New book explores the legal themes in ‘Antigone’

Professor Roger Smith for YFile homepage
Professor Roger Smith for YFile homepage

Frame copyAntigone v. Creon: Sophocles’s Antigone as a Courtroom Drama is a new book by York Humanities Professor Roger S. Fisher.

Published by Irwin Law, this groundbreaking new English translation of this ancient Greek tragedy offers an authoritative reading of the play as a work of legal literature. Fisher seeks to convey the language of law and the spirit of litigation in the play, both are critically important for understanding the conflict and motivations of the key characters. It is accompanied by a series of essays that serve to guide readers through the play’s legal issues.

York Professor Roger S. Smith
Roger S. Fisher

Sophocles’s Antigone presents the audience with a serious political question — whether law is capable of resolving fundamental questions of right and wrong or whether it is merely a self-legitimizing discourse in which power is reduced to rhetoric and persuasion and nothing more. Sophocles poses that question and cleverly casts the audience in the role of a jury, asking them to pass judgment on a question that subversively threatens the claim that justice transcends language.

The translation offered by Fisher — in accurate but idiomatic English free verse — provides a reliable and essential foundation for discussion of the legal themes of the play. This book will appeal to students, academics, lawyers, and anyone with an interest in law and literature, legal theory, or the study of legal discourses in a courtroom setting.

Fisher is a legal scholar and historian. His scholarship focuses on law, history, literature and culture from classical antiquity to the modern world, with a secondary interest in children and childhood in legal history and in contemporary Canadian law. In addition to Antigone v. Creon: Sophocles’s Antigone as a Courtroom Drama, Fisher has 13 academic refereed publications in addition to book reviews and papers delivered at international and national conferences.