texts of theatre criticism which he occasionally wrote, such as those included in Ensaios de Domingo (Sunday Essays) iii (1990). Thus, it is worth searching on the hidden bookshelves of the History of Portuguese Theatre for his only published dramatic work – the tetralogy Anatomy Theatre12 –, which includes one more Portuguese Antigone. The unusual title chosen for this tetralogy (Anatomy Theatre) reminds us of Andreas Vesalius (1514–1564), the Renaissance doctor considered to be the founder of modern scientific anatomy. Thereafter, the term “anatomy” became a metaphor applicable to the diverse forms of human life, both intellectual and social, and its association with “theatre” was due not only to the fact that Vesalius used drama as an analogy in his studies of the human body, but also because the lessons of anatomy took place in amphitheatres built for a s­ cientific-pedagogical purpose so that dissections could be done in the presence of a large number of spectators. Possibly the conception and architecture of Sacramento’s tetralogy are grounded in the very polysemy of the anatomical metaphor which, in the dichotomies between life and death, appearance and reality, is projected into the theatre; there the public display of the human being is embodied and dissected, even its interiority/subjectivity, but always encouraging interpretation by the observer’s “gaze”. In this sense, the theatre created the illusion of staging a “living anatomy” while the drama, though appearing to be independent of the spectators, is actually directed at them. 12

Sacramento (1959).

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These brief considerations perhaps allow us to better understand why the four plays that make up this Anatomy Theatre do not seem to be a unified corpus with a cohesive structural development, and why the autonomy/anatomy of each one is also manifested in the diversity of genres that qualifies them: the first (which gives its title to the whole work Anatomical Theatre) is a tragedy; this is followed by a farce (Building for rental), with Antigone (a “dramatic ­essay”) in third place; and a comedy to finish (The mouth and her owner). This tetralogy is today practically forgotten, though it did not go unnoticed at the time of its publication. Jorge de Sena, for whom Mário de Sacramento was “one of the best Portuguese critics” ([1989]1998: 278), criticized its apparent lack of unity and complained of its propensity for “abstract ­rationalizations”. Later, another prestigious theatre critic, Luiz Francisco Rebello (1994) 246, would corroborate, although in a more moderate style, the considerations raised by Jorge de Sena about this “dramatic-literary attempt” (we might understand failed) by the prestigious doctor-writer from Aveiro. But the history of the reception of Mário de Sacramento’s dramatic works cannot be summed up by these two manifestly negative appreciations by prestigious theatre critics, duly recognised on the national stage for the valuable contribution they have made to the reformation and modernization of Portuguese theatre. Without lingering longer on the critical reception13 of Mário ­Sacramento’s theatrical work, we should nevertheless point out that these radical judgements by Jorge de Sena and Luiz Francisco Rebello need to be interpreted in the light of an idea of the theatre formed by well-defined programmatic and aesthetic/ideological principles, which give priority to the physical manifestation of the scene before an audience that is effectively present, substantiated by the renewed interest in the arts of spectacle. From this perspective, Mário de Sacramento’s incursion into dramatic art was effectively a “failed attempt”, as his plays did not achieve their ultimate destiny – the stage. But despite this ill-fated theatrical project, his literary work has ­persisted: and it certainly deserves to be studied attentively in order to achieve a better understanding of modern Portuguese theatre. What is more, if we consider Sacramento’s dispersed essayistic work, we can see that his interest in dramatic literature and critical reflection about theatre were modelled on well defined principles which moulded an aesthetic and literary thought d­ ominated 13

In the last section of the Livro de Amizade. Lembrando Mário Sacramento/Book of Friendship. Remembering Mário Sacramento entitled “Contributo para a Bibliografia de Mário de Sacramento”/“Contribution to a bibliography of Mário Sacramento” mention is made of the fourteen reviews of the Anatomy Theater, published in periodicals of the period. See Sarabando et al. (2009) 315–316.

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by socio-­political concerns and an acute critical consciousness. According to Luiz Francisco Rebello,14 the dramatic works written in the first half of the period between the end of the Second World War and the end of the Salazar dictatorship were characterized by “experimentalism, social concerns and existential reflection”. By the end of the 1950s, Portuguese playwrights were distancing themselves from the traditional theatrical structures and, under the influence of Brecht in particular, tended to make use of critical language and abstract characters and situations, which distorted reality almost to the point of absurdity, while at the same time transposing into the present exemplary figures and facts from the historical past or vice versa. These were all ways of trying to express the things that censorship did not allow to be said more directly. (25) Under the motto “theatre is pure fiction” (Sacramento (1959) 9) and following “Pirandello’s lesson” (10), the thematic axes that unite these four plays are based on the premise that characters are constructed from the imagination, and in the conflict between their existences, it is the concrete actions that take place on a daily basis that define a particular subjectivity, always in function of the choices made by the individual. Like Pindarello and Sartre, Sacramento15 explores the theme of a multifaceted, conflictuous and dialectic existence, which feels and breathes the anguish of humanity, especially when confronted with the idea of inevitable death. Each of these four plays exhibits the conflict between specific characters in particular lived experiences in concrete daily circumstances. The spectators’ critical gaze is drawn to the singularity, finitude16 and precariousness of the human experience of the imagined r­ eality. The rework of the mythical story of Antigone underlies this “tragic e­ ssay” and provides a kind of reflective opening by means of which the circumstances of the present are defiantly challenged, allowing them to ­simultaneously contemplate the objectivity and subjectivity of being-in-the-world. In a way, Sacramento’s dramatic work seeks to raise the implicit spectator participation to a reflexive dimension about characters in situation because, from an existentialist perspective, man is what he “does” with his life: there is no ­predetermined destiny; God does not exist and there are no heroes; life has 14 15

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Rebello (1984). Mário Sacramento would also have known J. Anouilh’s Antigone (1944), even though he did not watch either of the two performances of it that took place in Lisbon in the years 1945 and 1946. On Anouilh’s recreation of the Antigone theme, see Silva (2009). On the topic of finitude and vulnerability of human life in Sophocles’ Antigone and its twenty and twenty-first centuries receptions, see Honig (2013). This book proposes a reinterpretation of Antigone(s) “as complex political actor” (xii) grounded on the shift “from sentimental maternalism and mortalist humanism to agonist humanist” (196).

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no meaning a p ­ riori; and man constructs himself in an existence that achieves its most authentic meaning in the face of death. In the theatrical context of the period in which it arose,17 this Antigone is thus figured as a singular case in the way that the name of Oedipus’ unfortunate daughter revives the Sophoclean matrix, reconfiguring the ancient tragic figure that had also marked European stages in an original way.18 This play by Mário Sacramento in its own way bears witness to the survival of the Greek myth, revitalized in a dramatic form, modelled under the influence of dated theatrical, aesthetic and philosophical principles, and in function of particular authorial intentions. It is therefore important to point out the difference between this Antigone in relation to the other plays of the same name that appeared in Portugal around the same time.19 Freeing itself from the canonical structure of tragedy, without, however, abandoning the Greek matrix, and with a latent theatrical vocation, which unfortunately never came to fruition, this

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In the same decade, two other Portuguese plays recreated the myth of Antigone: the Glosa Nova da Tragédia de Sófocles (New variation on Sophocles’ tragedy) by António Pedro (1953) and the tragedy of João Castro Osório, included in the Oedipus Trilogy (1954). Although both were staged, it was António Pedro’s play that was most often performed in different cities of the country. See Morais above. Duarte Ivo Cruz (1983) 205 observes that “from 1945, Portuguese theatre was processed in terms of particular socioeconomic lines of reflection” and from the end of the post-war period to the present day, it is possible to trace a “coherent trajectory, in the framework of the following cardinal points: concentration on a theme of analysis and social criticism that is very marked and politically committed; the attempt to renew scenic and performance expressions; cultural vision of theatre as a whole; a certain irregularity on the level of professionalism, with a great emphasis upon experimentalism and professional and amateur; irregularity of public attendance, with a clear move from commercial theatre, good or bad, towards experimental or culturally demanding theatre, which had the effect in the medium term of bringing about the disappearance of the revista” (2001) 303. See for example, the important study by George Steiner (2008), originally published in 1984, on the influence that the Antigone myth had in the Western tradition on ­various domains: philosophical, political, theatrical, literary and artistic. However, the ­Ibero-American Antigones were not covered in this work. Amongst the more recent studies on the reception of the Antigone myth, we could highlight, in addition to the ­abovementioned supplement of the journal Ágora. Estudos Clássicos em Debate (Morais 2001), Bosch (1999), Jabouille, Fialho (2000); Llinares (2001); Gil (2007), Bañuls Oller, Crespo Alcalá (2008); Duroux, Urdician (2010); Moretón (2011); Mee and Foley (2011); Camacho Rojo (2012); Chanter and Kirkland (2014); López (2015); López, Pociña (2015). For a general interpretation of Antigone in 20th century Portuguese drama, see Silva (2010) 287–294.

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also configures a political play of resistance, although in very different moulds from those adopted by other contemporary Portuguese playwrights. 2. Let us look first of all at the genre classification that Mário Sacramento gave in the Anatomic Theater to this one-act play, which had been published on its own the previous year in one of the most respected literary journals of the period (Vértice), as has already been mentioned. The label “dramatic essay” which appears under the title of this third work in the collection has an estranging effect in relation to Sophocles’ tragic intertext, intensified by the fact that the name of Antigone does not figure in the list of three characters in the play: “MICHEL, alias CHARLES, alias LOUIS (forty-something); YVONNE (early twenties); the Blindman (around seventy)”.20 In a domestic scenario, these three characters interact in a cramped room in the house (the “small sitting room”) of a French family during the Second World War. The horizon of expectations created by these paratextual clues announces a tacit intentionality in the transfiguration of the mythical character of Antigone. As for the label “dramatic essay”, this marks an unusual dialectic articulated in dramatic form, postulating the primacy of the action (if only with respect to the etymology of the term) while retaining the discursive-argumentative character of the essay – an original symbiosis, which nevertheless does not relinquish its former Greek matrix. Instead of the conventional tragic legacy, this oneact play – the constrained form privileged by modern drama – experimented with a synthesis, simultaneously economic and creative in literary-theatrical terms, of two genres (theatre and philosophy) which, in ancient Greece, had made the dialogue21 into a privileged form of expression and representation in an attempt to interpret the world and life. In fact, ancient Greek tragedy represented through myth the same problems that would later be raised by philosophy in a rational secularized form. In this “dramatic essay” protagonized by a French woman in her early ­twenties, called Yvonne, Antigone is, from the outset, an absent presence who nevertheless becomes the mythical élan of a family drama lived in France ­“during the German occupation” (Sacramento (1959) 113–115). Unlike other previous Portuguese dramatic recreations, the formal model intentionally ­adopted deviates from the canonical tragic structure, although the linear development of the action includes features that are paradigmatic of ancient Greek tragedy such as anagnorisis and peripeteia. An imminently tragic ­atmosphere hovers 20 21

Sacramento (1959) 108. In Ensaios de Domingo iii, Sacramento (1974) 230 writes: “The situation in our theatre is this: the less theatre we have, the more texts appear. We should ask: why? I think that we are lacking dialogue”.

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over this play from the start, over the subjective experiences of these three characters who embody a drama in which mythos is commemorated through logos. The action takes place inside a French house, inhabited by the protagonist, Yvonne, her old father, the Blind Man, and a guest called Michel, who ­suffers from a fatal cancer. The initial stage directions supply the following ­scenic indications: (Uma saleta. Portas ao fundo e à direita. Uma estante com livros. Michel, sentado, escreve sobre uma prancheta apoiada nos braços da cadeira. Está em pijama, envolto num xaile-manta. Semblante de doença e sofrimento. Batem à porta do fundo.) (1959) 107. (A small sitting room. Doors at the back and on the right. A stand with books. Michel, seated, writes on a clipboard supported on the arms of his chair. He is in pyjamas, wrapped in a shawl-blanket. He looks ill and in suffering. There is a knock on the door at the back.) The meaning of the play exceeds the underlying intention of adapting the Sophoclean tragedy to the political message of a resistance play; the conflicts take place and are interconnected from an ethical-social analysis that strips and dissects them, exposing their existential vulnerability. The walled scenery of the small room represents, synechdochally, a French home destroyed by the Second World War, but it is the dialogue with the mythical-literary past that illuminates the tragedy of those survivors of a French family who, like the last of the Labdacids, cannot escape the suffering of a tragic existence. The ideological level merges with the aesthetic in this reconfiguration of a disillusioned view of the human condition. However, the traditional antinomies of nomos/ physis, male/female, individual/society, life/death, love/hate, persist as pillars of an action moved by bonds of blood and solidarity, which find their last redoubt in affects to redeem the sense of a disillusioned existence irredeemably condemned to suffering and death. Signalling a clear route of modernity, this play proposes a critical reflection that is incontrovertibly innovative about a mythical theme/character which, from the Sophoclean tragedy, is kept alive in hundreds of works over the centuries by different authors – a significant proliferation which does not appear to have come to an end even today. And the main novelty of this play lies in fact in the unusual way in which Mário de Sacramento appropriates the tragic figure of Antigone. 3. From the outset, the play is dominated by the dialogue between the young literature teacher, Yvonne, and the former member of the Maquis (or French

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Resistance), Michel, who, in the terminal phase of his disease (a belatedly ­diagnosed cancer) has sought “a house where (…) he could meet his end in the light of day” (109). From the outset, the characters’ isolation and despondency overshadows a constrained scenario that creates the illusion that the theatre is a reflection of life. The dialogue unfolds in a reflexive vein in which the themes of identity, love and the struggle for freedom intermingle in a scenic game that presumes another absent character, a woman from the Maquis curiously called Madeleine whom Michel loves and whom Yvonne meets to hand over messages (reports and personal letters) from that “resistance” fighter, who, even in that terminal phase of cancer, believes that his “duty is to keep up the struggle, if possible” (109). The two characters on stage metaphorically represent the helplessness and failure of human beings before the strange course of life. Questioning Michel’s identity and manifesting despondency before the course of a shattered existence, suffered and apparently meaningless, Yvonne expresses her anguish: Nós estamos em margens opostas do grande rio do medo. Eu quero partir. Você acaba de chegar. O rio tem uma ponte – a do heroísmo. Chegando, você proclama o heroísmo um mal. Se bem que necessário. (…) Mas eu estou aquém do heroísmo e da plenitude. E quero seguir. (117–118) (We are on the opposite banks of a great river of fear. I want to leave. You have just arrived. The river has a bridge – the bridge of heroism. When you arrive, you announce that heroism is bad. Although it is necessary (…) But I have not yet reached heroism and plenitude. I want to go on.) Perceiving life as an incessant flux, the “why” and “wherefores” of existence constitute the last project of the human being who, nevertheless, needs the Other to clarify him about the meaning of his own life. For this reason, Yvonne, confessing that her pastime “in the bomb shelters, during raids” (111) was to knit, wonders about the experiences lived, asking his opinion in the desire to find a project for the future: Yvonne – (…) Com esta herança de família, com esta herança de sexo, terei eu o direito de me deixar conduzir pelas meras aspirações da ­consciência? Não irei afogar-me no desprezo de mim mesma, pondo em risco todas as missões que me sejam confiadas? Há muito que desejo ­ouvir uma opinião sobre isto. E se é útil fazer malha: acaso será inútil, Michel, ­ajudar-me a entrar em mim? (114–115)

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(Yvonne – (…) With this family inheritance, with this inherited sex, do I have the right to let myself be led by mere aspirations of conscience? I will not drown myself in self-scorn, risking all the missions that have been entrusted to me? I’ve wanted to hear an opinion about this for a long time. And to knit, if it’s useful. If by chance it is useless, Michel, would you help me get inside myself?) The plot develops, obliquely mobilizing some topoi from the former Sophoclean tragedy in this existentialist reflection,22 but the most relevant is the fact that the architext Antigone is transformed into a metatheatrical element that will generate an effect of critical distancing in relation to the tragic tradition. One annotated translation of the old play becomes an object of reflection and criticism by the characters of this fiction, who construct themselves in an aesthetic idealization of their dramatic existence. They are victims of a family pathos that converts the spectacle of pain and suffering into a drama. However, the staged actions and the human way of living are now disconnected from the divine instance as a comprehension of the occult sense of the contingencies of life. Combining the influence of the Sophoclean archetype with the “lesson” from Pirandello, the drama exposes individual man in his loneliness and ­focuses on the experiences and family pathos of his personae. All the characters in the play are worthwhile in the dignity with which they live a non-­complacent existence, especially at those moments of tension in which disease and death emerge as an inexorable force that limits and defines the dimension of human existence. But this Antigone is grounded in a conception of man that is far removed from that of the ancient Greek tragedy. Subscribing to a kind of Sartrean existentialism,23 the dramatic scene exposes man in such a way that 22

23

The argument of this play rework some central issues of Sophocles’ Antigone: the essential loyalties to family; the extreme dedication of a daughter and the single-minded determination of a sister; the conflicts between nomos and physis, public and private, masculine and feminine, love and hate, resistence and resignation; the agonist and pathetic nature of human condition. Although Existentialism was a distinct philosophical and literary movement, it was diffused in the middle of the 20th century particularly through the works of the French writer and philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, above all through his work L’existentialisme est un humanisme (1946). Previously, in his famous essay L’être et le néant (1943), Sartre had grounded the fundamental principles of his existentialist thought in a philosophical reflection on the question of freedom. Under the influence of a Cartesian concept of the subject, based on the “man-world” relationship, and sustained in the idea that it is man that chooses “to be”, with a “doing” that is always intentional, he postulated that

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he recognises himself authentically in it, thereby highlighting the sentimental and psychological facets of these three dramatis figurae. Incarcerated in the specific conflict of the situation, they experience a struggle against the absurdity of the world and unjustified barbarity. In the modern world of the Second World War, the characters of this play rise up against the political and social situation and the harshness of their lives, but submit to their own humanity, without any of the grandeur of the old heroic models because they are not moved by universal values and principles. Convinced that “only action teaches” (112) and that “the lesson of experience resides in the very memory of facts” (115), Michel (whose pseudonym was “Charles”, in the Resistance24) responds to the existential worries of his kind hostess with a political and ideological argument, which is in keeping with the revolutionary thinking of the period: Só enfrentará os problemas do nosso tempo quem seja filho legítimo ou adoptivo do povo. O seu caso é o da adopção – social e política, está claro, que tem sobre a adopção comum esta diferença: parte do filho para o pai e não do pai para o filho. No dia em que lhe corra nas veias o sangue adoptivo do povo, Yvonne, a subjetividade do seu meio natal não levará a melhor sobre os ditames da sua consciência. (115–116) (Only someone that is the legitimate or adopted child of the people will confront the problems of our time. In your case, it was adoption – social and political, of course, which is different from common adoption in this

24

there were no universal ethical values for human life on the reception and influence of Existentialism in 20th century Portugal, see Real (2011). There are many references to philosophical existentialism, and particularly to Sartre, in Mário Sacramento essays. For example, in a text entitled “A Fé do Humanista”/“The Faith of the Humanist”, published in Fratria (apud Sarabando et alii (2009) 238), the Aveiro writer recognises that the “contribution” of Existentialism was precious for understanding subjectivity but always defending the idea that existential experience should be understood as a praxis of collective life, because man is “an eminently social being”. Like J.P. Sartre, the Portuguese writer rejected an individualistic, abstract or transcendent view of human actions, postulating that subjectivity is conditioned by social experiences and that the individual should have the freedom to make his own choices, and consequently to transform the real world. During the Second World War, various movements arose to resist the German occupation and the Vichy collaborationist regime, forming what was then known as “La Résistance”. These resistance groups were also known by the name of “Le Maquis”, a term which, in French, referred to a kind of Mediterranean vegetation that was abundant in the woods of the southwest of the country, where many of these resistance fighters hid to attack the German occupiers.

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way: it goes from son to father and not from father to son. On the day when the adoptive blood of the people runs in your veins, Yvonne, the subjectivity of your birth environment will not get the better of the dictates of your conscience.) Interferences of the real and the imaginary project onto the action in a kind of over-reality in which these multidimensional characters move and reveal themselves in their essential intersubjectivity, and create a new way of recreating the figure of Antigone. The dialogue remains natural, alive, dynamic, opportune, energetically suggesting the dialectical tension of the characters who, under the power of the theatrical illusion, evoke the ancient masks of the Sophoclean myth in a context in which the distant past is substantiated symbolically and materially in the manipulation of a volume of ancient Greek tragedy, the rereading of which impels the confrontation of opinions in a family decimated by war, which resists on the threshold of a humanly dignified existence. In this perspective, we are before a type of meta-reflexive theatre, the Sophoclean Antigone exceeds the limits of fictionality “(re)gaining life”,25 in a scenic space animated by philosophical realism of the discourse. It is under the influence of Pirandello’s aesthetics that the Portuguese playwright represents the eternal conflict between the self and the world in which the mask substantiates the artifice of the fiction that the characters create about themselves. Mário Sacramento’s theatre returns insistently to its own fictionality, imposing itself as an aesthetic form, like an artistic convention, in which art does not aim to reproduce the real, but to regain it, thematising itself and challenging new forms of relationship between fiction and reality. 4. The protagonist of this play is Yvonne, “a woman in her early twenties”, a French literature teacher, who embodies in visceral form the drama of a daughter and sister whose family has been destroyed and life overshadowed by the Second World War. In an abnegated loneliness, she searches a meaning for her existential and family problems, with a dramatic dignity that brings her close to Antigone in Oedipus at Colonus, because an extreme feeling of family devotion has led her to actively take on the role of guardian of her old father (the Blind Man). Right at the opening of the play, philia and compassion are revealed as essential traces of the character of that daughter who, only after the 25

In the opening of his Anatomic Theater, Mário Sacramento presents a programmatic text entitled “In search of Pirandello or an essay in the form of a preface” (1959) 8–18, in which he claims: “The illusory reality of being, formalized in fiction, aspires to regain life as a concrete reality”.

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consent of her old father, takes into her home Michel, a member of the Maquis (La Résistance), irremediably condemned to death by a fatal cancer. A relation of empathy brings Yvonne and her guest together at a limit-moment of life, but the development of the action is precipitated towards a pre-announced catastrophe – the death of the guest at the end of the play –, though not before there occurs a reversal (peripeteia) in the plot, provided by the old topos of recognition (anagnorisis) between the two brothers. Michel, whose code name was “Charles”, was, after all, Louis, the Polynices of that Antigone who, though alive, is confronted with the imminence of an announced death. That survivor of many battles had been transformed by destiny into a victim of an incurable disease, which no human being could resist. And it is precisely in these final moments of tragic agony that the two siblings evoke the history of their lives, real and invented, in a scenario oppressed by fear and by the impossibility of acting freely. In the artifice of theatre, the characters create their masks which transfigure the faces of the characters that they embody, in the illusion of “regaining life as concrete reality”.26 It is precisely in this metatheatrical context that Yvonne, whose pseudonym in the Maquis had simply been “Charles’ sister”, then decides to choose the code name “Antigone”, because of the significance that this ancient tragic character had in what she considered to be her own family tragedy. Yvonne – O pseudónimo de meu irmão sei que é Charles. E sim, foi uma gralha ter sido apenas «a irmã de Charles». (Emocionada) Mas de hoje em diante serei…a Antígona! (116–117) (Yvonne – My brother’s pseudonym is Charles. As for me, I was only “Charles’ sister”. (Emotional) But from now on, I shall be…Antigone!) Antigone was also the play about which her dear brother was preparing a thesis before leaving for war, and is present on stage in the form of a volume full of annotations. Although the book has disappeared from the bookshelf, it nevertheless ultimately precipitated the recognition between them.27

26 27

See previous note. As Yvonne later explains to her brother, she had distrusted his identity when she realised the physical difficulty he had in moving his left arm backwards and the fact that he continued to use in his notes “some silly abbreviations” (123). These two “signs” confer verisimilitude upon the recognition that has been undertaken verbally.

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Yvonne – (…) Não encontro o volume. Pertencia a meu irmão. Tem as margens cobertas de anotações suas. Ainda ontem lhe peguei. E voltei a pô-lo aqui… Michel (sucumbindo e apontando a porta direita) – Levei-o, a noite passada, para o meu quarto… Yvonne (ardendo em expectativa) – E de todos estes livros, escolheu esse precisamente… Michel (erguendo-se, agitado) – Venceste, Yvonne, eu sou Louis! (121) (Yvonne – (…) I can’t find the book. It belonged to my brother. The margins are covered with his notes. I picked it up only yesterday. And I put it back here… Michel (giving in and pointing to the door on the right) – I took it, last night, to my room… Yvonne (burning with expectation) – Of all these books you chose that exact one… Michel (standing up, agitated) – You’ve won, Yvonne, I am Louis!) Then, Michel, who after all was Louis, calms his sister’s obsessive desire to fulfil the “family duty” of burying the body of her brother (117), whom she imagines to have been killed in combat. Michel – Escuta-me bem. É justo que sepultes o teu irmão. Não pelos motivos de outrora. Pelos do teu coração. (121–122) (Michel – Listen to me. It’s right that you bury your brother. Not for reasons from other times. For those of your heart.) Thus, it is precisely in the continuous confrontation between these two “worlds”, the real and the (mythical) imaginary, the family and the social, that the pathos of the human being intensifies in the experiences of these ambiguous characters that are constructed and deconstructed in the fiction. Thus, the metatheatrical game that this play creates with its originary matrix, the ancient Sophoclean tragedy, puts into evidence the impossibility of a solution to human conflicts, a drama irremediably condemned to suffering and death. The volume of the tragedy Antigone, apparently gone from the bookshelf, therefore plays a more complex role than that of the theatrical prop that provides the recognition between the two siblings. It is materially converted into the play within a play, which confers on the critical reflection an essential degree of verisimilitude that is dramatically effective. The discursive c­ ontent

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of the play reveals an active theatrical and aesthetic awareness, in which the clinical gaze of the author-doctor becomes confused with the art of the ­essayist-dramatist. The play thus drifts into a philosophical drama in which the conflict is ­concentrated on the ambiguity of actions and reactions embodied in the character, as well as on the paradoxes of a life that cannot easily be understood, much less augur a lasting glimmer of happiness. If we recall the explanations that the author provides in the “Preface” to the collection, in the light of the admitted influence of Pirandello – his main point of reference, which he read and studied in the original –, we can understand how Yvonne, like the other Six characters in search of an author, seeks the essence of her “being” in fiction. Our playwright’s main starting point is to show that the “truth” of the fictional character may sometimes be stronger than the “truth” of the human being. When the fictional character’s identity vacillates in the agonism of situations, uncertainty installs itself between the mask and face, in a metatheatrical game that uses fiction to stimulate a critical reflection about the mythical architext which the play aims to reinterpret. That is the intention of the Michel character, when before allowing himself to be recognised, confronts his kind-hearted hostess with a dissonant interpretation of the tragedy of the true “Antigone” – the Sophoclean figure, it is understood. Going against the traditional heroism thesis, he suggests that the daughter of the unfortunate Oedipus has acted out of self-interest, in the illusion that her public claim of fulfilling a religious duty – burying the body of her dead ­brother – could restore her lost glory to her. Michel (angustiado e tentando outra evasiva) – Perdemo-nos em literatura, minha amiga. Cada um é responsável por si. E a Antígona de Sófocles, se abstrairmos as ideias religiosas do tempo, apresenta-se-nos hoje como uma mulher sedenta apenas de glória. (118) (Michel (anguished and trying to be evasive) – We are losing ourselves in literature, my friend. Each of us is responsible for himself. And Sophocles’ Antigone, if we remove the religious ideas of the time, would seem today like a woman hungry only for glory.) In fact, this was one of the subjects of the dissertation that he was preparing about the origins of theatre (117), before leaving for the war. “Michel/Charles” considered Sophocles’ heroine’s “heroism” to be useless, because in his interpretation, it was based on purely selfish reasons. After a brief synopsis of the Sophoclean play, Charles repeats his thesis: “Only the religious convictions of the time justify Antigone” (119). In the style of Greek dialectic, he incites

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Yvonne to counter-argue and expound her interpretation, creating an agonistic moment of verbal confrontation in which the characters are revealed in their dramata. Interpreting the play in a more traditional way, Yvonne believes that Antigone’s act of solidarity, at the limit-situation of her family dilemma, gives it a heroic dimension that is genuine and irreprehensible, and furthermore, she has no other course of action: she cannot undo the errors of her relatives. Yvonne – Antígona foi uma pobre mulher, Michel. Uma pobre mu­ lher empenhada na sua própria dignidade. Não perca de vista o drama ­familiar! Despedindo-se dela e do irmão, o pai predissera-lhes o escárnio público, filhas da ignomínia que eram. Elas seriam a posteridade mons­ truosa, a progénie do crime. Antígona era noiva do filho de Creonte, mas o incesto dos pais estava de permeio entre eles. Repare que ela faz notar ao rei que o irmão não morrera como escravo. Foi portanto a tragédia familiar que sobretudo a moveu. Ela perdeu o chão sob os pés. E, não podendo resgatar os erros dos seus, solidarizou-se com o que lhes restava de dignidade na desgraça. (…). (120–121) (Yvonne – Antigone was a poor woman, Michel. A poor woman committed to her own dignity. Don’t lose sight of the family drama! When her father bade farewell to her and her sister, their father predicted the public mockery, daughters of ignominy that they were. They would be monstrous posterity, the progeny of crime. Antigone was betrothed to Creon’s son, but her parents’ incest came between them. See how she pointed out to the king that her brother had not died a slave. It was therefore the family tragedy that moved her, above all. She lost the ground beneath her feet. And unable to make amends for her family’s mistakes, she joined them in solidarity, with what remained of her dignity in disgrace. (…)) As Michel opportunely alleged in a markedly sententious style, “há uma dialéctica entre egoísmo e altruísmo fora da qual o mundo não tem sentido” (“there is a dialectic between selfishness and altruism beyond which the world has no meaning”) (111). In this disparity of perspectives, the ancestral dilemma is amplified: it is tragic because it is insoluble, and philosophical because questioned from the perspective of modern logical arguments. But Yvonne does not accept her brother’s interpretation; on the contrary, she is unshakeable in her convictions, concluding: “We are on opposite banks of the great river of fear. I want to leave. You have just arrived” (112). In this dramatic world in which the ancient gods no longer exist, the characters act moved by the illusion that

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they defend principles and values that are not subsumed into their own family tragedy. Yvonne acquires some tragic stature when she consciously decides not to abdicate from her ideals and assumes, in a determined manner, to overcome fear of misfortune. She will resist and regain life, despite the imminent death of her refound brother, in following “moral right” (117) claimed by the Sophoclean archetype: granting him an honourable burial. The resistant fraternal devotion of Yvonne-Antigone is also reflected in the strength of the feeling of family philia28 which she dedicates to her old father, bluntly labelled as the Blind Man, broken by the years and bowed by the burden of a guilt, of which not even his empty eye-sockets cannot “extinguish the visions” (113). He had been a judge who committed the unpardonable error of collaborating with the Nazis, condemning many of his compatriots to death. The physical expiation of this hamartia fell to the daughter of one of them (Franceline), who, in a desperate act of revenge, threw a bottle of vitriol in his face, condemning him irremediably to blindness. It was, therefore, an illusion to think that the fear had finished. In the darkness of a condemned existence, the only thing that remained for him was the unconditional love of a daughter who guided him in a life subjugated to immobilizing blindness.29 In the contingencies of an existence that is by nature antinomical and condemned to suffering, only family philia prefigures a redemptive possibility of an accursed survival. In this “dramatic essay”, as in the ancient Greek tragedy, the aim was not to present the tragedy of the isolated human being, but rather the way in which his actions affect others, in a continuum in which the hic et nunc of theatre is constructed as a metaphor of the inexorable contingencies of human life. The Sophoclean figure of Antigone, and mainly the tragedy of the same name, is a crucial thematic reference for the interpretation of this one-act play by Mário Sacramento, indisputably innovative in the way it revives the ancient tragic figure, intentionally adapted to the post-war era and to the Portuguese political-cultural context. The innovations that Mário Sacramento introduced into this critical rereading of the Antigone theme are living testimony to the playwright’s daring, in exploring the tragic ambiguity of the myth in order to rewrite a play that is ideologically and ethically subversive, and which deserved to have fulfilled its theatrical destiny on a Portuguese stage. 28 29

The Greek word philia, usually translated as “friendship”, refers here to the protagonist commitment to the bonds of family love. Here, as in Júlio Dantas’ play of the same name (see, above, Fialho, pp. 160–175), Yvonne has traces of Antigone’s character in Oedipus at Colonus, revealing herself to be a protective daughter who guides her old blind father physically and spiritually, unconditionally dedicated to family values.

chapter 14

“Like a Ghost of Antigone”: Ganhar a Vida (Get a life), by João Canijo Nuno Simões Rodrigues What connection can there be between a royal princess of the house of Thebes, a mythological and literary creation of antiquity, whose origin is therefore lost in illo tempore, and a Portuguese immigrant woman in Paris in the early 21st century? Possibly first performed in 442 bc,1 Sophocles’ Antigone was based on the Labdacian cycle, which begins with Laius’ crime, culminates in the death of Oedipus’ sons, and includes such themes as parricide, incest and fratricide. Antigone’s drama corresponds to the exact final moment of the unhappy story of this Theban royal family and was sung especially by tragic poets. Although the theme is implicit in Aeschylus’ Seven Against Thebes and present in Phoenician Women by Euripides, who also wrote a tragedy homonymous with the princess, it was Sophocles’ Antigone that crystallized the heroine’s image in the Western imaginary and influenced all the other Antigones that came to emerge through the hands of poets and other artists. Sophocles’ tragedy unfolds around the heroic piety of Oedipus’ daughter, who does not hesitate in rebelling against her uncle Creon’s decree. Despite his order that the enemies of Thebes, among which Polynices, be left unburied, the princess chooses to honor her religious and personal beliefs, burying her brother who had died in combat. Antigone is a resistant in defiance of institutionalized power, who remains faithful to her principles as well as to that which she believes is natural justice, as opposed to men’s justice. Antigone’s plot as designed by Sophocles thus carried a specific message which eventually gained especially meaningful religious and political dimensions.2 This has to do with the subject of this tragedy, which has been an o­ bject of discussion for centuries. According to Rocha Pereira, Hegel’s (Aesthetics 2.1.1) is probably the interpretation of Antigone with the greatest impact up to the present. For the philosopher, the play is principally about the conflict

1 On the dating of Sophocles’ Antigone see Rocha Pereira (2008) 9–10; Lesky (1995) 308. 2 On this subject, see, above, Andújar and Nikoloutsos, pp. 13–26.

© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, ���7 | doi 10.1163/9789004340060_016

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between “ideal and positive law”, resulting in the destruction of both.3 The idea of a conflict between family law and State law, or the law of the polis, between private life and public life, between private morality and public morality, between natural law and positive law, between the individual and the State underlay Hegel’s reading of Antigone and was taken up by later exegists of the Sophocles’ play.4 For them, Antigone represents the private, the individual, and the natural while Creon is an image of the public, the collective, and the positive. However, in Lesky’s opinion, Creon’s attitude exceeds the limits of reasonableness and legitimacy. Lesky considers that the king of Thebes does not necessarily represent a legitimate power but rather stands for the abuse of power, since he is driven “by an immoderation that ignores everything but itself”.5 Therefore, “Creon is not the voice of the State who knows both its rights and its limits”.6 The Theban heroine, on the other hand, became a symbol of resistance for generations to come, as is clear from the number of texts (and other artistic productions) written about the Sophoclean play, as S. Fraisse and G. Steiner have stated.7 In fact, as was mentioned before, and without prejudice to alternative readings,8 whenever and wherever there might be State oppression or totalitarianism there will always be an Antigone.9 That must be our starting point if we aim to understand João Canijo’s heroine in his 2001 film Ganhar a Vida (Get a Life). The director himself describes her as “like a ghost of Antigone”.10 With this film, Canijo was starting his career as a director in Portuguese filmmaking, to which he brought the old themes of Greek mythology as well as the categories of the tragic such as Aristotle’s Poetics theorized and fixed them in Antiquity.11 Despite the fact that Antigone 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

11

Rocha Pereira (2008) 32 and bibliography included. Rocha Pereira (2008) 33–35 and bibliography included; Lesky (1995) 308–309. Lesky (1995) 309. Lesky (1995) 309. Fraisse (1974); Steiner (1986); see also Gil (2007). On different readings of the play, see Rocha Pereira (2008) 37 n. 59. Pattoni’s article (2013) includes a relevant interpretation of M. Rothemund’s film Sophie Scholl – Die letzten Tage (2005) as a version of Antigone’s myth. “Como uma assombração de Antígona”, chosen as a title for this article, is Canijo’s own phrase, published in the blog amordeperdição.pt (http://www.amordeperdicao.pt/ basedados_filmes.asp?filmeid=97. Web. 2/6/2015). João Canijo is one of the most acclaimed contemporary Portuguese filmmakers. In his extensive list of films, an important place is given to classical themes, especially Greek tragedy. Canijo pursued History studies at the Faculty of Arts and Letters of the University of Porto, but he soon chose to dedicate himself to cinema and started working as an

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is not exactly the most emblematic character in cinema, especially when compared with others like Helen, Clytemnestra, Phaedra, Oedipus or Medea, there have been some memorable film productions, such as Mario Caserini’s, in 1911 and Yorgos Tzavellas’ in 1961 with Irene Papas in the leading role.12 Such films were mainly adaptations of Sophocles’ tragedy. However, in the context of Portuguese cinema Antigone was recuperated, in terms of both its mythographic structure and its tragic foundation, by the hand of João Canijo. This seems to us particularly relevant because this is one of the few ­adaptations/reinterpretations of the Greek tragedy for film in the context of Portuguese culture. It must be noted that cinema allows a perception of the text that goes beyond the text itself. Contrary to what we see in a theatrical performance, the filmic composition allows a framework of the narrative which enables a more intense and effective approach of the viewer with the action through his identification with the environment in which the action unfolds. In this particular case, the characterization of the daily lives of Portuguese ­emigrants in France, made through the language, the wardrobe, the set decoration, the times of representation, which are specific of the cinematic ­language as primarily visual art, allows the viewer an almost immediate access to reality that is presented to him.13 This is a particularly significant aspect in the frame of contemporary culture. And this is one of the great merits of Canijo’s work, since it enables an effective update and presentification of the essence of Greek tragedy. Moreover, cinema tends to be a cultural mass medium. The Portuguese director had first approached Greek drama via the myth of Electra, whom he considers to be the most tragic of all figures,14 in Filha da Mãe (Lovely Daughter) (1990), a film with comic-parodic approaches to the

12 13 14

assistant director in such films as Wim Wenders’ Der Stand der Dinge (The State of Things) (1982), Werner Schroeter’s Der Rosenkönig [tn:The rose king] (1986) and Paulo Rocha’s O Desejado (The desired one) (1987). In 1984, Canijo wrote the screenplay for Jorge Silva Melo’s Ninguém duas vezes (No One Twice) and in 1989 and 1994 he even worked as an actor in Manuel Mozos’ Um passo, outro passo e depois (One step, another step, and then) and in Wim Wenders’ Viagem a Lisboa (Lisbon Story). His first film direction was the short film A Meio-Amor (Half-hearted love), in 1983, although only as late as 1988 did he direct Três menos Eu (Three minus me), starring Isabel de Castro and Rita Blanco. However his recognition among Portuguese, and especially, among European film directors, is due to films like Filha da Mãe (Lovely Daughter) (1998) and Sapatos Pretos (Black shoes) (1998); one of his most recent films, Sangue do meu Sangue (Blood of My Blood) (2011) has garnered strong national and international acclaim. On this, see Michelakis (2013) 35–56; España (1997) 401–405. Michelakis (2013) 107–111. Ribas (2009).

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Atreus myth. However, in 2001 Canijo’s cinematography would explicitly claim Greek tragedy as a theme, notably with Cidália (Rita Blanco), the main character of Ganhar a Vida. There would then follow Noite Escura (In the Darkness of the Night) (2004), where everything revolves around a Portuguese Iphigeneia, and Mal Nascida (Misbegotten) (2007), where Canijo recreates Orestea, again in a Portuguese environment, with Lúcia, a reincarnation of Electra, in the main role.15 This confirms the Portuguese director’s fascination with Greek tragedy. He himself confessed in an interview to believing that “in Greek tragedies and in Homer we find the archetypes of not only the stories but also the characters of our Western tradition. The only one to invent something new after that was Shakespeare. Everything else comes from the Greeks”.16 Based on a screenplay by João Canijo and Celline Pouillon and produced by Paulo Branco, Ganhar a Vida tells the story of Cidália (Rita Blanco), a Portuguese woman aged around fourty who lives with her husband, her sister and her two children in a neighborhood in the suburbs of Paris. Like the other Portuguese immigrants, Cidália lives to work and tries to save money, seeking not to become too visible within the host community. She leaves home in the early morning, leading a group of other Portuguese women who work with her cleaning business offices in Paris. One day at dawn, however, her eldest son becomes involved in a fight and ends up being killed. The police is accused of the young man’s homicide but the French institution refuses to admit their guilt. Cidália cannot accept the official explanations or the passivity of the immigrant communities, especially the Portuguese. Some of her fellow-countrymen and women even go so far as to accuse her of disturbing their peace as well as the seeming good relationship of conviviality between the Portuguese and the French. But Cidália resists and starts a protest, which at first gains the support of her co-workers but then becomes a mere solitary cry-out. Abandoned by her husband Adelino (Adriano Luz), as well as by her sister Celestina (Teresa Madruga), Cidália tries to fill the voids in her being, in search of a meaning for her daily life. Slowly, she continues seeking the truth and ends up understanding that what seemed to her to be a misfortune caused by a foreign authority is really a tragedy triggered within the family, driven by passion and jealousy which originated in an adolescents’ love triangle and led to the elimination of one of its three vertices: her son precisely. The tragedy becomes 15

16

Another movie, Piedade (Compassion), which was planned but not filmed, is described by Canijo as yet another adaptation of a tragedy that would complete the equivalent of a Greek trilogy in his cinematographic work; see Ribas (2009) 28; (2009a) 16. Interviewed by J. Antunes, “João Canijo estreia Mal Nascida”, in Jornal de Notícias 8/10/2008.

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denser when, not knowing how deeply he was involved in the process, Cidália becomes emotionally and sexually involved with Orlando (Olivier Leite), who is none but her son’s murderer. Once the truth is revealed, Cidália has to face a broken life, having been abandoned by her husband and her youngest son; she is left with a senseless void greater even than the one she had felt when her boy died. There is only one way out for her, one last way to get a life: suicide. Canijo himself defined his film’s atmosphere as a world of “suspicion and refusal of difference, a community of people who do not communicate, who cannot understand one another, people who hide for being afraid of becoming ­visible to others… and who have lost their relationship with their motherland”.17 According to the director, the culturally hybrid character of these people is reflected in the very language they speak, with French words being adapted to Portuguese phonetics and Portuguese spoken with a French rythm and musicality, generating a peculiar lingo which only their users can understand. As Canijo explains, it is “a tragic inability to translate concepts learnt in another language into their mother tongue, a resistance to integration and to a loss of original references”.18 To an extent, the strong colours chosen for the film also convey some of that somewhat kitsch hybridity which often characterizes ­immigrant cultures of the laboring classes.19 Canijo confesses that his main objective was to make a movie about “the tragedy of the lack of Portuguese civilization” or the tragedy “of the Portuguese absolute declination to be held accountable”, where the only bond connecting individuals seems to be folkloric tradition in which values are completely absent.20 The exhortation heard in one of the film’s sequences, “Portuguese, move on!”, is emblematic of that notion. In parallel, however, as if suggesting some characteristics of Greek culture, we find in these exiled Portuguese a paradox that reveals itself in their courage, their readiness and their generosity, qualities especially present in Cidália’s attitude. One might say that the heroine’s grief/pathos contrasts with the apathy of the communities she belongs to. It is possible to sum up Cidália’s story as a plot defined by the narrative around a woman on whom higher/State authorities impose a decision which 17 Blog amordeperdição.pt (http://www.amordeperdicao.pt/basedados_filmes.asp?filmeid =97. Web. 2/6/2015). 18 Blog amordeperdição.pt (http://www.amordeperdicao.pt/basedados_filmes.asp?filmeid =97. Web. 2/6/2015). 19 On Portuguese emigration between the 1960’s and the 1990’s, see Baganha (1994), Silva (1991), Almeida (1964). 20 Blog amordeperdição.pt (http://www.amordeperdicao.pt/basedados_filmes.asp?filmeid =97. Web. 2/6/2015).

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she cannot resignedly accept. She therefore reacts against it trying to assert her beliefs and claiming for what she believes is basic justice. Cidália’s story may therefore be identified with Antigone’s, since the plot’s structure, “the soul of tragedy”, to quote Aristotle (Poetics 1450a35-b5), is basically the same in both.21 This confirms Canijo’s intention to design Cidália as a Portuguese Antigone, a voice of resistance and a cry for justice. Elements originating in different readings of Sophocles’ play can be found in Ganhar a Vida, e.g., the deep religious character found in Greek tragedy (it should be remembered that the heroine’s guiding principles are mostly of a religious nature – the moral obligation of burying the dead22), which can be recognized in Canijo’s film in the sequences composed around the statue of Our Lady of Fátima23 and the Catholic mass, attended by the Portuguese community when the action starts, which also functions as an element of identity for the group (the Portuguese are fervent Catholics, which distinguishes them from the French). The mass, the festivities, the introduction of the folk dance group as well as popular Portuguese singers (extremely popular, in fact, like Romana, the singer), the fado performance (with the protagonist singing Camões’ poems in the song Com que voz (With what voice), immortalized by Amália Rodrigues with music by Alain Oulman), the broadcasting of a football match, the wake at Cidália’s, the dwellers of the apartment block visited by the Portuguese women when seeking support for their cause, the meeting of a gang seemingly made up of young people of Portuguese descent verging marginality, the very presence of typical Portuguese cuisine, like the reference to “iscas fritas” and “iscas de cebolada” (fried pork liver and liver with onions) at Cidália’s, all of these representing those community clusters, closed upon themselves and generating the conflicts and the tensions with the French host community that create the ideal environment for tragedy. Such examples of a certain traditional Portuguese lifestyle may even convey a specific image of the country associated with backwardness and the Salazar regime, and summarized in the triad “Fátima, futebol, fado/folclore” (Fatima, football and fado/ folklore).24 21 22 23

24

Quotations of Aristotle are from Fyfe’s translation. Rocha Pereira (2008) 36–37. This is a statue representing the Virgin Mary as an epiphany created by the Catholic Church, according to which the Virgin appeared to three shepherd children at Fátima (Portugal) in 1917. Devotion to Our Lady of Fátima is quite strong both in Portugal and among Portuguese communities all over the world. On the cult of the Virgin Mary in Portugal, see e.g. Dias (1987), Dias (1991). M. Fernandes, “‘Ganhar a Vida’ em França para voltar à terra natal”, in Público 27/04/2001.

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According to Aristotle’s rules for drama, in parallel with mythos there is ethos or character, which defines people in drama (Aristotle, Poetics 1450b1–5). Cidália is of course, Antigone. Or, at least, her life is haunted by the Greek heroine. Her attitudes, either or not driven by a fate that transcends her, or an attempt to counteract it, are reflected in dilemmas and choices with inevitable consequences. They include the decision to seek the truth and to find a meaning for her life, the choice to divorce her husband and thereby also separate from her surviving son, keeping her sister out of her life, acknowledging her adulterous desire as if through it the normality of her daily life could be recovered and everything might go back to be as it was before her misfortune had happened. Similarly, Cidália’s suicide at the end both confirms her Antigone vocation and translates the consequences of her choices, marking the character with the result of her decisions as well as with the weight of the notion of fate, in a brilliant stroke of ambiguity by Canijo which makes him more similar to the ancient Greek playwrights. If the husband character is alien to Sophocles’ Antigone (in Sophocles, Haemon is still only the young woman’s betrothed), the sister, Ismene, is especially important in the economy of the ancient tragedy. In Sophocles she is the voice of submission and subordination to the laws of the State, in which she seeks to find the thread of reason she wishes to attract her sister to. However, if Ismene starts as a timid, irresolute young woman, as Rocha Pereira describes her, she is also a character that reveals unsuspected, even unlikely, courage when at the end of the play she takes the blame for something she has not done.25 In Canijo’s film, that role is played by Celestina (Teresa Madruga). Deep down she knows that everything about Cidália’s struggle is doomed to failure. She tries to share her sister’s resistance and protest demonstrations, but she is also the voice that warns her about the level of frustration her actions may generate, and that causes her to be rejected by Cidália. Interestingly though, there is in Ganhar a vida a movement which is the very opposite of the one we recognize in the relationship between the two sisters, Antigone and Ismene, in the Sophoclean play. In the Greek text they initially share converging emotions and later seem to be drawn apart by a difference of opinions concerning the act of burying their brother, who has fallen in combat alongside Thebes’ enemies,26 while in Canijo’s production the opposite happens as distance gives way to

25 26

Rocha Pereira (2008) 16. This is clearly expressed in Ismene’s speech: “I do them no dishonor. But to act in violation of the citizens’ will – of that I am by nature incapable”, Sophocles, Antigone 78–79. Translation by Jebb.

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proximity. Nevertheless, the sister’s, Ismene/Celestina’s, function coincides in the text and the metatext. Although not specifically portrayed as a well defined character in the film, Creon is expressed in the notion of the State, specifically through the values and functions represented by the French police in the film. The image of an institutional authority which appears, at least momentarily, as an oppressor of the individual, represented by Cidália, is clearly defined by the role of the police in the film as well as by what it means to the Portuguese community in general, and most particularly to Cidália. Like the Seven who attack Thebes, the Portuguese are foreign to the community they work in and their foreignness feeds the conflict between both parties. Like Polynices, Cidália’s son is a hybrid being. The child of Portuguese immigrants torn between the feeling of being Portuguese and that of living on French soil is the equivalent of Polynices, fallen in combat against his own brother. The function of Cidália’s murdered son thus corresponds to Polynices’ in the Sophoclean play. In fact, as is the case in the ancient text, the burial of Cidália’s child is also a central issue in Canijo’s plot: what justice is there in a premature, unjustified death? Also at issue is a minority’s right to dignity in alien territory. However, in the course of the events the police are eventually found innocent, with guilt then falling upon another character who will become a crucial determinant for the consummation of Cidália’s tragedy. Thus, a conflict that seemed to have had its origin at a political-institutional level becomes a more human, individual matter, since it is now generated among human consciousnesses instead of stemming from the places each one occupies within a community. By feeling attracted to her own son’s murderer and having yielded to the temptation of having sexual intercourse with him, Cidália revives her tragic inclination inside herself, in a fashion that is more similar to what is found in Euripides than to what we have in Sophocles. Readings of Sophocles’ Antigone often refer the play’s tragic quality both to the heroine and to Creon himself. In the latter case, Creon’s tragedy arises both from the polis’ criticism and censure of his choices and from the loss of his wife Eurydice and his son Haemon as a consequence of those same choices. Although in Canijo’s film there is no structure identifiable with Creon’s tragedy, the disintegration of the family order is equally present and is also reflected in Cidália when she experiences her marriage falling to pieces, culminating in her separation from her husband and her son. The Chorus is yet another character of great bearing in the economy of Antigone. Made of Thebes wise old men, the Chorus conveys feelings and offers ­reflections, showing both signs of compassion and “religious righteousness

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and … the State’s stability and well-being”.27 That is to say that, basically, the Chorus is literally a political presence. In his Poetics, Aristotle describes the Chorus’ function in Greek tragedy: “The chorus too must be regarded as one of the actors. It must be part of the whole and share in the action, not as in Euripides but as in Sophocles” (1456a). To this, Rocha Pereira relevantly adds: “Antigone substantiates this statement”.28 With its autonomous screenplay not directly adapted from Sophocles’ play, Canijo’s film does not really include a Chorus. However, it seems that, had the director chosen to film the ancient tragedy instead, some of the characters could well play the role of a choral character. Those would, for instance, include Cidália’s women companions and co-workers, particularly in such scenes as their demonstration outside the Police station in Paris (a metaphor of the French State) demanding an appropriate response concerning the death of the Portuguese descendant young man. As the action unfolds, Cidália becomes estranged from her companions to the point of rupture, and the empathy/sympathy they feel for the Portuguese mater orba turns into contempt, aversion even. This detail may be seen as a Sophoclean touch in the film, since in Antigone the Chorus is not in synchrony with the central character, and there is even an emotional separation from the heroine (despite the fact that in Canijo’s film, as opposed to ancient tragedy, the “Chorus” is composed of people of the same gender as the protagonist).29 Additionally, Cidália’s progressive abandonment by the Chorus, however, resembles the typical isolation of the Sophoclean hero. Another film sequence seems to echo a Chorus intervention, as if it were a tragic ode: together with some of her women companions Cidália sings a traditional Portuguese work song, customarily sung by the Beira migrants who used to move to the Alentejo to find temporary work in the harvest season. The lyrics are as follows: Ó prima vamos pra ceifa Ó prima vamos ceifar Foi nas ceifas que eu ganhei 27 28 29

Rocha Pereira (2008) 27 n. 30. Rocha Pereira (2008) 27 n. 30. Rocha Pereira (2008) 26. It should be noted that there is a character in Canijo’s film, the taxi driver (Luís Rêgo) whose position is clearly against Cidália’s and who strongly supports the false peace established between the French State and the Portuguese community. This is somewhat similar to the Chorus positions in Sophocles’ Antigone 471–473, 1349–1353.

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Um lenço para me limpar… Aqui não se ganha nada Aqui não se ganha o pão Foi nas ceifas que eu ganhei A roda do meu baião. (O cousin, let us go harvest O cousin the grain is ripe The harvest was where I earned A kershief my brow to wipe … Here you can’t make any money Here you cannot earn your bread The circle of my baião dance In the harvests did I get.) The scene where Cidália sings the fado can equally be considered as equivalent to a tragic ode. In fact, it must be emphasized, Canijo associates the Portuguese fado song to the idea of tragedy, which seems to be particularly relevant, including as concerns the identification of its origins. Significantly, at the end of her performance the audience does not applaud her, and actress Rita Blanco’s performance, together with the song’s tone, are set in contrast with that of Romana, the pop singer, as well as with the tenor of her songs, predominantly about lost love in the context of the so-called “música pimba”30 world. However, as mentioned above, Canijo’s film recuperates Greek tragedy not only in terms of its structure and storyline, in this case based on Antigone’s myth, but also as concerns the categories of the tragic, according to Aristotle. To begin with, Cidália’s life is an immitation of real life, of the real life of so many (Portuguese) immigrants in France. A true mimesis (Aristotle, Poetics 1448b 4–20). In the text identified as Aristotle’s Poetics, peripeteia “is a change of the situation into the opposite… probable or inevitable” (Poetics 1452a 21–29). Cidália and her family undergo a process that fits this definition when their well organized life and their plans of earning some money and returning home to Portugal one day are completely disrupted by a sudden turn of events: the murder of their eldest son. The death of Cidália’s child is then followed by her quest for justice. She searches the culprit for her misfortune and suspects

30

Translator’s Note: “música pimba” is an extremely popular pop-folk song genre that emerged in the 1980s and is characterized by basic harmonic structures and lyrics including humorous sexual wordplay or clichés about love.

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the French police. However, the unfolding of events eventually identifies the murderer as someone who was part of her son’s circle of alleged friends. Alda (Alda Gomes), a friend of the young man’s, has always known the truth for she has recorded the events. Gradually, the truth is revealed and Cidália learns about it – although, alas, too late. That knowledge, which will precipitate the protagonist’s tragedy, since it will make her aware of the fact that she gave herself, physically and emotionally, to her own son’s murderer, is consistent to Cidália’s tragic anagnorisis, being “a change from ignorance to knowledge, producing either friendship or hatred in those who are destined for good fortune or ill”, and generating compassion and horror (Aristotle, Poetics 1452a 30–35). The sum of these processes substantiates Cidália’s pathemata as nuclei of destruction and grief (Aristotle, Poetics 1452a 9–14). Cidália’s need to find a new affection that might correspond to a perception of her inner feelings leads her to transgress the status quo and commit adultery, a decision that is exacerbated by the fact, unknown to her, that her accomplice is also her son’s murderer. Cidália’s mistake, or hamartia, will only precipitate the process of grief and destruction, corresponding to that which Aristotle calls the “great flaw”, which leads individuals “who are not preeminently virtous and just”, to be overtaken by misfortune (Aristotle, Poetics 1453a 5–15). Cidália matches the Greek concept of hybris, which underlies the character’s catastrophy. As a result, the soul is cornered and death becomes the only solution. Cidália’s suicide by throwing herself into the Seine from one of the famous Paris bridges will end up providing a form of purification, or katharsis of the heroine’s passions (Aristotle, Poetics 1449b 26–29): instead of losing her courage, she ends up as someone who has been able to decide her own destiny. It should be noted that, in an opsis-like process, Canijo choses to show his audience only the time just before and right after Cidália’s suicide, concealing the very moment of her death. Besides the heroine’s suicide, a substantially tragic theme, the way she dies and how it is revealed also correspond to a practice whose roots can be found in Greek tragedy.31 In other words, João Canijo’s intention to film a Portuguese tragedy in the Greek manner seems to become especially evident in his use of fado as a vehicle to convey his characters’ inner feelings. The screenplay writer and director’s choice of a Portuguese fado specifically associated with the idea of fate, which partly corresponds to the Greek moira, was surely not an innocent one. Antigone and her drama provide the basis for Cidália’s composition, or interpretatio, thus rennovating Greek tragedy now within the space and time 31

On death on stage in Greek tragedy, see e.g. Rocha Pereira (2008) 59 n. 52, 75 n. 100.

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of common heroes, as some contemporary playwrights have done.32 Like ­Sophocles’ heroes and despite her full committment and her strong dedication to her cause,33 Cidália is “the one upon which all calamities fall … the woman whose narrow vision undergoes radical change until she falls into utter despair”. Thus, and despite the fact that there are no direct adaptations of Sophocles’ Antigone in Portuguese cinema, I believe that João Canijo’s reflection is absolutely pertinent and have no doubts that his Cidália is truly a rightful heir of the ancient princess of Thebes. As a grieving mother, however, Cidália, echoes another old classical tradition: the mater orba figure, very much present in Athenian stages and whose paradigm, Hecuba, was set by Euripides and followed by many others.

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Williams (2002). Rocha Pereira (2008) 20, the words apply to Creon, but they seem to also define Cidália’s path.

chapter 15

Antigone, Daughter of the D’Annunzian Oedipus. The Oedipus Trilogy (1954) by Castro Osório1 Ália Rosa Rodrigues Arte e politica non furono mai disgiunte nel mio pensiero. d’annunzio (1902)2

∵ Goldhill (2009) distinguished three types of reception in Classical studies: the first consists in the way a modern author adapts a classical play, as Sophocles’ Antigone for instance; the second refers to the analysis on how a post-Classical author recovers a classical paradigm, as Wagner’s fascination with the Greeks; the third type has a wider scope since it explores how Greco-Roman Anti­ quity became a model for a specific historical period. In this period, as Goldhill points out, “there is potentially a more diffuse focus and potentially a wider set of cultural questions. The specific problem for contemporary reception studies is how these three models fit together”. The reception study which I aim to present is composed of the combination of the first and third types: I will try to show how Castro Osório3 recovers the Sophoclean Antigone in his Oedipus Trilogy, and also how the classic paradigm is considered to be the model for 1 I wish to thank to both Professor Maria de Fátima Sousa e Silva as well as to Lorna Hardwick for reading an earlier version of this text and for offering many valuable remarks. This article is based on part of my Masters thesis which was published by Coimbra University Press: João de Castro Osório: Tragédia e Política (Coimbra, 2012). 2 Interview in La Tribuna (1902.06.20), in Alatri (1980) 11, apud Witt (2001) 35. 3 João de Castro Osório (1899–1970) had a very intense political activity until 1926: his political image is usually connected to Sidónio Pais (see p. 253), D’Annunzio (see p. 252–253) and ­Mussolini (see p. 255). Later, he abandons his political intervention, but he continues his political engagement through regular collaborations with the Estado Novo (New State) authoritarian government. These are some of his works: Portugal visto da Europa (Portugal seen from Europe, 1931), As razões do erro ibérico (The reasons for the Iberian error, 1932), Necessidade e sentido de uma Universidade Colonial (The need and the meaning of a Colonial University, 1935), A formação orgânica da expansão portuguesa (The organic formation of the © koninklijke brill nv, leiden, ���7 | doi 10.1163/9789004340060_017

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the so-called “New Humanism” or “New Era”, a twenties fashionable European ultra-nationalist topic which is also present throughout Castro Osório’s work. This reading also seeks to demonstrate the ambiguity of the reception of Antigone: how can this voice of dissent be rework by an author of the regime? In the Trilogy of Oedipus Antigone is still the voice of resistance, but against those who opposed to Oedipus’ dream. To what extent are Oedipus, Antigone or Helen meaningful to express Portuguese nationalism? In what sense does the classical Greekness contribute to the self-determination and s­ elf-awareness of Portuguese or “Lusiad” identity? This study consists in analysing how both Castro Osório’s ideological and aesthetic path(s) were crucial to the treatment of this Sophoclean theme and in what sense was the recovery of the classical Greekness meaningful in his specific political and literary environment. 1

João de Castro Osório, the Portuguese D’Annunzio4

Although the Oedipus Trilogy was only published in 1954, Castro Osório had already announced this work as forthcoming in 1936.5 In 1936, the minister of Public Instruction, Cordeiro Ramos, was also beginning an educational reform which aimed to educate “o novo homem” (“the new man”, (1937) 364) and at the same time as the Legião Portuguesa (Portuguese Legion), the Portuguese Germanophile paramilitary organization, was also founded. João de Castro Osório enrolls in this organisation in 1936 and the letters exchanged with the headquarters of the Portuguese Legion (Comando Distrital de Lisboa da Legião Portuguesa) provide enough evidence that he saw Salazar’s Estado Novo



Portuguese expansion, 1937), Direito e Dever de Império (Law and Duty of Empire, 1938), O Além-mar na Literatura Portuguesa (The overseas in Portuguese Literature, 1948). Other minor works are entitled: O plano imperial da Dinastia de Avis na África Austral (The imperial plan of Avis dynasty in Southern Africa, 1938), Viagens de penetração e exploração do Continente Africano, A ocupação de Moçambique, Colonização branca nas zonas tropicais africanas, Aspectos económicos da colonização branca nas Colónias Portuguesas (Penetrating Travells and exploitation of Africa, the occupation of Mozambique, White colonization in African tropical zones, economic aspects of white settlement in the Portuguese Colonies, 1940–44), among others. 4 This expression is mentioned in the article “Um chefe” (“A chief”) published in the journal República (Republic) (1922.07.12). 5 See the list of forthcoming publications mentioned in one of his poetry volume: Cancioneiro Sentimental (Sentimental Poetry Book, 1936).

