Escapism and power as entwined themes in Anouilhs Antigone and Ibsens A Dolls House.

Authors Avatar

Debjani Mukherjee

World Literature essay

Escapism and power as entwined themes in Anouilh’s Antigone and Ibsen’s A Doll’s House.

Escapism is the ability of a person to leave his or her physical surroundings, and transcend into a world of their own, in order to flee the harsh truth of reality. This ability can give an individual power, or make them lose it. This concept is highlighted in Anouilh’s Antigone and Ibsen’s A Doll’s House, through the subtle use of symbols, foreshadowing, and imagery. In this light, escapism and power can be seen as themes with a linked purpose; to drive the play forward by building up emotions that culminate in acts of rebellion at the end of each play.  With reference to this, escapism as a means to gain and lose power, and power as a trigger for escapism will be analyzed in this essay.  

Escapism as a means to gain power is portrayed in Anouilh’s play Antigone through his protagonist. Although mentioned only once, the ‘grey world’ that Antigone is so fascinated with serves as a symbol for her escapist persona. She says ‘It was beautiful. The whole world was grey when I went out. And now – you wouldn’t recognize it. It is like a post card: all pink, green, and yellow.’  The colour grey alludes to bleakness, imagery of a world without colour, which could connote to a world without men or human interference. Her dislike for the world with colour suggests that she is not content with the mortal world of man, and wishes to go beyond it. This idea is perpetuated when she says ‘Have you ever thought how lovely a garden is when it is not yet thinking of men?’  

Join now!

Hence, her longing to leave the world of men is one of the motivating factors towards her decision to defy her uncle Creon, bury her brother and thus make her uncle sentence her to death. Her strong will to die, indicated by her vehement assertion, ‘I want to die!’ gives her power over Creon, as he is helpless to change her decision. Indirectly, she brings about the death of Haemon and Eurydice, as her suicide causes Haemon to join her in death, which causes his mother Eurydice to commit suicide in turn.  Thus, Antigone’s escapism defines and strengthens her ...

This is a preview of the whole essay