CLASSIC 45C Lecture 5: Anouilh's Antigone: Overview and Themes

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Zacharitsa Giannopoulou

Class: Classics 45C Topic: Anouilh’s Antigone Date: 4-19-17 Background ● Jean Anouilh, French playwright ○ Born in France, 1910 ● Antigone first performed in Paris in 1944, during Nazi occupation ○ Comparisons sometimes drawn between the play and the political situation at the time ○ Antigone’s stubborn defiance and self-sacrifice were important ingredients of French resistance ● Even Germans and French collaborators appropriated the play for their own purposes ○ Ex: admired Antigone's desire for world of purity but rejected way in how she went about it ○ Others denounced her complete, saying that her actions lead to anarchy ○ Creon is seen as a just ruler and slave to his duty, sacrificed everything for country ● More fixated on death Characters ● Antigone ○ Doesn't seem to believe in anything; a kind of void in her ● Creon ● Ismene ● Haemon ● Prologue/Chorus (separate characters) ○ Is an actual character ○ Prologue comments on the action ■ Metatheater ○ Might be seen as fate ○ Tells you what’s going to happen in the play ● Jonas, guards (Binns, Snout) ○ Mercenaries ● Messenger ● Page ● Eurydice ● [no Teiresias] Things to Know ● existentialism (Sartre, Kierkegaard): existence precedes essence ● Absurd: no meaning in the world beyond the meaning we give it ○ We create meaning ○ Governs Creon too ■ Doesn’t love his job but still does it ● Authenticity: one has to create oneself in accordance with one’s freedom ○ Antigone is thirsting for authenticity, creating herself Themes ● Metatheatre/ Ironic distancing: ○ The use of direct and indirect reminders that what we are 1 Class: Classics 45C watching is a play ○ “Metatheatre” means af
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