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(New State) as an opportunity to continue the epic political project started in the early twenties with Sidónio Pais,6 as he wrote to the Portuguese Legion: “Since I was nineteen, I have been fighting for Nationalism and its triumph in a Estado Novo”7 (“Com dezanove anos, venho lutando pelo nacionalismo e pelo seu triunfo n’ um Estado Novo”). On 9th March 1918, Sidónio Pais (Carlyle was his Masonic name) was elected President of the Republic, but he would be murdered a few months later (on 14th December). According to contemporary testimonies, the brief Sidónio Pais’ government corresponds to the first E ­ uropean twentieth-century dictatorial experience, as one of his closest cadets, Porto da Cruz Viscount (1928) 80, stated: “The President Sidónio had, in fact, a complete view of the political and social course, that the future would take. Before the establishment of fascism in Italy, Sidónio Pais sensed it, thought about it and tried to carry it out in Portugal” (“O Presidente Sidónio teve, na verdade, uma visão completa do rumo, político e social, que o futuro tomaria. Antes da realização do fascismo em Itália, Sidónio Pais sentiu-o, pensou-o e tentou realizá-lo em Portugal”). In the preface to the German edition of the writings of Salazar,8 the Minister of Education Gustavo Cordeiro Ramos also sums up Pais’ brief experience of dictatorship as “the first European attempt to realisation of the leader principle”9 (“A primeira tentativa europeia de concretização do princípio do chefe”). António Ferro, a key figure in Salazar’s government (and also a very close friend of Castro Osório), mourns Sidónio’s disappearance, questioning whether “will this dictator ever come?”10 (“Virá esse ditador?”). 6 7

See, below, p. 253. Unless otherwise indicated, all translations are my own. Excerpt from the letter dated 13 ­January 1937 (Castro Osório Family Archive, box 6, folder 337). He eventually abandons his own lawyer profession in order to be able to be accepted in the Portuguese Legion. On the details of the acceptance process in the Portuguese Legion and the reason why he abandons his profession, see Rodrigues (2012) 86–87. It is also worth mentioning that one of Castro Osório’s correspondents was António Oliveira Salazar who served as Prime Minister of Portugal for 36 years (1932–1968) and led the Estado Novo. 8 This edition is entitled Portugal – Das Werden eines neuen Staates – Reden und Dokumente (Portugal – Becoming a New State – Discourses and Documents) (1938) edited by Fritz Dubbert, in Essen (Essener Velgstalt and printed by Maenicke & Jahn E.G.), it has an introductory note (Geleitwort) by the minister of Goebbels and a prologue by Gustavo Cordeiro Ramos. See Medina (1998). 9 Apud Carvalho (1993) 181. 10 See A Ditadura (The Dictactorship) (1923.11.07) 2. See also the full testimony of Porto da Cruz Viscount (1928: 81), Castro Osório (1924), and Silva (2006). On how Pais became part of national hagiography and how he was often compared to D. Pedro v, King of Portugal between 1853–1861, nicknamed “the Hopeful” or “the well-beloved”, D. João I, King of Portugal

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Despite being raised in a Republican family,11 Castro Osório (1899–1970) revealed radical political positions very early: when he was only 19 years old, he published the Manifesto Nacionalista (Nationalist Manifesto, 1919) in which he stated a political program which defended a Dictatorship for Portugal,12 i.e. an antiparliamentary, antidemocratic and antiliberal form of government which would also include a strong Catholic education (1922) 59.13 This manifesto also emphasized the idea of a Portuguese Empire, the reestablishment of the death penalty, the repression of any sort of strike and the institution of a strong military education all over the country to guarantee the stability of this form of authoritarian regime. On the 8th July 1922, Castro Osório and other former members of the Centro Sidónio Pais tried to carry out a political coup in Lisbon: “The solution must be nationalist and dictatorial” (“A solução é nacionalista e ditatorial”), he answered (1922) 29 to a journalist in an interview given shortly after being ­arrested. Seven months later, Castro Osório and other members of the Centre went on trial and were released. Little after being released, this young politician14 makes a public statement that fully expresses his political project: “I n ­ ever had a democratic phrase, nor can I accept it from an intelligent and ­educated



11

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13 14

between 1385–1433 known for his exceptional erudition, or Nun’Álvares Pereira, Portuguese general who had a key role in recovering Portugal’s independence from Castile ­during the 1383–1385 crisis, see França (1992) 17. The press often mentioned the differences between Castro Osório and his brother or mother, both more liberal and Republican. On the differences between Castro Osório and his family, see Chorão (2001) 76–77, Rodrigues (2012) 92 and also an article published in the journal A Época (The Epoch) (1922. 12. 10). His mother, Ana de Castro Osório (1872–1935) was a remarkable politician and writer: she stood up for the women’s rights to work and education and, during the Portuguese First Republic, she collaborated with the President Afonso Costa (1871–1937) on the Divorce Law. Regarding his brother, there is an anecdote that shows how striking is the difference between both brothers: while Castro Osório was in prison and a few days before going on trial for the 1922 July 8th coup, he gave an interview and when the journalist asked him about the ideological “evolution” of his brother, Castro Osório replies: “He [José] fell in love with this idea, and educated his spirit (…) I have not changed. (…) I always saw the truth of nationalism, the authority of command (…)” (p. 1). See also Chorão (2001) 76–77. Leal (1994) 119 comments on Castro Osório’s works: “The practice of ‘integral nationalism’ that awakes instinctual energies of man and the love of violence, it is clear as a political methodology in the Manifesto Nacionalista in 1919 and in the 1922 Nationalist program, (…) as in the Ditadura journal in 1923”. See also A Ditadura (The Dictactorship) (1923.11.07) 2. Interview published in Diário de Lisboa (Lisbon Daily) (1922. 07. 20).

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person”.15 However, despite the failure of this coup, Castro Osório went on with his political project and, together with other Sidonist elements, he founded the Acção Nationalista (Nationalist Action)16 and the journal Portugal, which were seen as signs of the emergence of fascism in the country.17 This group did not get enough support from other radical factions and, for this reason, both Castro Osório and Raul de Carvalho, a former element of the Sidonist political police, founded the Centro do Nacionalismo Lusitano (Nationalism Lusitanian Centre, 1923) and the journal entitled A Ditadura (The Dictactorship). On the 1st February 1924, this journal published an extensive article on Mussolini with his picture on the front page in which the editor Castro Osório praised the charisma of this “Nietzschean Super-man” for protecting the world from the “lie of democracies”; for that reason – he added –, Europe was indebted to him. By this time, comparisons between Castro Osório and Mussolini became a topic in the press: for instance, in the journal A Batalha (The Battle) (06.26.1923) 1 it is mentioned the following: “We declare (…) that the aspiring Portuguese Mussolini is much more beautiful and friendly than the Italian. If his intelligence is so perfect as his body is pleasant (…) we must confess that such intelligent dictatorship will be quite light and grateful to endure…” (“Nós afirmamos (…) que o aspirante a Mussolini português é muito mais formoso e simpático do que o italiano. Se a inteligência for tão perfeita como o seu físico agradável (…) temos de confessar que a tal ditadura da inteligência há-de ser bem leve e grata de suportar…”). One of Osório’s most well-known doctrinal texts to be published was “Sidónio Pais and Dictatorial Messianism”, a long preface to Sidónio Pais’ set of discourses (1924). This volume is edited by Feliciano de Carvalho18 and

15

16

17

18

The ideology of this group is expressed in Castro Osório’s manifesto Revolução Nacionalista (Nationalist Revolution) (1922) which would be later published both in A Ditadura (The Dictactorship) and Imparcial (Impartial) journals. This organization associated with Sidónio’s Centre was composed of intellectuals, students and young officers of secular and republican origin. See Porto da Cruz’s memories (1928) 81, Pinto (1989) 44, 50–1 and Rodrigues (2012) 101–102. However, even if this Castro Osório’s organization did not last for long, its political agenda had a strong influence on the May 1926 coup (see p. 251, n.2 and p. 256). See Telo (1980) 252 and Leal (1994) 148 n. 20. The title of the articles about Castro Osório and this group were also very revealing: “The neo-nationalists” (“Os neo-nacionalistas”, 06/26/1923); “Fascism in Portugal” (“Fascismo em Portugal”, 06/29/1923); “Ridiculous Attitudes” (“Atitudes ridículas”, 05/07/1923), “The farce of the fascists” (“A farsa dos fascistas”, 08/09/1923), “The paltry traitor!”, (“O traidor reles!”, 1923.10.19). This figure belonged to the Juventude Republicana Sidonista (Republican Sidonist Youth) and directed the journal Nação Lusitana (Lusitanian Nation). See Leal (1994) 148, n. 114.

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dedicated to Castro Osório himself: “To João de Castro, Chief of pulse and pulse of Chief” (“A João de Castro, Chefe de pulso e pulso de chefe”). Castro Osório abandoned political activity19 as well as political press after the 1926 military coup and all works of explicit political militancy belong now in the past. Little afterwards, in the early thirties, he created a new editorial project: the journal entitled Descobrimento (Discovery) which brought together Brazilian, Cape Verdean, Galician and Portuguese intellectuals. The aim of this project consisted in contributing to the so-called New Humanism project which became real under the new Portuguese authoritarian political order. In 1936, as we mentioned before, he enrolls in the Legião Portuguesa20 and announces the publication of the dramatic poem21 Oedipus Trilogy. In this trilogy, as we will see, the arrival of Oedipus at Thebes also represents the ­arrival of the Super-Man which will begin a new era, the so-called New Humanism. Other dramatic poems such as A Horda (The Masse, 1921), O Cla­ mor (The outcry, 1923), Tetralogia do Príncipe imaginário (Tetralogy of the imaginary Prince, 1940/41) share similar topoi that may be summarized in one: the construction of the charismatic leader that stands out in the community and that also represents a model of humanity progression. This mythogenesis was a widespread literary topic peculiar to the Portuguese neo-romantic literary generation and its main agenda consisted on the demand of a new national identity as well as on the idea of a new man.22 Castro Osório believes thus that the knowledge of the greatest works of the Greco-Roman Antiquity are the path to the rebirth of the New Humanism which would correspond to the new emergence of the Greek miracle of the V BC as he states (1931) 26: “We call discovery to the phase in which a civilization becomes aware of itself and discovers the new man and the new world” (“Chamamos Descobrimento à fase de uma civilização em que ela toma cons­ ciência de si própria e descobre o homem novo e o novo universo”). Peter Sloterdijk (2007) 30 identified this New Humanism as a form of “bourgeois Humanism” that was developed between the eighteenth and twentieth centuries­ (1789–1945). This phenomenon was controlled by a “variety of old and new 19 20 21

22

On the brief experience of Castro Osório on the democratic party in 1925, see Rodrigues (2012) 130–131. On the important political reform that took place in this year, see p. 252. On the recovery of the Dramatic poem as a Greek-Wagnerian influence, see the chapter “1.4. Recepção de Wagner nos palcos portugueses” (“Reception of Wagner in Portuguese stage”) in Rodrigues (2012) 61–73. On the reception of other Wagnerian and Greek topics, see also Millington (2001), Foster (2010) and Lee (2003). For an exhaustive analysis of Castro Osório’s poetic context and topics, see Pereira (1999) 679–879 and Rodrigues (1912) 120–122.

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philologists that sought to impose on young people the reading of the classics and to establish the universal validity of national readings” (27). Castro Osório made the typical path of figures from among “European ultranationalists”, as the historian Costa Pinto (1989) 50 stated. This scholar (1992) 233 also notes that Mussolini fascism was the main international reference for Portuguese and Spanish national-syndicalism, since none of these political cultures actually “generate original theories of government in contemporary times” (“geraram teorias originais de governo na época contemporânea.”). Castro Osório personal and family archives,23 letters, articles and photos provide enough evidence of a network of political and literary key figures which help to understand this aesthetical path. For instance, relevant figures of Portuguese literary modernism, such as the well-known poet and thinker F. Pessoa (1888–1935), the modernist artist Almada-Negreiros (1893–1970) and the writer Mário de Saa (1893–1971), were some of Castro Osório closest friends. These are also some of other Castro Osório’s correspondents: Afonso Lopes Vieira (1878–1946), a neo-romantic Portuguese poet; António Sérgio (1883–1969), a Portuguese politician, pedagogue and the academic, Jorge de Sena (1919–1978), famous writer that fled from Portugal due to the dictactorship to become Professor of Portuguese and Spanish Literature in Santa Barbara (California, usa). However, the most relevant friendship and reference for Castro Osório’s lite­ rary career was indeed António Ferro; they both worked together in Sidónio Pais political project and were both fascinated by D’Annunzio literary and political legacies. While Castro Osório often mentions D’Annunzio influence on his work and how he read his plays while he was on the military service,24 António Ferro actually went to Fiume to interview him: Gabriele D’Annunzio e eu (Gabriele D’Annunzio and Me) (1922). Almost a century later, Chorão (2001) 76 identified the influence of the soldier-poet D’Annunzio from a political and aesthetic point of view on Castro Osório, i.e. more specifically, the “supra-humanist impetus to live dangerously and represent, as only he could represent” (“um rasgo supra-humanista de vi­ ver perigosamente e de representar, como só ele sabia representar”). As we will see, D’Annunzio will be the key figure to understand Castro Osório’s Greekness as an ultranationalist trace.

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24

See Arquivo de João de Castro Osório (João de Castro Osório Archive) and Arquivo da Família Castro Osório (Castro Osório Family Archive) both deposited in the National Portuguese Library. See Castro Osório (1970) 102. And as he (1970) 221 stated elsewhere about the Fiume governor: “one of the greatest modern playwrights, and great at any time and literature”.

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When Castro Osório was no longer politically active, Ferro invited him to publish studies on political thought, Portuguese history and literature which were ordered by Salazar’s Secretariat of National Propaganda (spn, latter named sni).25 2

Antigone in Oedipus Trilogy

In Portuguese contemporary literary context, the treatments of the Sophoclean Oedipus myth became more common by the middle of the last century. Several dramatic texts then appeared: Trilogia de Édipo (Oedipus Trilogy) (1954), O Progresso de Édipo. Poema Dramático (Oedipus’ Progress. Dramatic Poem) by the poet and politician N. Correia (1957) and António Marinheiro – O Édipo de Alfama (António Marinheiro – Alfama’s Oedipus) by Bernardo Santareno (1960) which stayed on stage for seven years.26 The Oedipus Trilogy is composed of three plays entitled: Sphinx, Jocasta and Antigone. In the introduction, the author (1954) 214 states that “it was his intention to recreate these myths without betraying or reducing them in any way” and based on “its essential data in order to invent a new myth of Oedipus” (“foi sua intenção recriar lendas sem as trair nem amesquinhar, mas sobre os seus dados essenciais inventando um novo Mito de Édipo”). While the first two plays of the trilogy focus on the tragedy of Oedipus until Jocasta’s suicide, the third one shows the return, (self-) redemption and victory of Oedipus or, in other words, Humanity salvation through Oedipus’ example. Castro Osório’s Oedipus Trilogy gathers Nietzschean Superman like features and, at the same time, it also reveals the dramatism of a Wagnerian hero27 balanced with Christian traces.

25 26 27

See also p. 252. See Fialho (1998) 80. Oliveira (1959) 9, in collaboration with Castro Osório himself, published a project for the performance of this trilogy in the S. Carlos Theater (Teatro de São Carlos, Lisbon) as a Wagnerian opera-like play. The writer Campos de Figueiredo (1899–1965) also regretted the fact that this Castro Osório’s play was never performed in S. Carlos, since he was considered to be a “composer of a category of a Wagner” because this play would be “(…) the real return to ancient Greece, demanded by greatness, the majesty and the spectacular beauty of the Trilogy”. Excerpt of a letter (04.12.1954) of Campos de Figueiredo to Castro Osório (document deposited in the archive of the Biblioteca Nacional de Portugal (National Library in Portugal)). For evidence about the reception of Wagner in Portugal, see Arte ­Musical (Musical Art) (1908. 01.15: 8–9; 1908.09.15) On Viana da Mota visit to Bayreuth, RichardWagner-Festspielhaus, see, in the same periodical, the issue published in 1908. 09. 30.

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The trilogy displays a large number of groups: the priests of the gods of heaven, the priests of the terrible gods, the Sacrifice of virgins, the Theban people, the Theban warriors and the besiegers. In terms of individual characters, there is a clear innovation in relation to the Sophoclean version: our author presents two prophets, Olenos and Tiresias. The former is the spokesman of the Terrible Gods and the Sphinx, that correspond to the psychological states of ignorance and fear or to human fragility in general; Tiresias, on the other hand, defends Oedipus’ dream, the god of heaven’s causes and the destruction of all superstitions that enslave the human being. These tragedies take place in an epic and Wagnerian-like scenario, which is described as follows: “The city, strong and proud, of Man, (…) but from which, like if it was in a higher plan, it was possible to see the hostile environment that was surrounding” (“Cidade, forte e orgulhosa, dos Homens, (…) mas de onde, como de um terraço mais alto, melhor se vê o horizonte hostil que a rodeia”, 9); on the horizon line, it is possible to see a mountain that oppresses and threatens the whole city. In addition, there is also an abyss which is described as “silent and fatal” and that represents the eminence of the act of hybris and, along with it, the fall of Man. However, unlike the Sophoclean version, in this case the expression of human superiority is the only path for its salvation and its continuity of the existence of man in this world. Despite the large amount of group and individual characters, the whole structure of these three tragedies is simple; this trilogy can be considered as a sequence of hostile dialogues and fights between two opponent groups: on one side, the heroes of fear, i.e. Olenos, the Terrible Gods and Eteocles; on the other, Tiresias, the priests of the Gods of Heaven and Oedipus. Only Creon and the crowd remain neutral. While Olenos aims to enslave the Theban people through superstition and fear, in order to submit them to obedience mixed with terror, the other faction, whose spokesman is Tiresias, seeks to persuade people to follow Oedipus ideal and to make them believe that the gods are propitious. For instance, these are the effects of Olenos’ discourse on the “crowd”, i.e. the Theban people: Fear makes people angry, violent, merciless; there is, in their cries, an implacable desire to avoid unknown evils. (34)

See also Branco (1976) and M. da Silva-Gaio volume entitled Le Voyage artistique à Bayreuth (1907). Nietzsche’s reception in Portugal started in the beginning of the 20th century, either through the Portuguese Nietzschean French literature readers or via Wagner, whose reception was prior to the philosopher’s. On this topic, see the comprehensive study by Monteiro (2000).

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(O medo torna a multidão rancorosa, violenta, sem piedade; há nos seus gritos uma vontade implacável de, a todo o preço, evitar os males desconhecidos). Tiresias – We should not ask for mercy to the Eternal, but wake the heroism that He put on us. (45–46) (Tirésias – Não devemos pedir a piedade ao Eterno, mas acordar o heroísmo que Ele põe em nós.) Oedipus – The greatest divinity lives in men. (43) (Édipo – A maior Divindade vive nos homens.) The Osorian Oedipus can be compared to a Wagnerian-like character or to the Nietzschean Übermensch: “The Man won, Oedipus defeated the Sphinx” (Venceu o Homem, Édipo venceu a Esfinge) (1954) 57. Thus, he forgives himself of Laios’ murder as he acknowledges: “The walk of life is made of fights and it passes by corpses. The death of Laios was Laios’ fault! There is no crime to be punished” (A marcha da vida é feita de lutas e passa sobre cadáveres. A morte de Laios foi culpa de Laios. Não há crime a castigar) (96). The second necessary victim is Jocasta whose loss takes place in the second tragedy and, finally, Polinices and Eteocles correspond to the last unavoidable victims: all these three figures represent, in some way, forms of human fragility that have to disappear in order to re-establish the beginning of a brand new era. At the end of Jocasta’s play, Oedipus walks away saying: “All of you will choose, one day, between the gods and Oedipus (he walks away with uncertain steps, blind, randomly)” (Vós escolhereis, um dia, entre os Deuses e Édipo. (avança com passos, incertos, de cego, ao acaso)) (125). This agon between the divine terror and the trust on man is personified by these two factions, which will be solved at the end, in the last play, Antigone. This work opens with mourning cries and triumph chants: Eteocles seems to have won the battle and the Terrible Gods became now the new gods of the city (136). Theseus comes to help Polinices and to persuade the Greek generals­ that Greece owes to Oedipus the destruction of the Sphinx and that if Eteocles becomes the king of Thebes, all Oedipus’ legacy would be ruined. But Antigone, Ismene and Theseus do not succeed to persuade Eteocles to stop the war and the destruction of the “City in which Oedipus taught men” (Cidade em que Édipo ensinou aos homens) (169). Both brothers die at the end. Antigone goes against Creon’s law and offers herself in sacrifice (188). Oedipus’ daughter, who supports her father’s project for Thebes, makes these concluding remarks:

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It was the men’s terror that created their misfortune. And just because of terror, they replaced the image of Mercy, not with the heroic nature or with the value of man, but with the terror of the Sphinx. (196) (O terror dos homens é que criou as suas desgraças. E só por terror substituíram à Imagem da Clemência, não a heroicidade e valor do Homem (…) mas o terror da Esfinge.) Like a deus ex machina, Oedipus appears at the citadel carrying the body of Polinices in order to give him a post-mortem position as a king: “The sublime and strong figure of Oedipus stands at the top of the Acropolis, exposed to his enemies, alone” (A figura sublime e forte de Édipo está no alto da escada da Acrópole, face aos assaltantes, só. Um pouco atrás, Antígona e Hémon dão-se as mãos e esperam a morte) (202). The Theban people acknowledge Oedipus as the king of Thebes and Theseus grants him the title of “head of the Holy Alliance of Cities of Greece” (chefe da Sagrada Aliança das Cidades da Grécia) (205). Oedipus offers his kingship to Antigone and Haemon: they are expected to continue his project of human liberty and heroism; the path of human fragility has now come to an end. This is Castro Osório’s main dramatic topic, a strong and authoritarian political leader is needed: first Oedipus and then the heir of this power, Antigone, will compensate people’s lack of self-determination. Who is Antigone in this project of Human self-redemption? She represents the continuum of Oedipus, as if she was the promise of human salvation which was about to take place in the future, i.e. as if the ancient and epic dignity had now been eventually returned to the human being. However, even if Antigone has a key-role in the future and in the viability of Oedipus project, she is more the daughter of a hero than a heroine herself; she is an heir of Oedipus light and hope, but not a source of light and hope herself. An obvious Christian theological influence is also present throughout this trilogy: Zeus is very close to the image of God in the New Testament and the comparison between Oedipus and Prometheus-Jesus is also clear.28 This dimension is expressed by emphatic and lexical expressions, such as the repetition of “Deus do Céu” (“God of heaven”), the constant reference to “Céus” (“Heavens”), “piedade” (“piety”), and rituals, such as the imposition of hands’ 28

Many scholars mentioned it, such as Cruz (1983) 31, and the well-known Jacinto Prado Coelho notices this influence: “I found fascinating (…) in this trilogy, the perfect assimilation of the spirit of Greek tragedy and personal interpretation of the myth (…) Work of exceptional culture and dignity, in which the classicism and Christianity go hand in hand”. (personal letter, 1955.12.05 deposited in Castro Osório’s Archive).

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gesture which aim to call down the Holy Spirit. See, for instance, Antigone’s prayer, in which the divine entity is located in “Heaven”: “Why, God of heaven, no one trusts in love and piety, but when he comes to death?” (Porque é que, Deus do Céu, ninguém confia no amor e na piedade, senão quando vem a morte?) (178). One of the most important values of this work is indeed “piety”, and reinforced in Oedipus final discourse: Venci… E em mim há agora só piedade pela vida e luta dos homens. (Pondo as mãos sobre as cabeças de Hémon e Antígona) Em Tebas reinem a piedade santa de Antígona e o heroísmo de Hémon. Proclamo-os Reis de Tebas. (Oedipus – I won… and, in me, there is now only piety for the life and struggle of men. (Putting his hands on the heads of Haemon and Antigone) From now on, the holy piety of Antigone and the heroism of Haemon will reign in Thebes. I declare them Kings of Thebes.) (203–205) This “personal interpretation of the myth” is actually reinforced by the author (1959) 210 as he mentions: The legends of the Theban Cycle, the Sphinx and the Kings of Thebes, the hero Oedipus, Jocasta and her children (…) were recreated by myself (…) with the necessary independence, so that they could represent living figures in a very different dramatic thought from that of the great tragic ancient Greece. This eclecticism of symbolisms certainly provided “a new tragic sense” to the Greek myth; the author’s main intention consisted in making the reader take into consideration “the problem of opposite fatality to moral freedom”.29 3

The “New Humanism” as the “New Man”

The Greek-Sophoclean dimension is, throughout Castro Osório’s work, only a reference, an ancient background to express something else. In the study The 29

(O problema da fatalidade oposta à liberdade moral), Castro Osório (1970) 164.

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Search for Modern Tragedy. Aesthetic Fascism in Italy and France, Witt (2001) analyses a group of European writers and artists that supported in a public and intellectual way the fascist ideology, althought they did not have a militant and active political life. This scholar called this phenomenon “Aesthetic Fascism”,­ which was limited to France and Italy where it was developed a “Mediterranean”­ version of fascism. According to this view, the “modern tragedy” is aesthetically based on fascist ideology, emphasizing men’s epic resistance and rejecting human failure and fragility. For this reason, it uses the Hellenic topics and myth, phenomenon that Faye named grosse zurück [“great regression”].30 These intellectual circles expected that the recovery of the ancient Greek tragedy would open a new ethical horizon as a common topic among these authors: “Modern tragedy will have to create its own form of classical agon by drawing on the energies of mass society, inventing a hero to combat with fate in the form of imperial domination (…)”. The key figure who inspired this aesthetic ideology was Gabriele D’Annunzio, considered to be the “John the Baptist of Fascism”;31 as we mentioned before, it was widely admired in Portugal and by Castro Osório and António Ferro in particular. Witt’s model can also be used to understand the intellectual and literary frame of Castro Osório: he was not only a reader and admirer of D’Annunzio,32 but also fascinated with Mussolini’s charisma being often compared to him in the political newspapers. Costa Pinto’s analysis and Witt’s concept of Aesthetic Fascism are coherent with Castro Osório’s (1970) 131 statement about his own political-literary path: The fundamental thought of this and all my other works on political theory, without exception, consist in two elementary principles of nationalism and aristocracy, and therefore opposed to all forms, declared or hidden, of socialism and democracy. This was the political and social thought that resulted from a sincere analysis of all the Portuguese history. This Übermensch Oedipus-like and the recovery of Wagnerian drama are therefore an aesthetic and literary response to this political vacuum, a form of “aesthetic fascism” to use Witt’s expression (2001) ix. Being a reader of Nietzsche, D’Annunzio, B. Grácian, Comte de Gobineau, Castro Osório sought a way to express this New Humanist project not only through Classical Greece, but also through political and literary radicalisms. The idea of Greece and its literary

30 31 32

Idem (1972) Langages Totalitaires. Paris: Herman, p. 80 apud Witt (2001) 17. Witt (2001) 15. On Castro Osório as a reader of D’Annunzio, see p. 257.

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and mythical versions constituted thus the best instrument to put the Lusiad heroism ideal in a literary form. As he (1970) 164 clearly stated: And with it [the spiritual duel with the Poets and Thinkers genius of ancient Greece], I strongly stated the Lusitanian spirit and its predominant character of Christian heroism based on Divine Justice and on the mission and personal destiny that asks from us a free and courageous commitment, beyond all disasters, sorrows and triumphs. Castro Osório’s figure of Oedipus corresponds thus to an example in a mythical plan of what will take place in historical cycle of a “providential and prodigious succession of Supermen”. In the recent Portuguese political history of the time, there had been Sidónio Pais and then Salazar was the promise of this “New Humanism”. Antigone must be seen as the daughter of this Oedipus Übermensch: she, just like her father, is also the consequence/daughter of a transgression that ended up becoming beneficial to all. This specific treatment seems thus to represent a sort of literary and mythical photography of this perspective on historical process. In Castro Osório’s Trilogy of Oedipus, Antigone is still the same voice of passive resistance worked and reworked by European cultural, political and literary tradition(s). However, an act of resistance in itself does not necessarily have a moral or ethical content. Oedipus or Antigone’s acts of hybris are thus presented as necessary to human progress.

