Goethe thought that Antigone's celebrated speech of defiance, attesting to the irreplaceability of Polyneices, was surely spurious. This motive for her action, he thought, bordered on the comic. Hegel, however, takes seriously the irreplaceability of the brother and women's desire for reciprocal recognition. Burke argues in this article that the speech, which is indeed authentic, plays such a central role in Hegel's treatment of the play not only because the concept of recognition plays a central role in Hegel's philosophy but because the brother-sister relation is unique among relations of recognition in its equality. The significance of Antigone's burial ritual is to be seen in light of Hegel's relationship with his sister, Christiane. The ritual elevates the harmony between the two sexes not found in the family or civil society.

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