Analysis Of Fagles 's ' Antigone '

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While Ismene 's language relies heavily upon a Northern Irish dialect, differences between Paulin 's Ismene and Fagles ' go further. In Fagles 's Antigone, Ismene is a voice of reason in contrast to her rash and hot-headed sister. She advocates prudence as "sensible". Paulin 's work offers an Ismene translated not only linguistically but also in personality. As this Ismene warns Antigone, she thinks only of the punishment. Her concern is not that the two would defy the state but that they would die –and in a most unpleasant manner. Her speech emphasizes the concern for them rather than the state as she stresses how "we 'll" die and repeatedly speaks of what will happen to "us". These lines clearly mark a point at which Paulin chose fidelity to Ismene 's Irishness over fidelity to Sophocles 's politics. However, these lines also raise questions about the nature of Irishness. Is Ismene 's rational response, in the original, inherently un-Irish and untranslatable into an Irish context? And, if so, is Paulin suggesting here that the Irish are the overly-emotional and hot-blooded people that stereotypes have made them out to be? More than a simple substitution of standard English for Irish English, Paulin 's translation raises such questions throughout. As he translates, Paulin displaces Irishness, removing it from a familiar context defined by Irish/English dichotomies, character stereotypes, and the trite settings and practices expected of conventional Irish plays.
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