Archives Deposited in the National Library in Portugal

João de Castro Osório’s Archive. Castro Osório’s family archive. Journals A Batalha, 1923–1924. Descobrimento, 1931–1932. A Ditadura, 1923–1924. A Lucta, 1908–1910. Portugal, 1923.

chapter 16

Antigone, Fruit of a Twisted Vine: Hélia Correia’s Perdição Maria de Fátima Silva The innovative conception underpinning Hélia Correia’s Perdição (Perdition),1 written in 1991,2 suggests that it may have resulted from diverse readings of different mediating texts, in addition to the obvious contrast that it makes with Sophocles’ original. Anouilh has perhaps had a greater influence on her than any other writer, though there are also some obvious connections with María Zambrano’s La tumba de Antígona.3 Everything about Hélia Correia’s version is counter-conventional.4 Although her options have clearly been informed by an attentive reading of the Sophoclean text, the details of the thematic interpretation and formal architecture are very different. This is announced at the outset in the character list and preliminary statement concerning the various levels on which the action unfolds. Antigone continues to be the uncontested protagonist of the piece, but her name is immediately followed by that of the Nurse, then Eurydice and Ismene, while Haemon and Creon are relegated to further down the list, along with the minor figures of the Servant, Messenger and Guards, each of whom exists, as we shall see, in function of their relationship with the women. Indeed, the fact that the gallery of female characters is reinforced by the presence of a Nurse, 1 Hélia Correia enjoys a prominent position in contemporary Portuguese literature as a novelist, poet, author of children’s literature and playwright of works on Classical themes. In addition to Antigone, she has also written plays about Helen – O Rancor. Exercício sobre Helena (Rancour: Exercise on Helen) – and about Medea – Desmesura. Exercício com Medeia (Excess: Exercise on Medea). This Classical leaning was influenced less by the political or social context of the country at the time than by the author’s personal experience as an admirer of Greek culture. 2 This text was first published in 2001 in Lisbon by Edições Dom Quixote. It was staged and performed in 1993 by the group Comuna Teatro de Pesquisa under the direction of João Mota. See Silva (2001) 56–57. 3 See, above, Chapter 6. 4 According to Eissen (2010) 64 we can qualify Hélia Correia’s play (“which focuses on Antigone’s point of view” and extracts from the structure the inevitable tragic agon, where each of the antagonists has their reasons and their excesses) as simply “a melodrama”.

© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, ���7 | doi 10.1163/9789004340060_018

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who has a principal part to play, as indicated by her place in the list, creates the immediate sensation that this is a very female-dominated play. A new balance seems to be established between the female and the male elements in the circle around Antigone, giving a more personal and intimate tone to the atmosphere. As for the Nurse, she is clearly an ambiguous figure in the text, functioning as a kind of hand of destiny or daimon. At the end of the character list, Antigone and the Nurse appear a second time, now dead, and there is also a mention of Tiresias. This surprising synthesis means that three planes of action are required, creating a total rupture in space and time with the traditional understanding of the tragedy: there is the level of “Tiresias, soothsayer and blind man, very old, who presides over and comments on the events, far from the site of the action”;5 also “a courtyard in the palace of Thebes and then the throneroom” which is where “the dialogues between the living unfold”; and finally “a field of asphodels in the twilight [which] the dead cross/…/as the light and relationship between them gradually diminish”. The musical component/ chorus is also worthy of an initial comment: “a hymn to Dionysus is intoned throughout the play at scene changes, in silences or as a background to certain dialogues”.6 Upon turning the page, the reader will be even more surprised by the graphic layout of the text, which is divided into two columns topped by captions: 5 In Hélia Correia’s version, Tiresias (who was excluded from Anouilh’s play so that the secular feeling that he wished to value was not affected by the presence of the prophet) has a distant role, far from the action. With this new manipulation of the figure, she too opts for a secular vision, while at the same time using Tiresias as a kind of alternative to the chorus; that is the function that we are able to infer from the assumption that “he presides over and comments on the events”, or, as we will see below, has the function of connecting the dramatic sequence. That supradramatic function comes from his quality as a kind of shaman, which Capeloa Gil (2006) 65 calls a “mediator between frontiers, between the time of myth and the time of history, the audience/reader and the theatre, men and women, the dead and the living”; in the same way, he is also identified at the end of the play (57): “Let us now withdraw, we ageless ones, we who have connected heavens and earth. The Magi from the East, the Shaman from the steppes, augurers and all who still wander through the places of men without being subjected by humanity”. See, below, p. 269–270. 6 Various innovative ways of exploring the choral intervention have been proposed by contemporary playwrights in recreating Greek tragedy; see Lasso de la Vega (1981) 16–17. These include the technique adopted here by Hélia Correia of repeating the same chant at strategic moments in the action. In many of these adaptations, the chorus tends to be stripped of its essence, elevation and original profundity. By reducing the language to a linear prose text, and the thought to a commonsense reply, without any true speculative profundity, contemporary versions in general relegate it to a modest place that naturally affects the whole ­spectacle. See Goldhill (2007) 45–79.

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“The Living” and “The Dead”. Naturally the action is reserved for the living participants; the two dead women, Antigone and her Nurse, have a series of brief commentaries running parallel to the action, which reveal, through the words spoken or the attitudes taken by the living, their hidden intentions, or formulate interrogations that unveil the paradox of each soul. These voices from beyond the grave are, therefore, a kind of echo of the consciousness, which reads and interprets beyond the surface of the words and actions, and inspires hesitations or psychological conflicts.7 Its purpose is not to legitimize the truth or relevance of what is said by the living characters, but rather to refute or denounce their declarations. Fiercely laconic, these voices to some extent take on the commentating role that in ancient tragedy was reserved for the chorus. Hélia Correia’s free mode of creation does not really lend itself to sceneby-scene analysis. In order to do justice to the effect produced by the play, it is perhaps better to examine certain thematic threads or figures. The first thought that comes to mind has to do with the antagonism between the male and female components of the action, a dichotomy that runs parallel to the nomos/ physis opposition. This conflict was of course already clear in Sophocles, as Wiltshire (1976) 34 has felicitously summed up: “But with a woman as antagonist, Sophocles creates even more dramatically what would have been to a fifth century Athenian audience a conflict between two entirely different levels of being, two totally non-contiguous systems of ethics”. But with Hélia Correia, it is given particular attention, in the form of a note that is marked from the outset by the intervention of the chorus of Bacchae. The chorus’ participation is limited to a single “dithyramb”, pressupposing an exarchon leading to the choreography of a circular dance, which the women accompany with “ritual responses”,8 whose scenic effect is made clear by the author: “it aims to make 7 Lasso de la Vega (1981) 29 refers to the representation of death in contemporary dramatic rewritings of the Greek myth, as particularly innovative. The formula adopted by Hélia Correia in this specific version also warrants a reference. This matter has been broadly explored by Capeloa Gil (2006) 61–76. It is worth remembering how, in terms of the spectacle, João Mota (see above, p. 266n2) valued this contrast between the living and the dead versions of the heroine and her Nurse, reserving the foreground for the two acting figures and the background for their dead replicas, who remain immobile at the back of the stage, behind a loom, where both weave an endless yarn of existence. 8 With the definition that she gives to her proposed chorus, Hélia Correia draws closer to the meaning of the chant in its pre-dramatic form, at the same time as she alludes to the choral mode which existed, in the great religious festivals, alongside tragic or comic plays in homage of Dionysus; this justifies the word “dithyramb” to define it. This has been opportunely commented on by Capeloa Gil (2006) 64: “Thus we have at the begining of the drama the chorus of Bacchae, a kind of prologue that transports the spectator away from the time and space of

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them dizzy to the point of falling into a trance and losing their senses” (17). Within these limits, the choral chant has a rhythmic poetic quality, and reflects upon a theme that marks the whole play: the gender conflict at home and in the city. While their nature as followers of Dionysus links them to the Theban myth of the play, their words are above all the expression of the eternal conflict between physis and nomos, which sustains the new action. The chorus of Bacchae is, therefore, pursuing another objective, which completely distances it from the group of elders chosen by Sophocles in his Antigone. Dionysus is the only divine power in the play, representing the force of nature and instinct to which the female psychology unreservedly adheres. For Hélia Correia, he is a harmonious blend of paradoxical traits, simultaneously “the sweetest and most terrible of gods” (17). With a nature that is more instinctive and primary in its reactions, women seek in the god, and the potency of Cithaeron, a satisfaction the social order refuses to give them. Eager to be possessed by the revigorating force of the divinity, the women keep away from social conventions, Thebes and the law. With aggressive words about biological and scatological functions, the chorus give a physical sensory tone to the female performance in the play.9 Let us hear the Bacchae in all their crudity (17): Pelo fogo da língua, pelo sopro e contágio da língua. Pela boca, os buracos do corpo que nos ligam ao estrume e ao alimento. Os buracos do corpo onde entra o homem e escorrem as sangrias, por onde nos rebentam as crianças. the representation back to the primeval time of myth (…) and the circularity of the history of the god Dionysus who presides over this hymn, conferring upon the action the dimension of mythological time, a time outside time, which is subtracted from history and evades memory”. The religious and cultural tone predominates in a poem produced externally to the sequence of the play and intoned by a group of young people led by an exarchon, the figure of the master who teaches and rehearses. Finally, the poem has a content that is civic, social, offsetting the male values of power, ambition and glory with the female ones of sexual satisfaction, peace and plenitude of life. 9 See Lasso de la Vega (1981) 29, who attributes the option for aggressive language in some modern adaptations of the tragic versions of myths not only to the need to adapt them to other tastes, but also to the successive parodies to which the treatments were subject over the centuries.

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(By the fire of the tongue, By the breath and contagion of the tongue. Through the mouth, the holes of the body that connect us to the dung and to food. The holes of the body where man enters and from where runs blood, from where children burst forth.) Dionysus is stripped of religiosity in order to embody the life force of nature, which renews the species, and to which the women aspire in the craziness of the circular movement of their dance. When finally possessed, and still hesitant about the type of pleasure that the rite permits (“Could this be love?” or “Is this love?”, 18–19), the cry of freedom that they unleash to the skies is also a repudiation of the city and the limitations that it imposes: “Ah, how far away is Thebes, how far is the law. Far away are the terraces, the couches, oh!” (19). Let instinct reign, which gives wings (“Give us pleasure, oh god, (…), make us fly”, 19), unique justification of existence (“tomorrow we will die, and it is better to think that, for you, yes, it was worthwhile”, 19); before this death instinct, which extinguishes souls, it does not remain silent (“Let howls and darkness remain because there is no memory and the soul forgets, whatever the mode of existing”, 21). With this chant of the Maenads, the traditional Sophoclean polemic between divine and human law recedes to give way to that other tension between natural instinct and social order, which animates Euripides’ Bacchae. An image of the male world seems to vaguely appear at the end of this chant, the chaos of pillaged squares: but even from the manly notion of the scourge of war, which again the harshness of the words evokes, the women seem to take pleasure from liberation and renovation. And a first trench is dug between the two experiences of war, when the chaos, through the miracle of the female reading, becomes magnificent, and sensuousness is extracted from the image of the pillaged squares in the expectation that “new beginnings will again sprout” (21). Tiresias, whose role is to “preside over and comment on the events, far from the scene of the action”, fulfils his first dramatic function after the choral intervention and before the action proper begins. That is to say, he establishes contact between the author, the text and the audience, which is of course not the audience addressed by “original” or by any of the other rewritings of the same episode (22). Tiresias, as the author’s spokesman, captures each pulsation for the Portuguese audience and guides it to the expected reactions, apparently

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following the conventional structure of a parabasis: “In the sparse comfort of your benches”, all await between the known and the novelty, in the expectation of an innovative rewriting of underlying tradition to which none are immune: “There is death and its heroes. Let us see how they dispute and seduce one another”. The emotions that Aristotle, thinking of the Greek audience, stipulated as essential to the quality of a tragedy – terror and piety – no longer make sense in the new context and before a different sensibility: “They will not know the horror and the piety because their eyes are shielded. They know nothing of the chants and the dances, they will not let loose a howl or a laugh”. If some uncomfortable sensation takes hold of their senses rather than their soul (“perhaps their blood is cooling a little”), they will tend to find some basic reason to explain away the “dry mouth and hardened tongue”, which reflects all the emotion they are capable of, far removed from the terror and piety of other times. Indeed, that “physical thirst” “will make them remember the rain and the tremendous alteration of the climates, causing them momentarily lose the thread of the tragedy”. While there continues to be aesthetic pleasure in the modern audience’s approach to tragedy, the profound emotion that would have moved the Hellenic audience seems today to have been lost for good; the spectators, as Tiresias addresses them, observe what is happening on stage “from outside the action”, distancing themselves from it. Thus, they feel themselves to be “protected against the ancient divine dread” and “they will breathe a sigh of relief. Because they are not and never can be Antigone. Indeed, such things have never occurred”. In an original way, Hélia Correia has followed a practice imported from Anouilh by transferring to Tiresias (who is “outside the action”) the role that the French playwright attributed in an admittedly technical way to the character of the Prologue (see, above, p. 73–74). The focus that Anouilh gives to the identity of each character – attentive to the essential innovation that he wishes to introduce – is diverted in Hélia Correia to the auditorium, the new consumer of a spectacle that is alien to it and, at first sight, far removed from its immediate experiences. Once this context has been set up for the tendencies and the female actions, all the author’s attention is concentrated on the figure of Antigonethe-woman. A set of experiences gradually define a childhood, an adolescence, the taste of exile, a contour of family relations, the dream of marriage, the growth and learning of a human creature who stands up against sterility, abnormality, insecurity and emptiness, till she becomes an inconvenient problematic presence that evokes an unfortunate past, offering the face of maladjustment.10 10

The life trajectory that Lasso de la Vega (1981) 22–23 underlines in various contemporary adaptations of Greek myths, from Anouilh onwards, has great vigour in Perdição.

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Once the portrait has been defined, we are before an Antigone that opposes the sovereign will of the king, family and city. This Antigone is not a heroine, fulfilling her duty to the gods or to higher principles, alone because she has an unusual or even unique determination;11 nor is she even the daughter of an accursed family, who retains, beyond the crimes committed by each of her relatives, an unbreakable respect for the demands of blood; this new Antigone is simply the fruit of a frustrating experience, which destroys her soul hour by hour, leaving her alone because she resents everything and everyone, and because of that hatred, capable of unshakeable rebellion.12 What appears to some people to be “a family fixation”13 in the Sophoclean play, in the sense of constant solidarity with her kind, is in Perdição the cause of a psychological malformation, which isolates her and causes her to be detested by everyone. Hélia Correia herself, commenting on the character she has created, expressively recognises: Finalmente deixei de a tratar com cerimónia. Ela, que sempre fora a heroína a quem eu dedicara temor e gratidão pelo longe que estava dos meus dias, com as suas convicções e o seu atrevimento. Se alguma vez voltasse os olhos para mim, eu baixaria os meus, dizendo: “Non sum digna”. Com aquela coragem que parecia tão simples, tinha-se colocado para sempre entre nós e as grandes atitudes. Até que a vim a conhecer

11

12 13

It may even constitute the essential feature of this rewriting, focusing on the heroine’s development, which can only lead to paradigmatic rebelliousness. The Portuguese text thus fulfils the same proportion that Mee-Foley (2011) 43–44 identify as Anouilh’s great innovation: “Anouilh’s play lays the ground for a more sympathetic treatment of Creon and a more illogical and self-defeating Antigone in later productions”. At the same time, this central option of Hélia Correia may embody the range of preferences that Camacho Rojo (2012) 24 identifies in Zambrano, La tumba de Antígona: “what is questioned is the femininity, the maternity, the order of the city, the father”. Thus, these bring together what appear to be the two great contemporary sources for the Portuguese author, Anouilh and Zambrano. The Sophoclean heroine’s superiority is not, however, without a certain excess, which has led some commentators to stress Antigone’s guilt. In addition to the determination required for fulfilment of her duty, the young woman, according to Pulquério (1987) 36, “is inebriated with a vague prospect of martyrdom”. This inebriation gives rise to a coldness, a stubbornness, a rigidity matched by that of her opponent, Creon, which competes to the depth of the disaster. Adams (1955) 48 also stresses the heroine’s lack of sophrosyne, demarcated from the prologue by the contrast with Ismene. This tendency for rebelliousness is, in Hélia Correia, a valuing of the main characteristic of Anouilh’s protagonist. Adams (1955) 50.

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ainda menina, ainda emudecida pelo terror, quando a tragédia se abateu sobre a família e ela se limitou a socorrer o pai, a ser o guia, o amparo daquele cego. Vi-a a chorar, sem fala. E, apesar de saber que anos mais tarde ela estaria transformada naquela personagem cuja estatura sempre me assustara, comecei a amá-la como se ama uma filha, devagarinho e a chamá-la para mim. E a sua tragédia era outra tragédia: uma ansiedade de rapariguinha. Vivia rodeada de mulheres, receando a velhice das mu­ lheres. À distância, podia avistar o Cítero, ouvir os gritos das bacantes que dançavam na porcaria e na exterminação. E, como nesse tempo eu estive muito perto – tive-a por assim dizer, ao colo todas as noites – pude espreitar para o lado nunca exposto do seu coração de órfã. Limitei-me a escrever o que nele achei. (I finally stopped treating her ceremoniously, she who had always been the heroine for whom I had felt awe and gratitude given her distance from my time, with her convictions and her daring. If she had once turned her eyes to me, I would have lowered mine, saying: “Non sum digna”. With that courage that appeared so simple, she had positioned herself for ever between us and grand attitudes. This was until I got to know her as a girl, still dumb with terror, when the tragedy decimated her family, and she limited herself to helping her father, being the guide and support for that blind old man. I saw her cry speechlessly. And despite knowing that years later she would be transformed into the character whose stature had always scared me, I began to love her as one loves a daughter, slowly, calling her to me. And her tragedy was another tragedy: a yearning of a very young girl. She lived surrounded by women, fearing the old age of women. In the distance, she could see Cithaeron, hear the cries of the bacchae that danced in the mess and in the extermination. And, as if I was very close to that time – I nursed it, so to speak, every night – I could glimpse the hidden part of her orphan heart. I limited myself to writing down what I found there.14) Seeking another intimacy with Antigone, Hélia Correia creates a multifaceted portrait in which the daughter of Oedipus reveals herself to us face to face. Two memories of infancy come to the fore, one of the Nurse, and the other of 14

This “exchange of impressions” or affirmation of a familiarity with Antigone, which becomes a starting point for another reading resulting from this same intimacy, echoes identical words by María Zambrano in the introduction to her own rewriting of the same myth, La tumba de Antígona (Senderos (1986) 8).

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a little dog, both representing the desire for affection and protection that are so essential for stable growth. The child turns to the animal as if it were the reference for all affection: the object of constant love, even during the sterility of exile (“Throughout my whole time in exile, I found myself thinking of her, wishing her well”, 22); the safe haven where all fears come to an end, by the simple touch of a caress in the midst of the petrifying iciness of loneliness (“At night, amidst the terror, amongst the stony graves, I would remember her. I would see her jumping, trying to reach my face”, 23); the right protection, necessary for life, which she fears losing as in indispensable mainstay (“So I was afraid they would treat her badly”, 23). But this good side of the child Antigone, which aspired to healthy growth, was condemned to destruction; for the little dog disappeared, through the nurse’s neglect. Amongst the dead, voices now echo to correct this version with the truth. Neglect, no, it was the intention to kill, to annihilate the sweetness of a child’s soul in the form of simple love for a dog. Why? Antigone asks herself. “I can’t understand why”. And the gratuitous cruelty of this act is exacerbated by the Nurse’s uncertainty about the motives: “It seems that it bit me, or something like that” (24), an excuse that vaguely justifies the murderous destiny. Besides the dog, the Nurse too brings the memory of the warmth of home, the protection of the nest that is so indispensable for the child lost in the paths of absence: the comfort of a plate of food, the happy security of a friendly lap. This woman embodies maternity, the deferred presence of the mother, which, for being deferred, is false;15 it is true that she fulfilled her functions scrupulously: “I raised you. I didn’t sleep so 15

Of the conventional features of the relationship between the Nurse and the Lady in Greek tragedy (see, above, p. 77–78, 81–82), Hélia Correia gives importance to the latent conflict between the genetic bond, which the mother represents, and the affective link, constructed throughout growth, where the Nurse, for various reasons (indifference or absence), usurps the mother. This animosity between the two women is more in the line of the Aeschylan version of the Nurse of Orestes in the Libation Bearers. Towards the lady, none of them function as an example of the dedicated sympathetic slave woman, but as a counterpoint in what makes them truly rivals: the maternal experience. It is to accentuate this conflict that Hélia Correia is concerned to give the slave woman a certain autonomy in her life, including in her relationship with the lord and her experience as mother. The physical connection that exists between the slave woman and the sovereign is defined in Perdição in accordance with a model that cuts across other texts by the same author in which the motif reappears (33): “And all the maid servants, the young women, one by one, will spend a certain night by the body of the lord. Without thinking there was any glory or joy in that. It is the job of the slave woman, like any other”. As for the experience of motherhood, it is, in the case of this slave, a paradox. She was unable to give her own children the natural attention that she had to give, out of obligation, to the children of others (24).

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that I could rock you. You suckled at my breast” (24). But the congenital bond is missing, where her own frustration now reigns: “I could not do that to my own children. Jocasta did not want them near” (24). And if childish joy sometimes sought to break resentments and stimulate healthy spontaneous play – “I was very young, at that time. And I would dance about with you in my arms. (…) You would giggle a lot. You tugged at my clothes. I would hold you in my hands and whirl about with you in the air, as if you were flying” (24–25) –, her real mother’s jealousy never allowed the healthy spontaneous joy to last, for she too was victim of twisted emotions: “Jocasta would get furious at that” (24). With the curse of time, this Nurse acquired the contours of a true embodiment of Destiny, apparently ready to follow Antigone relentlessly, vulnerable to outside animosities, which pricked in her protégée the darkest sides of her character, who only feels her mission to be accomplished when the final hour arrives. Even when she is amongst the dead, she still remains attentive, to ensure the fulfilment of her role until the curtain comes down.16 As mother and wife, Jocasta in the Portuguese text embodies the image of frustration. The most elementary tasks required by motherhood are delegated, as we have seen, to an anonymous paid employee, who becomes a kind of surrogate in an act of unsuccessful childrearing. Distant but attentive,

16

Although the inclusion of this figure very probably derived from the suggestion of Anouilh, her Portuguese recreation is undoubtedly full of novelty. As Vandromme (1975) 15 observes about the essential characteristics of the French version of the Nurse: “The Nurse revives the distant past, that which Antigone inhabits constantly. A persistent, irreducible fidelity to childhood is manifested through her. She is a most solid link: something obstinate, intransigent, but also something sweet, warm, tender”. It is undoubtedly this warm sentimentality that is missing in Hélia Correia, as a result of the personal frustration suffered by her Nurse. For this reason, her relationship with the childhood of her protégée is not “devotion” as much as an obstinate “obligation”. It is also important to recall how, with regard to the Nurse, there is between Zambrano and Hélia Correia a clear approximation (see, above, p. 101. López and Pociña argue that both authors based their character on the same French model): in the first case, Antigone counts on the passage of the Nurse through her tomb, which reunites the two figures beyond life, as occurs in Hélia Correia. But Trueba Mira (2012) 141 also underlines the special “epithets” that, in different manuscripts, Zambrano applies to the characters of her Tumba: “Antigone-living” “Mother-shadow”, “Ismene-dreamed”, “Oedipus-dead”, “Creonshadow”, “Haemon-dead”, “Ana, the nurse – dead, alive”, “Polynices-dead”, “Eteocles-dead” are terms used in M-343. These attributes make each of them a player in a game between life and death. This oscillating relationship of each character with death and life is also evident as a term of inspiration not only for Hélia Correia but also for Eduarda Dionísio; see, below, Chapter 17.

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Jocasta showed, rather than a mother’s love, a watchful jealousy, which became a source of constant uncomfortable irritability. She gets furious with the Nurse, whom she sees as a rival for her husband and children’s affections. At her death, nothing remained for the orphans and for those that had taken over the role of caring for them, with the taste of having lost a much-missed mother; Jocasta began to exist as a memory, cold, jealous, unpleasant, though covetous of her daughter’s affections (the only ones mentioned in Perdição). Then came exile, causing a rupture with everything that was joyful and secure. It was Oedipus, scared and insecure, that breached the stability of the palace, as if attracting a plague to the household. From the fear of so many accumulated crimes came the accusation, sentence and banishment. Alongside the failure of the maternal action within the family, the lack of tenderness that should have surrounded a happy childhood, there was now another failure, that of the father figure, whose role as provider of strength and protection was also let down. The honours that surrounded him as vanquisher of the Sphinx, the reward of the throne and the hand of the queen due to the hero, the triumphal procession that accompanied his entry into Thebes are already only a distant fleeting recollection. There remains the memory of a slight tremor of the hands, announcing the defeat reserved for the condemned. Later, in that accursed hour, where there had once been many hands raised in applause, now only one stretched out to him, that of a fragile little girl, overcome with filial devotion: “And then, in a turn of destiny, when all the evils fell upon him, no one, except myself, held out their hand to him” (25). But this was no longer a little girl fulfilling a duty, guided by the bright star of revenge. Because this other Antigone does not speak of love, but of hate,17 the gods she venerates are terrible, heinous, violent, but the only ones that have given her protection and the will to survive. The dead heroine recklessly pulls from her memory the pestilent image of the old blind man, revealing the aversion that she felt for him: “I recall so well the nights in exile. My father’s eyes were running with pus. I hated kissing him. I would hide till I stopped throwing up” (26).18 This is the first direct contact that Antigone has with the world of men: moral and 17 18

Hélia seems to challenge the famous line uttered by Sophocles’ Antigone (523), “I was not born to hate, I was born to love”. That sentimental and physical proximity that exile gives Antigone with relation to her father could arouse in some commentators (see Ramond (2010) 49) a suspicion of incest, of which the princess, through the proximity with her parents, would be the main heir out of all the children of the royal house of Thebes. The physical disgust that replaces the possible proximity in this version establishes an interesting dialogue with a certain interpretative current of the old myth.

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physical defeat, which generates unprotection and disgust. But that world that opened to her away from the reservation of home imprinted other indelible images on her mind: “That sweat of men. The wine that dribbled down their golden beards” (27); the brutality surging on a vague murmur of heroism that is no more than a simple illusion: “They smooth their beards and are pallid under the effect of wine, for a short moment. Then I hear something inside them, a herd of horses, a clamour. It is their blood singing, remembering the wars” (27). A cruel loneliness is becoming this young woman’s most loyal companion, at home as on the unpredictable paths through life. Her suffering alongside her exiled father silences duty and affection, giving way to a tremendous physical reaction to the disgusting pus of misfortune. Thus, the adolescent that returns to her home and family, and who is confronted with the world of normality, is estranged, to the extent that no one recognises her behind the weight of hard memories, unable to rid herself of the burden of a distorted experience and to smile like any girl of her age. How to recover the sweet colours of youth after having been an “animal” (27)? “I imagined you laughing and joking, and I would see you go off to the stream to bathe, early in the morning, and returning suntanned and adorned with reeds, just like your sister and the other girls” (26); this Eurydice’s sigh is no more successful than the Nurse’s accusing finger: “What has she got to say to you? Only that you bother her, that you awaken bad memories with your air of victim. I’m tired of it too. You tire everyone” (28). Could there be water enough to wash away so much pain and all that dirt that stains body and soul? “You smell bad” – that is the condemnation facing this Antigone, who returns to bother all those that are near to her, each in their own way. Haemon appears in Antigone’s life as an impassioned suitor, but he too is unable to bring a drop of sentiment to his love. It is instinct that preponderates in this young man’s aspirations, which does nothing to refute the male brutality with which the young woman had lived in exile. Haemon’s passion is commanded by his eyes, for it is an irrational physical passion that dares all: “You have to be my wife. Or my concubine. By law or by force. I am determined to have you. (…) – Would you be capable of forcing me, against my will? – I would be capable of anything just to have you” (31). The relationship of which they both dream is fiery, devoid of preconceptions, experienced in the adventure and distance of dream,19 unstable and unpredictable. Recalling it, from 19

Hélia Correia seems to work Anouilh’s suggestion that had already created a corresponding meeting scene between Antigone and Haemon. In the French version, Antigone loves Haemon and dreams of marrying him; she is even available for a romantic meeting on the night before her infraction. Simply her refusal of “normality” of human relations does not

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the distant realms of the beyond, Antigone stresses the fleetingness of it, the uncertainty, which left her with an extinguished memory: “I think I was happy with Haemon. However, I can’t remember his face. Nor his voice” (31–32). Neither is Haemon able to undo in his beloved the image of male weakness, as manifested by her father’s tremors in the exercise of power, or in the debacle of warriors overcome by the vapours of alcohol, in the darkness of taverns. This is a prince that spends his days spying on girls in the river, to satisfy his instincts, awaiting only the opportunity to take over a throne that others have left vacant by frenzied fratricide. However, Oedipus’ daughter has extracted from this adventure with Haemon a vestige of happiness, though she is not even allowed this; each of Antigone’s gestures in this return to her family is felt as a nuisance and rejected. Not so long ago her image of torment and memory of past suffering bothered everyone; now it is her smile of joy, which Haemon’s love has caused, that opens wounds, in her sister, betrothed to the same fiancé, who feels “disrespected, offended by humiliation” (32). Antigone makes a serious effort in the name of happiness; she wants to learn the art of being happy through the experience of the older women; a series of blows against Ismene who “folds into herself. As if something hurt inside her” (33). What was the purpose of this conflict? Ultimately, what a disappointment this promised happiness proved to be. Lacking the company of friends of her age, with whom she could have learned about life under the cloak of a dream that would only later reveal the disillusionment, Antigone, bereft of friendships, has to take refuge in the experienced disappointment of older women. This is a painful way of learning about life without even the stimulus of youthful fantasies. Saddened, Eurydice fulfils her maternal role of satisfying the young woman’s curiosity, unveiling the eternal routine that awaits her, so out of keeping with the yearning of her womanly body and heart. “It is a shadow. You stretch out your hand but there is nothing there to grab. Girl, your life will be spent amongst looms, cupboards and the fireplace, between the monthly bleeding and the bleeding of ­childbirth, governing amongst servants” (33). Then, the boredom of the husband, who seeks in a slave or a concubine, even in a young boy, the rebellious awakening of a allow her to go ahead, and for this reason, even this rag of humanity and pleasure has no effect. Hélia Correia seems to reduce to a single characteristic what in Anouilh was more elaborate, composing a richer character for the young prince: “He likes dancing, sports, competition; he likes women, too” (4); there is some urbane elegance and delicacy in Anouilh’s Haemon, which has disappeared from the Portuguese version, leaving a broad space for sensuality.

