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A Greyer World: Comparing and Contrasting Versions of Antigone by Sophocles and Anouilh

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A Greyer World Comparing and contrasting versions of Antigone by Sophocles and Jean Anouilh In either version of Antigone, the plot is essentially the same. The King forbids the burial of a traitor to the city of Thebes, but the man's sister disobeys the order and is eventually killed, along with the King's son and wife. The characters are relatively constant between the two versions. Ismene, Creon, Antigone, and the guards all play similar parts. Since these two plays are extremely alike, the similarities would be impossible to all list. However, on of the most interesting differences involves Antigone herself. While her motives and understanding of the situation are the same, much of her inherent character is different between the two plays. As the titles of the plays would suggest, Antigone is one of the most significant characters to either production. The entire story centers around her. For this reason there are many opportunities to gain deep understanding of her character. ...read more.


(pg 140). Looking at the script for the old Greek version, it actually looks like Antigone is standing there and snapping back at anyone who would be so daring as to speak to her. Although she is not so rude to Creon in Anouilh's Antigone, she is just as obstinate. For instance: Creon: "Did you tell anyone what you were going to do" Antigone: "No." "Did you meet anyone along the way?" "No." "Are you sure?" "Yes" (pg 31). This just continues and continues, with Antigone's attitude varying little between the plays. Underneath the surface similarities are some striking differences. As mentioned previously, while Antigone is both rude and strong-headed in Sophocles' play, Anouilh's depicts a more firm but polite Antigone. While the Greek tragedy feels like a script, the characters all saying the lines they were told to say, the contemporary one appears to have more depth to the characters. ...read more.


Not the characters themselves. Both plays, old and new, have their merits. Comparing them is simple, as they are basically the same play. The differences are the more interesting element. Sophocles wrote the first Antigone with an idea in mind. He turned that idea into the plot and concepts behind the play. Each character in his version represents and embodies only one idea that is born and dies with them. The new Antigone, on the other hand, is not just the carrying through of one idea, but a cast of characters exploring the space Jean Anouilh has put them in. This goes to show how one idea can be read so many different ways. Each version of the play would appeal to different people, which means that whether you prefer a cautionary tale, or a world fraught with peril, Antigone can accomplish something. This is the change and transformation between the respective plays. With time, the show moves from a world of stark and frightening black and white to a world of troubling shades of grey. Although different, grey is still composed of black and white. Jesse Lupini 2/17/08 ...read more.

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