Journal directory listing - Volume 55 (2010) - Journal of NTNU:Linguistics & Literature【55(1)】March

From the Scene of Tragedy to the Ethics of Tragedy: Discussing the Issues of Zizek and Lacan Author: Hsing-Yi Chiang(Tsing Hua College, National Tsing Hua University), Chien-Kuo Wei(Institute of Philosophy, National Chengchi University)

Vol.&No.:Vol. 55, No. 1
Date:March 2010


This essay focuses on the ethical dimension of tragedy. As a Lacanianist, Zizek not only explicates the mechanism of violence that dominated the tragic scene, he also endeavors to unwork this mechanism of violence. Zizek’s effort originates from the well known ethics of psychoanalysis.
Girard thinks that there must be a true event of collective violence hidden beneath tragedy. In order to relieve its inner crisis, community exerts violence onto the chosen scapegoat and sacrifices him collectively. Differing from Girard’s thesis that reduces tragedy as the imitation of the event of generative violence, psychoanalysis hold the belief that it is theatrical structure of tragedy that constitutes exactly the mechanism of collective violence of sacrifice.
Zizek thinks that through observing the spectacle of death, people not only are filled with masochistic enjoyment, but also are united together intensively. The theatrical structure of tragedy tames the destructive potential of death that community feels from within and expels it outside. Displacing the rending division onto the sacrificed others, community reaches the maximum of binding Eros in its interiority.
We have to break out of this theatrical representation that encloses the obscenity of the expelled death. In his reading of Antigone, Lacan unearths ethical dimension of tragedy. Through her pure desire for death, Antigone presents her figure with glorious splendor and brings us the blind shattering. She causes our division from within. That’s the reason why we no longer displace inner division outside and assume our ontological fissure uncompromisingly.

Keywords:Antigone, Jacques Lacan, Slavoj zizek, ethics, tragedy

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APA FormatChiang, H.-Y. (2010). From the Scene of Tragedy to the Ethics of Tragedy: Discussing the Issues of Zizek and Lacan. Journal of National Taiwan Normal University: Linguistics & Literature, 55(1), 81-107. doi:10.3966/207451922010035501004