Athenen ääni. Tragedia, demokratia, dekonstruktio

Athena’s suffrage. Tragedy, democracy, deconstruction

The article is searching the link between the ideas presented recently by J. Derrida, Ph. Lacoue-Labarthe and J.-L. Nancy concerning the technical and mimetic conditions of democratic community. My argument is based on a reading concerning the mythical voting scene of Eumenides, that is, the tragedy of Aeschylus. What does voting as a democratic ritual and practice tell about the ultimate conditions of social existence? In which ways can these conditions be presented in a theatrical representation, on stage? Hegel’ well-known interpretation of the Oresteia’s ending scene assumes its denouement to be a result of a dialectical and reciprocal recognition between the apollonian and the chthonian powers, between agora and oikos. However, the turning point Hegel sees simultaneously as both cathartic and speculative is based on a simple technical innovation; the living will and voice of every participant (gods included) is presented by mute "ballot stones" (psèphoi). This way the cycle of revenge can be broken and the innocence of community re-established by the anonymity and neutrality of the stones. In addition this moment of extreme alienation means also the rediscovery and reaffirmation of an irreducible singular level. The idea of democracy does not only refer to the means of political decision, it is not necessarily based on the representation of different parties and interests, it does not expect any level of higher self-consciousness. The mise-en-scene of Aeschylus’ tragedy demonstrates how the democratic and legal community draws its sovereingty from the shared state of singularity.

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