Manny's Reviews > Antigone

Antigone by Jean Anouilh
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
1713956
's review
Nov 22, 2008

it was amazing
bookshelves: french
Read in January, 1975


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 fallen in love with Antigone by the end, you should probably seek medical attention.
20 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read Antigone.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

03/07/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-10 of 10) (10 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Lynne (last edited Jun 06, 2015 12:39AM) (new) - added it

Lynne King This looks an interesting play indeed. I'm into plays at the moment Manny.


Kite Actually, it was more like the Nazi's really liked how the play was sympathetic towards Creon, and how Creon basically wins in the end, and so they allowed it to be preformed.


Kite And almost everyone I know who read the play thought Antigone was annoying, even though the play itself was very enjoyable


message 4: by Manny (last edited Jun 05, 2015 08:55AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Manny Kite wrote: "Actually, it was more like the Nazi's really liked how the play was sympathetic towards Creon, and how Creon basically wins in the end, and so they allowed it to be preformed."

I have heard that theory, but if you actually read the text it doesn't make much sense. It still seems to me that you're back to where you started: either the censors were surprisingly dumb, or they were covertly helping Anouilh put across his subversive message.

Or do you honestly think you can read the play as making Creon the responsible adult and Antigone the psycho? People see things in different ways... I can't do it, but maybe you can!


Manny Kite wrote: "And almost everyone I know who read the play thought Antigone was annoying, even though the play itself was very enjoyable"

Have you ever seen it performed live? It's almost impossible to get that reading when you have it there in front of you. Antigone and Hémon get all the good lines.


Kite To be honest, I believe that the play supports both the resistance and the Nazi occupation at the same time.
I think why the censors allowed it and why so many supporters of the Nazi praised it is because Creon's belief is shown to win. Even the Chorus at the end support Creon's beliefs. I guess its more of how each person saw the play. Anouilh probably hoped that different people saw the play differently, because seriously, this play has basically saved his life.


Kite And for one thing, Haemon doesn't have that many lines, even though what he does say is very good. And I think Antigone was amazing at what she did, its just that at some points she gets very annoying. I was supporting her, even though by the end of her argument/fight/whatever-you-wanna-call-it with Creon, her behavior was very annoying. Although she makes up for it while writing the letter.


Manny Technically I suppose you're right that Hémon doesn't get that many lines. I was in particular thinking of the death scene which happens offstage and is reported second-hand: how he is found with Antigone's dead body, and draws his sword when Créon approaches him. Créon jumps back, frightened, but Hémon, his eyes blazing with contempt, stabs himself and then "dies, embracing Antigone in the middle of a vast pool of blood".

And Créon shortly after discovers that his wife has killed herself too. Well, how plain do you need to be if you want to get across the idea that sometimes death is preferable to dishonor?


Kite That makes sense. I still think that Anouilh wanted to have both views in the same play. Another is how Creon says "it must be nice to sleep" after he finds out about his wife's death. And if it wasn't for the Chorus at the end I would agree with you. Like you said, people see things different ways, and that's what makes this play so good, people do see it in different ways.


Manny It still seems to me that that the deck is stacked so heavily against Créon that you have trouble seeing his point of view as a valid one. But on the other hand it also occurs to me to wonder if the text we can read today is exactly the same as the one the Nazi censors saw. Maybe it's been changed. It'd only be necessary to move things a little distance and I'd start to agree with you.


back to top