In Antigone by Jean Anuoilh, how relavent it is with what was happening in France at that time. He staged his play Antigone historicaly and why? I had an assignment on it. I find it dificult for...

In Antigone by Jean Anuoilh, how relavent it is with what was happening in France at that time. He staged his play Antigone historicaly and why?

I had an assignment on it. I find it dificult for me to see Anuoilh's point of view when staging the play at that time, while the play was written thousands years ago. I straggle to find his inttantions.

Thank you!

Expert Answers
jmeenach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Anouilh wrote his adaptation of Antigone during the German occuptation of France of WW II. As a Frechman himself, Anouilh did not think too highly of the Germans, and in fact he was forced to edit his script so that it met the approval of Nazi censors, who monitored the arts very closely and ultimately banned theatre during the occupation. Anouilh's play was often performed late at night in underground hideouts. Although a few kind German officers were privy to the play, they failed to "get" that the play was an attack upon them; however, Anouilh's subtle attack was not at all lost on the French who saw it.

Perhaps the satire is most evident through Jonas and Creon's other guards, who are typically characterized as aloof, unreliable, and . As the play closes the chorus comments that the guards are so disinterested (and disaffected) by Antigone's death that they just go on playing cards, mindless of what has happened.

In the grand scheme of Anouilh's version, the notorious and unreasonable Creon represents Germany, while Antigone represents the collective conscience of France, who feels violated and cheated.

In the play, Creon uses graphic imagery to describe the stench of Antigone's brothers as they lay rotting in the sun. It is quite easy to make the connection between this and the Jews who were also left to die under such deplorable and dehumanizing conditions.