Δρ. Μίνα Καραβαντά, Αναπληρώτρια Καθηγήτρια, Τμήμα Αγγλικής Γλώσσας και Φιλολογίας, ΕΚΠΑ
Δρ. Εύη Μήτση, Καθηγήτρια, Τμήμα Αγγλικής Γλώσσας και Φιλολογίας, ΕΚΠΑ
Δρ. Χριστίνα Ντόκου, Επίκουρη Καθηγήτρια, Τμήμα Αγγλικής Γλώσσας και Φιλολογίας, ΕΚΠΑ
My thesis aims to explore the ways in which two contemporary (re)turnings to Sophocles’s Antigone, Kamila Shamsie’s Home Fire (2017) and Joydeep Roy- Bhattacharya’s The Watch (2012), attempt to translate and recontextualize some of the tragedy’s most pertinent ethical dilemmas and internal contradictions into the idiomatic dialect of an irretrievably globalized and increasingly interdependent world. Situating both novels within a comparative framework that consists in nothing more and nothing less than a close, thematically developed reading of both contemporary narratives in syntactical relation to the classical text to which they both return, and drawing on more than one theoretical texts, this project is divided into three sections, each one structured around a main thematic trope that effectively weaves the thread that binds—at times in unity and at times in separation—the two novels both to the classical text and to each other. The first section, which is structured around the trope of light, explores the relay between embodied difference, politics, and vision as it is meticulously carved out across all three texts in question, and reads Antigone’s “monstrous” deviation from the social and cultural norm of the Theban polity in relation to the Islamic veil worn by the female protagonists in both Home Fire and The Watch. The second section, which marks the shift from the trope of light to that of darkness, concentrates not so much on Antigone’s difference and dissent, but rather on the sovereign response to her transgression. It reads the girl’s consignation to the cave as an act of “binding violence” that both lays and preserves the foundation of sovereign might and exemplarity, an act which both Shamsie and Roy-Bhattacharya reframe within the context of Western exemplarity and its prolonged, ever-augmenting, and proliferating states of exception. Finally, the third and last section of this project, which is structured around the trope of friendships, discusses quite extensively Antigone’s burial act as a response to the deceased one, to the rogue citizen or human, the traitor or the terrorist who is deemed unworthy of this rite, and relates it to the questions of death, love, memory and mourning, of politics, hospitality and forgiveness, all of which are pertinent to the classical text and even more so to the two contemporary adaptations of Antigone in which the right to burial rites resurfaces in the most timely of manners.
Antigone, Sophocles, Contemporary Anglophone Literature, Hospitality, Light, Darkness