“The Purity of Her Crime”—Hegel Reading Antigone

Hannes Charen


In Glas Derrida asserts that Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit, in its reading of Antigone, favors consciousness (over the unconscious) by first acknowledging the achievement of ethical plenitude by Antigone, as she comes to full recognition of two contradictory laws, that of the divine and that of the communal spheres, and consequently repressing this speculative accomplishment by her fateful disappearance from both texts. This article complicates the argument by looking at the role that literature takes not only in philosophy, but in the expression of speculative dialectics as such. What for Hegel can be included in a system? How does the impossible figure (Antigone), its expression and then exclusion enter and abandon the system? This text looks at war, burial and incest expressed by the role of Antigone in the Phenomenology of Spirit. (HC)

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