Cosmology and Conflict: Cosmic Justice in Sophocles’ Antigone

Tags: Antigone, Greek tragedy, Classical Civilisation

Category: Events

Dr Tom Mackenzie, UCL  

Monday 13th March - 3 - 4pm followed by drinks

At the Iris Classics Centre at Cheney School

Perhaps more than any other Greek tragedy, Sophocles’ Antigone has captured the interests of philosophers, ranging from Aristotle (fourth century BC) to Martin Heidegger (1889-1976) and beyond. Most famously, the German philosopher G.W.F. Hegel (1770-1831) saw the tragedy as depicting, at its core, a conflict between the abstract principles of the household (the oikos) and the state (the polis), embodied in the characters of Antigone and Creon respectively. This reading tends to be rejected by most modern scholars of the play, as it seems to oversimplify the two characters. However, this sort of conflict between two potentially contradictory abstract principles seems to be fundamental for some early Greek theories on the nature of the universe. This talk will explore some of the advantages and limitations of Hegel’s interpretation by investigating the key features of the play and its context that support and undermine it.

To book, please email

School groups are welcome.