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Greek Interpretation of Human Beings [129-130]

Antigone takes upon herself is by no means the fearful and inhabitual experience of an early death, which she herself faces with certainty. For her dying is, if it is anything at all, that which constitutes καλῶς, a belonging to being. Her dying is her becoming homely, but a becoming homely within and from out of such being unhomely. This becoming homely is neither to be misinterpreted in a Christian manner, nor may We falsify the καλῶς θανεῖν into some kitschy "beautiful death."

If what we have just now remarked touches upon the concealed truth of this Greek tragedy, then Antigone is not just any δεινόν. As a human being, she not only also belongs to the most uncanny that looms and stirs among beings: rather, within the most uncanny. Antigone is the supreme uncanny. Yet may we still speak of an intensification in the realm of that which in itself is already the most uncanny? Certainly—provided that we think intensification not quantitatively but in an essential way, and provided that we comprehend the most uncanny being in terms of its essence, namely, the fact that the most uncanny being is that which is intrinsically unhomely. Yet this being un-homely, and precisely this, bears further intrinsic possibilities of "intensification." What if that which were moat intrinsically unhomely. thus most remote from all that is homely, were that which in itself simultaneously preserved the most intimate belonging to the homely? What if this alone. of all things, could be unhomely in the proper sense? Yet what is the homely here? We must first elucidate something else.

If Antigone is now the most unhomely human being, and thus the most uncanny of all that is most uncanny, then she in the first instance must be referred to in the closing words of the chorus. Must not the expulsion then concern her in the first instance? These closing words appeal to a hearth from which the most uncanny being is to remain expelled.


b) The equivocality of the poetic work

In these few pointers alone concerning essential words in this poetic work, we have now encountered something enigmatic, namely, that these words maintain themselves in a peculiar equivocality. May we then expect the closing words to constitute an exception? The appearance of decisive clarity in the closing words is indeed perhaps mere appearance, perhaps even supreme appearance.

If we here speak of the equivocality of the word in the poetic works of the Greeks, then we do not mean that the poet is playing with words, or that only the poetic way of dealing with "material" avails itself of this artifice. The following is rather the case: The Greek poetic work is intrinsically equivocal, because what is to be poetized is equivocal in the truth