Comparing Sophocles' Antigone and Jean Anouilh's Antigone Essay

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Both Sophocles and Jean Anouilh use the simple story-line of a girl defying her uncle and king in the face of death to reflect upon the events and attitudes of their days. Sophocles' Antigone models the classical pattern of tragedy by incorporating key elements such as a tragic hero with a fatal flaw and the Man-God-Society triangle. Creon is the tragic hero who disturbs the natural harmony of Thebes by denying Polyneices a funeral. Antigone is the catalyst who forces him to reckon with the consequences of his pride and arrogance. In the twentieth century, Jean Anouilh takes Sophocles' drama, strips it down to its core, and weaves an entirely different version of the story. Anouilh redefines "tragedy" by removing the conventional tragic…show more content…
(Sophocles 220). Creon closes his mind even to the wise and aged Teiresias despite being counseled, ?a good man yields when he knows his course is wrong? (Sophocles 232). Thus, Sophocles? Creon is the archetypal Greek tragic hero, setting the stage for the ensuing drama.

Antigone, on the other hand, is the maverick who dares to defy Creon, initiating the spiral of events that cause both his downfall and realization of his misdeeds. Antigone rejects Creon?s authority in favor of the higher Divine law, telling her sister Ismene, ?I will bury him; and if I must die, I say that this crime is holy: I shall lie down with him in death? (Sophocles 192). When questioned by Creon as to why she breaks the law, she asserts, ?It was not God?s proclamation. That final Justice that rules the world below makes no such laws? (Sophocles 208). Antigone is unafraid of her punishment claiming, ?this death of mine is of no importance; but if I had left my brother lying in death unburied, I should have suffered? (Sophocles 208). She remains steadfast in her beliefs, never compromising her principles to escape her uncle?s wrath. In her final address to the people, she proclaims, ?you will remember what things I suffer, and at what men?s hands, because I would not transgress the laws of heaven? (Sophocles 228). This indicates that she, alone, has chosen the righteous path.

From the opening

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