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3.81  ·  Rating details ·  15,529 ratings  ·  418 reviews
Antigone was originally produced in Paris in 1942, when France was an occupied nation and part of Hitler's Europe. The play depicts an authoritarian regime and the play's central character, the young Antigone, mirrored the predicament of the French people in the grips of tyranny. One of the masterpieces of the modern French stage.
Paperback, 72 pages
Published September 1st 1960 by Methuen Publishing (first published February 4th 1944)
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Average rating 3.81  · 
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 ·  15,529 ratings  ·  418 reviews

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Aug 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
1960's song.

If Sophocles' version of this is the best, Anouilh's is the one that's most like we all are INSIDE.

When I was 16, a callow youth, I thought Anouilh's heroine just couldn't compromise. I thought, how dumb! Creon was right to imprison her… But later in life, when my personal shibboleths were challenged by my seniors I wouldn't budge.

How come?

Well, our personal experiences in an amoral world can force our ethical hand, and then we
Alienor ✘ French Frowner ✘

This is the most French retelling ever, y'all. Think secular and pessimist. Because oh, boy, how depressing Jean Anouilh was! Through the years his works showed more and more clearly how absurd human condition was for him, and how bitter he became. Yet I love that guy - there's just something so liberating oozing from this play.

"Et puis, surtout, c'est reposant, la tragédie, parce qu'on sait qu'il n'y a plus d'espoir, le sale espoir ; qu'on est pris, qu'on est enfin pris comme un rat, avec
Jul 29, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ma-english
Anouilh has created a fascinating version of Antigone, but not one that I prefer to Sophocles'.

Instead of fighting to bury her brother because it is the right and just thing to do according to the eternal and unwritten rules of the gods, she is merely making a point, overwhelmed by youthful emotion, and one which in the final moments, she regrets. This is not the powerful Antigone of Greek Tragedy. Creon is not the hubristic, tyrannical King of old, he is a man forced to perform a difficult task
Nov 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: french

Read this play any time you feel you're being talked into something which sounds plausible, but which you know in your heart just stinks. It was written to encourage French people not to collaborate with the Nazis during the occupation. A miracle that it was ever performed. Were the Nazi censors simply stupid, or did some bureaucratic hero take a huge risk to get it cleared? Perhaps a bit of both... it's hard to see how just one would be enough.

The story is kind of heartbreaking. If you haven't
Feb 21, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In the "note by the adapter" of the translation I read, he (Lewis Galantiere, who is, incidentally, a wonderful translator) related how Anouilh had to have the approval of the German censor in order for his play to open (in Paris in 1943). The fact that Anouilh was able to convey to the Germans a sense that Creon "wins" because he is lawfully "right," and to the French that in a sense Antigone's argument is the stronger in view of a higher power and moral "right" (and therefore comes as a call ...more
Alice Poon
Jun 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: french-authored

Very intense and affecting dialogues. The play pits idealism against realism in the form of heated arguments between Antigone and her uncle King Creon. By presenting Antigone as being almost naive and pigheadedly irrational and Creon as tenuously considerate and reasonable, Anouilh exposes the real pith of both characters. In truth, Antigone is the epitome of the perfectionist idealist, whereas King Creon represents the hypocritical and callous tyrant whose only concern is power and politics.

Aug 18, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think I'm becoming a little bit obsessed with this play, which is kind of fun. It's at the point now where I am actually very keen to learn Ancient Greek so I can read the original Sophocles. In the meantime, though, I would like to read an English translation of Anouilh, and then read the French again, or perhaps read them concurrently.

This was very interesting, not least because all the data points fitted. I think just about everything from Sophocles' original Antigone was included: every
Jun 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: french, plays
Read this French text while listening to an English-language audiobook. (translated by Christopher Nixon).

Luckily for me I got the audiobook as when I turned to the print edition I had checked out from the library, it turned out to be in French!! My French isn't good enough to have read this alone but was good enough to attempt reading it with the help of an English translation in audio :) It was an interesting experience! The L.A. TheatreWorks audiobook doesn't include stage directions so I
Mar 15, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: théâtre
Rebel without a cause.
Feb 19, 2014 rated it did not like it
Fukit, honey. Go ahead : kill yourself. You bore me.
Feb 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of my favourite books. I don't read a lot of theatre plays, but this one is special for me. I almost know it by heart.
Dov Zeller
Aug 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: theater, wwii-related
I am all of a sudden fascinated with theater during the occupation of France (thanks Cathy!).

