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Classics and Irish Politics, 1916-2016$
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Isabelle Torrance and Donncha O'Rourke

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780198864486

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198864486.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 27 November 2021

Post-Ceasefire Antigones and Northern Ireland

Post-Ceasefire Antigones and Northern Ireland

(p.326) 17 Post-Ceasefire Antigones and Northern Ireland
Classics and Irish Politics, 1916-2016

Isabelle Torrance

Oxford University Press

This chapter traces the evocation of Antigone in the context of the Northern Irish conflict, from Conor Cruise O’Brien and Tom Paulin to the remarkable number Antigone plays which have appeared post-ceasefire but allude to the conflict and its legacy. The Burial at Thebes by Seamus Heaney (2004) was inspired by the funeral of hunger-striker Francis Hughes in 1981. Ismene by Stacey Gregg (2006) responds to the sisters of Robert McCartney, who was brutally murdered by paramilitaries in 2005. Antigone (2008) by Owen McCafferty alludes to power-sharing and casts Creon as a soldier-turned-politician in ways that have contemporary political resonances. Norah by Gerard Humphreys (2018) portrays the sister of a fictional hunger-striker as an Antigone figure. The proliferation of dead bodies and the contested ownership of those bodies in all these plays show that Ireland is still dealing with the trauma of the conflict.

Keywords:   Antigone, Northern Irish conflict, Conor Cruise O’Brien, Tom Paulin, Seamus Heaney, hunger-strike, Stacey Gregg, paramilitaries, Owen McCafferty, Gerard Humphreys

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