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We need a closer look at Hegel's Aesthetics to see how much of Hegel's view we can agree with and perhaps to ask how much of our continuing interest in the tragedy can be said to be born simply out of nostalgia. If we look to Kierkegaard's critique of Hegel's Antigone in his essay on tragedy in Either/Or: A Fragment of Life, "The Tragic in Ancient Drama Reflected in the Tragic in Modern Drama," we find a solution to the problem that Hegel poses for modernity's interest in the tragedy. As I explain below, Hegel overestimates the power of modernity's developed self-consciousness to reflect itself out of its substantive ties to family and state, and in doing so also makes modern tragedy impossible, whereas Kierkegaard is able to explain why the issues between family and state in the ancient Antigone remain of interest to modernity. Kierkegaard demonstrates this last point with the proposal for a modern Antigone, which, while acknowledging that the critical eye of modernity has turned in on itself, nevertheless reminds us of the significance that these substantive bonds have for understanding both tragedy and ourselves.
18The tragic protagonists in this cycle--Con Melody, Deborah Harford, and Ethan Harford--conform to principles described by Emerson in his essay on tragedy. See Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Tragedy," in , ed. Robert E. Spiller and Wallace E. Williams, 3 vols. (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1959-1972), III, 103-120.