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Compare the Characterization of Creon in Anouilh's Antigone as Well as in Sophocles's Play

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Donna Burley
Professor Cearley
EH 102 Reading and Research Writing
10 October 2014


            Despite that Anouilh sticks mostly to the same scheme and characters, he decides to talk of a story that has been in existence since the twentieth century, but this time with special emphasis. The main purpose of this paper is to Contrast the characterization of Creon in Anouilh's Antigone as well as in Sophocles's play. The paper will also investigate how that distinction contributes to the general distorted effect of Anouilh's version. The two stories leave the audience ethically unsettled. It is easy to see Creon being ethically guilty but he is left anxious by the order implemented at the end. Antigone discovers that Creon has no individual moral center. If Creon surrender to Antigone’s will, the same fortune awaits her.

Antigone is a very multifaceted character. The character of Antigone seems to change all throughout both Sophocles and Anouilh version of the play and there’s not a dull movement with this character. This unpredictability makes Antigone seem very insincere because she will say something and then turn and say the complete opposite. The character of Creon as portrayed in Antigone is that he is a well-built individual who is surprisingly wrinkled and weary because of the tough responsibilities that come along with being in power. He is Antigone’s uncle, a very practical individual who has nothing to do with the greed and ill aspirations such as those of Oedipus. His intent is to uphold the social and political order in society because of his simplicity, good sense and optimism. This can relate to the present day leaders who have the interests of their constituents at heart but their aspirations to improve the livelihoods of the people are frustrated by some selfish individuals to the point that they almost give up on achieving those aspirations.

            There are various differences that the audience can identify about Creon in both plays.  In Sophocles version, Creon decides to leave Antigone’s body in a closed cave as an attempt of staying away from her death (Calin 98). He indicates that the gods will decide her destiny. Creon’s action on the same matter is different in Anouilh's version. We find that Creon regrets because of his mistakes, which he referred to as "childish stupidity" resulting from his own verdict (Calin, 98). Anouilh’s Creon suggests that he is not sure which brother's corpse was buried. He indicates despite the fact that once understanding of her act is unrestricted, the issue is fully beyond his ability. As a king, Creon can’t use his own judgment but must follow the rules of the gods. We find that the original Creon attempts to leave issues in the hand the gods, but the Creon in Anouilh's version directs to the State and its will sovereign of his own (Calin 98).

            We find that Antigone's fortune is disclosed in the two versions and the fact that Creon does not negotiate. Despite that the two characters sarcastically have a common sense of hopelessness; an essential difference can be seen on this spot (Russello171). In Sophocles' play Creon learns a great deal from Antigone’s death. Creon’s sacrifice obtains meaning. In Anouilh's play, it is clear that Creon is very much committed to issues relating to the state, such that he does not have time to evaluate the death of Antigone on an individual level. Her great sacrifice on state issues is insignificant. The response of every ruler in respect to Antigone's demise and the bloodshed that experienced within the play outlines the conclusion of the two versions factually and thematically (Mays126).

            We find that in the original story, Creon regrets belatedly after knowing his providence from Teiresias. He is overwhelmed by the outcomes of his deeds. It is fascinating also to learn that Creon emphasizes the demise of his lovely wife and son and fails to even talk about Antigone (Russello171).  At the end Creon has understood the transient nature and the stupidity of individual efforts. He bows down to worship the gods and also ask them for guidance.        

            The modern Creon does not apologize. He continues with his responsibilities and seems hardly influenced by the increased cases of bloodshed within the society. He is very much aware of the absurdity of his responsibility as the head of state, but this is not a new finding for Creon (Russello171).  He believes that accepting irrationality is part and parcel of a normal sequence of life. This is a concession that the made the moment he became head of state. Antigone has arrived at that critical moment where she has no option but to submit to life on its ridiculous terms or else she get ruined. Based on Creon's opinions, it is a moment for Antigone to come of age (Russello, 171). Creon advises her to surrender to his experience in these issues.

            Order and ethics are divided in Anouilh's universe. He questions humans’ capacity to maintain order and act with integrity. Antigone indicates that ethics will be compromised so as to enhance order within the society. According to Sophocles version, ethics helps to enhance order among different people. Creon is obliged to observe the rules of envious, indecisive, inconstant gods. We find that Antigone is the only supporter of the god's place in judgment over humanity and her prize is a premature demise. We find out that he was at one point an honest gentleman, but Creon currently clings to the State (Russello171). It is clear that Creon prefers the order of government and law to the morality of the gods.

            Creon is presently living in a community where religion has no significant meaning. The affluence he is experiencing is not an individual one, but the human condition (Russello171). Creon is a common individual who always play has role as one would expected of him. He feels honorable since he thinks he plays essential role to people within the society. He maintains the status quo without considering the effect that result from the same. We find that he has accepted to be a bureaucratic instrument and crushes every individual who fails to observe the rules. On the other hand Antigone is similarly “doomed” by her decision (May126). She cannot adhere to the set rules and regulations; she very well understands her capacity to interpret things for herself. She chooses to die rather than surrendering her independence to the state.



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