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MonkeyNotes-Antigone by Jean Anouilh
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EPISODE VII (B)

Summary

The guard paces up and down, and Antigone realizes his is the last human face she will see. She asks him about his family and whether he loves his children. In a human way, he reveals details of his personality, his family, and his professional life. He is thirty- nine and has two children. He tells of his career in the army as a sergeant before becoming a palace guard. Antigone understands him for the first time. When she asks if it hurts to die, he informs her that she is to be buried alive in a cave. Antigone moans aloud, "O tomb! O bridal bed! Alone". The guard reveals that the cave is outside the southeast gate of the town and is called the Cave of Hades.

The guard kindly asks if Antigone needs anything, and she requests that he write a letter for her. The guard becomes suspicious and does not want to help. Antigone then successfully bribes him with her gold ring. Antigone dictates a letter to Haemon. "I don't even know what I am dying for. I am afraid...." Antigone is then unsure about these words and asks the guard to cross them out and write only, "Forgive me", and "I love you". The guard thinks it is a strange letter.


Notes

Antigone is isolated and lonely in the prison cell. She realizes that the guard is the last person she will see in life. In the conversation between them, the guard reveals his hopes and aspirations. Antigone is bored by his dull conversation. Instead, she is curious about the manner of her execution and asks the guard if it will hurt to die. He reveals that she is to be buried alive in the Cave of Hades, outside the gates of Thebes. Antigone is frightened by this bleak prospect and moans, "O bridal bed!"

The guard is reluctant about writing out a letter for Antigone until she bribes him with her gold ring. Before he accepts the bribery, he crudely asks if the ring is genuine gold. When he is satisfied, he agrees to write the letter and deliver it himself. Antigone dictates her farewell love note to Haemon. Antigone first tells him that she does not know for what she is dying and then asks the guard to cross that out and write only "Forgive me." The guard thinks it is a strange letter. The rough, unrefined soldier cannot begin to understand Antigone's tender emotion in this farewell love note to Haemon.

Suddenly, the drum roll calls the prisoner. A tingling feeling of anticipation creeps over the audience as Antigone's death approaches.

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