Essay about Antigone

Essay about Antigone

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Antigone, a story of broken family ties and conflicting motivations, can be twisted to tell two entirely different stories, and this is what happed when Anouilh rewrote Sophocles' classic. While both Sophocles and Anouilh told the story of Antigone, through subtle changes in the style of the drama, each author was able to produce a product that told a significantly different and intimate tale conducive to their personal or political situation at that time.
Structure is one of the various components of the two versions of Antigone that set the pieces apart with just slight alterations. Both Sophocles and Anouilh begin their plotlines at approximately the same point in time, just after the Theban civil war ends with the death of the city's two kings, Polynices and Eteocles, but the tones set in the beginning of the two pieces are wildly contrasting. In the modern take on Antigone, written by Anouilh, the audience is introduced to the world of Thebes by a prologue that goes beyond setting up the background for the play, as is the case in the classic with its background note. Instead, the prologue introduces each character and the role they are to play within the drama (Anouilh 3-6). With this technique, and with similar instances where the chorus breaks the fourth wall, the audience is constantly being reminded that they are watching a performance rather than becoming engrossed in the plot as is intended to happen with the classic, resulting in almost a constant state of anticipation due to the magnitude of the foreshadowing. For example, from the beginning the audience knows that Antigone will grow apart from her sister, and that Antigone and her fiancé Haemon will die (Anouilh 4). While the audience does not have to wait long...


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... happy life with Haemon, but changes her mind when happiness truly becomes the topic of conversation, and she remembers that she is far from happy (Anouilh 47). This change of heart leaves Antigone asking for the death she receives, until near the end of the play where she admits that she does not know why she is dying (Anouilh 57). By looking at this through the symbolism, it is easy to see that while Anouilh may not have been a Nazi sympathizer, he saw the practicality of cooperating with those in power, and that there is always two sides to every story.
While Sophocles and Anouilh's versions of Antigone told roughly the same story, of a girl fighting for the honor of her brother, their different styles drastically changed the end result for the reader. However both were conducive to their intended purposes and thus must considered successful pieces of art.

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