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You can find me at https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/3144945-alex - I do not update this site anymore. 

Currently reading

The Pragmatic Programmer: From Journeyman to Master
David Thomas, Andrew Hunt
The Burial at Thebes: A Version of Sophocles' Antigone - Seamus Heaney Seamus Heaney's Antigone is excellent. In part he means to draw a connection between Creon and GW Bush - bear with me - or don't - and while that's vaguely interesting, it also consigns it to be debated in terms of modern politics, which is a shitty little rabbit hole. Sophocles is better than GW Bush.

It's common to call pride Odysseus's tragic flaw, but that's never struck me as true; it's curiosity that does that motherfucker in. But pride is certainly Creon's flaw. He pays, as surely as Antigone does, and it would be fair to call him the co-lead of Antigone. She owns the first half of the play; he owns the second.

But tragic flaws are for heroes, and Creon's no hero. Does he work from understandable feelings? Well, sure. Can you understand his anguish at the result? Totally. Are he and Antigone both punished for the same thing - headstrongness? Absolutely. (Do I like answering my own questions?) But it's crystal clear in this play that Antigone is the protagonist and Creon is the antagonist. She's headstrong, but she acts - and goes out - nobly. Creon's headstrong, but he also makes the wrong decision, and he loses his people and his family as a result. By the end of the play, there is no one - no character in the play, including Creon himself, and including the reader - who thinks he's done the right thing.

The difference between rulers and tyrants was of particular concern to the Greeks, and Antigone is an exploration of that difference - and a clear warning to those who might become tyrants. It is not an ambiguous play.

Translation Review: Weird. Heaney gets wicked colloquial at times; he also puts the poetic power he has into it at times. I feel like he was trying to make Antigone accessible. Compare this with his Beowulf, in which he put little or no effort into accessibility; while that's our best translation of Beowulf, it's not because he made it easy. I'm not sure this is our best translation of Antigone, although it is fun to read.