About the Politicization of the Antigone Myth by Rolf Hochhuth
The Antigone myth is one of the most famous myths in the history of literature. The history of sisterly love is as old as human civilization, but it still provokes the literati into attempting new interpretations nonetheless. Rolf Hochhuth relocated the ancient plot into the times of the Nazi Regime. Die Berliner Antigone tackles the problem of National Socialism and the ‘conditio humana’ as well. Hochhuth’s Antigone rejects human laws and buries her dead brother – a nameless officer sentenced to death for his ‘shameless’ remark: ‘the 6th Army had been destroyed not by the Soviets, but by the Führer’. Interestingly, Anne, alias Antigone, is not motivated by politics or religion but she’s still dragged into political machinations and the extermination system nevertheless. Heiner Müller wrote in his biography: ‘Myths are condensed collective experiences, and, on the other hand, a kind of Esperanto, an international language that is no more understandable only in Europe’. Based on Hochhuth’s story one can analyze transformations of a myth and functions attributed to it only to notice that models of human behaviour are basically the same. In his short novel, the German writer only references ancient myth showing readers, through modernization, how timeless the theme is.
‘Sometimes, it might be helpful if we went hundreds of kilometers away or hundreds of years back, to the past that we know only through legends and myths in order to see what can be found there […]: ourselves.’
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