Dying becomes her. Posthumanism in Sophocles’ Antigone in the Light of László Nemes’ Son of Saul


This paper presents a reading of the Sophoclean Antigone through the lens of Posthumanism in tragedy (as a discourse coming from the dead) and Classical Reception (referring to indirect resonances of the Greek drama in László Nemes’ Son of Saul). Both theoretical perspectives are used to reflect new light back on the ancient source. In my approach I suggest that the play can be divided into two parts: in the first, comprising the prologue and second episode, Antigone connects with the dead obliterating all other desires to prevent her mission being jeopardized by the ‘call of life’ (applicable to both Antigoneand Saul). In the fourth episode (the second part of the play), however, Antigone reasserts her connection with the living through her lamentation for dying prematurely deprived of any opportunity to marry and bear children, thus abandoning her obstinate attachment to the dead. Thus, Antigone undergoes an internal transposition moving from the realm of the dead (posthumanism) back to the living. This reading helps us reconsider some of the apparent inconsistencies in the diction and behavior of the heroine between the two parts of the play, notably the limiting of Antigone's choice to burying only her brother (905-912).