Clare Kearns

Wolf Humanities Center Undergraduate Fellow

20192020 Forum on Kinship

Clare Kearns

Classics and Comparative Literature

CAS, 2020

Kearns is a senior studying Classical Studies and Comparative Literature in the College of Arts and Sciences. Clare is interested in the relationship between antiquity and the present. Her research examines ancient texts through the lens of present-day concerns and, when possible, contextualizes those concerns as products of the ancient world and its reception. Recently, her work has focused on representations of women in Greek epic and tragedy. Clare’s true passion, however, is childhood education and community mentorship. To that end, she tutors at Lea Elementary School through the Lea Latin Scholars program. She’s looking forward to exploring kinship in the Penn community and beyond over her fellowship year.

Αὐτάδελφος and Φιλάδελφος: the Language of Kinship in Sophocles’ Antigone

Sophocles’ play Antigone has long been a touchstone for literary representations of kinship. Antigone’s insistence on burying her brother in defiance of Thebes’ head of state Creon is the very crux of the play. Overlooked, however, is how Antigone must reject her sister’s love to bury her brother, thus reinforcing her love for Polyneices at Ismene’s expense. This act establishes that at least two different kinds of kinship are at play in Antigone. This essay will examine how gendered relationships are constructed, deployed, and prioritized through language in Antigone. It will then explore how and why scholars have repeatedly relied upon a basic model of family relations in several seminal studies of Antigone, often dismissing Ismene in the manner of Antigone herself.