SUNDANCE, UT – Today I participated on a panel for the honors program at the Utah Valley University, whose director, Michael Shaw, invited Marina McCoy and me to present papers for a panel dedicated to Women in Sophocles.
Michael and Marina joined me for Digital Dialogue 20 to discuss the panel and the honors program at UVU:
Marina gave an excellent paper entitled Exile and Blindness in Oedipus the King and Oedipus at Colonus in which she argued that Theseus is the real hero of Oedipus at Colonus because he shows himself to be capable of genuine compassion and is open to the persuasive words of those around him.
My paper entitled, A Father’s Touch, A Daughter’s Voice: Antigone, Oedipus and Ismene at Colonus, traces three moments of touching in Oedipus the King and Oedipus at Colonus that mark the emergence of a politics other than that of patriarchal domination.
Here is a brief overview of the itinerary of the paper:
This paper pursues a path marked by three moments of touching in Oedipus the King and Oedipus at Colonus, each of which articulates something of the logic of what I call the politics of the between and the economy endemic to the community it opens. The first occurs when Oedipus reaches for his daughters at the end of Oedipus the King. It marks the institution of a community between Oedipus and his daughters no longer dominated by patriarchal sovereignty.
The second moment of touching occurs in Oedipus at Colonus when Ismene and Antigone embrace Oedipus after their abduction by Creon. In this scene, a constellation emerges that beautifully embodies the very structure of the politics of the between. Here, situated between Antigone and Ismene, Oedipus is bound to a community of reciprocal support born of a trauma that anticipates the resurgence of the politics of violence and retribution that will condition its ultimate demise.
The destitution of this community of compassion between them is marked, however, by a third moment of touching, one that mirrors the first, as Oedipus hands his daughters over to Theseus thus opening the possibility that Athens herself might once again serve as the site of a politics of the between.
For more information on the nature of the politics of the between and my critique of patriarchal politics, see my article: The Daughters of Metis: Patriarchal Dominion and the Politics of the Between, available here as a pdf file.