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vague emotion. Because man gives no more attention to the wife that lies by his side than a distracted outstretched arm, as his thought plunges into the vortex of a thousand adventures and expeditions from where he extracts the male taste for victory. It is Dionysus who responds to the disillusionment to which the inevitable divorce between the sexes leads, the salvation that female disillusionment seeks, in the desire of responding to the inevitable yearnings of her nature. This is woman’s secret refuge, confronted with the machinery of the routine, set up by men in society, which crushes her life. Thus, in Perdição a kind of female Dionysian cycle is completed. The god that the Bacchae celebrated as the expression of their natural yearnings penetrates Antigone’s life, now that she has the premature experience of an adult woman, an experience unfortunately known before its time, before the illusions of the green years, which she has never known, could protect her heart with the memory of happy days, after the door has banged shut, fatally, in disillusionment. The created being that is offered to us is a deformed creature, unable to be corrected, that can only be altered by a return to the point of departure. This truth is acknowledged by Eurydice: “If only I could allow you to be born again. To bring you up slowly. To be pained and proud to see you acquire the body and the idea of a woman. And to love you” (37). It is Tiresias who bridges the passage from the female to the male, with his comment about war, like a metamorphosis into blood paste of the dust kicked up under the feet of the horses. Crowns and profits are the prizes for danger, in this voluptuous vertiginous world, “which only the men are allowed to know” (40). Discretely defined beforehand, the male world now becomes a priority. And this is the moment when the figure of Creon begins to assert itself as the paradigm. He has a regal dignity, expressed in the conventional splendour of his cloak, and also in his concern to silence all contestation or rivalry to his power. He is exhausted by the inconveniences of governing, and dreams of an anarchic utopia where each person could break the law without disturbing those whose mission is to defend it (42–43); the only thing he enjoys about the position is the arrogance of the title, stripped of the unpleasant consequences of its exercise. He has no control over the city and his family. War has left him impotent, and he would prefer his family to die in order to release him from the difficult task of commanding it. In his view, society, to be coherent and calm, in passive submission to his authority, brings no family conditions or sentiments. Only after the excessive passions that had condemned the Labdacids have been silenced by death can Creon finally enjoy commanding Thebes calmly. Nomos is imposed in this new vision of the world as a rational factor, antagonistic to instinct, nature or passion, responsible for a conception of earthly

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paradise that reality does not allow to survive. What do the people expect from their governor20? (41) Criado – Prosperidade e paz. E, é claro, um exército de luxo que brilhe ao longe e assuste os inimigos a ponto de os desanimar do ataque. Creonte – Uma terra onde corra leite e mel. E se rebentem os tonéis de vinho nas manhãs consagradas a Dioniso. Onde as mulheres se esqueçam do delírio que agora as faz errar pelo Citéron, como cabras à lua. Onde a história da Esfinge e destes mortos seja contada finalmente como história, com o imenso alívio que isso dá. (Servant – Prosperity and peace. And, of course, a luxury army that shines from far away and scares enemies from attacking. Creon – A land of milk and honey. What if the vats of wine should rupture on a morning consecrated to Dionysus. Where the women forget the delirium that now causes them to wander over Cithaeron, like she-goats in the moonlight. Where the history of the Sphinx and these dead people is finally told as history, with the great relief that this brings.) However, this emotionless Eden is condemned to failure, because soon boredom will arrive, accompanied by contestation. Like Oedipus, who received the applause due to the hero with a slight trembling of hands, Creon accepts power with a ferocious bellyache, which no infusion can assuage. A constant fear of threats poisons that social order that he fantasises about. From the mouth of a soldier comes the news of the disobedience, the blow to his male authority. As in Sophocles, Antigone is a solitary dissonant 20

These are the new terms that Creon finds to design the backstage of politics, those that result in an appearance of normality and order. Anouilh’s Creon was more scathing by revealing to Antigone how the different funerals of her two brothers was no more than a deception, because after all the bodies were mixed up, or to caricature the emptiness of the homage rituals, a simple convention that is quickly satisfied with indifference. In Hélia, the same character nevertheless lost some consistency; he does not argue, he takes refuge in indolence or inertia, and the position he occupies makes him into a simple actor. This is clearly a variation constructed on what García Sola (2009) 262 defines the sovereign of Anouilh: “Creon is the best Creon possible: he does not have a good role, but one that is less bad. He is indulgent, and also human. He is in power, against everything that he wanted or wished, he doesn’t like it, he has no ambition but is there because he has to play his part. He does not have grand ideas about the state, but wants to withdraw from history of the eloquence of the orators of politics”.

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voice in contesting royal arbitrariness. All the citizens approve the edict. For this reason, attentions converge on her and her act, with each person putting forward their own interpretation. Who, in fact, is this heroine Antigone? Only what each wishes to see in her, the sum of all the reasons that could have impelled her act. And in that act is projected each facet of that soul that we have seen grow before our eyes, suffering, empty, twisted. It is not in the transcendent world that we can find justification for Antigone’s act, nor in true fraternal affection, but within the depths of this strange woman, which each person reads in their own way. We are far from the security and grandeur of a confrontation between two strong and opposing wills, in the Sophoclean mould. The dialogue that is installed here is a kind of psychological evaluation, which tends above all to probe secret motives and reasons of the soul. With the emptying of the demand for universal law or the reasons of the state, the traditional conflict between Antigone and Creon is, in a way, reduced to a gender controversy, to the fear of female ascendancy in society or the transfer of prerogatives, bringing in its wake the fearful risk of anarchy. Ismene, who is fond of order and social convention, identifies more with Creon’s branch of the family than with her own, which brought turmoil to the house of the Labdacids, inexhaustible source of all destruction. To her, full of resentment because of Antigone’s rivalry for Haemon’s love, her sister’s act seems like madness, the insatiable desire to impose herself through scandal, to draw attention to herself: “There she goes, as she always wanted to be: the centre of attention, wearing a slight smile of scorn” (46–47); forgiving her will mean frustrating that objective, reducing her to anonymity, the hardest of all punishments: “Pardon her, my uncle, spoil the spectacle effect; that will be the most lasting punishment” (47).21 Between the two sisters there is nothing more than unconscious essential rivalry, dug by the nature that created them so different and so profoundly distant from each other. Life has done no more than exacerbate that distance, and the rebel princess sees in her sister a detestable conformism with everything that is repugnant to her. For this reason, when Antigone, from the beyond, remembers Ismene, she wonders, without finding an answer to her perplexity: “What did I feel for Ismene? Do you remember Ismene?” (47).

21

In the appreciation of Ismene, she figures what Taquin (1998) 51 calls the “tragic histrionism” of Antigone, her desire to take a role that satisfies her yearnings for rebellion and impose her to general applause.

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Eurydice too implores Creon to pardon Antigone, though this time through sympathy, and a vague sense of responsibility for the failed product of her quasi maternal love. She tries to enhance Antigone’s motives: piety and courage were what led her to sacrifice herself for the memory of her brother, the notion of duty that could not be evaded, though it incurred madness. In this rebelliousness, Eurydice perceives the retarded contestation of the child that did not have the opportunity to impose its natural stubbornness at the appropriate time: “She did not have a carefree childhood. This was, in some way, her game” (48).22 The servant, who perhaps echoes a popular (and certainly male) opinion sees in Antigone’s act only the result of a politically wrong order. If Creon had not wanted to impose himself by the letter of the law, then perhaps the contestation would not have occurred, as it was not possible to predict that someone would have been interested in the fate of a traitor’s corpse. In total keeping with this perspective, the king recognises that the purpose of the edict was demagogic, to manifest the people’s support of their leader; only, like all political coups, it brought risks that were not possible to prevent. What could Antigone have wanted with her opposition? To show hatred to him? Offend him? Or might it not have been simply the hysterical attitude of an insecure soul that needed to “undergo exorcisms and some whippings to expel the demons that inhabited her”? (48). Whatever, the truth was that family reasons and female imponderability were mixed with political interests to aggravate the situation: “Yes, you don’t understand that things are becoming even more complicated for my niece? It would be difficult to pardon a stranger when the most important thing at this very serious moment is to show inflexible authority!” (48). Finally, Antigone herself, like Anouilh’s model, seems to have difficulty justifying herself. Her words are more ambiguous than any other. Her act was merely “something that had to be done” (46); as happened previously with her father, Oedipus, she had been motivated by a vague sense of piety for her brother, though accompanied by a tremendous physical repugnance: “Thus Polynices’ body, already green and foul-smelling, summoned me. A poor corpse of a man that called for the grave, that called for the earth to undo it” (46). Eurydice’s belated solidarity irritates her, perhaps because she realises that it is a useless 22

Through Eurydice, who, out of maternal instinct, relates Antigone’s adult behaviour with the child’s frustrations or with the desire to live now what a disturbed childhood had not allowed her to live at the right time, Hélia takes up a strong motif in Anouilh: that of Antigone’s persistence to save the pure illusions of her childhood; see, above, p. 82, 85.

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inopportune reparation: “Don’t push yourself to understand me or to diminish my failings. Your affection and tenderness only irritate me” (48). Used to loneliness and coldness, the young woman refuses the intrusion of sentiment that is no longer adjusted to her experience and smacks of hypocrisy and remorse. From Hades, Antigone´s shadow does not renege this reaction against family solidarity: “I think more of Eurydice. I was irritated by her motherly manner” (48). Finally, in rejecting Creon’s hesitation, for he is unable to condemn someone of his own blood, despite everything, Antigone seems to complete the portrait of herself; unsure of her convictions, but despite everything, sensitive to the pleasure of loneliness and danger, to which life has uninterruptedly accustomed her. This is how the Nurse interprets the outcome of this ponderation: “There goes Antigone as she always wanted to be. Alone and threatened, on a battle field” (50).23 Evaluating the multiple reasons justifying the clash between Creon, king, man and relative, and Antigone, solitary young woman, wounded, angry, and sensitive (despite everything) to the call of blood, everyone seeks a solution to the conflict.24 What could be evoked to shake Antigone’s will? A neutral harmony that pleases Ismene’s weak spirit? The desire to save an almost destroyed family from total extinction? Love for Eurydice, who has been more of a mother to her than her own mother? Only the Nurse, always representing destiny, opposes the chorus of voices calling for salvation: “The route back was wiped out under her feet” (51). Antigone makes herself heard over the top of her so as not to leave to destiny only the solution of her existence. In an affirmation of her own will, which preserves some grandeur or psychological verisimilitude for her, the young woman retorts: “What do you think of me? Will I be so weak in my decisions?” (51). But Eurydice does not escape the firmness of this a­ nnihilating force, the Nurse, who throughout has conditioned the existence of a soul: “You are her work, Antigone. She used you and she will lose

23 24

As in Anouilh, Hélia makes it clear that intransigence may work as a dangerous virtue, despite all its briliance and attraction. In Sophocles, the idea of saving Antigone is considered given the clear signs of the gods’ disagreement. Amongst men, the idea that the conflict is not personal but about principles, interests or authority, excludes the possibility of evaluating the question in relation to the victim herself. Creon does not have anything personal against Antigone, but is against what her act means in terms of lack of submission or revolt. The personal perspective that Hélia Correia accentuates places the problem of salvation on an entirely human and individual scale. Thus the ponderation that the situation suggests is conducive to a family debate.

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you. How,  why and for what I do not know” (52). The victim herself recognises this from beyond: “You followed me into death in order to be certain that I would not go back” (52). Vigilant, and seductive as a mermaid’s song, it is she who quietens Antigone´s fears and forces her to choose death. Fear is joined by the voluptuousness of contact with an unknown world, which seems like the fear of a virgin before the imminence of nuptials, or like the attraction of the Bacchae for the ugly laughing god that maddens them: “A shock, a panic terror, a blinding light that hurts, before losing consciousness” (53). “That is dying” (53) – shouts the Nurse, or living, counterpoints the Bacchic experience of Eurydice. A male suggestion for Antigone’s salvation comes from the voice of Haemon. The game of sentiments or the appeal to emotivity is absent here; his concerns are political; it is important only to maintain an appearance of strength and order. None of the parties is asked to stand down, both will keep up an exterior of persistence; only behind the scenes, everything will be arranged so that the victim can be saved. With the blow negotiated jointly, to be perpetrated by a third party, no one will come out of it injured or with a loss of prestige. This is Haemon given over to the dictates of passion – which in Sophocles only existed in the irritated imagination of the tyrant, disposed to give way to the female impertinence, magnified by an enormous cynicism in the suggestions that he makes to disguise a real fracture in the power of his father, the sovereign, by using masks. Only for Antigone is there no salvation; by now, this does not depend on the will of those that surround her but on her own personality. There is no place in this world for this creature that life made different and ill-adapted; her very exceptionality condemns her: “No man would satisfy her now”, the Nurse acknowledges. And Antigone confirms this, echoing: “No man. And no house. And no litter of children to raise. Days after days, days always. Till I grow old. With tenderness and resentments floating aimlessly inside my heart. With my entrails burning, increasingly alone” (55). But if the nomos does not fit her yearnings, the truth is that Antigone’s very female physis is different from the pattern that Eurydice, the voice of experience, gives to the paradigm. Not even the escape that Dionysus patronizes offers a chance of equilibrium or compensation for the young woman: “I will not have to flee to the clearings and roll about on the ground to enjoy myself far from you. As she enjoyed herself far from Creon” (55). Stripped of all human characteristics, inspired in male or female motifs, what remains of Antigone is a monster, unreconcilable for men and therefore condemned to destruction. All the voices are unanimous in condemning her: “She had everything the wrong way round in her head”; “She would stay awake at night and sleep by day”; “She respected nothing” (56).

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Even the victim herself wonders in painful conclusion: “Could I have lived with them, borne that peace…?” (56).25 Already diluted in the shadow of the beyond, she who could not live is lost for ever to the living. Antigone’s last thought is of the little dog – “I still remember her. My little dog…” (56) –, a vague promise of normality that destiny – that cruel Nurse – killed at the outset.

25

The comment that Monférier (1947) 22 makes about Anouilh’s Antigone is also appropriate for Hélia Correia’s version of the same figure: “The tragedy begins when the heroes, who are by definition confined to loneliness, judge that they can request of love the realization of their ideal. As they are not ensnared (…), nor undergo the wear and tear of time, they have no other recourse than death, the only one capable of projecting into eternity the instant without a tomorrow”.

chapter 17

A Brief “Antigone”: Eduarda Dionísio’s Antes que a noite venha (Before the Night Comes) Maria de Fátima Silva In 1992, Eduarda Dionísio1 published Antes que a noite venha (Before the night comes), in which Antigone appears in a series of monologues as one of four famous heroines from stories of love and death alongside Juliet, Inês da Castro2 and Medea in a series of monologues.3 1 Eduarda Dionísio, a Portuguese secondary school teacher, has maintained a constant relationship with professional and university theatre groups in the city of Lisbon, as well as developing interesting activities in fields of art (in joint exhibitions 1965, 1968) and literature (as a writer and critic). She co-founded the Contra-Regra theatre group. A well-known author of various fictional works between 1972 and 1993, she has made brief incursions into the theatrical text. Perhaps for having been associated with both textual production and the stage experience, Eduarda Dionísio expresses herself with as much vehemence about the multidimensional experience of spectacle, where the words are no more than one material out of many others that are equally important. Antes que a noite venha was conceived as a response to the challenge raised by actor Adriano Luz, whose project presupposed the creation of a spectacle that could include four actresses from his circle of friends: Luísa Cruz, Rita Blanco (who played the role of Antigone), Maria João Luís and Márcia Breia. The result was performed in 1992 in the Bairro Alto Theatre with the support of the company Cornucópia. Written for a particular mise-en-scène and for particular actresses, Antes que a noite venha was not aiming to be a theatrical text but rather a text for the theatre (12). 2 Inês de Castro is the Portuguese contribution to the list of famous heroines, protagonists of episodes of love and death. From Galicia, this lady of the Castilian court came to Portugal in the entourage of Dona Constança, who was betrothed to the heir of the Portuguese throne, the future D. Pedro i (14th century). However, between Pedro and Inês there developed an incontrollable love, which, for political reasons, led to her assassination upon the orders of D. Afonso iv, the reigning monarch. This episode from Portuguese history, with its romantic potential, has been converted into a veritable national “myth”, which has given rise to many artistic and literary versions, including the tragedy A Castro by António Ferreira (1587) and another tragedy in five acts, A nova Castro (The new Castro), by the Neoclassicist João ­Baptista Gomes Júnior (end of the 18th century). 3 Each of these figures is given three monologues, addressed to interlocutors that have played an essential role in their lives.

© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, ���7 | doi 10.1163/9789004340060_019

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As the author expressly explains, the title Antes que a noite venha does no more than reproduce the name given to the specific performance that was the reason for its conception.4 And it serves merely as a concrete reference to the time the show was scheduled to finish. However, the mythical sense admitted between the lines undoubtedly played a part in the decision to use it as a title. There is a brief allusion to it in the Jornal de Letras of 11–17. 2. 1992, when the work was still in preparation: “The play, which will probably be entitled Before death arrives…” Whether these lines simply allude to the moment when the show would take place, or whether they refer to engagements with that other nightfall that puts an end to the show that is life, they are spoken by the “women of the night”, either because they live a grey existence or because they are dispersed in the ambiguous universe of the nocturnal life. This is the possible reconciliation between the myth, whose symbolism is entrusted to the text, and the reality expressed by the scene in free exuberant strokes. It is this that constitutes the originality of Antes que a noite venha. In a sequence of short chapters which, by way of introduction, precede the text, Eduarda Dionísio makes some important points about the significance of these reinterpretations. Basically, the four women that appear here – Juliet, Antigone, Inês de Castro and Medea – share the bitter taste of tragedy and an ancient ancestry. As such, they are paradigmatic. But time, and the popularity that they have attracted, have created of them another image that has ensured them immortality. This does not come from the circumstance of being models “for the love and death of the sacred monsters that literature has reduced to phrases” (10–11); rather, it was imposed by the “banality that gave them the continuous passage from mouth to mouth, from head to head, from heart to heart”. And it is here, in the quest for this personal interaction with those women that are the eternal symbols of human experience in two primary perspectives, love and death, that Eduarda Dionísio proposes to guide our steps. And because the show is always and mainly in spirit, some force lines from the scenic space are suggested by her from the outset in this same introductory text: Porque é que no kitsh dum toucador barato não se havia de pendurar as cabeleiras das heroínas e os diademas das princesas? Porque é que as gavetas com cheiro a perfume espanhol não haviam de esconder românticos diários de trágicas paixões? (10)

4 (1992) 9.

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(Why shouldn’t heroines’ wigs and princess’s diadems be hung on a kitsch cheap dressing-table? Why shouldn’t drawers smelling of Spanish perfume not hide romantic diaries telling of tragic passions5?) The word of the day is, therefore, “banalize”: the banalization of history, banalizing its meaning and banalizing the scenario. Thus we can arrive, in this case, at a direct and close contact with Antigone-the-woman. Carlos Porto’s commentary on the show (Jornal de Letras 24. 3. 1992) echoes the effect produced by the author herself: Unlike in E. Dionísio’s original, the four intersecting monologues are delivered by other characters that speak to themselves as if addressing someone or something (…). The characters of myths suggest a kind of ritual that identifies and socializes them, the ritual of transformation. Throughout their speeches, they get dressed, make themselves up and do their hair as if preparing for particular functions. They could be four actresses getting ready in the dressing rooms to play the four characters, four women getting ready to go out for the night, or four actresses preparing to play the part of any of the other prostitutes who have spoken texts that identify them with particular myths. Perhaps this is the essential ­raison d’être of this work: the composition of four characters that travel the banks of an endless river between the imponderables of myth and the most obvious of crafts. They are mutating masks. But equally obvious in this project is the inevitable conflict between the text and the mise-en-scène, manifested from the outset. While the text merely reproduces commonplace stories, the show itself is what adds originality, from where perhaps we can draw something to complement our view of the world. That is not to underestimate the merit of the theatrical text: for the words that compose it are useful, indispensable even. But let us not exaggerate their power, because a text would be nothing more than “a simple text” without the props, actors, projectors, music and sound, in short, all the things needed to bring about the miracle that is theatre. Because the text serves the spectacle and the specific one-off conditions of a group of performers and a space with particular characteristics, it does not have to obey a literary standard as 5 This authorial commentary announces a very unconventional aspect of the scene, in marked conflict to the figures involved: rooms in a pension and the atmosphere of a cheap bar – glasses, tobacco, Spanish perfumes and accordion music.

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a ­primary condition, but rather subject itself to the “way of saying”; that is, all the conditions that materialize it. Thus, as Eduarda Dionísio recognises, with reference to the texts she has produced, these are not contaminated by any convention of theatrical writing. Only by identifying the subjects of the speeches with the characters of classical tragedies do they risk entering the family of “dramatic texts”.6 From the outset, we are sure of an intention: while we cannot expect this to be a true adaptation of a classical text (because the whole design of the new text was subject to other conditions), the Antigone that pronounces it continues to be the same old Antigone of classical tragedy, whose words, different from those that Sophocles gives her, nevertheless remain her words, those that come naturally to her. This is not, therefore, a true theatre play. There is no coherent and continuous structural progress, with a prologue, development and dénouement. There are simply four heroines, who intervene autonomously, each one speaking in isolation. In the form of a monologue, they expose the state of their souls, in a perspective that all have in common: their experiences of love and death, how they deal with them, how they bear them.7 Despite the author’s reiterated claims of independence, the new Antigone’s intervention is not insulated from its Hellenic reference, though (for various reasons that will be discussed below), it also seems to have been marked by more recent versions. Of these, María Zambrano’s La tumba de Antígona (The tomb of Antigone), would seem to be one of the most influential. Let us consider some specific aspects that testify to this visible confluence. To begin with, the literary model adopted in the Portuguese version, the monologue, undoubtedly evokes what the Spanish author defines as Antigone’s “ravings” (“delírios”).8 With this exclusive focus on the heroine, and the reduction of the 6 (1992) 12. 7 That is to say, the definition of “dramatic poetry” applied by Camacho Rojo (20) to María ­Zambrano’s creation (which, as we shall see, was particularly influential for Eduarda ­Dionísio’s Antigone) would also completely fit the Portuguese text. 8 Florini (2010) 335; Camacho Rojo (2012) 17. Before composing this theatre play (1948), Zambrano published an essay entitled (1948) O Delírio de Antígona (The ravings of Antigone), which reflects upon the mythical figure, deviating from the Sophoclean model (see pp. 92–5 above on the various essays with which María Zambrano anticipated the composition of her play, manifesting an ancient and continuing interest in the myth of Antigone). Trueba Mira (2012) 28 recapitulates some of the main names which, for its part, Zambrano’s La tumba de Antígona warranted as a genre: “prose account in dialogue”, “long prose poem”. But particularly significant is Zambrano’s claim about her Antigone, justifying a profound divergence from Sophocles (Trueba Mira (2012) 29): “But to manage to fulfil the whole sense contained in this symbolic figure, Antigone has to arrive at words. She had to speak, to make herself

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space to a dialogue with Creon, Oedipus’ daughter acquires absolute centrality, while the tyrant’s role is merely residual. In function of that decision, there is also a correspondence between the two texts as regards the time and dramatic circumstance used: both take place after Antigone has been condemned and is walled-up in the cave waiting for death. But, by forgetting her Sophoclean predecessor’s suicide, the condemned woman this time remains suspended between life and death. As Zambrano pertinently observes,9 her heroine neither commits suicide nor dies, but is “in the confines of life with death”, and for this reason, has the time “to have life and voice” repeatedly, time to reflect and expose her soul from various perspectives. In this suspension, she has time to experience her death, to understand it alongside the life that she never lived, involving her family and the city in her reflections. Monologues and dialogues follow that have Antigone’s tomb as their backdrop. As Camacho Rojo (2012) 19 acknowledges: “With this alteration, the centre of attention about the conflict is largely displaced from the protagonists’ attitude towards the public power to her own sacrifice, motivated by love and piety, which seals the tragic fate of a family marked by incest”. Finally, equally suggestive is the spatial transfer of the action. The scene has moved from the royal palace of Thebes to Antigone’s tomb/cave, a kind of limbo between life and death, where reflections and words acquire the purity of distance between the two extreme poles of existence, in order to seek a meaning. While Zambrano’s character remembers Ismene, the sister that wanted to accompany her (but was rejected), and the gallery of relatives that she encountered throughout her days – Oedipus, Jocasta, the Nurse, her brothers, ­Haemon, Creon –, in Eduarda Dionísio’s text, Antigone’s trajectory is recalled in three moments, the three monologues addressed respectively to her “resigned sister”, “(not)forgotten lover” and “dead brother”. It is Antigone’s personal life, in its climactic aspects, that is reflected off the nature of these addressees in a sequence that remains faithful to the classical model. The sister, the lover and the dead brother naturally reflect Antigone’s affective bonds: the quest for security within the ruined house of Oedipus, with a sister that bends under the weight of destiny, and who does not respond to her appeal; the search for love, glimpsed in the mention of a lover, but immediately diverted before the imposition raised by the corpse of a brother, which c­ onsciousness, thought”. This is the resource upon which the three monologues of Eduarda Dionísio’s Antigone are based, which we have highlighted as significant in the author’s conception. By extension, Zambrano’s model will be in Antes que a noite venha, applied to all the traditional heroines that have a voice in it. 9 Senderos (1986) 264.

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is also the weight of the accursed destiny that crushes a house condemned to extinction. Antigone tries the route of normality and personal fulfilment, but eventually surrenders to her fate. Her overwhelming concern is with her family; her struggle unfolds in the name of domestic union, in life but above all in death. Each of Antigone’s potential interlocutors is anonymous in the text; she is therefore not addressing herself to individuals, but rather to paradigmatic members of an authentic or promised family.10 To her sister Antigone repeats an insistent anguished question (35–36), “Do you hear, sister?”, “Can you hear, sister?”, “Are you still hearing me, sister?”.11 Receiving no answer to her insistent appeal (for neither her own monologue nor the situation in which she finds herself, removed from life, is conducive to this) her irremediable loneliness is enhanced; that sister, who represents the domestic solidarity ensured by shared blood, does not respond.12 The advice of moderation and prudence that her predecessor offered to counter ­Antigone’s exaltation, though to which she was deaf or resistant, is now replaced by ­Ismene’s simple silence. But perhaps this attitude has this time a sense of silent complicity, which is not the same as the incomprehension consecrated by Sophocles; because it is that sister who, like in one of Zambrano’s climactic moments,13 Antigone takes as witness, confiding in her about how she washed and disposed of her brother’s remains. 10

11

12

13

Perhaps for this reason, “the dead brother” in that Antigone’s mind is only Polynices, whose burial preoccupies the young woman and who is also the centre of her affections. But, in his anonymity, the dead brother does not exclude Eteocles, within a generic symbolism of family bonds. The truth is that the cause of the brother’s death does not interest the Portuguese monologue; while in the Greek text both children of Oedipus – the traitor and the patriot – are for Antigone worthy of similar honours in death. About identical questions, made in the same tone by Zambrano’s Antigone (175–177, 184), Trueba Mira (2012) 49 comments that “they resound in the emptiness of the tomb like the image of their own emptiness”. In the third scene of Zambrano’s text, a “dialogue” is established between Antigone and her sister, a false dialogue because Ismene here has no voice. This is a scene that the Spanish author has expressively entitled “The sister’s dream”. Zambrano’s Antigone, still addressing the light, says (Trueba Mira (2012) 177): “And now you have come to tell me something, light of the sun? If in the end you make yourself heard, if you give me that word, a single one, that manages to go directly to the bottom of my heart, where, as I now know, no word, not even one from my own judgement, or my sister’s, nor love, has ever reached”. Thus marks the same oppressive silence that affected the Portuguese Antigone while she too was walled up. We should recall the information given by Trueba Mira (2012) 141 (see, above, p. 95–6) about the names used by Zambrano for Antigone’s interlocutor, by their flagrant similarity with the titles used here: “Ismene-dreamed”, “Haemon-dead”, “Polynices-dead”.

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Used to the misfortune and death that have dogged her family, the Antigone that is defined here lives largely through her senses, which enables her to perceive the presence of the earth as a constant threat of suffering and death. In the gloom of the cavern, she feels the heat of the sun outside, the warmth of a life that she is no longer allowed to live.14 She feels it in her feet, in her naked soles in contact with the dry rugged earth, from which spurt the blood of a long eternal journey, in a pain that is not without sensuousness. Like Sophocles’ Antigone, in ancient Thebes, the Portuguese heroine also gets some pleasure from the idea of a heroic sacrifice. This is her way of reacting to misfortune (35): Que me roam pele e carne as pedras e os cardos. Assim me descobrirão o rasto como quero. (Let the stones and the thistles gnaw at my skin and bones. That way they will discover my traces just as I want.) Manuel Pulquério’s15 comment about the Greek archetype is also valid for this Antigone: “There is certainly something excessive in the Greek heroine, which is not restricted to the narrow fulfilment of a religious duty, but becomes inebriated on a vague prospect of martyrdom”. As for death, Oedipus’ daughter is redeemed by this capacity to impose herself upon those that attack her and warrant her hatred. These are, for now, the creatures that surround her, undistinguished, to denounce a genetic maladjustment with the human world, which is profound in her nature (35):

14

While Zambrano’s model has been unequivocally influential for the development of the Portuguese text, Eduarda Dionísio also returns to some poetic motifs or solutions that are so beloved by the Spanish author. This is the case of the contrast between the light and the darkness, valued by its commentators. See, e.g., the opening words of Zambrano’s first monologue, entitled “Antigone”, which thereafter proceeds with a long appeal to that same light: “Here is nevertheless above ground. And this ray of light that slides like a snake, that light that seeks me out, will be my greatest torture. I cannot yet free myself of you, oh light, light of the sun of the earth…” (Trueba Mira (2012) 175–176 – and her resumption in Portuguese monologues – “This night where he put me is very dark” (35), “when it closed out the sun at the entrance to the hollow rock”, “and made even blacker the blackness where I am” (41)). 15 (21987) 36.

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Assim me violentarão ainda mais aqueles que me repugnam. Ouves, irmã? (Thus those that disgust me will violate me even more. Do you hear, sister?) Unaccepted and abused, Antigone spreads bitterness and acrimony, isolated from everyone, distanced from her sister, who is a concrete character, the only one that looms from the collective anonymity. Ill-loved by the living, it is with the same exaltation that she takes refuge in the world of the dead, all her affections channelled towards he whom she distinguishes as the “dear dead brother that I have” (36). Her use of “dear” (which she applies only to her dead brother) reveals the affection she is capable of. All her loving instincts focus on that brother. She is seduced by the young man’s male beauty, which is made all the more attractive by distance and memory, like a love is enhanced by absence. She remembers his face (36) O nariz fino, e o macio que o cabelo sempre teve, a fita lisa, que o prendia. (The elegant nose, and the softness of his hair, the ribbon that secured it.) She is attracted to the debility of the object of her love, which is now quase podre no abandono em que o puseram, (almost rotten in the abandonment to which it was consigned,) rejected by all and exposed no campo aberto para a noite (in the field open to the night) and which awaits her arrival, with a lover’s ecstasy (35): à espera que eu chegue ainda hoje, suspenso na saudade da minha fala e do meu chorar.

