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Irish Antigones

Gotsi, A.; (2012) Irish Antigones. Doctoral thesis, UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis examines the reception of Sophocles’ Antigone in Ireland from 1984 to 2004, in the light of the social and political developments that took place in the country during that period. Chapter 1 examines the textual elements of translation, as well as the different ways in which the mythic element of the tragedy and the characterisation are ‘translated’ in different versions. Chapters 2-4 explore particular dimensions of contextual significance: politics, religion, gender. Each chapter first offers a brief discussion of the relevant Irish circumstances, comparing and contrasting them with the socio-political context of Sophocles’ Athens. Then, it examines the extent, the degree and the different ways in which the translations reflect and engage with aspects of the writers’ contemporary reality. Chapter 5, finally, deals with the scenic representation of the plays as a different and complementary aspect of translation, looking at the degree and the ways in which the different stagings reflect the Sophoclean play, the translations in question and the larger social and political contexts of adaptation. Antigone proves to be a remarkably flexible medium for the expression of strikingly different social and political agendas over time. Overall the thesis finds that, while the writers of the earlier versions reflect through the Sophoclean tragedy the turbulent Irish society of the early 1980s, the writers of the turn of the millennium, living in a globalised era, and with a more settled Ireland, locate the reworking of the myth within a more international outlook. It argues however that the reworkings of Antigone produced in 1984 by Aidan Mathews, Tom Paulin and Brendan Kennelly - despite the significant differences between them - are more adventurous treatments of the original play than the ones produced later, between 1999 and 2004, by Declan Donnellan, Conall Morrison and Seamus Heaney. The thesis concludes that the new readings of the Antigone myth in Ireland after 2004 suggest that the potential of Sophocles’ tragedy within its Irish context is not exhausted yet.

Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Title:Irish Antigones
Open access status:An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language:English
UCL classification:UCL > School of Arts and Social Sciences > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Greek and Latin

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