The tragedy of Antigone

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By ARI MARCELO SOLON*

Hegel said that this is the most beautiful work of all time and also said that Greek tragedy will never be repeated again

In chapter IV, of book IV of phenomenology of the spirit, Hegel establishes a mechanism that moves history: it is the struggle for recognition. It is a fight in which two self-consciousnesses fight for pure prestige. This is more materialist than the class struggle, but it encompasses the class struggle.

What are you fighting for? For the desire of the other. This generates, on the one hand, the figure of the master who imposes himself as the owner of the work and on the other, the slave who, in order not to die, works for the master. The beauty of phenomenology of the spirit of Hegel, which is also a phenomenology in the sense of Husserl and Heidegger, is that it does not occur only at the level of self-confidence (self-awareness), but on a historical level.

In Book VI, the ancient world and ethical consciousness, Hegel mentions the tragedy of Antigone only once. Creon is the warrior, and in the ancient world, the masters are the warriors who wage war for recognition. Creon represents the universality of polis. Antigone represents the particularity of women. Against the polis universal, Antigone represents subterranean religiosity, that of chthonic religiosity (the Olympian is represented by Creon). Hegel said that this is the most beautiful work of all time and also said that Greek tragedy will never be repeated again.

Why is Antigone the true tragedy? Because there is no solution. Antigone must accept her fate and Creon hers, as in Oedipus Rex. There is no way for Antigone to assert her religious freedom before the polis. There is no power before the Greek polis. With the emergence of Christianity, la mauvaise conscience, and Roman law, we have a new phase in this struggle for recognition. In the Roman State that existed until the French Revolution, the slave is no longer a slave, he is a pseudo-slave, and the master is no longer a master, he is a pseudo-master.

This fight for recognition takes place in the desire for formal equality: sovereign state, freedom of contract, private property.

How is it possible, if there is no tragedy? After all, only Antigone is a tragedy, that is, only the Greeks are capable of creating tragedies. However, there are Shakespeare's tragedies. Hegel finely realizes that modern tragedies are tragedies written by intellectuals, closer to comedies. In Hamlet, at the end, the vision is exercised on the Dane who, after all that slaughter, will bring peace to the lands. This, however, is still not the true recognition, true recognition. In the era of Christian bourgeois law, you have pseudo-slaves and pseudo-bourgeoisie, but no true citizens.

Who eliminates the tragedy? The sovereign State, private property and freedom of contract and Napoleon, with human rights, in 1807. Hegel heard the cannons of the battle of Jena from his window and then concluded the phenomenology of the spirit. Synchronicity explains the end of the history of philosophy. The fight for recognition becomes real. On the one hand, a citizen who works and fights, on the other, the emperor who, according to Hegel, is the objective spirit that passed through his window.

Since 1807 there has been no more philosophy or need for struggle. The State becomes a Kantian, cosmopolitan State, with human rights. All are recognized homogeneously. “Professor, there has been a war since then”, would be a possible question. Not if you understand Aristotle: in act there is war, but in potential there is no more. O desire, desire, stolen by Lacan, ceases to be purely human. That's what Marx says: during the day they go hunting, at night they play billiards. Antigone only exists as a crime, not as a right. As a criminal, she violates the law of the polis and manages to recognize her religious freedom. In the post-Napoleonic State it is possible to do an ADIn. Even children are citizens.

It was recognized by the STF that the Sabbatarians are not here to defend their private interests, but their interests as citizens, after all, the ENEM has become mandatory, and before it was not. They want to participate in universal education. Hegel's analysis is so perfect that Kojève explained it to Lacan, in a course in 1936. Afterwards, Kojève died. He lived in a suburb, in Vincennes, and Lacan went to his house to steal the annotated copy of the phenomenology of the spirit. He was not against it, as the subject can appropriate all intellectual works.

*Ari Marcelo Solon He is a professor at the Faculty of Law at USP. Author, among others, of books, Paths of philosophy and science of law: German connection in the development of justice (Prism).
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