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EPISODE VIII (B)
This episode begins with the Chorus and Messenger watching Creon lay out the lovers side by side. Since Haemon and Antigone could not be united in life, they are not united in death. The Chorus does not spare Creon. They tell him of the suicide of Eurydice, his wife and queen; she cut her own throat upon hearing about the death of her son. The Chorus comments that the poor in Thebes are going to be cold this year without her sweaters. Creon's tragic fate is now total isolation; his wife, his son, and his niece have all committed suicide, as a result of his edict and Atigone's determination. The only thing he has left in life is his sense of duty towards the state. The play ends with his performing his burden of responsibility; he is seen mechanically going off to his cabinet meeting at five o'clock. A wave of somber melancholy settles over Thebes, and the three guards resume playing cards, as if nothing has happened.
The repercussions of the actions of the protagonist (Antigone) and the antagonist (Creon) are dreadful. Creon lays the lovers side by side and remarks, "They are together at last, and at peace. Two lovers on the morrow of their bridal." Haemon had wanted to avenge his beloved's death, but he is too gentle and noble to kill his own father; instead, he kills himself. His death causes Eurydice to commit suicide as well, leaving Creon to live alone in misery, awaiting the fate of his own lonely death in the future.
The Chorus tells the tragic news of Eurydice. It observes that the poor are going to be cold in Thebes, a remark which functions as a slow revelation of the ugly truth of her suicide. She has lived aloof from Theban politics, in her own quiet world. Creon, in a sad voice, observes that, "They are all asleep." He envies them their rest and tranquillity. Creon has nothing left but to perform his duties of state. He tells his page there is work to be done, and he has to attend a cabinet meeting.
The Chorus makes the profound observation that if it had not been for Antigone's rebellion, all would have remained peaceful. Anouilh, however, has made the audience very aware that fate has caused the tragedy. As the play ends, the Chorus fatalistically claims that time will go forward, and that men will forget the dead. As proof of their claim, the three guards resume their game of cards, as if nothing has occurred. However, a great gloom settles over the Kingdom of Thebes after the tragedy has been played out to its final resolution.