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(waiting for me to arrive still today, suspended in nostalgia for my speech and for my cry.) It is easy for her to imagine the dismemberment that he has suffered with death, which she describes with the rawness of the sacrifice in which wild animals and birds of prey destroy the unburied body: Ele está no centro de um círculo de cães pretos que o rompem e mastigam aos pedaços, pernas, pés e braços separados, os ossos quase rasgados, o coração atirado para mais longe onde os corvos debicam. (He is at the centre of a circle of black dogs which break and chew to pieces legs, separate arms and feet, bones almost torn, the heart cast further afield to where the crows peck.) a brother, despite everything, not yet lost to her affectionate caresses (36): A cabeça intacta que beijarei como fazia dantes. (The head intact that I will kiss as I did before.) In Sophocles, only Tiresias, the blind man, describes the dismembering of ­Polynices’ body with a similar realism, in order to revive the colours of the deep pollution that besmirches Thebes (1016–1022). Now devoid of sacred tone, the picture that the new Antigone paints in her imagination is simply a canvas of death traced by the sensory modes of this other daughter of Oedipus. Antigone does not hide from the appeal that comes from beyond. Having travelled the route of exile and danger without fear, she is ready to initiate her lonely last journey without delay. But this path that now opens up before her leads to her final exile, a fact that the symbols, colours and sounds do not dissimulate. Once again, Antigone’s senses are in ecstasy, not in order to put her in contact with the world of the living, but to suggest to her the path that leads to extinction (36): O caminho vai por fora dos ciprestes quando o vejo e o céu embranquece às vezes,

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mas pouco, muito pouco, minha irmã. Piarei como o mocho pia quando o descobrir. (The road goes out of the cypresses when I spy it and the sky whitens sometimes, but little, very little, my sister. I will hoot like an owl when I find him.) Perhaps destiny justifies this particularly narrow affection. Polynices – the name that tradition has given him – was also repudiated by everyone, a hero deprived of temples and honours, stripped of what was owed him by right, and even of the right to a dignified death. These are the words of Oedipus’ daughter, the only voice that is raised to claim the rights of her family’s accursed lineage (36): Cada passo que dou ecoa como uma pedrada no tirano que lhe roubou a morte limpa. (Each step I make sounds as against the tyrant that stripped him of a clean death.) In this Antigone there is no word in defence of an ideal that is translated into the fulfilment of the eternal laws of the gods. This detail, which is so distinctive in Sophocles’ version, is here completely obfuscated. The young woman claims only her family rights and annoys anyone that unjustly usurps them (the only allusion to the traditional enemy that is Creon). The only thing that remains in the Portuguese version of the former lord of Thebes is the tyrant, without attenuation or nuance; Creon has less interest in Eduarda Dionísio’s version because Antigone’s obsession is no longer institutional power but rather the domestic personal world. In this ennobling struggle, Antigone knows that she will be alone and makes a point of this isolation. This is because she knew weakness and resignation in the person of her sister, repudiating and opposing these characteristics in her own essence. In the words she utters about Ismene, there is a certain tone of scorn, always discussed in relation to the Theban Antigone (36): Este gosto que tenho no que faço, neste perigo nesta justiça de pedra sobre pedra nunca o terás tu, irmã mais amena do que ele mereceu ter,

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sombra pálida de quem não tem morte nem vida assegurada. (This taste I have in what I do, in this danger in this justice of stone on stone you will never have, sister milder than he deserved to have, pale shadow of who has secured neither death nor life.) Antigone does not hesitate when it comes to choosing between condemnation, which her burial of her brother exposes her to, or the life that could potentially await her. She does not hide the pleasure with which she fights for the object of her love, brother and son in a single emotion (36–37): Agudo será o ganir dos animais que vou ferir. (…) Assim purificarei o corpo sujo da baba peganhenta das feras que lhe lambem o sangue doce e o despedaçam para o banquete. Terei as unhas gastas da terra que vou abrir. (Shrill will be the whine of the animals that I will wound. (…) So will I purify his dirty body of the sticky spittle of beast that drink his sweet blood and tear him to pieces for the banquet. I will have nails spent of the earth that I will open.) The gods, which in Sophocles, sided with the heroine in the hour of the funeral rites, using slow gestures, without leaving marks, here disappear almost completely. Alone now, and ardent with vigour, Antigone acts intrepidly, committed to her “maternal” task of ensuring that the one she loves has the comfort of a tranquil sleep (37): Escavado será até ao centro do mundo o poço que quero, um sulco fundo. Nele o deitarei como criança que lavamos em bacia de água morna, nu o corpo, com o cuidado todo. (Dug to the centre of the earth will be the well that I want, a deep furrow. In it I will lay his naked body

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with great care, like the child that we wash in a basin of warm water.) It is not duty that stimulates her but only tiredness and disillusionment with a life she can take no more (37): Gosto do que faço. Mas não gosto da vida que tenho, e não gosto da vida que não vou ter. (I like what I do. But I don’t like the life I have, and I don’t like the life I won’t have.) Eduarda Dionísio returns to the well-known ideas of the famous Sophoclean opening scene in a very particular way. Therefore, what can a woman so disillusioned have to say to a lover that is (not) forgotten? The same preference for death over life that she has just affirmed is again manifested in the affective duality between the brother, who represents extinction and the lover that presents himself as the promise of future. The doubts, which her questions to her sister have left hovering with a vague desire for contact, almost add up now into a text marked by the affirmative aggressive use of the personal pronoun. I or you repeated at the head of each line mark a deep opposition that cannot even be reduced by doubts. Rather than love or disaffection, it is the family bonds that drive the two potential lovers apart. The tragedy of the royal house of Thebes continues to consume its own survival. Antigone, in opening the words that she addresses to her “(not) forgotten lover”, is clear about the essence of this separation; her limitless love for a family that is decadence and death, embodied in the corpse of a brother, leaves no room to love a man who, through a twist of fate, is the son of her family’s oppressor, the tyrant himself (39): Eu o enterrei e neste enterrar te perco. Trago nas mãos o cheiro ao morto mais amado (…) e é a minha vida toda que deponho nas escadas de pedra do palácio do teu pai. (I buried him and in this burial I lose you. I bring on my hands the smell to most beloved death (…) and it is my whole life that I lay down on the stone steps of your father’s palace.)

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For the first time, Antigone gives voice to a frontal opposition to Creon’s will, in the awareness that burying Polynices is in fact an affront to the tyrant. The confrontation between the two forces – Antigone and Creon – is not expressed this time in violent words or forceful arguments, but in acts, which Eduarda Dionísio translates in the rawness of her lines like stones –, which the decisive debate produces (39): Eu o encontrei na noite por acabar ainda, furado pelos bicos das aves de rapina, no apodrecer que é a alegria do tirano que te fez nascer. Eu afastei as vespas, os tira-olhos, os insectos todos, e tirei, a um e um, os vermes que mastigavam os pedaços de carne nova. (I found him in the night yet to be finished, punctured by the beaks of the birds of prey in the rotting that is the joy of the tyrant that caused you to be born. I chased off the wasps, the dragonflies, the insects all and removed one by one the worms that chewed pieces of new flesh.) Antigone’s disobedience was still the attempt to savage her family’s honour. The idea that running such a risk for a brother is worthwhile (because he is irreplaceable) is typically Sophoclean (Sophocles, Antigone 905–912). The purpose that animates the new Antigone is not far removed from this (39): E sabe que o que fiz por ele nunca por ti faria, tu que tens pai e mãe que te reclamam e protegem, tu de quem nunca conhecerei o amor que trazias guardado e me parecia doce. (And know that what I did for him I would never do for you, you that have father and mother that reclaim and protect you, you whose love I will never know that you bring saved and seemed to me so sweet.) Having made her decision, Antigone feels that she has taken one more step away from the living. The sacrifice that she has just made in losing a lover,

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which is also effectively an abdication from the future and from life, leave her even more alone and less alive, but still determined to love, not the “lost lover” but that brother that she covers with resolute gestures of tenderness which are, in a way similar to those that could physically bring together those that love; the I that is multiplied is the trait of the character that is strongwilled, though profoundly involved in an emotion that is externalized in gesture (39): Eu limpei o corpo do herói. Eu lhe beijei os dedos que restavam, e os cabelos (…) E beijei-lhe a testa branca de gesso e os lábios de madeira seca. (…) Eu o arrastei até à água da fonte que tinha perto. Eu o lavei. Eu o estendi nas ervas tenras. (I cleaned the hero’s body. I kissed his remaining fingers, and his hair (…) And I kissed his white plaster forehead and his dry wooden lips. (…) I dragged him to the water of the fountain that I had nearby. I washed him. I stretched him on the young grass.) Getting carried away, this Antigone consummates a kind of nuptial union in her imagination with the person that is the male affection of her life; at the same time as she rejects her lover, she unites herself with the body of her brother, abandoned in the grave, which consumes her, like Evadne, in the flames of conjugal sacrifice (40): Ali o pus e o cobri de fino pó e te esqueci na nuvem clara que se levantou e pousou na terra aberta, homem que nunca virá a ser meu. E sobre a camada de terra me deitei e lhe dei a ele o calor que ainda tinha, (…) e me instalei para sempre sobre a labareda da morte ganindo de dor como uma loba.

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(There I put him and covered him with fine dust and forgot you in the clear cloud that rose and perched on the open earth, man that will never be mine. And on the bed of earth I lay down and gave him the heat that I still had, (…) and settled for ever on the flame of death whining with pain like a wolf.) Ramond (2010) 49 gives voice to those for whom Antigone’s behaviour may be associated to an incestuous tendency; from this perspective, the young woman is, of her siblings (all children of incest), the one that was most polluted by her inheritance, because it fell to her to accompany her father into exile, or rather, to remain closer to the accursed guilt of which Oedipus was the depositary; thus, she seems to prefer her brother over a nuptial union with Haemon. And behind this tendency, the same author also wonders (51): “Could we accuse the daughter of Oedipus of nourishing for her brother an incestuous feeling? Or worse still, could we see in her the triumph of the death drive?” This suspicion that Antigone incarnates the “triumph of death drive”, which has pursued her since antiquity, is strongly stressed by Eduarda Dionísio. The jubilation of disobedience, the pleasure of resisting out of love for a brother, makes Antigone zealous about the exclusiveness of her act. She does not want to share this taste of heroism with anyone, not even with her sister, whom she considers feeble and resigned, or with Haemon, who has promised her love. Before he was a lover, the prince of Thebes was a son, meek and subservient to his father’s orders. Unlike the Sophoclean Haemon, who is combative and responsible in his attempt to divert Creon from his crazed course, the Haemon that is glimpsed here is in fact the prince that Creon of Thebes could have dreamed of: the immature shoot, who feels solidarity with his father because he is incapable of assuming a brave adult attitude. In fact, like Ismene, he is quite the reverse of the intrepid Antigone. If in life Oedipus’ daughter refused to ally herself with him, in death she also rejects his sacrifice (40): Let your death not be placed over mine. Thus, she empties the cavern of her condemnation of a lover’s solidarity. Having extinguished the opportunity of a reply from the beautiful Sophoclean

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scene, Antigone prepares to die alone. In full clarity, without hesitations or farewells to the light, without any final anguish, she proclaims the final challenge to her executioner (40): Espero na claridade do dia como sombra que fui e que serei a sentença do tirano. (I wait in the clarity of day like the shadow I was and will be the tyrant’s sentence.) Eduarda Dionísio’s Antigone reserves her last monologue for her “dead brother”, or rather, for death itself. The scene is the cave where her life is ebbing away; a boom and a dimming of the light mark the narrow frontier that separates her from the world she has left, the world of the living and of normality (41): Guardo no crânio seco o eco do pedregulho quando fechou o sol à entrada do rochedo oco, pedra contra pedra, em grande trovoada, e fez-se mais negro o negro onde estou. (I keep in the dry skull the echo of the boulder as it closed out the sun at the entrance to the hollow rock, stone against stone, in great thunder, and made even blacker the blackness where I am.) The text that announces the crossing of the border en route to death is felicitous with its onomatopoeias, homeotheleutes, chiasmus and words laden with meaning. Deprived of light and sound, the condemned woman savours contact with extinction through touch. The suicide she prepares is solitary, blind and deaf, but she feels and touches it, and the sensation is voluptuous. The bond that still connects her to life is tenuous – a container of water that Creon had put in the tomb for her to avoid the fury of the gods (see Sophocles Antigone 773–776) and the pollution of Thebes, or the damp that drips from the walls of the cave that entombs her. Antigone spills that water, which represents the hope for life, over her feet, refusing to drink it, in voluntary adhesion to the aridity of the beyond (41):

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Inclinei a bilha de água que tinha para beber. É pelos pés descalços que a deixo correr. (…) Morrerei de sede, irmão que não voltará a nascer. Se beber a humidade das paredes que nunca seca será contra vontade. Não me deixes lamber as gotas que se desprendem das rochas, essas que a minha pele sente e o meu olhar não vê. (I tipped the can of water that I had to drink. Over my unshod feet I see it run. (…) I will die of thirst, brother who will not be reborn. If I drink the damp from the walls that never dries it will be against my will. Don’t let me lick the drops that drip from the rocks, those that my skin feels and my gaze doesn’t see.) But in the end Antigone escapes the ordeal of her condemnation by putting an end to her life in the traditional way, using the linen ribbon of her tunic (see Antigone 1221–1222). This is the final blow for the Portuguese heroine, and she prepares for it in a slow and measured ritual. But while, in Sophocles’ version, our eyes are drawn above all to the final embrace with Haemon in the cave and the menacing farewell between the desperation of a son and the cruel blindness of Creon, at the moment when the tyrant reaps his punishment, the cave that Eduarda Dionísio portrays is Antigone’s solitary tomb. She meticulously and attentively prepares the ribbon (41–42): Com os dentes e as unhas em sete tiras estreitas o fui rasgando. (…) Faixas de linho branco que hei-de rasgar em mais sete ainda (…) Desfaço as tranças, desprendo o cabelo, cubro-me com este pequeno calor. (…) Procuro as pontas e dou os nós como me ensinaram em menina, linha que sei branca (…) caminho tão longo eriçado de laços de uma para outra mão. (With teeth and nails I tore it into seven strips (…) Strips of white linen that I will rip into seven more (…) I undo my plaits, shake free my hair, cover myself with this little heat. (…) I try to find the ends and knot them as I was taught as a child,

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thread that I know is white (…) such a long road bristled with ribbons from one hand to another.) With the same care, Antigone feels the space around her, looking for a firm place to secure the ribbon (42): Toco no barro. É bom e áspero como o corpo de um morto. Sigo o rugoso da rocha com rigor. Encontro a falha maior onde o pano encrava, enrolo-me e desenrolo-me nesta vela de navio. (I feel the clay. It is good and rough like a dead man’s body. I follow the roughness of the rock with rigour, and find the largest crack where the cloth slots in I roll and unroll myself in this ship’s sail.) While her hands are agitated, in the feverish quest for extinction, her mind also runs its course, producing memories and projects that are now meaningless (41–42): Cubro-me com este pequeno calor longe do teu olhar, irmão, do sorrir do filho que já não terei, do abraço do esposo prometido e fora da saudade de todos os homens vivos. (I cover myself with this small heat far from your gaze, brother, from the smile of the son I never had, from the embrace of the promised husband and away from the yearning of all living men.) Antigone says farewell to life now out of sight of mortals, without hesitation or lament, or nostalgia for a life that only piled up frustrations, but wholly committed to the pleasure of ending. A messenger of her own death, the young woman anticipates the frame and the narrative of her favourite interlocutor, her lost brother (42):

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Queria que me pudesses ver. Apresso o silêncio dentro da humidade. Caverna de sombra. Sombra é o eco quase. Enterrada sem peso da terra num pouco de ar. (I wish you could see me. I hurry the silence inside the damp. Cavern of shadow. Shadow is the echo almost. Buried without the weight of earth in a little air.) In felicitous singular form, Antigone begs her dear dead brother to wait for her at the end of the road. Behind her are the executioners of her destiny, the prince that loved her and the tyrant for whom her death represented the weight of justice (42): Tenho a razão desfeita em sangue por baixo da força da corda que me aperta. Queria chamar pelo príncipe que me amou mas o seu nome é outro. Queria demorar o grito mas nem boca nem sopro tenho que possa chamar vivos ou mortos. É a justiça que se instala num oco sem fim dentro do vazio intenso. (My reason is undone in blood beneath the force of the cord that tightens. I want to call out for the prince that loved me but his name is other. I want to prolong the cry but I haven’t mouth or breath to call to the living or the dead. It is justice that settles in endless hollowness within the intense void.) Unconcerned about laws and immortal rules, forgetting the gods that guarantee universal justice, Eduarda Dionísio’s Antigone is only a woman of flesh and blood. Predisposed to the bonds of life – family, marriage, affects –, through destiny she is overtaken by death too soon along the road. For her, the whole

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past perished with her dead brother, the security that the blood bond could give. Of times gone, there remains only a sister, a weak presence who cannot overcome the excessive weight of misfortune. With the cutting down of what was dearest to her, Antigone loses the taste and yearning for life. Love, marriage, children, everything forms part of a hostile world that rejects and persecutes her. Only death can provide her with any pleasure, because it is freedom and revenge. Antigone wants to experience this sensuousness step by step, making contact through her eyes, ears and skin with an extinction which is, through a strange paradox, the whole raison d’être of her ephemeral, icy and sombre life.

chapter 18

Myth and Dystopia: Antígona Gelada (Frozen Antigone) by Armando Nascimento Rosa Maria do Céu Fialho Armando Nascimento Rosa was born in the city of Évora in 1966. Since 1998, he has taught at the Lisbon Polytechnic School of Theatre and Cinema, acquiring a doctorate in 2001 in Portuguese Literature (Drama) from the Faculty of Social and Human Sciences, New University of Lisbon, with a dissertation entitled As máscaras nigromantes. Uma releitura do teatro escrito de António Patrício (Necromancer masks: a re-reading of António Patrício’s theatrical writings) published in 2003 in Lisbon by Assírio & Alvim. Rereading his dissertation, we can see that it was already showing signs of that restless creative spirit that would appear in his intense and varied dramaturgical writings, which draws its inspiration from the mythical tradition and historical figures of ancient Greece, as well as from Portuguese medieval and Renaissance poetry and other sources, which are radically recreated. His oeuvre is characterized by a prodigious imagination which transcends boundaries of myth and culture to create a timeless space in which past origins (perhaps a sarcastic view of what underpins the present) and dystopian future combine, inspired by science fiction films and false utopias such as Huxley’s, onto which are projected fears of the void, of deconstructed identity. His first creation, Lianor no país sem pilhas (Lianor in the land of no batteries, a title that in Portuguese phonologically evokes the Portuguese name for Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland) was premiered at the Belém Cultural Centre in 2000, staged by the prestigious João Mota; it won the Ribeiro da Fonte Revelation Prize. Since then, he has revealed himself to be a tirelessly creative playwright, who has won various awards and whose plays are performed with notable frequency (he is perhaps the most frequently performed living ­Portuguese playwright). In 2003 he composed Um Édipo – o drama ocultado. Mitodrama fantasmático em i acto (An Oedipus: the hidden tragedy. Fantastical mythodrama in One Act),1 which premiered in Lisbon in the same year and

1 On this play, see Teixeira (2009) 659–675. The play has already been the subject of a Master’s dissertation in the University of São Paulo, Brazil: R. Baú Rabello (2011), Um olhar

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was then put on in Evora shortly afterwards in the context of cendrev.2 Some time later, the play was translated into English in the United States. His play Nória e Prometeu – palavras de fogo (Naamah and Prometheus: words of fire), an encounter between Classical myth and the Judaeo-Christian tradition (Naamah was the wife of Noah), dates from the same year (2003). This work was first staged in 2006 by the Pedra-Mó Group in the Altares ­Village Hall, then put on again by the Rastilho Group in 2011 in the festea3 contest and again in 2013 in the auditorium of the Sebastião da Gama Secondary School in Setúbal.4 A última lição de Hipátia (2010) was first performed outside Portugal. Translated into English by Alex Ladd as Hypatia’s Last Lesson, it was staged in 2014 by Susan Rowland as part of the International Conference on Analytic Psychology “On the Edge: Psyche in Ethics, the Arts and Nature” organized by the International Association for Jugian Studies. The American version is published by Spring Journal Books.5 With Antígona Gelada (Frozen Antigone), Armando Nascimento Rosa presents a dystopian vision of the future. In it, he takes to extremes a trajectory launched by the utopian imaginary associated to science fiction – produced at a time when man felt pride and optimism in the technology and machines he had created, believing in the potential that they offered for controlling the universe and planning human life, ensuring human prosperity without surprise or sobre a dramaturgia de Armando Nascimento Rosa: Intertextos, contextos, mito e história em Um Édipo. 2 The Évora Drama Centre (cendrev) is a theatrical institution dedicated to theatrical training and the production and dissemination of plays, which was set up in Évora, Portugal, in 1975, by the director Mário Barradas. It has been very active in the recovery and performance of the theatrical heritage, such as the famous puppet theatre of Santo Aleixo, Alentejo, Portugal. Its main performance space is the Évora city theatre, the Teatro Garcia de Resende. 3 festea, the International Festival of Theatre on Classical Themes, was launched in 2001 by the Classical Studies Group at the University of Coimbra, though it was only formally constituted as an association in 2003. Its main activity is the promotion of an international theatre festival on Classical themes, which travels across Portugal from north to south, animating archaeological and museological spaces by making them into the scene for its theatrical productions. For more information, see: http://bdigital.sib.uc.pt:8080/classicadigitalia/bitstream/ 123456789/34/3/festea_10_anos.pdf. 4 The play has already been the object of a Master’s dissertation: E. Roberto Lanzoni (2010), Mitodrama do fogo: o discurso mítico e duplicado em Nória e Prometeu de Armando Nascimento Rosa. Mackenzie Presbyterian University. 5 For more information see: http://www.dn.pt/cartaz/teatro/interior.aspx?content_id=1638211.

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misfortune. However, the apparent infallibility of this utopian vision has since given way to bitter disillusionment as humanity appears increasingly incarcerated in the prison of its own constructions, impoverished and alienated from nature, which is the true source of life, whose laws encompass the burgeoning of life, ageing and death without fear or cosmetics. Aldous Huxley’s false utopia, Brave New World, is an ingenious expression of man’s disillusionment as he becomes enslaved to himself and to his techne, eclipsed by a depersonalized progress over which he no longer has control, drained and strangled by a nightmare in which the machine becomes autonomous and tyrannizes its creator, able itself to construct efficient webs of illusion. Its downfall leaves space for man’s salvation, though the old world is now in ruins. I shall not linger on the dystopic vision contained in the world of Orwell’s Animal Farm, with its threat of the future increasingly dehumanized by authoritarian regimes (an authoritarianism that of course transcends mere government apparatus). It is enough to point out that this writer resorts to an old creative device that had already been used in Greek comedy. One example is Aristophanes’ Birds, in which human reality is projected onto an imagined universe of birds that think and speak, enabling him to criticise the society of his time, as this feathered world has behavioural rules that are more human than human’s own rules (e.g. Ar., Av. 30 sqq.; 155 sqq.; 1354 sqq.). In Antígona Gelada, Nascimento Rosa pays homage to Philip K. Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968) both in the introduction to the work and in the play itself, creating an intertextual game in which the fictional dimension is blurred through dramaturgic option. Indeed, the film Blade Runner, based on that novel, is a powerful presence in this new version of Antigone, aided by its exceptional cinematographic adaptation by Ridley Scott (1982). The incessant rain, combined with the total absence of sunshine, which enshrouds man in a perpetual twilight, makes the city, with its labyrinths of spaces and people in a future that awaits us, seem even more chaotic and uninhabitable. In the cinematographic vision, there is a blatant dysfunctionality about the spaces, particularly interior ones, the space of the home, that first nucleus of habitability of the world. In the exterior space, out in the rain, beings move around that challenge the boundary between the human and the monstrous. Are they still humans? And what about human beauty, which gave rise to the former canons of representation? In the novel and the film, it is unexpectedly found in the robots that have been created by man, but which have become aware of their superiority in relation to him – like a kind of inverted God-Adam relationship. Dehumanized man and the humanized or quasihuman machine, which has inherited a ferocious survival instinct, confront

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each other, the former to exterminate its laboratorial creation which now threatens to take over and become autonomous, the latter because it has become aware of its near-perfection, because it has learned to enjoy existing and refuses to accept that its form of life could be gratuitously removed by the being that conceived it and brought it into being. The one was created in the image of the other and inherited from him the implacable coldness with which it is able to act. Both become confused and it is difficult to disentangle the copy from the archetype as the boundaries between them have become blurred. The death of the last of the androids, after a bloody series of pursuits and counter attacks is one of the most beautiful scenes of Ridley Scott’s film, a kind of hymn to the beauty of the body and nostalgia for life in the dove that leaves. The thread of hope is placed in the force of the love between the policemen in pursuit and a female android that has survived her anticipated end. The final question remains, arising from the last scene, on a sunny day: might love one day humanize the machine to the point of enabling it to overcome the difference between the creator and the created mechanism? Is this the hope that remains for impoverished humanity? Is the plenitude of love capable of humanizing the non-human and preventing the human from becoming dehumanized, a ray of hope that follows an intense but fleeting moment experienced without any certainties of its duration? And what will come afterwards? Will the miracle of life still remain? Can man’s capacity to form bonds survive from a spark, over and above the various totalitarianisms that have been born from technocratic euphoria? This is the worrying question that also underpins Nascimento Rosa’s version of Antigone. Antígona Gelada does not follow the usual line of reception of the Sophoclean archetype – the resistance play in which the protagonist may assume traces of the martyr.6 Neither does the author seem to be particularly sensitive to Hegel’s reading of the impasse of conflicting values. Above all, this Antigone (like Anouilh’s character of the same name or its counterpart in Hélia Correia’s Perdition) feels the age-old mythological tradition as a weight hanging over her own destiny like a kind of death wish, becoming someone that already lives for Hades. The action, relegated to a remote future, takes place in Thebes (where else?) – on Thebas 9, a space station on a satellite of Pluto, expressively named Charon. Thus, this future opens up under the sign of death, profoundly marked by the dystopian imaginary of science fiction. The play was premiered in the context of cendrev in December 2008, and performed shortly afterwards in the Comuna Theatre in Lisbon, again staged 6 See Fialho (2000) 29–33; Morais (2001) 7–12.

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by João Mota. It was put on again in Évora in 2009 and in the Theatro do Circo in Braga, and was published in Coimbra in 2008 in the collection Fluir Perenecech,7 with the support of cendrev. As is typical in the work of this playwright, the myth acquires a multiplicity of new aspects that oblige the spectator to move about in a forest of symbols, searching for the innovations in a reading of the ancestral narrative that maintains only the essential traces of the archetype. However, under the surface, we gradually rediscover the presence of old conflicts and tensions, eternal questions that the myth has left in the history of its reception and which are now joined by obvious new tensions uniting past and future that overarch a ­disconcerting Thebes, which is the universe of our projected contradictions, amplified ad absurdum to the end of time. Creon’s power is anticipated and the death of Polynices and Eteocles was not mutual, depriving the two brothers of their close connection to Oedipus and the destiny dictated by the paternal curse and by their own tragic guilt. They were killed separately: Eteocles’ death was almost the suicide of someone that throws himself into the hands of his brother instead of at a target, while Polynices’ comes at the hands of Creon’s guard on the occasion of his failed assault. Everything about human nature is fluid, devoid of identity, “progressing” like a dream whose boundaries blur with the real, and where everything seems to be subject to duplication from the outset. The two mutant guards observe the agitated sleep of Antigone and the ghosts that enter it – one of whom is Polynices himself, who gradually takes her over as if in a Freudian dreamscape. This connection seems to be projected, duplicated, onto Polynices and Haemon, as if the brother and bridegroom of Classical myth were different faces of a relationship with the young woman – an ambivalence which Nascimento Rosa endows with the character of a homosexual bond. A similar ambivalence hangs over Polynices’ assault on Creon, and Haemon’s confrontation with the tyrant, his father. However, in this visible duplicity of identities, the whole system is ironically equipped with identity detectors. How, then, should we detect the identity of a Tiresias who is transexual, as in the original myth? In this version, the edict does not prohibit burial but rather forbids the preservation of Polynices’ dna. It is issued in a typified speech by a tyrant who presents himself as victim that has been saved by good fortune for the benefit and service of the citizens, like Hitler, after his failed coup. How can Antigone transgress the edict, faithful to the myth, twice perpetrating burial rites that 7 See www.fluirperene.com/livros/antigona_gelada.pdf.

