chapter  5
58 Pages

THE ART OF IMMOLATION

TRAGEDY, ROMANCE: ANTIGONE AND JOAN Dramatically, the situation is a simple one: a woman is condemned to death. There will be characters: a judge, perhaps an executioner; a victim too; and possibly spectators, or witnesses of some kind. There will be a cause - why is she condemned? - and an outcome: the sentence is or is not carried out. Then, the human feelings. The victim may deplore her fate, or she may welcome it - may actually have chosen it, as a necessary consequence of self-defining deeds. Perhaps she has broken laws; if she admits that she was wrong, she may be spared. Then again, her sense of self may not permit this. Depending on the religious or philosophical context of events, her choice gives rise to tragedy or martyrdom. A happy outcome will be relatively rare.