Which character in Jean Anouilh's modern adaptation of the ancient Greek tragedy, Antigone, Antigone or Creon, presents the stronger argument in their debate concerning the best way to deal with the dilemma of whether or not burying Polynices, Antigone's brother, is necessary or wrong, from a moral perspective? The way that Anouilh has constructed the debate between the two, at one moment we can agree with Creon and decide that Antigone is being ridiculous. At another moment, when Antigone attacks Creon's entire moral credibility, we see her point of view and question Creon's integrity. In a sense, both Creon and Antigone are tragic victims, both caught up in the ancient curse that has plagued Oedipus and his entire family. The play Antigone is a final tragic conclusion to the tragic story of an entire kinship line. From the filial rivalry that has set the kingdom on its road to destruction, to Antigone's death, closely followed by the death of Creon's son, and his wife, the fall of great people, due to tragic flaws, is the cloth from which the play's substance is woven. While one is not stronger than the other, Antigone's decision is the more tragic it brings about the greater tragic outcome; in her death, Creon still is unable to see his role or life as tragic for him life goes on, revealing his emptiness.
[...] as a result of her position, Antigone represents this radical limit which, beyond all contents, all good and evil that Polynices might have done, all that might be inflicted upon him, maintains the unique value of his being" (Lacan 1986, 325) . Antigone, as tragic ethical heroine, remains by her very nature (or function) suspended in synchronicity.” (Walsh:101-102) Anouilh, Heiney writes, bases his version on the Sophocles version.“ the period and décor remain that of Classic Greece. But there is an anachronistic, modern element .The drama is played in modern dress; Creon wears evening clothes and the palace guard wear battle-jackets (Heiney: 440) In his plot arc, Anouilh, Heiney asserts, follows Sophocles version of the myth. [...]
[...] Walsh writes the modern French psychoanalytic interpretation by Lacan, reveals how the Antigone story can be seen as a clash between the rational and the symbolic order of language. (Walsh, 1999) If Creon wants her to give up her symbolic rebellion and go home, marry her fiancé, have children and live a normal life, Antigone rejects this. She cannot see herself living out any role that she does believe represents her truest sense of self. Thus, as Walsh writes, from a French feminist position, Antigone represents the pre- linguistic and the liminal; Antigone is the full embodiment of the other who refuses her role. [...]
[...] Tragedy is restful; and the reason is that hope, that foul, deceitful thing, has no part in it . But you can shout aloud; you can get all those things said that you never thought you'd be able to say or never even knew you had it in you to say.” (Anouilh: 38) If this is the truth, then Antigone says it better; her tragic decision causes as much or more chaos and pain than Creon's inability to see the tragic limits of his own compromise until it [...]
[...] Creon accuses Antigone of being melodramatic for its own sake; suggesting she is like her father, Oedipus, bent upon playing the tragic figure, seeking after destruction and death, to which Antigone, explosively retorts, “Everything would be so much easier if you had a docile, tongue-tied little Antigone living in the palace.” (Anouilh: 51) If Creon wants to spare Antigone, Antigone knows that Creon will have to put her to death, because of his nature rational, practical, authoritarian and mediocre. She will not be contained by any rules; her rebellion is a rebellion for its own sake as much as it is a duty to protect the soul of her brother. [...]
[...] (Witt, 1993) She declares that Creon is meant to be a representative type of the Vichy government (the French Nazi collaboration government) whereas Antigone is the purer representation of the heightened Aryan philosophy of nihilism. Thus, she declares that the play, in its entirety, seen in its historical framework, is right wing and fascist in its orientation, with neither character to be admired. Witt writes, “With her cult of youth and refusal to grow old, her resounding to everything resembling bourgeois mediocrity (le vita comoda), her ideal of purity, her notions of the superiority of her royal race, her courting of danger and death, her rejection of politics' and law, and her guiding principle of irrationality, the character of Antigone reverberates with a number of themes dear to both the traditional European right and to fascism. [...]
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