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she doesn’t see through? Nascimento Rosa conceives the fiction as a pregnancy through cloning, involving the corruption of the system and connivence of a Jocasta 2, who is nothing more than the shadow of the faded archetype of Jocasta herself – a shadow that is more alive than the original one. Antigone, however, fictionalizes a pregnancy that she cannot see through. On this level we feel in Antigone nostalgia for an Oedipal union, harrowed by another duplicity, her rape, while still a child, by Creon, which has been erased from her memory and converted into an incestuous relationship with Ismene. It fits well here Honig’s concept and definition of the “Antigone-effect” (Honig: 2013, 17–35). Death and interruption of life correspond, on Antigone’s side, to a dissidence which hides in herself life, vitality, in connivance with other female characters, as Jocasta, her mother. Thus, Nascimento Rosa uses the opposition between the two daughters of Oedipus to make Ismene into the successor of Creon’s power. At the end of the play, we see the seed of a new tyrannical power growing in her, repeating and perpetuating itself, while Antigone, tired of herself, gives up on life. The freezing capsule corresponds to the walling-up of the protagonist, though it is now voluntary, associated to suicide. The play is full of recurrent motifs, such as exile, the artificiality of the air that is breathed, the absence of the sun. The capsule that is the space station on Charon is presented as a kind of large cave in which man has walled himself up. He has forgotten himself, in memories erased, duplicated into shadows of the artificialism into which he has dismembered his own life – the shades, like the clone Jocasta 2, have more life than the real Jocasta, who is alienated, forgotten, worn out, and taken advantage of because she has given up on trying to be human – and of course Creon, the mirror of tyranny. What is Nascimento Rosa aiming at with the original introduction of the Sphinx into the genealogy of Oedipus? Oedipus’ destiny is partly made by the Sphinx herself. The enigma of the Sphinx is man, it is Oedipus, who deciphers it, without knowing how to decipher himself. Are his children, the Sphinx’s descendants, a kind of lost generation, potentially monstrous, though they have not realised it yet, while remaining sub specie hominis? Humanity in the play seems indeed to be like a monstrous crysallis, if we consider the possible outcomes of the distortion to which we are heading? For this reason, Antigone, in learning her secret, prefers not to preserve her life in a latent state but to stop the process through a deadly freezing. What remains, then, of the grandeur of the ancient myths and of the man of whom they speak? Time (our time) projected into that dehumanized fictional future with the absolute fusion between man, his shadow, his double, details in an erasure of memory – which is the erasure of memory which postmodernity, in its expression of the current crisis, has sealed – is time without space for the density of the myth, because the density of man has been lost. What can this

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project and condense of itself in the stories that it tells and in which it tried formerly to understand itself? Antigone dies, as in the ancient myth, but for different reasons (Act 3, Scene 36): Cansei-me de viver em Caronte. E não há outros lugares que me seduzam na prisão da vida, a não ser este destino que ainda desconheço. (I’m tired of me. We are a mortal drug for ourselves. I’m tired living in Charon. And there are no other places that attract me in the prison of life.) Oedipus floats, latent with life, waiting for a future unfreezing – is there, nevertheless, a glimmer of hope for the revitalization of man himself in the possible (though improbable) revitalization of the myth itself?… For this reason, Creon at the end of the play, in one of the various moments of metadrama that break the scenic illusion, denounces the dimension of farce that is constantly hovering over the play and will ultimately take over what was tragedy. It is that, beyond the web of duplications, metamorphoses and ruptures that enmesh the characters, the play as a whole, like the myth that passes through it, constitutes “cheap imitations of other people before us” (Act 3 Scene 41): Creonte – Laboram todos no mesmo erro. Mas vou ser piedoso convosco. Abro-vos os olhos para contemplarem o vazio. De facto, nenhum de vós existe. Não somos mais que o passatempo virtual de um engenheiro cibernético, em noites de insónia. Nunca se perguntaram pela razão dos nossos nomes e dos nossos enredos? Somos todos imitações baratas de outra gente antes de nós. Já houve outros Tirésias e outras Antígonas, outras Ismenas e outros Creontes, a viverem farsas e tragédias parecidas com as nossas, noutros cenários e roupagens. A nossa vida não é original. É uma cópia tardia. Fazemos parte de um jogo programado. Antígona morre sempre no fim. Eu preciso que me odeiem para ser Creonte. Tirésias é um sábio indeciso, que muda de sexo como quem muda de peúgas. Hémon e Ismena, lamento dizê-lo, são figuras secundárias. Alguém inventa a nossa vida online e diverte-se a jogar à bola com os nossos neurónios. Gostamos de jogos virtuais e desconhecemos que somos o jogo de outros que nos manipulam. Vocês são uns parolos. Levam a sério a ficção que interpretam. (Creon – You are all labouring under the same error. But I will be merciful with you. I shall open your eyes so that you can contemplate the void. None of you actually exist. We are no more than the virtual pastime of a cibernetic engineer on nights he cannot sleep. Have you never ­wondered

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about your names and stories? We are all cheap imitations of other people that came before us.  There have been other Tiresiases, other Antigones, other Ismenes, other Creons, who have lived farces and tragedies similar to ours, in other settings and with other clothes. Our lives are not original. They are belated copies. We are part of a programmed game. Antigone always dies at the end. I need you to hate me in order to be Creon. Tiresias is an indecisive sage, who changes sex like other people change their socks. Haemon and Ismene, I’m sorry to tell you, are minor figures. Someone invented our lives on line and entertains themselves playing ball with our neurons. We enjoy virtual games but we don’t realise that we are the game of others that manipulate us. You are dumb. You take seriously the fiction you’re performing.) Thus, there are no signs of life in Antigone, in this Antígona Gelada which represents, in the breaking-up of the dramatic narrative, the rupture of the nexus of identity recognition uniting the spectator with the enacted mythos: will man in the future maintain these signs of life? Or will he allow his drifting destiny, like the knowledge of Tiresias or the erased and artificially manufactured memory of the characters, to serve only the manifestation of tyranny, the dictatorial power of systems or of the machine, if behind the dictator is the depersonalized entity of another “infernal machine”, anonymous, arbitrary, c­ ommanding human life, from whose hand it escaped long ago? Perhaps Oedipus in his “almost larval” state represents this tenuous hope in the oneiric ­context, which might lead us to consider the author as a kind of “neosurrealist”, within this postmodern style of writing.

Conclusion Carlos Morais, Lorna Hardwick and Maria de Fátima Silva An assessment of the impact of classical themes on contemporary Portuguese literature leaves absolutely no doubt as to the predominant position of the “Antigone” myth. It becomes clear that the conjugation of the mythemes mobilised by the Portuguese creations and the country’s historical, political and social dynamics does account for that preference. Possibly no other myth would serve a symbolic rendition of the Portuguese national experience so well as Antigone’s. However, other heroines – for the figures that motivated Portuguese authors were mostly females – from the Greek tradition have inspired interesting rewritings. Among these, perhaps the most important are Medea and several women characters of the Trojan cycle such as Helen, Iphigenia, Elektra, on the Greek side, or the Trojan women citizens of a devastated polis. These latter creations do not exactly engage with the socio-political reality of the country; they are mostly re-creation exercises of an aesthetic nature dictated by their authors’ fascination with the classics.1 Internally, there are two major phases in the Antigone rewritings; first, the long dictatorship years that determined a political reading of the myth and invested in Antigone the isolated voice of the opposition – following, as it happens, an identical phenomenon in Portugal’s neighbour country, Spain, and echoing the vigour of the same myth in Spanish literature. Later, towards the end of the century, in the face of society’s progressive and difficult acquiescence to the political changes operated, the prevailing perspective was principally centred on gender issues and the Antigone-as-woman concept. In the meantime, the reconstruction of Europe and the reconfiguration of political systems in the wake of World War ii encouraged Portuguese writers to contextualise their vision of national life within a wider context. This is the perspective of Castro Osório when he argues for the existence of authoritarian regimes and for a leader who would be compatible with the quest for a “new man” in a Europe in ruins; it is also the perspective of Mário Sacramento, who situates his play in occupied France, or Canijo’s, who focuses on migrant populations within the European continent. Armando Nascimento Rosa goes further than that, incorporating the influence of American science fiction films in his recreation of the myth of Oedipus’ daughter. 1 These myths that have inspired Portuguese recreations will be discussed in a different volume to be published in this series.

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On the other hand, as a rule, the aesthetic configuration of the different Portuguese Antigones is not directly inspired by Sophocles. The models activated, most of them drama models,2 show signs of the major European recreations, such as Cocteau’s, Anouilh’s, Brecht’s, and Zambrano’s, or of the tendencies of drama theorists, most relevantly Pirandello. Therefore, the Portuguese texts, sharing the same intent as Anouilh’s or Pirandello’s as concerns making the performance of the classics accessible to contemporary audiences, often incorporate some thoughts on the phenomenon of theatre – for example, on the specificity of the “tragic” model as compared to other literary forms such as bourgeois drama – in moments that coincide with the prologue or with parabasis-type interventions. The condensation and simplification strategy inaugurated by Cocteau and then adopted in French rewritings was also followed in Portugal, notably as regards the action and the use of a more simplified language. One of the elements that was most radically reformulated was no doubt the chorus, a central character in Greek tragedy, which in the Portuguese rewritings is usually reduced to a few isolated voices, often mistaken for the characters’ own voices, or, in more extreme versions, even suppressed. However, not all of these rewritings were performed on the stage. Those more often performed, by professional, experimental or amateur groups, are the ones produced by the two authors who had a more direct connection with the theatre world, Júlio Dantas, a successful playwright, and António Pedro, a man of the stage. Dantas responded to the invitation from the couple responsible for the National Theatre D. Maria ii, Amélia Rey Colaço and RoblesMonteiro, who sought to help their daughter, young actress Mariana, to start her career. This initiative illustrates the notion upheld by theatre professionals according to which a text like Antigone can be both a quality exercise and the foundation of a promising professional career. António Pedro, in turn, saw in Antigone a theme fit for reforming the portfolio of an amateur group (Teatro Experimental do Porto) trying to renovate their activity while simultaneously educating an audience who were not quite familiar with quality performance. All of these productions, premièred in mid-20th century and then successively performed, opted for an “archeological” staging model, which clearly signalled the “exotic” factor that the play contained for Portuguese audiences with their specific theatre consumption habits. As for Hélia Correia, Eduarda Dionísio, and Armando Nascimento Rosa, despite the somewhat limited circulation of their rewritings on the national stages, they were able to motivate some of the

2 Among the non-drama versions is Sophia de Mello Breyner’s poem, “Catarina Eufémia”, mentioned in the Introduction to this volume.

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best directors as well as some of the leading theatre groups in the Portuguese theatre milieu. However, there were texts – António Sérgio’s and Mário Sacramento’s – which, while not discarding the dramatic nature of their “original”, were presented rather as essays in dialogue form which aimed to convey a politically educational message than as literary creations intended for the stage. Although they do not thoroughly fulfil the criteria of a true theatre project, these are quality texts that offer extremely interesting hermeneutical analyses of the myth’s traditional motifs. This collection of essays aims to provide its readers with a general background concerning the different “masks” that the age-old Antigone myth wore in Portuguese drama in the 20th and 21th centuries. With its paradigmatic value, this subject, immortalized by Sophocles, will certainly continue to hold its appeal in the future. A resistant, a martyr, or simply a woman, Antigone will forever be, as in Marguerite Yourcenar’s words, “the pendulum of the world”.3 3 Yourcenar (1982) 1110.

Appendix

A Chronology of Recreations, Editions and Performances 1930

1946

c.1950 1953

1954

António Sérgio, Antígona. Drama em Três Actos (Antigone. A play in three acts), Porto, Edição da República, 1930. This play, described by its author as a “­social study in dialogue form”, was never performed. Júlio Dantas, Antígona. Peça em 5 actos, inspirada na obra dos poetas trágicos gregos e, em especial, na Antígona de Sófocles (Antigone. A play in five acts based on the work of Greek tragic poets and especially on Sophocles’ ­Antigone), Lisboa, Livraria Bertrand, 1946. 20.4.1946: première of Antígona (Antigone) by Júlio Dantas, at Teatro ­Nacional D. Maria ii (Lisbon) by the Rey Colaço-Robles Monteiro Company. As the National Theatre resident company, the group staged the play at Teatro Rivoli (Porto) between 28.10 and 3.11.1946. António Sérgio, Antígona (Antigone), 2nd edition revised, dactiloscritum. 19–20.9.1953: staged by António Moura de Magalhães, Antígona (Antigone), by Júlio Dantas, is performed by an amateur group in Castanheiro do Norte (Trás-os-Montes). on November 20th 1953 António Pedro completes his Antígona (Antigone) in Moledo do Minho. Glosa Nova da Tragédia de Sófocles em 3 actos e 1 prólogo incluído no 1. acto (A new variation on Sophocles’ tragedy in three acts and a prologue included in the first act). This text, expressly written to be performed by the Teatro Experimental do Porto, would be first published in Porto by Círculo de Cultura Teatral, probably in 1957. 18.2.1954: première of Antígona (Antigone) by António Pedro, at Teatro de S. João (Porto), by Teatro Experimental do Porto (2nd performance of this then recent group), under the direction of António Pedro himself. This “new variation on Sophocles’ Antigone” was then performed by tep over a dozen times in several cities throughout the country: Porto (Teatro de S. João, 19.2.1954; Teatro Sá da Bandeira, 9–10.4.1954), Braga (Teatro-Circo, 9.3.1954), Guimarães (Teatro Jordão, 10.3.1954), Viana do Castelo (Teatro Sá de Miranda, 12.3.1954), Aveiro (?, 3.1954), Lisbon (?, 3.1954), Coimbra (5.4.1954). João de Castro Osório, A Trilogia de Édipo (Oedipus’ trilogy), Lisboa, Sociedade de Expansão Cultural, 1954. This text, with a “critical note” (­postfacium) signed by the author, dates from November 3rd, 1954; it comprises three

© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, ���7 | doi 10.1163/9789004340060_022

A Chronology Of Recreations, Editions And Performances

1956

1957

1958

1959

1960 1969

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thematically articulated tragedies: A Esfinge (The Sphinx) (1st tragedy, pp.  11–60), Jocasta (2nd tragedy, pp. 61–128) and Antígona (Antigone) (3rd tragedy, pp. 129–206). On the occasion of the “30 Years of Culture” commemorations, the Rey Colaço-Robles Monteiro Company, participating in the Festival of Portuguese Theatre, restages Júlio Dantas’ Antígona (Antigone), a decade after its first performance, with a new cast. 16.11.1956 and following days: new performance of António Pedro’s Antígona (Antigone) by Teatro Experimental do Porto at Teatro de Algibeira (Porto) (7th production of the group). António Pedro, Antígona. Glosa Nova da Tragédia de Sófocles em 3 actos e 1 prólogo incluído no 1. acto (Antigone. A new variation on Sophocles’ tragedy in three acts and a prologue included in the first act), Porto, Círculo de ­Cultura Teatral, 1957 (?). 19–22.2.1957: the Teatro Experimental do Porto puts on stage António Pedro’s Antígona (Antigone), directed by the author himself, at Teatro da Trindade (Lisbon). António Sérgio, Pátio das Comédias, das Palestras e das Pregações. Jornada Sexta (Courtyard of comedy, lectures and sermons. Journey sixth). Lisboa, Inquérito. Mário de Sacramento, «Antígona. Ensaio Dramático» (“Antigone. A dramatic essay”), in Teatro Anatómico, Coimbra, Atlântida Editora, 1959, pp. 103–124. 14.8.1959: the Juventude Operária Católica (Leça da Palmeira – ­Matosinhos section) performs António Pedro’s Antígona (Antigone), directed by Aníbal Pina. 26.8.1959: the Teatro do Centro Ramalho Ortigão group (Porto), taking part in the selection phase of the Northern Competition of Dramatic Art for Culture and Recreation Collectivities (category A), promoted by the ­ ­Secretariado Nacional de Informação, stages António Pedro’s Antígona (Antigone), directed by Jayme Valverde, at Teatro Sá da Bandeira (Porto). Selected for the final phase, at Teatro da Trindade (Lisbon), the group performs the play again a month later, on 24.9.1959. 27.8.1959: the Associação Recreativa e Dramática “Rocha Silvestre” (Oliveira do Douro, V.N. Gaia), under the direction of Emídio Fernandes, stages Júlio Dantas’ Antígona (Antigone) at Teatro Sá da Bandeira (Porto). 1.6.1960: António Pedro’s Antígona (Antigone) is performed again by the ­Centro Ramalho Ortigão theatre group (Porto) at Teatro Rivoli (Porto). 23.5.1969: directed by José Brás, the Teatro de Estudantes do Instituto Industrial do Porto performs António Pedro’s Antígona (Antigone) for the first time, at Teatro de S. João (Porto). Three months later (22.8.1969), during

318

1970

1972

1981

1991 1992

1993

1996

Appendix the selection phase of the Competition of Dramatic Art for Culture and Recreation Collectivities and Independent Theatre Groups, the group performs the play at Teatro Sá da Bandeira (Porto) and is selected for the final, at Teatro da Trindade (Lisbon), on 16.10.1969. 28.6.1969: the Grupo Cénico da Companhia Nacional de Navegação puts on stage António Pedro’s Antigona (Antigone), directed by Rui de Matos, at their “Teatro de Bolso” (Lisbon). The performance will be repeated, at the same venue, about four months later (16–18.10.1969). 20.7.1970 and following days: directed by Augusto Figueiredo, the Companhia de Teatro Popular performs António Pedro’s Antígona (Antigone), at Teatro da Estufa Fria (Lisbon). Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen, “Catarina Eufémia”, Dual, Lisboa, Moraes Editores, 11972, p. 76 (2nd ed.: Lisboa, Moraes Editores, 1977; 3rd ed.: ­Lisboa, Edições Salamandra, 1986). In this poem, included in Obra Poética iii, ­Lisboa, Caminho, 1991, p. 164, Andresen compares the intrepid attitude of Catarina Eufémia to that of Antigone, two women who dared to “take the crisis by the horns” and who personify the “frontal innocence” that does not retreat in its defense of justice. António Pedro, Teatro Completo (Complete Theatre Works), Lisboa, Imprensa Nacional-Casa da Moeda/Biblioteca Nacional, 1981 [pp. 255–330: Antígona. Glosa Nova da Tragédia de Sófocles em 3 actos e 1 prólogo incluído no 1. acto (Antigone. A new variation on Sophocles’ tragedy in three acts and a prologue included in the first act)]. Hélia Correia, Perdição. Exercício sobre Antígona. Florbela. Teatro (Perdition. An exercise on Antigone. Florbela. Theatre), Lisboa, D. Quixote, 1991. Eduarda Dionísio, Antes que a Noite Venha (Before night comes), Lisboa, ­Cotovia/Teatro Nacional D. Maria ii, 1992 [pp. 33–42: “Falas de Antígona” (“­Antigone speeches”)]. 13.3.1992: the Teatro da Cornucópia presents Antes que a Noite Venha (Before the night comes) for the first time, under the direction of Adriano Luz; the ­performance ran for a month, at Teatro do Bairro Alto, Lisbon. 18.9.1993: Directed by João Mota, Hélia Correia’s Perdição – Exercício sobre Antígona (Perdition – An exercise on Antigone) is performed by Comuna Teatro de Pesquisa, at their Sala Nova, Lisbon. 15–21.1.1996: the Grupo de Teatro de Letras Artec (Lisbon), directed by Marcantónio Del-Carlo, performs a free version of António Pedro’s Antigone at the Bar Novo of the Faculty of Arts (Lisbon). Other performances took place at the same venue, on the 2nd and 3rd February and the 8th May.

A Chronology Of Recreations, Editions And Performances 1997

1999

2001

2002

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25.5.1997: in the Auditório da Filandorra Teatro do Nordeste (Vila Real) young students of the 11th grade of the N.ª S.ª da Boavista Secondary School (Vila  Real) performed António Pedro’s Antigone, under the direction of Acácio David Pradinhos. 21 e 26.5.1999: directed by José A. Pinto, the Grupo Académico de Teatro Amador (gata) performs António Pedro’s Antigone, at the Aula Magna of the Faculty of Philosophy (Braga). The number 1 issue of Alma Azul – Revista de Artes e Ideias is published in Coimbra, in October, including seven poems that evoke the mythical figure of Antigone. – José Tolentino Mendonça, “Antígona e a lei dos homens” (“Antigone and the law of men”), Alma Azul. Revista de Artes e Ideias 1 (1999) 7. – Álvaro Alves de Faria, “Que justiça é essa assim sem rumo…” (“What ­rudderless justice is that…”), Alma Azul. Revista de Artes e Ideias 1 (1999) 8. – Rui Zink, “Coisa muito triste” (“Very sad thing”), Alma Azul. Revista de Artes e Ideias 1 (1999) 9–11. – Adília Lopes, “(Copiado de Sofia)” ([“Copied from Sophia”]), Alma Azul. ­Revista de Artes e Ideias 1 (1999) 12. – João de Mancelos, “Promessa de Antígona a Polinices, seu irmão” (“A promise made by Antigone to her brother Polynices”), Alma Azul. Revista de Artes e Ideias 1 (1999) 16–17. – José Leon Machado, “O novo colar de Antígona” (“Antigone’s new necklace”), Alma Azul. Revista de Artes e Ideias 1 (1999) 18. – Joaquim Matos, “Antígona” (“Antigone”), Alma Azul. Revista de Artes e Ideias 1 (1999) 20. Carlos André, “Antígona” (“Antigone”), in Teias, Lisboa, Editorial Presença, 2001, p. 28. 5.5.2001: directed by Vítor Marques, the Grupo Natural Invenção, of the ­Secondary School Cristina Torres (Figueira da Foz), performs António ­Pedro’s Antigone at the Casa do Povo de Lavos. 3.11–2.12.2001: under the direction of Lúcia Sigalho, the Companhia de Teatro Sensurround performs Viagem à Grécia. Fragmentos e Antígona (A journey to Greece. Fragments and Antigone), in honor of the poet Sophia de Mello Breyner Andresen, at the Iron Store of A. da Cabral. 21.4–22.6.2002: directed by Filipe Jorge and Patrícia Martins, Teatramus, the Colégio de Calvão theatre group, performs António Pedro’s Antigone at the N.ª S.ª da Apresentação School (Calvão).

320 2003

2004

2008

2009

2014

Appendix 24.5–18.6.2003: under the direction of Norberto Barroca, the Teatro Experimental do Porto (tep) performs António Pedro’s Antigone, at the ­Municipal Auditorium of V.N. de Gaia (Braga), commemorating the 50th anniversary of the oldest Amateur Theatre Company in Europe in activity. 2.4.2004: directed by Celina Moura, the 11th grade students of the ES/3 Artur Gonçalves School (Torres Novas) perform António Pedro’s Antigone, at the same school. Armando Nascimento Rosa, Antígona Gelada (pref. de Maria do Céu Fialho), Coimbra, cendrev, 2008. 1.12.2008: avant-première of Armando Nascimento Rosa’s play Antígona G ­ elada (Frozen Antigone), directed by João Mota and produced by cendrev, at Teatro ­Municipal Garcia de Resende (Évora). This was the opening performance of the 6º Encontro de Teatro Ibérico (6th Iberian Theatre Meeting). 11.12.2009–21.12.2008: performance of Armando Nascimento Rosa’s ­Antígona Gelada, under the direction of João Mota, at Sala Nova do Teatro da ­Comuna (Lisbon). 8.1.2009–1.2.2009: performance of Armando Nascimento Rosa’s play A ­ ntígona Gelada, directed by João Mota and produced by cendrev, at Teatro ­Municipal Garcia de Resende (Évora). 12–13.2.2009: performance of Antígona Gelada, by Armando Nascimento Rosa, at Pequeno Auditório do Theatro Circo (Braga). 14.10.2009 – Teatro das Beiras, in the city of Covilhã, performed Antigone, a­dapted from Sophocles and Brecht, under the direction of Gil Salgueiro Nave. 30.6.2014: performance of Armando Nascimento Rosa’s Antígona Gelada, ­directed by Carlos J. Pessoa and produced by estc (ma course in ­Theatre) at Grande Auditório da Escola Superior de Teatro e Cinema (­Amadora). End of 1st year Performance of the ma in Theatre, specialisation in ­Performative Arts.

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Index Locorum This index is a list of the main titles and passages from ancient works included in the text and notes. The editions of the fragmentary works are indicated in the body of the volume where they are quoted. Aeschines 17n14 Against Ctesiphon 244 22n41 De falsa legatione 247 17n14 Aeschylus 17n15, 164, 172 Choephorae/Libation Bearers 81n13, 273n15 900–902 22n39 Eumenides 28n3 Laius 14 Oedipus 14 Orestea 6, 242 Seven Against Thebes 1, 14, 101n16, 162, 164, 166, 170, 172, 174n22, 239 672–675 172 Apollodorus Bibliotheca 3. 5. 8 22n35 Aristophanes Birds 307 30 sqq. 307 155 sqq. 307 1354 sqq. 307 Aristophanes of Byzantium 16 Aristotle 25n57, 30n9, 71, 121, 122, 126n57, 180n23, 186, 189, 244n21, 245, 247, 248, 249, 270 Poetics 78, 240, 247 1448b4–20 248 1449 b10 185n43 1449 b24 185n43 1449b26–29 249 1450 a 7–10 180n23 1450a35–b5 244 1450b1–5 245 1450b13–19 180n23 1452a9–14 249 1452a21–29 248 1452a22–24 121n37

1452a30–35 249 1453a5–15 249 1455b26–28 121n37 1455b28–29 121n38 1456a 247 1456a25–27 189n52 Rhetoric 1. 13. 1373b 25n57 1. 15. 1375a-b 25 Astydamas the Younger Antigone 16 Cicero De Legibus 2. 59–66

23n46

Demosthenes 17n14 43. 62 23n46 47. 50 128n61 47. 78 128n61 Epic cycle Epigonoi 14 Oidipodeia 14 Thebais 14 Euripides 22n38, 246, 247, 250 Alcestis 21 Antigone 16, 239 Bacchae 269 Children of Heracles 21 Hecuba 36, 37n38 Helen 21 Hippolytus 81n13 Iphigenia at Aulis 21 Medea 81n13, 175n2 Phoenician Women 1, 16, 78, 101n16, 162, 167, 172, 174n22, 239 1650–1660 167 Suppliant Women 14n6 Trojan Women / Women of Troy 21, 36

347

Index Locorum Herodotus 4. 147 19n23 5. 61 19n23 6. 101 128n61 Hesiod 14 Homer 150, 151, 164, 173, 242 Iliad 13.178 sqq. 164n15 Hyginus Fabula 72 16 Phaedrus Fables 4. 25 187 Plato 30n9, 121, 127n61, 154 Apologia 33e1 127n61 38b7 127n61 Euthydemus 271b3 127n61 306d5 127n61 Euthyphro 2a5 127n61 Laws 873b-c 18 Phaedon 59b7 127n61 Protagoras 318c5 127n61 Plutarch 23 Alexander 3. 3 128n61 Life of Solon 23n46 21. 4–5 23n46 21. 5 23n47 21. 6. 1 23n50 Moralia 497d5 128n61 844b6 128n61 Solon 23 Sophocles passim Ajax 15, 36 Antigone 1 with n2 8 18n18 33–34 211n10 60 19 61–62 24, 183

69–70 48 75 21 78–79 245n26 79 25n59 86–87 164 90–92 183 93–97 164 97 183 100–161 63 100–162 189 155–161 211n10 162 212 162–210 17 162–214 65 166–169 212 173–174 211n8 174 19n23 175–176 212 175–177 19n22 178–191 212 182–183 213 185–186 18 206–207 213 213–214 18 215–217 182 221–222 182 222 216 278–279 66, 217 280–314 182 282 19 316 19 322 216 325–326 216 327–328 332–375 189 332–383 64 368–371 25n56 375 sqq. 65 441–442 19n23 441–525 15 453–457 183 454 25n58 454–455 15, 165 456 25 457 25n57 458 25 464 24 471–472 183 471–473 247n29

348 Sophocles (cont) 479 24 484–485 9 489–492 182 496 24 504–509 19n24, 218 506–507 182 523 8, 184n35, 275n17 525 9, 22 555 21 561 21 579–580 24 580–581 217n13 582–625 189 582–630 201 627–630 22 631–765 15 635–638 20n27 636–638 48 650 24 654 66 672 68 677–680 9 683–723 19 683–757 183n34 688–691 221 690–693 220 695–699 26 730 68 734 19 738 19 740 20n25 740–756 22 746 20n25, 40 756 20n25 762–765 183n34 765 48 773–776 300 773–780 20 775–776 40 780 26 781–801 190 816 21 817–822 66 847 25 897–899 20n29 904–920 25 905–912 297 907 25

Index Locorum 911 20n29 925–926 26 925–928 26 944–987 190 988–1090 15 1016–1022 293 1017–1022 16 1033–1047 182 1035–1039 220 1115–1154 189 1174 22n37 1177 22n37 1183–1191 22 1192–1243 22 1221–1222 301 1240–1241 66 1244–1245 22 1284 40 1284–1285 26 1325 26 Philoctetes 39n47 Oedipus at Colonus 1 with n2, 16, 100, 105, 162, 217, 233, 238n29 Oedipus the King 100, 101, 162, 169, 170 1073–1075 22 Trachiniae 13n2 Stesichorus 14 Theocritus Idylls 136 with nn80–81, 143 1. 4 136n80 1. 11 136n80 3 136n80 4. 4–5 136n80 4. 9–10 136n80 4. 44–46 136n80 5. 102–103 136n80 7 136n80 Thucydides 1. 138. 6 18 2. 34–46 35n32 2. 37. 3 25 2. 60 18 Xenophon Hellenica 1. 7. 22

18

Index of Modern Authors This index is a list of the main titles and passages from modern works included in the text and notes. Pages refer to the editions indicated in the body of the volume where they are quoted. Alberti, Rafael 107n28 Almeida Garrett, João Baptista 177 with n12, 178 Camões 177n12 Folhas Caídas (Fallen leaves) 177n12 Frei Luís de Sousa (Friar Luís de Sousa) 177n12 Um Auto de Gil Vicente (A play by Gil Vicente) 177 with n2 Viagens na minha terra (Travels in my homeland) 177n12 Amado, Jorge 193 Andrade, Carlos Drumond de 193 Andrade, Oswald 193 Cannibal Manifesto 31 Andresen, Sophia de Mello Breyner 1 with n3, 175 with n2, 191n62, 314n2 Anouilh, Jean 4, 9, 30 with n11, 34, 43, 53, 54n33, 55n36, 56, 69, 71, 72–89, 95, 156n31, 181 with n28, 196 with n14, 226n15, 265, 266n5, 270–271 with n10, 271n12, 274n16, 276n, 279n, 281n, 282n23, 284n, 314 Antigone 43, 51, 52, 53, 55, 69n19, 72–89, 95, 96, 101, 156n31, 163, 181n28, 185n39, 193, 195, 200, 226n15, 308 3 74, 75, 76 4 76, 77, 277n 5 77, 78 7 82 8 81 9 81 11 83 12 83 15 82 19 84 20 85 21 85 23 79 24 79 30 86

30–31 86 32 86 33 87 37 87 41 86n19 42 88 Eurydice 75n8 L’Hermione 85n18 La sauvage (The savage) 85n18 Le voyageur sans bagage (The traveller without luggage) 85n18 Médée 69n19, 72n1, 75n8 Nouvelles pièces noires (New Black Plays) 71, 72n1, 163 Apollinaire, Guillaume 61n10 Les mamelles de Tirésias (The breasts of Tiresias) 58 Aragon, Louis 58 Arendt, Hannah 35 Ballanche, Pierre-Simon 8, 45n8, 46 Antigone 45 Barrès, Maurice 43, 62 Voyage à Sparte (Voyage to Sparta)  62 with n12 Baty, Gaston 7, 195 Bauchau, Henry 48 with n19, 49 with nn21, 22, 50 nn24–25, 54 Antigone 48 Les deux Antigones 48 Oedipe sur la route 48 Beckett, Samuel 28, 29 Benjamin, Walter 33n23 Bergamín, José 54, 92, 107n28 El moscardón de Toledo (The blowfly of Toledo) 91n5 La sangre de Antígona (Antigone’s blood) 91 with n5 Medea, la encantadora (Medea, the sorceress) 91n5 Brathwaite, Kamua 34

