By Jennifer R. Ballengee

ISBN-10: 1438424914

ISBN-13: 9781438424910

Explores the rhetorical features of torture and the witnessing of torture in either classical texts and modern contexts.

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Additional resources for The Wound and the Witness: The Rhetoric of Torture

Sample text

Ah, you are a chatterer by nature, it is clear! [KREWN. FULAX. KREWN. FULAX. KREWN. ] (316–20)36 The Legal Body 39 In this dramatic stichomythia, the guard addresses the source of Creon’s fears about losing his authority, proposing a radical split between the mind and the body. Acknowledging that he causes Creon discomfort with his words, the guard attempts to distinguish the sort of pain he causes; while Creon resists the attempt to locate it, the guard insists on differentiating between the bodily pain that he inflicts on Creon’s ears and a different sort of pain caused by the one doing the crime he has reported.

In his first speech (162–210), Creon describes the needs of the city as his first The Legal Body 23 priority, clearly establishing that this takes precedence even over the ties of a loved one, since such dear attachments, he argues, can only be formed in the luxury of a well-run city. The greatness of Thebes, he continues, can be attributed to the effectiveness of the laws (nomoi, 191) of this hierarchy, laws that privilege the city over personal feelings. Creon’s emphasis upon the priority of the city over the personal makes his laws, of course, radically incommensurable with Antigone’s emphatic assertion that her ties to her brother precede any other consideration, even concern for her own life.

Thus, the individual body stands in as evidence for the meaning—the thought—of Oedipus’s life. Antigone’s method of communicating the meaning of his death—by means of her own body’s suffering—suggests this potential of communicating, from the individual to the masses, by means of the body. While Oedipus at Colonus offers a demonstration of the political fate of Oedipus’s body, whose public significance has already been made horrifyingly clear,9 Sophocles’ tragedy Antigone, in its essential concern with burial, traces the role of the body in its shift from individual to political mourning.

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The Wound and the Witness: The Rhetoric of Torture by Jennifer R. Ballengee


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