Authority versus Truth in Sophocle's Antigone and Shakespeare's Twelfth Night

Authority versus Truth in Sophocle's Antigone and Shakespeare's Twelfth Night

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“Authority cannot afford to connive at disobedience” writes Sophocles in Antigone. This is also a central concern to Aristotle who establishes the importance of ‘Authority’ in the opening lines of his treatise Poltics:
“Since we see that every city-state is a sort of community and that every community is established for the sake of some good…it is clear that every community aims at some good, and the community which has the most authority of all and includes all the others aims highest, that is, at the good with the most authority. This is what is called the city-state or political community.” [I.1.1252a1–7](added emphasis)
He further states that the city-state comes into being for the sake of life but exists for the sake of the good life. The idea that good life or happiness is the proper end of the city-state recurs throughout the Politics (Book III & VII)
The existence of the city-state (polis) requires an efficient ruler. A community of any sort can possess order only if it has a ruling element or authority. This ruling principle is defined by the constitution, which sets criteria for political offices, particularly the sovereign office. Aristotle defines the constitution as “a certain ordering of the inhabitants of the city-state” (III.1.1274b32-41). It is not a written document, but an immanent organizing principle, analogous to the soul of an organism. Hence, the constitution is also “the way of life” of the citizens (IV.11.1295a40-b1, VII.8.1328b1-2). Here the citizens are that minority of the resident population who possess full political rights (III.1.1275b17–20). Once the constitution is in place, the politician needs to take the appropriate measures to maintain it, to introduce reforms when he finds them necessary,...


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...ilosophy Ed.Edward N. Zalta. Spring 2013. Web. 06 Nov. 2013
Loewenberg, J. "The Comic Spirit." The North American Review April 225.842 (1928): 485-91. Print.
Miller, Fred. "Aristotle's Political Theory". The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Ed. Edward N. Zalta. Fall 2012. Web 06 Nov 2013.
Robinson, Andrew. "In Theory Bakhtin: Carnival against Capital, Carnival against Power." Ceasefire Magazine RSS. 9 Sept. 2011. Web. 07 Nov. 2013
Shakespeare, William. Twelfth Night, Or, What You Will. Ed. Keir Elam. London: Arden Shakespeare, 2008. Print.
Sophocles. "King Oedipus." The Theban Plays. Trans. E.F. Watling. Baltimore: Penguin, 1947. Print.
Welsford, Enid. The Fool; His Social and Literary History. Gloucester, MA: P. Smith, 1966. Print.
Wiles, David. Shakespeare's Clown Actor and Text in the Elizabethan Playhouse. Cambridge [etc.: Cambridge UP, 1987. Print.

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