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The Historical Influence on the Differences in Creon's Leadership in Sophocles' and Anouilh's Antigone.

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Introduction

The Historical Influence on the Differences in Creon's Leadership in Sophocles' and Anouilh's Antigone Zlatan Camo British International School of Prague Word Count: 1499 Creon is often perceived as a secondary character to Antigone, yet one of the central themes of the two plays, leadership, is conveyed through his character. The variation in Creon's character in Anouilh's Antigone symbolizes a movement from a polytheistic to a totalitarian setting. Tragedies are described by the deterministic conception that the main character's death is caused by the inevitability of events and the absence of change in the antagonist's mind. Creon's character in Sophocles' version bares minimal tolerance for those defying his rule and this is the greatest catalyst to Haemon's, Eurydice's and Antigone's suicides. Anouilh, however, creates an image of Creon as being merciful, rational and somewhat undecided yet this alteration doesn't instigate any amendment to Antigone's purpose (to bury her brother). The religious message in Sophocles' version asserting that no man is above the gods, requires Creon to be arrogant in order to generate his strong repentance against such an attitude when his downfall comes. ...read more.

Middle

The significance of this sentence is it informs the audience Antigone may be searching for identity through religion. Haemon's mockery of Antigone's physical beauty demonstrates her lack of social acceptance. From the pro-fascist point of view, Antigone's hypocritical stance should romanticize Creon while the opposition would see her as the individual battling society and this isolation would signify bravery. In my opinion, this reversal of Antigone's character from Sophocles' version where her independence is more extreme makes the play more fascinating for the audience. Another essential feature of Creon's rationality is his lack of external influence in Sophocles' version and the reversal of this attribute in Anouilh's. Sophocles' Creon ignores even the oracle whose shabby physical appearance is a semiotic for divinity. Religion reimburses the oracle with celestial vision for his blindness which widens his comprehension beyond that of Creon's. Such an imbalance on stage illustrating a feeble, old man as superior to the leader would put emphasis on the oracle's religion since this quality escalates his influence. Sophocles uses this imbalance to honour the gods by creating an image of a pious man as more powerful than any atheist. ...read more.

Conclusion

Each party's beliefs are reinforced through arguments and both sides leave the theatre satisfied that no ideology has distinctly triumphed. In conclusion, Anouilh's variance of Creon's initial characterization has been generated to coincide with the different ideologies of the governments at the time. Sophocles' intentions were to honour the Greek god Dionysus. The elaboration of Creon's character as a powerful, irrational, ruthless, and arrogant figure accentuates man's defeat against holiness. The main moral of the play is that the gods' rule should not be defied. Contrarily, Anouilh's Creon is rational, merciful and quite humble. It is proposed that these qualities represent the Vichy government's dictatorial rule over France. Conformity with Nazi theories was a prerequisite for any theatrical production of the time. In my opinion, Anouilh's simultaneous presentation of pro-fascist and anti-fascist ideas proves his expertise in dealing with sensitive issues. In both of the plays, the gods have destined Antigone to death and nobody except Creon is opposed to this decision. Neither an aggressive attempt from Sophocles' Creon nor a reasoned one from Anouilh's changes her fate. The final message is clear: no matter what form of opposition the protagonist has to deal with in a tragedy, the outcome will always be death. ...read more.

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