Antigone - Jean Anouilh

Eilidh Tyler Reid
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French Literature Revision

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Eilidh Tyler Reid
Created by Eilidh Tyler Reid about 6 years ago
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Antigone - Jean Anouilh
1 Antigone
1.1 The Heroine of the story
1.1.1 She is not a typical Grecian heroine, the antithesis of the Greek heroine
1.2 Described as scrawny, sallow, withdrawn, and a recalcitrant brat.
1.2.1 She is stubborn, tough, disagreeable and brave
1.3 Opposite of Ismene
1.3.1 Envious of her sister's beauty Steals her clothes and make up in order to seduce Hemon
1.4 Typical feminist character similar to Joan of Arc or Eurydice, boyish.
1.4.1 Curses the limits set by her gender
1.5 FIgure of French Resisiance
1.5.1 She disobeys the Kings order's - she is a rebel Her character is a metaphor for rebelling against the higher power Rises against power alone, without any aid or support
1.6 Her beauty is otherworldy
1.6.1 Children stop and stare in the street
1.6.2 beautiful in a way that unsettles, frightens, and awes.
1.6.3 Her beauty emerges at the point where she has lost all hope, similar to Oedipus
1.7 Against all prohibitions and without any just cause, she will bury her brother to the point of her own death.
1.8 Curses Creons idea of happiness set in place, would rather die than mould her life to those conditions
2 Creon
2.1 Forced into power by the deaths of Polynices and Eteocles
2.1.1 The order of leaving Polynices' body to rot was enforced in order to make the people of Thebes realise he is a serious King
2.2 Due to his newfound power he has given up all the pleasures he took in life
2.2.1 The bitter nature is evident
2.3 A practical man, he firmly distances himself from the tragic aspirations of Oedipus and his line
2.4 He now solely focuses on the social and political order of Thebes
2.5 He appreciates the simple, banal and good sense of happiness in life,
2.6 Uninterested in playing the villain in his niece's tragedy, Creon has no desire to sentence Antigone to death.
2.6.1 He does everything in his power to convince her to give up her desire of death
2.6.2 Eventually has to give in and concede to her wishes, costing him his son and his wife
2.7 Inherently a sensible, good man, however painted to be the villain of the play due to his position as King
2.8 He believes that only yourself can shape your own happiness, and his idea of happiness is so simple and lacking of passion that it repulses Antigone
3 Hemon et Ismene
3.1 Hemon
3.1.1 Hopelessly in love with Antigone, he will do anything for her. Antigone loves him for his passion, and he proves his passion through sacrificing himself after finding Antigone dead.
3.1.2 Kills himself as he cannot bear to be part of the world without her
3.2 Ismene
3.2.1 She embodies the typical Grecian heroine - blonde, beautiful, confident.
3.2.2 Tries to support Antigone yet understanding Creon's point of view
3.2.3 Creates an intervention - she is the main character that tries in vain to change the outcome as she sees the pointlessness in the endeavour
4 Le choeur et le messager
4.1 Tragic elements of the play
4.1.1 They act as the audience and the reader They question, pity and provoke a sense of horror (Catharsis)
4.1.2 Gives the audience an outline of the events of the play before it occurs, in order to fully ascertain the tragic nature of the play
4.2 The messager acts as a reminder that Creon has no one at the end of the play, as he can hardly rely on such a small, weak messager for company and solace.
5 Les Gardes
5.1 The three Guardsmen are interpolations into the Antigone legend, doubles for the rank-and-file fascist collaborators or collabos of Anouilh's day.
5.1.1 they have no particular loyalty to Creon.
5.1.2 Some critics have taken Anouilh's guards, which stand in contrast to the royal heroes of tragedy, as the clearest manifestation of his "aristocratic pessimism."
5.2 Mindless and indistinguishable
5.3 They are eternally indifferent, innocent, and ready to serve whatever powers that be.
6 Le mythe de Sophocles
6.1 The original play is very different to Anouilh's version
6.1.1 Sophocles' version fully places Antigone in the role of a hero and Creon as a villain Creon is described as a tyrant, Antigone being a victim of his tyranny
6.1.2 Anouilh's version blurs the limits of hero/villain, as he makes Antigone's bad qualities very well known and presents Creon as a patient, sensible man who doesn't want to sentence Antigone to death
6.2 The chorus is a typically Greek theatre feature
6.2.1 Anouilh's version concentrates the role of the Chorus to a single person in contrast with the standardised group of people
6.3 The fact that Creon listens to Antigone and tries to reason with her and avoid her untimely death shows a modernised view of how men treat women. Realistically, in ancient Greece, the King would be so outraged at the first defiance of Antigone that her death would be immediate and without a trial as such
7 Tragedie
7.1 A standard Grecian tragedy
7.1.1 The tragedy is made evident at the very beginning of the play, when the Chorus arrives in order to alert the audience of the plot of the play Nature of tragedy His speech offers a meta-theatrical commentary on the nature of tragedy
7.2 The suspense of the play adds to the tragic nature of the outcome
7.3 Tragedy belongs to an order outside human time and action. It will realize itself in spite of its players and all their attempts at intervention.
8 La dimension politique de la piece
8.1 Anouilh wrote Antigone in the midst of political upheaval in France
8.1.1 HIs portrayal of Antigone could be a symbol for those against the new power
8.1.2 Creon could be a symbol of the upheaval and of the power
8.1.3 Due to Anouilh's portrayal of Antigone as still being heroic and beautiful, this suggests he agrees somewhat with the rebellion, however the fact that he shows sympathy and highlights Creon's good qualities suggests that he also sympathises with the power
9 Realite et Idealisme
9.1 The reality of what Antigone is dying for is completely different than the romanticised version of event she is sacrificing herself for
9.2 Creon's version of happiness conflicts with Antigone's so much that she can't bear the thought of living a life without passion and drama
9.3 The fact that Antigone is described as being aesthetically unpleasing at the beginning of the play yet still maintaining the role of the main protagonist suggests that Anouilh is challenging the idealistic descriptions of the standard Grecian heroine (Which is similar to the portrayal of Ismene)
10 Oppositions et Valeurs
10.1 The Collective and the Individual
10.1.1 There is a very clear barrier between the rest of the character and Antigone This isolation is a definite part of her insistence on fulfilling her destiny - as an outsider, this outcome seems a more desirable option than lonliness and unhappiness
10.2 Reason and Passion
10.2.1 There is a divide between the characters of passion and reason Passion Antigone, Hemon Their passion leads to a messy end Reason Creon, Ismene, The Chorus Their reason leads them to life, albeit with sadness due to their losses
10.3 Dreams and Ideals vs Reality
10.4 Refuse or Accept? Obey or Disobey?