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FROM FILTH TO DEFILEMENT 87

Let us stop with this acknowledgment. Neither a confession of guilt nor an entreaty of innocence consequent to the suffering that was undergone, that statement marks the slipping from Oedipus the king to Oedipus the subject. "I am innocent before the Law" signifies first, / do not know the Law, the one who solves logical enigmas does not know the Law, and that means, I who knows am not the Law. Thus a first estrangement is introduced between knowledge and Law, one that unbalances the sovereign. If the Law is in the Other, my fate is neither power nor desire, it is the fate of an estranged person: my fate is death. The abjection of Oedipus the king was the irreconcilable in knowledge and desire, both all-powerful in man's being. The abjection of Oedipus at Colonus is the not known of the speaking being who is subject to death at the same time as to symbolic union. For it is on the threshold of death, while he is making a pact with a foreigner, that Oedipus says he does not know the Law. Exile, first desired, then refused by his sons, has become rejection before being transformed, for Oedipus, into choice and symbolic handing down. For it is on foreign soil, and to a foreign hero, Theseus, a symbolic son, that he bequeaths, at the same time as his daughters, the secret of his death. A death that, also in and of itself, without being in any way expiatory or redeeming for Oedipus, is meant for the benefit of others, of foreigners— Theseus and the Atheneans. Within such a context, it is Ismene, the daughter so often silent but who speaks in order to object to the very Oedipean quarrels of the sons, who also heralds his salvation through the gods: "Yea, for the gods lift thee now, but before they were working thy ruin" (1. 390). Such a lifting will be explained by the innocence of Oedipus before the Law (1. 548); but to make it concrete, he will undergo the purification rites at Colonus (11. 466-491), rites that provide us with one of the most detailed descriptions of purification in classical literature. A CHALLENGE TO ABJECTION: THE SYMBOLIC PACT At Colonus, therefore, the fate of abjection was changed. Neither excluded nor blindly other, it finds its place as his not known

Powers of Horror  

Powers of Horror-Julia Kristeva

Powers of Horror  

Powers of Horror-Julia Kristeva

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