The eternal irony of the community: Aristophanian echoes in Hegel's phenomenology of spirit

Karin De Boer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This essay re-examines Hegel's account of Greek culture in the section of the Phenomenology of Spirit devoted to oethical actiono. The thrust of this section cannot be adequately grasped, it is argued, by focusing on Hegel's references to either Sophocles' Antigone or Greek tragedy as a whole. Taking into account Hegel's complex use of literary sources, the essay shows in particular that Hegel draws on Aristophanes' comedies to comprehend the collapse of Greek culture, a collapse he considered to result from the tragic conflict constitutive of Greek culture as a whole. The essay thus aims to shed light on Hegel's abstruse remarks on womanhood and, more generally, to demonstrate that Hegel's peculiar employment of literary sources constitutes an essential element of the method he employs throughout the Phenomenology of Spirit.

Original languageEnglish
Article number913880562
Pages (from-to)311-334
Number of pages24
JournalInquiry-An interdisciplinary journal of philosophy
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2009

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