French subscription literature

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2. Antigone


Reasons to study this work

A short, straightforward play with accessible language this would be an interesting work to cover, not least due to the ambiguity of the message;  when the play was performed, some took it for an apology for collaboration whilst others saw it as Anouilh saw it, a protest against misguided leadership, such as that of Pétain, the head of the Vichy government.

The interest of the novel
Written in February 1944 when Anouilh was becoming conscious of the sacrifices of those resisting the German occupation of France, Antigone, based on the Greek Sophocles play of the same name, demonstrates the heroism of the eponymous character against the tyranny of Créon, the king.

Having just defeated Antigone's two rebellious brothers, sons of Oedipus Créon allows one to be honoured whilst the other must lie where he fell on the field of battle as a warning.   Antigone, despite the fact that she is shortly due to marry Créon's son, insists on ensuring that her brother is tolerably buried.

This play then puts Antigone at odds with Créon in a tragic, heroic role as is typical of the Greek theatre.  

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