350 Brathwaite, Kamua (cont.) Odale’s Choice 34 Brecht, Bertolt 7, 29, 72, 73, 80, 104, 185n39, 194 with n10, 195 with n12, 197, 201–204, 226, 314 Antigonemodell 72, 73n2, 104, 194, 195 Mother Courage and Her Children 203 with n22 The Good Soul of Setzuan 203 with nn22, 23, 205 Breton, André  58, 62n12, 68 Butler, Judith 36 Camões, Luís 244 Camus, Albert La Peste 40n52 Canijo, João 4, 5, 6, 239–250, 313 A Meio-Amor (Half-hearted love) 241n11 Ganhar a vida (Get a Life) 6, 239–250 Filha da Mãe (Lovely Child) 6, 241 with n11 Mal Nascida (Misbegotten) 6, 242 Noite Escura (In the Darkness of the Night) 6, 242 Piedade (Compassion) 242n15 Sangue do meu Sangue (Blood of my Blood) 241n11 Sapatos Pretos (Black Shoes) 241n11 Três menos Eu (Three minus me) 241n11 Carroll, Lewis Alice in Wonderland 305 Carson, Anne 28 with n5, 29, 30, 35 Antigo Nick 28, 35 Caserini, Mario 241 Chancerel, Léon 196 Chateaubriand, François-René 45 Chaxel, Françoise de C’est là qu’un jour je jouerai Antigone 55 Claudel, Paul 72n1 Cocteau, Jean 4, 43, 47 with n13, 48, 51, 55, 57–71, 72n1, 74n5, 79, 119, 120, 121 with nn40–41, 196 with n14, 215n, 314 Antigone 45, 47, 57–71, 119, 120n32, 162n9 Cap de Bonne Espérance (Cape of Good Hope) 59 Fedra (Phaedra) 62n11 La dance de Sophocle (Sophocles’ dance) 62

Index of Modern Authors L’aigle à deux têtes (The eagle with two heads) 62n11 La machine infernale (The infernal machine) 61, 66, 70, 196n13 Le boeuf sur le toît (The ox on the roof) 62n11 Le dieu bleu (The blue god) 60, 61 Le Potomak 59, 61n10 Le train bleu (The blue train) 61 with n7 Oedipus Rex 62, 63, 70 Parade 61 Visites à M. Barrès (Visits to M.Barrès)  62n12 Copeau, Jacques 195, 196 Registres 196 Correia, Hélia 6, 9, 72n1, 74n5, 81n14, 126, 265–284, 314 Desmesura. Exercício com Medeia (Excess: Exercise on Medea) 265n1 Perdição. Exercício sobre Antígona (Perdition: Exercise on Antigone) 9, 101n18,   102n, 109, 126n56, 265–284, 308 17 268 18–19 269 19 269 21 269 22 269, 273 23 273 24 273 with n15, 274 24–25 274 25 275 26 275, 276 27 276 28 276 31 276 31–32 277 32 277 33 273n15, 277 37 278 40 278 41 279 42–43 278 46 281 46–47 280 47 280 48 281, 282 50 282 51 282

351

Index of Modern Authors 52 283 53 283 55 283 56 283, 284 57 266n5 Rancor. Exercício sobre Helena (Rancour: Exercise on Helen) 265n1 Correia, Manuel Alves 141n5 Correia, Natália O Progresso de Édipo. Poema Dramático (Oedipus’ Progress. Dramatic Poem) 258 Cortesão, Jaime 113n1 Daniélou, Jean 70 D’Annunzio, Gabriele 251–264 Dantas, Júlio 4, 5, 6, 8n12, 160–174, 207–221, 223, 238n29, 314 Antígona 8, 160–174, 207–221 18 214 19 214 22 214 29 209, 210, 212 29–30 212 30 213 33 217 37 217 39 217 41 217, 218 51 218 56 220 61 218 62 218 69 218 74 220 79 221 83 221 85 221 94 221 106 212n11 115–116 219n14 119 220n16 128 219 A ceia dos cardeais (The Cardinals’ Supper) 161, 163n12 Frei António das Chagas (Friar António das Chagas) 163n12 A Santa Inquisição (The Holy Inquisition) 163n12 A Severa 161

Soror Mariana 161 De la Rosa, Perla 30 Antígona: Las voces que incendian el desierto 30 Delavigne, Casimir 63n13 Delbo, Charlotte Kalavrita des mille Antigone 54 Demarcy, Richard 54n34 Les voyageurs et les ombres. Oedipe, Antigone sur le chemin (The travellers and the shadows. Oedipus, Antigone on their way) 54 Derrida, Jacques 35, 42, 43 Delavigne, Casimir 63n13 Descartes, René 127n61 Diallo, Ladji J’kiffe Antigone 55 Dick, Philip K. 10 Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? 307 Dionísio, Eduarda 6, 9, 274n, 285–304, 314 Antes que a noite venha (Before the Night Comes) 9, 109, 285–304 9 286n 10 286 10–11 286 12 285n1, 288n6 35 291 with n14, 292 35–36 290 36 292, 293, 294 36–37 295 37 295, 296 39 296, 297, 298 40 298, 299, 300 41 291n14, 300 41–42 301, 302 42 302 51 299 Duchamp, Marcel 193 Dullin, Charles 7, 195, 196n14, 303 Dumas, Alexandre  63n13 Durif, Eugène Variations Antigone 55 Farber, Yael Molora 37n40 Ferreira, António A Castro (The Castro) 285n2 Ferreira, David Mourão  161

352 Figueiredo, José Campos de 258n26 Fontaine, Jean de la 4. 3 187 Freud, Sigmund  70, 309 Fugard, Athol The Island 37, 38, 39n45 Garnier, Robert 8 Antigone ou la piété (Antigone or piety) 44 Gide, André 69, 71 Amphytrion 38 69n19 Électre 69n19 Oedipe Roi 46, 69n19 Giraudoux, Jean 71, 72n1, 74n5, 196 with n14 La guerre de Troie n’aura pas lieu 69n19, 196n13 Gobineau, Joseph Arthur, Comte de 263 Gomes Júnior, João Baptista A nova Castro (The new Castro) 285n2 Gracián, Baltasar 263 Heaney, Seamus 38 with n44, 39 with nn45, 47 Burial at Thebes 38, 39 The cure of Troy 39n47 Hegel, Georg Wilhelm F. 5n, 13, 17 with n13, 28, 29, 35, 36, 48, 62n12, 162, 240, 308 Aesthetics 2. 1. 1 239 Hernández, Miguel 107n28 Hölderlin, Johann C. Friedrich 29, 33n23, 104 Hugo, Victor 63n13 Huxley, Aldous 305 Brave New World 307 Ibsen, Henrik Hedda Gabler 163n14 Le canard sauvage 196n13 Jouvet, Louis 7, 195, 196nn13, 14, 197 Kant, Immanuel 124, 127n61, 154, 158 Kierkegaard, Soren 46 Lacan, Jacques 43 with n2 Lanteri, Jean-Marc Antigone (42) 54

Index of Modern Authors Leitão, José Barros 162 Llosa, Ilse 203 with n22 Lobato, José Bento Monteiro 187 with n48 Fábulas (Fables) 188n48 Sítio do picapau amarelo (Site of the yellow woodpecker) 187n48 Urupês 187n48 Martín Elizondo, José 107n28, 108 with n29 Antígona entre muros (Antigone between walls) 107, 109 Antígona 80 107 Antígona y los perros (Antigone and the dogs) 107 Durango 107n28 Juana creó la noche (Juana created the night) 107n28 Las iluminaciones (The illuminations) 107n28 Maurras, Charles 46 with n9, 53, 54nn31–32 Melo, Jorge da Silva Ninguém duas vezes (No one twice) 241n11 Morrison, Conall Antigone 39 Mozos, Manuel Um passo, outro passo e depois (One step, another step, and then) 241n11 Nemésio, Vitorino 161 Nietzsche, Friedrich 138n83, 258, 259n, 260, 263 Olmo, Lauro 107n28 Orwell, George Animal Farm 307 Osofisan, Femi 34n26 Tegonni: An African Antigone 34n26 Osório, João de Castro 3, 5, 6, 8nn13, 14, 227n17, 251–264, 313 A formação orgânica da expansão portuguesa (The organic formation of the Portuguese expansion) 251n3 A Horda (The Masse) 256 Antígona 8, 258 As razões do erro ibérico (The reasons for the Iberian error) 251n3 Cancioneiro Sentimental (Sentimental Poetry Book) 252n5

Index of Modern Authors Direito e Dever de Império (Law and Duty of Empire) 252n3 Jocasta 258 Manifesto Nacionalista (Nationalist Manifesto) 254 with n12, 255n15 Necessidade e sentido de uma Universidade Colonial (The need and the meaning of a Colonial University) 251n3 O Além-mar na Literatura Portuguesa (The overseas in Portuguese Literature) 252n3 O Clamor (The outcry) 256 O plano imperial da Dinastia de Avis na África Austral (The imperial plan of Avis dynasty in Southern Africa) 252n3 Portugal visto da Europa (Portugal seen from Europe) 251n3 Revolução Nacionalista (Nationalist Revolution) 255n15 Sphinx 258 Tetralogia do Príncipe imaginário (Tetralo­ gy of the imaginary Prince) 256 Trilogia de Édipo (Oedipus Trilogy) 8 with n13, 227n17, 251–264 9 259 34 259 43 260 45–46 260 57 260 96 260 125 260 136 260 169 260 178 262 188 260 196 261 202 261 203–205 262 205 261 Um chefe (A chief) 252n4 Viagens de penetração e exploração do Continente Africano … (Penetrating Travells and exploitation of Africa …) 252n3 Patrício, António 305 Paulin, Tom The Riot Act 39 Pedro, António 4, 5, 6, 7 with n11, 72n1, 74n5, 85n17, 156n31, 175–191, 192–206, 207–221, 223, 227n17, 314

353 Antigone 141, 175–191, 192–206, 207–221, 227n17 257 181n29, 185 257–258 182 258 184, 186n43 259 186, 210n7 259–260 186 260 187 260–261 180, 190, 215 261 141n3, 175, 183 with n34, 186, 211, 216 262 185 263 186 267 209, 211 269 211n10 270 183 271 183 272 183 273–275 189, 190n57 275 209, 211n8, 212, 213 277 182 278 216 278–279 189n54 279 216 280–283 218 282–283 182 283 182 with n33 284–286 189n54, 190n57 290 182, 184, 218 291 189 292 183 293 183 294 183 295 183 296 182, 183, 184, 219 297 183 298 184n35, 210 301 186 303 186 304 187, 189 306 188 308 215, 220 309 215 310 188 with n49, 215 311 183 with n34 315 210 317–318 182 317–319 220n15 318–319 183

354 Pedro, António (cont.) 321–323 190 with n56 324 189 326–327 189 327 190n55 327–328 190 329 221 330 221 365–375 189n54 Desimaginação (Disimagination)  185n42 Pequeno tratado de encenação 194n10, 195 Teatro (Theatre) 185n42 Pemán, José María 54 Antigone  174n22 Pessoa, Fernando 116, 161, 257 Mensagem (Message) 116n11 Picabia, Francis 58, 193 Pirandello, Luigi 7, 72n1, 74n5, 185 with n42, 187, 198–200, 204, 226, 231, 233 with n25, 236, 314 All for the Best 199n19 At the Exit 199n19 Cap and Bells 199n19 Ce soir on improvise (Tonight we Improvise) 196n13 Each In His Own Way 199n19 Henry iv 199n19 I am dreaming, but am I? 199n19 Right you are! (If You Think So) 199n19 Sicilian Limes 199n19 Six Characters in Search of an Author 198–200, 236 The Jar 199n19 The Man with the Flower In His Mouth 199n19 Pitoëff, Georges 7, 195, 196 with nn13, 14 Pouillon, Celline 242 Pound, Ezra 69 Proença, Raul 113n1, 141n5 Proudhon, Pierre-Joseph 117, 153 Quental, Antero Nocturno 10–11 139n86 Radiguet, Raimond 60 with n4, 69 Renan, Ernest 113, 121 with n41, 154 Philosophical Fragments and Dialogues  122n41

Index of Modern Authors Ricoeur, Paul 43 with n1, 56 with n38 Rilke, Rainer Maria 70 Rocha, Paulo O Desejado (The desired one) 241n11 Rodrigues, Urbano Tavares 199, 200 Theatre Nights 199–200 Rolland, Romain 50 with n26 L’Antigone éternelle 50 Rosa, Armando Nascimento 6, 9, 305–312, 313, 314 Antígona gelada (Frozen Antigone) 9, 305–312 Um Édipo – o drama ocultado. Mitodrama fantasmático em I acto (An Oedipus: the hidden tragedy. Fantastical mythodrama in one act) 305 Lianor no país sem pilhas (Lianor in the land of no batteries) 305 As máscaras nigromantes. Uma releitura do teatro escrito de António Patrício (Ne­ cromancer masks: a (re)reading of António Patrício’s theatrical writings) 305 Nória e Prometeu – palavras de fogo (Naamah and Prometheus: words of fire) 306 A última lição de Hipátia (Hypatia’s Last Lesson) 306 Rostand, Edmund 163n13 Cyrano de Bergerac 160, 163n13 Rothemund, Marc Sophie Scholl – Die letzten Tage 240n9 Rotrou, Jean de 8, 44 with n5, 45, 47 Antigone 43, 44 Sá Carneiro, Mário de 161, 257 Sacramento, Mário 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 222–238, 313, 315 Antigone 222–238 107 229 108 228n20 109 230 111 230, 237 112 232, 237 113 238 113–115 228 114–115 230 115 232 115–116 232 116–117 234 117 235, 236, 238

Index of Modern Authors 117–118 230 118 236 119 236 120–121 237 121 235 121–122 235 123 234n27 Building for rental 225 Eça de Queirós – Uma estética da ironia (Eça de Queirós - An aesthetic of irony) 222n1 Ensaios de Domingo I-iii (Sunday Essays I-iii) 222n1, 223, 224, 228n21 Fernando Namora – O Homem e a obra (Fernando Namora - The Man and the Oeuvre) 222n1 Fernando Pessoa – Poeta da hora do absurdo (Fernando Pessoa - Poet of the absurd hour) 222n1 Frátria, Diálogo com os Católicos (ou talvez não) (Phratria. Dialogue with the Catholics (or maybe not)) 222n1, 232 Há uma estética Neo-Realista? (Is there a neo-realistic aesthetic?) 222n1 A Linguagem Sibilina (Sibylline Language) 223 Teatro Anatómico (Anatomy Theatre)  222, 223, 224, 225 with n13, 228, 233n25 The mouth and her owner 225 Salinas, Pedro 107n28 Sánchez, Luis Rafael La pasión según Antígona Pérez (The passion according to Antígona Pérez) 106, 107 Sancho, José Dias 163n13 Sant'Anna Dionísio, José Augusto 119 with n27, 120n35 Santareno, Bernardo António Marinheiro – O Édipo de Alfama (António Marinheiro – Alfama’s Oedipus) 258 Sartre, Jean Paul 8, 71, 226, 231, 231–232n23 Les mouches 69n19 L’être et le néant 231n23 L’existentialisme est un humanisme 231n23 Schroeter, Werner Der Rosenkönig (The rose king) 241n11 Scott, Ridley Blade Runner 307, 308 Sena, Jorge de 225, 257

355 Sérgio, António 4, 6, 7n10, 8, 113–139, 140–159, 206, 223, 257, 315 Alocução aos Socialistas (An Address to the Socialists) 115n10 A Antígona de António Sérgio e os moci­ nhos da Acção de Coimbra (Sérgio’s Antigone and the boys of Acção, Coimbra, 1931) 46, 120n36, 121nn39–41, 125n52 Antígona (1930) 8, 113–139, 223n8 7 138n83 11 145n8 15 130 20 125 21 124 21–22 124 23 125 24 129 25 132 26 123 27 129 30 129n64, 132 31 127n60, 131 33 134n74 34 134n74 35 123n46 36 123 37 123n47 41 134n74 41–42 135 42 134n74 45 125 46 133 47 134n74 48 133–134 52–54 123n47 55 181n27 56 123, 124 57 124 57–60 124 62 134n74 62–65 125 63 134n74 64–65 130 67 135–136 69 123 71 133 75 130n65 81 136 85 143n6 86 136n80

356 Sérgio, António (cont.) 86–89 136n81 87 136n80 88–89 127 90 137 98–99 130n65 105 126 113 128 with n62 117 128n62, 130n65 122 138 123 137 Antígona (c. 1950) 140–159 2 144, 146n9, 152 2–4 146n10 3–4 159n39 4 146, 148, 149, 152, 157n33, 158nn34, 35 4–5 142 5 141n5, 152 10 145n8 11 157n32 31 149 32 150–151 39 152 48 148, 149, 151 56 149 59–60 150n17 66–67 147–148 72–73 148–149 73 148 92 151 94b–c 152 Antígona (1958) = Pátio das Comédias, das Palestras e das Pregações. Jornada Sexta (Courtyard of comedy, lectures and sermons. Sixth Day) 141, 153–159 7–8 122n45, 156 9–10 157 12 157 16 157 17 158 19 158 21–22 158 26–27 158 28 124n49, 158 28–30 123n45 29 125n53, 158 30 158n37

Index of Modern Authors Antologia Sociológica. 10.º caderno (Sociologic Anthology. 10th note-book, 1957) 14 115n7 15 159n38 17–18 115n9 18 117n22, 159n40 Carta de agradecimento a D. Basílio (Letter thanking D. Basílio, 1927b) 78 135n75 Cartas leves sobre temas graves: aos jovens ‘Seareiros’ de Coimbra, sobre a maneira de lidar com os inimigos da luz e da razão (Light letters about deep subjects: to the young ‘Seareiros’ of Coimbra, on the way to treat the enemies of light and reason, 1926) 292–293 117n21 Cartas do Terceiro Homem (Letters from the Third Man) 115n10 115 140, 159n40 130–131 141n5 317 154n26 Democracia (Democracy, 1974) 115n10, 154 4–5 117n17 11 129n63 21 117n22 21–22 159n40 22–23 115n10 27 129n63 52 138n85 88–89 124n50, 158n36 151 129n63 239 153n24 329 159n40 Democracia crítica (Critical Democracy, 1934b) 1 124n50 4 124n50 Diálogos de Doutrina Democrática (Democratic Doctrine Dialogues) 115n10 4 132n70 15 134n.73 24 124n48 Ensaios I (Essays I, 1971) 233 138n85 Ensaios ii (Essays ii, 1972a) 25–26 113n1 121 118n25 Ensaios iii (Essays iii, 1972b)

357

Index of Modern Authors 121 118n25 159 137n82 Ensaios V (Essays V, 1973) 123 122n42, 154n25 Ensaios vii (Essays vii, 1975) 169–171 159n38 171 115nn9–10, 117n22, 159n41, 171–175 128n62 174–175 129n63 179–80 115n8 180 124n48 218–219 118n24 239 117n21 Idealismo e realismo: morale d’abord e politique d’abord (Idealism and realism: ethics first and politics first, 1929b) 298 115n9 O caso de Espanha (Spain’s case, 1923) 64 115n7 O clássico na educação e o problema do Latim (The Classics in education and the problem of Latin, 1929a) 121 118n25 Pátio das Comédias, das Palestras e das Pregações (Courtyard of comedy, lectures and sermons, 1958) Jornada Primeira (First Day, 1958a) 9–14 124n50, 158n36 Jornada Terceira (Third Day, 1958c) 26 154 Jornada Quarta (Fourth Day, 1958d) 11 135n75 12 155 24 155 29 154 Jornada Quinta (Fifth Day, 1958e) 8 155n29 19–20 155 29 154, 155 Jornada Sexta (Sixth Day) = Antígona (1958f) 141, 152–159 7–8 122n45, 156 9–10 157 12 157 16 157 17 158 19 158 21–22 158

26–27 158 28 124n49, 158 28–30 123n45 29 125n53, 158 30 158n37 Política democrática (Democratic politics, 1934a) 1 124n50 4 124n50 Sobre o julgamento do 18 de Abril (About the Trial of April 18th, 1925) 168 115n7, 117nn20, 22 Uma lição de inteligência (A lesson of intelligence, 1927a) 22 117n23 Shakespeare, William 173, 242 King Lear 161 Shaw, Bernard 72n1 Spinoza, Baruch 127n61 Tzara, Tristan 58 Tzavellas, Yorgos 241 Valéry, Paul 149n15 Valle-Inclám, Ramón María 107n28 Verlaine, Paul 61n10 Vicente, Gil 177n12 Farsa de Inês Pereira (Inês Pereira’s Farse) 125n54 Vieira, Afonso Lopes 257 Walcott, Derek 34 Wenders, Wim Der Stand der Dinge (The state of things) 241n11 Viagem a Lisboa (Lisbon Story) 241n11 Williams, Tennessee A street car named desire 163n14 Woods, Sarah 34 Yourcenar, Marguerite 46 with nn10, 12, 315 with n3 Antigone ou le choix (Antigone or the choice) 46 Feux 104 Zambrano, María 4, 9, 46, 49, 54, 81n14, 90–110, 274n, 289 with n8, 290 with nn11–13, 291n14, 314

358 Zambrano, María (cont.) Delirio de Antígona (The ravings of Antigone) 92, 93, 288–289n8 El sueño creador (The creating dream) 92 La tumba de Antígona (The tomb of Antigone) 9, 90–110, 265, 271n10, 272n, 288 with nn7, 8 63 96 104–105 97 106 98 175–176 291n14 175–177 290n11

Index of Modern Authors 177 98, 290n12 178 99 182 97 184 290n11 190 96 190–191 99 192 99 197 100 202 102 217 96 236 96 Zumthor, Paul 8

Index of Subjects This index consists of a list of entries, such as themes/concepts, events or historical personalities, related to the ancient works and their adaptations, relevant in a volume dedicated to reception. Agon/Confrontation 15, 25n58, 37, 52, 75, 81, 83, 84, 86 with n19, 88, 89 with n23, 122, 214, 218, 219, 237, 260, 262, 265n4, 282 Anagnorisis/Recognition 228, 234, 235, 249 Audience/Spectators 17 with n14, 21, 23, 24, 25, 28n4, 29, 31, 32, 33, 34n24, 37, 38, 41, 71, 78, 80, 91n5, 127n57, 156, 178, 184, 187, 189, 190, 193, 195, 196, 199, 203, 204, 209, 224, 225, 226, 248, 249, 266n5, 269, 270, 312 Brazil 3n7 Culture 31 Burial-motif/ funeral rites 1, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18 with n17, 19, 20, 23 with nn44–45, 24, 25, 31, 32, 35, 36, 39, 40, 45, 54, 55, 76, 78, 82, 85, 86, 88, 94, 103, 106–107, 122, 125, 158, 182 with n33, 213, 214, 235, 236, 238, 239, 244, 245, 246, 279n, 290n10, 293, 295, 296, 297, 298, 309 Catharsis 31, 41 Chorus 7, 14, 15, 17, 18, 19 with nn23–24, 20, 22, 29, 40, 73, 78 with n10, 79, 124, 126 with n57, 127, 141, 170–171, 182, 185, 186, 189 with n53, 190, 201, 212n11, 215, 217, 246–248, 266nn5,6, 267 with n8, 268, 269 Christianity 8, 21 with n30, 43, 44, 45, 46, 158, 159 with n38, 186, 258, 261 with n27 Colonialism/Postcolonialism 30, 34, 41, 42 Contaminatio 4 Death 9, 14, 20–24, 26, 29, 32, 33, 35, 38, 43, 47, 48, 49, 67, 86, 88, 94, 99, 102, 104, 124, 158, 195, 213, 219 with n14, 226, 227, 229, 231, 234, 235, 238, 247, 249 with n31, 261, 267n7, 274, 283, 284n25, 285 with n2, 286, 288, 289, 290, 291, 293, 296, 300, 302, 303, 304, 307, 308, 310 Dictatorship (see, also, ‘Tyranny’) 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9, 13, 31, 50, 68, 72n1, 90n1, 92, 104,

107n28, 108, 125, 127, 128n62, 129 with n64, 130, 149, 190, 207–221, 222n1, 223, 226, 253, 255, 257, 312 Exile 1, 4, 6, 45, 54, 90n1, 91n5, 93, 103, 105, 106, 107 with n28, 158, 243, 275 with n18, 276, 293, 310 Family values 1, 5, 9, 13, 17, 41, 44, 45, 48, 103, 231n22, 233, 238 with n29, 240, 290 with n10, 294, 296, 297, 303 Female condition (see, also,‘Women’) 5, 9 Film productions 6, 10, 305, 307 France history  44, 45 Fratricide 45, 49, 78, 122, 130, 157, 239, 309 Gender conflict 16–17, 20, 48, 229, 231n22, 266, 267, 268 with n8 Gods/Divinity (see, also, ‘Religion’) 15, 19, 25, 26, 47, 79, 85, 87, 182, 204, 217, 220, 226, 237, 259, 260, 261, 268, 269, 275, 278, 282n24, 294, 303 Hamartia 238, 249 Human rights 39n46 Hybris 249 Incest 47, 67, 237, 239, 275n18, 289, 299, 310 Katharsis 249 Law/Justice 1, 9, 13, 14, 15, 17, 18, 19nn22–23, 20, 22, 23 with n46, 24–26, 50, 52, 54, 86, 94, 103, 123 with n47, 124, 147, 152, 158, 180, 182, 184, 190, 213, 214, 215, 216, 219, 221, 239, 240, 244, 245, 248, 260, 269, 278, 280, 281, 294, 303 Literary genders Bourgeois drama 7, 47, 79, 187 ‘Dramatic essay’ 222, 225, 228, 238

360 Literary genders (cont.) Farce 202 Melodrama 79, 265n4 Love Love and adultery 243, 245, 249 Love and marriage 84, 125 with n55, 169, 183n34, 220, 276 with n19, 278, 280, 289, 303, 304 Love among relatives 54, 87, 88, 94, 96, 158, 184, 229, 230, 231n22, 275, 282, 297, 299 Love, objects of 273, 292, 295, 296 Love stories 9, 173, 180 with n25, 188, 189–190, 248n30, 285 with n2, 286, 288, 308 Martyr/Martyrdom 6, 8, 21n30, 166–167, 173, 271n11, 291, 308 Mimesis 248 Moira 249 Nomos 26, 76, 83, 85n18 Nomos/physis 229, 231n22, 267, 268, 278, 283 Nurse 77, 81–82, 94, 95, 99, 100, 101 with n18, 108–109, 126, 265–266, 272, 273 with n15, 274 with n16, 275, 276, 282, 283, 289 Peripeteia 121n37, 228, 234, 248 Physis 83, 85n18, 240 Portugal Cults 244 with n23 Culture 161 with nn2, 3, 177n12, 244, 247–248 Emigration movements 4, 5, 6, 239–250 History 2, 6, 113–118, 122n45, 125n54, 130–138, 140–141, 149–150, 175 with n2, 176, 178–179n17, 251n3, 252, 253, 254, 255, 257, 263–264 Myths 285 with n2 Personalities Caetano, Marcello 154n27 Câmara Reis, Luís 120 Carmona, Óscar 116, 123 with n46, 135, 140 with nn1–2, 148 Carvalho, Feliciano 255 with n18 Carvalho, Joaquim de 118n26, 120n34, 122n43

Index of Subjects Carvalho, Raul 255 Costa, Afonso 119, 135n77, 254n11 Cunha Leal, Francisco da 115n6 Delgado, Humberto 7, 113n1, 122n45, 153 with nn20, 21, 203n23 Ferraz, Ivens 116 Ferro, António 149 with n15, 151n19, 253, 257, 258, 263 Freitas, Vicente de 116 Gomes, António Ferreira 154 with n27 Gomes da Costa, Manuel 114 with n2, 115 with n6 Matos, Norton de 113n1, 140 with n1 Melo, Fontes Pereira de 155n28 Mendes Cabeçadas, José 114, 115 with n6 Morais Sarmento, José Estévão 132 with n69 Neto, David 132 Oliveira, Domingos 116 Osório, Ana Castro 254n11 Pais, Sidónio 251n3, 253 with n10, 255 with n16, 257, 264 Ramos, Gustavo Cordeiro 252, 253 with n8 Rodrigues, Fernando 132 Salazar, António de Oliveira 5, 7, 72n1, 113n1, 116, 123, 133, 140, 141 with n4, 149 with nn13, 15, 151 with nn18–19, 153n20, 154, 155, 156n29, 159, 175n2, 176 with nn3, 6, 178, 193n5, 207 with n3, 211, 222n1, 223n9, 226, 244, 252, 253 with n7, 258, 264 Sinel de Cordes, João José 132, 133 Sousa Dias, Adalberto 130 Thomaz, Américo 7, 122n45, 153 with n22 Viscount, Porto da Cruz 253 with n10 Politics 207 with n3 Racism 37 Religion 39, 44, 148–149, 236, 239, 244 Sacrifice 1, 21, 26, 44, 47, 94, 184, 260, 281, 297, 298 Second World War 5, 30, 32n19, 51, 53, 54, 72n1, 73, 75n8, 104, 105, 159, 176, 193, 194, 202, 226, 228, 229, 232 with n24, 233 Self-sacrifice: see ‘Sacrifice’

361

Index of Subjects Silence/Dramatic silence 19 with n24, 22, 76, 77, 82n, 88, 213, 218, 219, 220, 290 Spain civil war 90n1, 91n5 politics 90n1, 91n5, 104, 105, 115n7, 118, 136n78 Suicide 6, 20, 21 with n31, 22 with n41, 23, 24, 88, 93, 95, 137, 169, 173, 188, 242, 245, 249, 258, 289, 300, 301, 309, 310 Tyranny/Tyrannical power 1, 5, 6, 8, 14, 16–20, 34, 45, 53, 54, 68, 73, 76, 83, 85, 103, 123 with n47, 125, 148, 157, 158, 159, 167, 169, 182 with n32, 183, 184, 190, 193,

201, 207–221, 240, 246, 283, 289, 294, 297, 300, 301, 303, 309, 310 Women Maternity 273 with n15, 274, 275, 281 Women’s political intervention 19, 20n26, 31n15, 48n17, 50–51 Women’s psichology 268, 278 Women’s social condition 1 with n3, 2, 13, 20, 21 with n33, 23, 24n53, 44, 48, 254n11, 268, 270, 271–272