Last night I read Antigone and there are a lot of things to explore in this play, but one thing that's really interesting to me is that it was written during the occupation and there is all this mythology surrounding it. There are accepted fables, that this is an anti-occupation play -- a play that was written slyly enough that it got past the German censors even though it had an anti-occupation message.
May 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I don't really know how to write about this play. It's Antigone through the lens of World War II. It's roughly the same story as Sophocles' original, but it's told so differently and with such a different heart. Anouilh was in pain, and he was trying to sort out the world that he once knew and the world he was now forced to live in. Like his Antigone, he could no longer see life the way he used to, but he couldn't accept it as it is now. It's the tragedy that he talks about and the drama. What ...more
Jan 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This used to be my favorite play in the entire world. I think that was because I had identified with Anouillh's Antigone much more when I was very young and very self-righteous. Maybe I'm still both of those things, but that's got nothing to do with this play so I will just say, upon re-reading this, that it is a really good adaptation of Sophocles. An excellent one, in fact. The real star of this adaptation, I now realize, is Creon. He is still 'un tyrant' but a very complex one who sees ...more
Joshua Nuckols
Nov 12, 2015 rated it liked it
Passionate portrayal of idealist courage, yet still hollow and empty.
I'm not usually a fan of adaptions of classical texts, but this was fantastic. It keeps all the spirit of Sophocles' original, while being highly relevant to the period it was produced in (Nazi occupied France). Antigone clearly represents the French Resistance and the unthinking Guards Hitlers' Nazi followers. What's interesting is the representation of the harsh and unyielding ruler Creon (Hitler). The performance was allowed by the Nazi regime because the portrayal of the king was complex and ...more
Mar 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: francais, reviewed, 2014
If you like your literature to feature strong, articulate women you don’t have to go much farther than Antigone. Jean Anouilh’s version was written in 1941-1942 at the height of the Nazi occupation of Paris. Creon is the evil tyrant and Antigone is the voice of resistance.

But is it that simple? Jean Anouilh has cleverly written his play in such a way that we can almost sympathise with both sides.

The war is over and Creon is triumphant. Antigone’s brothers, part of the revolt, are both dead.
Dec 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
Antigone: Understand! The first word I ever heard out of any of you was that word "understand". Why didn't I "understand" that I must not play with water - cold, black, beautiful flowing water - because I'd spill it on the palace tiles. Or with earth, because earth dirties a little girl's frock. Why didn't I "understand" that nice children don't eat out of every dish at once; or give everything in their pockets to beggars; or run in the wind so fast that they fall down; or ask for a drink when ...more
Nov 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017-reads
Holy moly, that was so good, honestly one of my favourite plays and I would love to see this live.

The play was easy to follow and I loved the long monologues by chorus, Antigone and Creon, such powerful proclamations.

Highly recommended to everyone
Kiwi Begs2Differ  ✎
Interesting version of the classic play by Sophocles, still I prefer the original. 2.5 stars
Simon Mcleish
Jan 14, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
Originally published on my blog here in January 2002.

Anouilh has taken over the plot of the play directly from Sophocles, while changing the characterisation of Antigone and her uncle Creon to make a point very clear (though presumably not to the German authorities) when originally produced in occupied Paris. His play is not about Antigone's choice but about the futility of resistance and the moral bankruptcy of both resistance and collaboration (the Germans being symbolised by Creon).

The story
Jun 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Antigone: Sophocles versus Anouilh

Since I am about to see a Dutch adaptation of Anouilh's version of Antigone, I decided to read both plays beforehand (Anouilh in French, Sophocles in English). Perhaps it is advisable to read Sophocles first (which I did not do), for it is clearly the more superficial piece of the two. The story is clear-cut, the predicaments of the characters are all there, but the story misses psychological depth: Anouilh's characters are much more rounded than Sophocles'. We
Jan 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Czarny Pies
Sep 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone. This play is great example of the perennial relevance of the Greek classics.
Recommended to Czarny by: It was on the reading list of an undergraduate course I took.
Shelves: french-lit
This is a tremendously powerful reworking of Sophocles' Antigone written and first performed in German occupied France. Antigone decides to bury her dead brother despite the order of the city's conquerors not to do so. Antigone is morally right of course but she brings down tragedy upon herself.

Anouilh's very clear style makes this play a logical choice for any French Lit course aimed at Anglophones. It has great emotional impact and delivers a stark message to the young reader that being in the
Diego G
Dec 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: french, read-in-2017
Jean Anouilh’s Antigone was first published and went to stage in 1944 during the Nazi occupation of France. Anouilh’s interpretation of Sophocles' Greek tragedy soon became a symbol for the French Resistance as freedom fighters saw the heroine's civil disobedience and defiance to tyranny as a condemnation of collaboration with the Nazis. Creon, the Tyrant of Thebes, took on the role of the Vichy Government while Antigone took on the role of the French Resistance.
Jan 10, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Bloody hell, what a fantastic book.
Oct 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Holy smokes. This was so well written. Read this version of Antigone!
Steven Godin
Jun 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: france, plays-theatre
One of the best plays I have ever read.
4ème lecture (4 novembre 2019) :
Toujours aussi puissant.

3rd read (1-2 August 2016):
Wonderful, terrible, grand. An absolute must-read.
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Bright Young Things: Antigone by Jean Anouilh 7 18 Mar 13, 2014 10:43AM  

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Anouilh was born in Cérisole, a small village on the outskirts of Bordeaux and had Basque ancestry. His father was a tailor and Anouilh maintained that he inherited from him a pride in conscientious craftmanship. He may owe his artistic bent to his mother, a violinist who supplemented the family's meager income by playing summer seasons in the casino orchestra in the nearby seaside resort of ...more
“I spit on your happiness! I spit on your idea of life--that life that must go on, come what may. You are all like dogs that lick everything they smell. You with your promise of a humdrum happiness--provided a person doesn't ask much of life. I want everything of life, I do; and I want it now! I want it total, complete: otherwise I reject it! I will not be moderate. I will not be satisfied with the bit of cake you offer me if I promise to be a good little girl. I want to be sure of everything this very day; sure that everything will be as beautiful as when I was a little girl. If not, I want to die!” 153 likes
“It bothered me that whatever was waiting wasn't waiting for me” 23 likes
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