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The Advent of PluralismDiversity and Conflict in the Age of Sophocles$
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Lauren J. Apfel

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199600625

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199600625.001.0001

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Antigone and Electra: moral conflict

Antigone and Electra: moral conflict

(p.274) VIII Antigone and Electra: moral conflict
The Advent of Pluralism

Lauren J. Apfel

Oxford University Press

This chapter looks at moral conflict in Sophocles' Antigone and Electra. It contends that while both heroines approach the dilemma that confronts them monistically, the larger disagreement that animates each tragedy is a pluralist one. Antigone and Electra are both faced with a dire choice, but they choose a course of action single‐mindedly and with little to no regret. The blinkeredness of their vision is highlighted in each case by the girl's sister (Ismene and Chrysothemis respectively). The chapter then focuses on the grave clash with a competing ethical perspective (Creon, Clytemnestra) that both women enter into as a result of their monism. The tragedy, it is argued, turns on the dramatization of this feud and it is ultimately presented as incommensurable. In this way, both plays close with no unambiguous sense of who is right and who is wrong.

Keywords:   Sophocles, Antigone, Electra, conflict, dilemma, monism, incommensurable, Ismene, Chrysothemis, Creon, Clytemnestra

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