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MonkeyNotes-Antigone by Jean Anouilh
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EPISODE VIII (A)

Summary

The lights show that it is late afternoon. A Messenger runs in looking for the Queen in order to give her the sad news of Antigone's fate. He also tells her that Haemon's voice could be heard from within Antigone's tomb. As a result, Creon had ordered the stones to be removed in order to bring Haemon out. When a guard entered through a narrow opening, he discovered Antigone hanging by the cord of her own robe. Haemon was on his knees holding her. Creon entered the tomb and begged Haemon to rise. At first Haemon was deaf to his father's call. When he finally rose, there was burning hatred in his eyes. He struck his father and drew his sword. Creon leapt out of range, but Haemon does not stab his father. Instead, he kills himself with the sword and dies beside his beloved Antigone.


Notes

This episode belongs to the Messenger, whose job it is to tell the Queen (and the audience) the sad, sensational news of the tragedy in the Cave of Hades. Unable to bear entombment, Antigone commits suicide. When Haemon enters the tomb and finds her, he is overcome with grief. Creon tries to save his son, but Haemon is now filled with hatred of his father. With an anguished face, Haemon turns on his father to kill him; instead, Haemon stabs himself and dies next to Antigone. The tragedy of Antigone's fate is doubled by Haemon's death.

In classical tragedy, unpleasant acts were never presented on stage. Instead, a character in the play would recount the tragic events that have occurred off stage. It is the Messenger who tells of the events related to the deaths of Antigone and Haemon, who are now united for eternity. Creon, who witnesses his son's suicide, is now fully defeated. Antigone's boldness has stolen his power as a king and his heir to the throne.

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