ANTIGONE'S "CONSCIOUS" DECISION

Throughout both Sophocles' Antigone and Sigmund Freud's

Introductory Lectures On Psycho-Analysis, the various influences behind an individual's decisions are questioned. Freud’s theory of the unconscious and the influence behind an individual’s desire moved away from the outdated idea of those during his time who “thought if you just hit people with all this factual information, they would look at that and say, ‘oh, of course’ (Happiness Machine 9:57 – 10:04). An individual’s decisions are determined by irrational desires driven by the unconscious rather than the illusion given by the individual’s conscious. Freud’s theory surfaces in Antigone as Antigone expresses her determination in burying Polynices. “Go on, make excuses. I am on my way. I’ll heap the earth upon my dearest brother’s grave” (Sophocles 6).  Despite her actions involving rebelling against male authority and her own sister’s advice, Antigone states that she has consciously chosen her fate; this goes against Freud’s theory. “Psycho-analysis declares that mental processes are in themselves unconscious” (Freud 25).  Thus, Antigone’s “conscious” decision of rebelling against the king was not spawned from a matter of freewill but rather the illusion of it, as her actions were predetermined in her unconscious. 

The sculpture opens up to the inner workings of the mind, expressing the initial step in making a decision occurs in the unconscious. (Freud 25)
The painting portrays the conscious working as the outward expression of the unconscious. Antigone expresses her unconscious desire of mourning her brother by consciously stating her rebellion against the state. (Sophocles 5)
Antigone attempts to consciously declare her actions despite her fate having been predetermined. Similarly, death has already been decided for the individual who attempts to walk into the waters of life. (Sophocles 6)
Though Antigone realizes that her actions will result in death, just as the lovers in the painting, she anxiously awaits losing her life if it results from the proper burial of her brother. (Sophocles 21)
Antigone's mourn for Polynices and her family is similarly reflected through the maternal love and sorrow of the Lemminkäinen's mother. (Sophocles 40)
The towering naked woman expresses Antigone's power behind her unconscious decision of resisting male authority. Even faced against Creon, Antigone shamelessly displays her indomitable defiance. (Sophocles 20)
Just as Antigone fearlessly resists male authority, the woman's stern expression and unorthodox appearance portrays the power of woman over men, symbolized by the banana, that can stem from the powerful unconscious. (Freud 24-25)
Society is portrayed to be supporting the "main flower" which has created the vicious cycle of the ruling class. As Antigone challenges the king and has city in agreement, the painting challenges its spectators to consider the influence behind their choices. (Sophocles 34)
Credits: All media
This user gallery has been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
Translate with Google
Home
Explore
Nearby
Profile