Antigone (Anouilh)

Today I would like to recommend you a drama, either through reading, or if you ever have the occasion, to see it, because this is what drama is made for. It is the adaption of the “Antigone” by Jean Anouilh, a French dramatist, whose story in all its complexity was narrated by Sophocles, in one of the three remaining Theban plays, in or before 441 BC.

Do not worry about spoilers, because it is not about the story line. Anouilh himself states the fact "[…]what was beautiful and is still beautiful about the time of the Greeks is knowing the end in advance. That is "real" suspense[…]"
The play tells the story of the judging and executing of Antigone, daughter of Oedipus, who was not long ago a guest in our studio, after she buried her brother Polineikes, which was illegal by the law of her uncle Creon, the king of Thebe, and punished with death. Beyond lays a multilayered background with diverse complicated family relations, god and human law and morally complications.
What may be the reason Anouilh would enroll her personality again in an adaption of the ancient theater play in 1944, during the Nazi occupation in Paris? Why is she moving him, what could he possibly see in the play, which opportunities? Which significant change happens while following the original story line?
With the adaption Anouilh is changing the motifs keeping the original constellation of characters. This drama can be related to the French revolution throughout Antigone’s identification with the ideals of freedom, equality and fraternity or with using her as a symbol of political resistance, pacifism or even anarchy.
Jean Anouilh may exploit her in the end of the Second World War during the Nazi occupation of Paris as a representative for the French Resistance against the Collaboration with the German warmongers, represented by Creon, who may be a political realist, to expel his beliefs.
Furthermore Antigone is inspiring for the reason that she does not compromise. Her morally principles are stronger than her will to survive in the beginning. In the end she looses on them, looses the logical necessity to martyr, the sacrifice of her life for the salvation of her brother, but still she decides for death. This strength, not understandable from the outside, irrational, this decision is an inspiration to believe in emotions.
"Comprendre ... Moi je ne veux pas comprendre." "Understand! I do not want to understand."
Are the words, Anouilh is putting on her tongue, in the moment Creon tries to convince her to give up on her plan to bury her brother.
Without expecting someone else to follow her actions, she goes her way, because even if she obeys the gods’ law and is in end executed by Creon, she is free.
If you are looking for inspiration I highly recommend you this drama or of course the continuation of listening to!

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