From Hegelian Ethical Substance to Lacanian Impossible Thing: An Ethical-Psychoanalytic Study of Sophocles’ Antigone

Document Type: Original Article

Authors

1 Faculty Member, Islamic Azad University, Abadeh Branch, Abadeh, Iran

2 Assistant Professor of English, Islamic Azad University, Abadeh Branch, Abadeh, Iran

Abstract

Hegel’s approach to tragedy is innovative and impressive, putting such a tremendous impact on the ethical canons that has been unprecedented since Aristotle. Hegel studies both the modern and the Greek classic tragedies, concluding that the Greek tragedy, in particular, Sophocles’ Antigone is superior to all the masterpieces of the classical and modern world… the most magnificent and satisfying (Aesthetics II 1218). Resorting to his dialectics, he declares that Antigone is a brilliant demonstration of what he names the ethical substances, the universal pathos or divine wills of the Greek mythological gods incarnated in the particulars, that’s is, the human beings that consciously choose to actualize them. Hegel thus illustrates that in Antigone the characters’ wills and actions are counterpoised by the unseen and intangible ethical substances just to confirm the triad of the Dialectal method where the thesis and anti-thesis’s dispute will subside down at the reconciling synthesis. Jacques Lacan, despite the incontrovertible impacts he takes from Hegel, argues that the essence of tragedy has to be sought in the very private world the subject internalizes in itself in interaction with the object-cause of its desire. Lacan adds that the object-cause of desire, unlike Hegel’s dynamic and lively external stimuli, is a common object that the subject elevates to the level of sublimity. Lacan also proposes that the very incomprehensibility of the Thing causes the subject to encounter the blinding Real, as an essentially-internal part of the subject’s symbolic world.

Keywords


De Beistegui, Miguel, and Sparks, Simon. Tragedy and Philosophy. New Jersey: Princeton UP, 1969. PDF File.

Draper, Roland. Ed. Tragedy, Development in Criticism. London: Macmillan, 1980. PDF File.

Fink, Bruce. A Clinical Introduction to Lacanian Psychoanalysis: Theory and Technique. Massachusetts: Harvard UP, 1999. PDF File.

---. The Lacanian Subject: Between Language and Jouissance. Princeton: Princeton UP, 1995. PDF File.

Harasym, Sarah. Ed. Levinas and Lacan: The Missed Encounter. New York: New York, 1998. PDF File.

Hegel, Georg. Aesthetics: Lectures on Fine Art. 2 vols. Trans. T. M. Knox. Oxford: Clarendon, 1975. PDF File. 

---. The Phenomenology of Spirit. Trans. A. V. Miller. Oxford, Clarendon, 1998. PDF File.

Houlgate, Stephen. Freedom, Truth and History, An Introduction to Hegel’s Philosophy. London: Routledge, 1991. PDF File.

Inwood, Michael. A Hegel Dictionary. Massachusetts: Blackwell, 1992. PDF File.

Kant, Immanuel. Critique of Judgment. Trans. James Creed Meredith. New York: Oxford UP, 2007. PDF file.

Kierkegaard, Søren. Either/Or, vol. I, Trans. D. Swenson and L. Swenson. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1979. PDF FILE.

Lacan, Jacques. Encore: Book XX: On Feminine Sexuality, The Limits of Love and Knowledge 1972–73. New York: Norton, 1999. PDF File.

---. Seminar VII, The Ethics of Psychoanalysis. Trans. D. Porter. New York: Norton, 1992. PDF. File

Lemaire, Anika. Jacques Lacan. Trans. David Macy. London: Routledge, 1994. PDF File.

Nussbaum, Martha. The Fragility of Goodness. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1986. PDF File.

Paolucci, Anne and Henri. Hegel on Tragedy. New York: Harper & Row, 1975. PDF File.

Rabate, Jean- Michel. Jacques Lacan, Psychoanalysis and the Subject of literature. New York, Palgrave, 2001. PDF File.

Roche, Mark William. Tragedy and Comedy: A Systematic Study and a Critique of Hegel. New York: New York UP, 1998. PDF File.

Sadjadi, Seyed Bakhtiar. Investigating the Subject's Identity: The Critical Treatment of the Lacanian-Althusserian Dialectic and Subjectivity Formation in James Joyce’s A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Exeter University, 2010.

Sedgewick, Peter. Descartes to Derrida, An Introduction to European Philosophy. Oxford: Blackwell, 2001. PDF File.

Smith, Joseph H. Arguing with Lacan, Ego Psychology and Language. Yale: Yale UP,      1991. PDF File.

Sophocles. Antigone, in The Theban Plays. Transl. B. F. Watling. Baltimore: Penguin, 1968. PDF File.

Stace, Walter Terence, The Philosophy of Hegel. Trans. Hamid Enayat. Tehran: Amirkabir Publication 2001. PDF File.

Wenzel, Christian Helmut. An Introduction to Kant's Aesthetics. Malden: Blackwell, 2005. PDF file.

Williams, Robert R. Tragedy, Recognition, and the Death of God Studies in Hegel and Nietzsche. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2012. PDF File.

Young, Julian. The Philosophy of Tragedy from Plato to Žižek. New York: Cambridge UP, 2013. PDF File.

Žižek, Slavoj. Enjoy Your Symptom: Jacques Lacan in Hollywood and Out. New York: Routledge, 1992. PDF File.

---. For They Know Not What They Do. London: Verso, 2002. PDF File.

---. How to Read Lacan. London: Granta, 2006. PDF File.

---. In Defence of Lost Causes. London: Verso, 2008.  PDF File.

---. Less than Nothing: Hegel and Shadow of Dialectical Materialism. New York: Verso, 2012. PDF File.

---. Looking Awry: An Introduction to Jacques Lacan through Popular Culture. Cambridge: MIT P, 1994. PDF File.

---. The Most Sublime Hysteric. Trans. Thomas Scott-Railton. Cambridge UK.: Polity, 2014. PDF File.

---. The Puppet and the Dwarf: The Perverse Core of Christianity. Cambridge MA: MIT P, 2003. PDF File.

---. The Ticklish Subject: The Absent Centre of Political Ontology. New York: Verso, 1999. PDF File.