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i The Antigone Experience by Shauna Hoar A Thesis Submitted to the Division of Humanities New College of Florida in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Bachelor of Arts in Classics Under the sponsorship of David S. Rohrbacher, Ph.D. Sarasota, FL February, 2010
ii ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I am endlessly grateful to all those who ha ve aided and supported me in the process of writing this thesis. I would like to thank David Rohrbacher, my academic advisor and thesis sponsor, for putting up with me these last few years a nd always setting hi s expectations high. I would also like to thank Ma ribeth Clark and Carl Shaw, my additional thesis committee members, for their academic support. My gratitude goes out to those of you who gave me hugs and emotional support through all of this, especially Claire Miller, Anya Grady, and Katy Horine, who also helped me with outstanding editing support.
iii Table of Contents Introduction................................................................................................................... .. 1 Understanding Antigone ................................................................................................. 7 Re-Envisioning Antigone ............................................................................................... 33 Creating Antigone............... ........................................................................................... 51 Conclusion................................................................................................................. 77 Works Cited .................................................................................... ........................... 79
iv THE ANTIGONE EXPERIENCE Shauna Hoar New College of Florida, 2010 ABSTRACT This thesis examines Sophocles' original play and production of Antigone in the fifth century B.C. In my first ch apter, I look at the histor ical events surrounding the production. Next, I explain the text of the play in detail in order to gain insight into and a deeper understanding of Antigone In my second chapter, I look at three modern interpretations: Tieck and Mendelssohn, Brecht and Neher, and Jean Anouilh, each with their own approach to adaptin g and recreating the original. Finally, I present excerpts from my own attempt at adapting the play. In order to explain why Antigone has been enjoyed by audiences for more than 2400 years, I seek to come to an understanding of how the original Athenian audience viewed the play, and how we have come to understand and relate to it today.
1 ANTIGONE IN HER TOMB* -Dallas Crow Zeus, Your will, finally, is unknowable. I am exhausted, exasperated. Look Where my most willful vows have landed me. Father, mother and a brother already Underground, exiled for eternity from our native Thebes...I claim no kin in that city. My so-called sister mourns alone, respected by a fool and other fraud s, a quorum of spineless idiots posing as law-abiding citizens. The offense reeks-a blind man can see that. No one deserves such a sentence, least of all my deceived, much-wronged brother-left to rot on the desert plain. Generations will know I would not accept that un just decree. I am not sorry, though I admit I may have misjudged the jury of the gods. Here I will end my otherwise unending ago groomless, convicted, and unconvinced From now on, on the surface of this most earth, my name will echo, a doer of deeds, one who believes, who acts, while Creon-cruel,unjust-will be forever
2 banished from the rolls of the noble. Always, always, always, Antigone Arion, Third Series, Vol. 11, No. 3 (Winter, 2004), p. 83 INTRODUCTION Antigone, w ritten by the fifth-century tragedian Sophocles, has fascinated audiences since its initial production in Athens at th e City Dionysia. Ther e have been numerous adaptations, recreations, and re-imaginings of the play throughout time. The story has been taken up by artists, philosophers, playwr ights, and composers. The 19th-century philosopher Hegel used Antigone to demonstrate the conflicts between the Human and Divine Law, the government versus the family structure essential human conflicts that have shaped history. This preceded a numb er of modern translations and plays, all concerned in their own way with what the essential Antigone conflict was about. I examine three such productions: Tieck a nd Mendelssohn, Brecht and Neher, and Jean Anouilh. These are the interpretations that I am primarily interested in examining in my endeavor to create a new, modern, musical th eatrical version that both reflects on past efforts and carries in it my impressions of the play that result from studying it in depth. I believe that Antigone can be appreciated by any era for the universal conflicts evident in
3 its characters and structures, and therefore lends itself to interpretation over time. The basic plot is not overly complex a nd lends itself well to modernization: a simple chain of events which allows the complexity of each character to be fully articulated. Antigone is one of the two rema ining children of Oedipus, the former King of Thebes who married his moth er and killed his father; his line is therefore famously cursed. In the first scene, Antigone and her sister, Ismene, discuss this briefly. Their brothers, Eteocles and Polyneices, have just killed each other in battle. The latter had rallied a force of Argives to attack his na tive land and stake his claim to the throne, a story relayed to us by the Chorus of Theban Elders shortly after the exchange between the two sisters. Antigone asks Ismene what suffer ing they must still endure, referring to the edict that her uncle Creon, the new King of Thebes, has made forbidding Polyneices' body to be given burial. Antigone feels that even though her brother Polyneices has been declared a traitor, it is her duty as his closes t female relative to give him the proper rites, as Hades demands. There is lengthy debate between the King, the Chorus, and Antigone after her treachery has been discovered, dur ing which no one yields. Eventually, Antigone is sentenced to be walled up in a cave to die, and her betrothed, Haemon (Creon's son), decides to stand by her and die, too, after he also fails to change Creon's mind. The blind prophet Teiresias also attempts to intervene to no avail. Only at the end, when everyone Creon cares about has die d, including his wife, Eurydice, who has committed suicide after receiving the news that her son is dead, does he see the mistake that he has made. Antigone's devotion to bury her brot her embodies the culturally mandated
4 tradition that burial should be taken care of by the women in the family. She, unlike her sister Ismene, is willing to die to uphold that tradition. Creon, on the other hand, in his very first speech of the play, declares that a good ruler should never put anything before his country: personal loyalties and feelings must be cast aside in order to protect the city. The Chorus of Theban Elders serves to s upport and narrate the action as well as provide the audience with insight, such as when th ey suggest to Creon that that gods may have covered Polyneices with a protective layer of dust. Other minor characters include the Sentry, who, in a rambling speech near the beginning of the play, tells Creon that Polyneices has been buried. Another is the Messenger at the end who tells The Chorus about the suicides of Antigone and Haemon. A nearly-silent, but neve rtheless significant character is Creon's wife, Eurydice, because he r death. Ismene is Antigone's sister who refuses to help her bury Polyneices but late r tries to claim credit for the crime and die with her. Haemon, Antigone's betrothed, is also willing to die with her, and attempts to change his father's mind concerning her sentence. Despite his earlier preaching about always taking the advice of the wise, Creon does not heed the advice of Teiresias, the blind seer, who appears late in the play. Th is is the point at wh ich Creon's convictions most clearly do not hold up agai nst his actions. He outright rejects the advice of a man who has a proven record of helping Kings of Thebes make good decisions. Teiresias' vision is a last attempt at divi ne intervention. It fails, howev er, and Creon must live with his fate: to realize what he ha s done after it is too late to change the outcome. He is left alone with the Chorus in the end: a ruler, as Haemon predic ts earlier in the play, of nothing but a desert.
5 My desire is to create a modern musical version of Antigone informed by a literary analysis and a study of ways that the play has been recreated in the past. Athenian tragedy was not meant to be read, it was meant to be performed, to be seen, to be heard, danced and sung. Today, we cannot hope to recreate Antigone as fifth-century Athenians would have seen or understood it. Fi rst, we do not live in fifth-century Athens, and therefore cannot be aware of all the conve ntions of music and dance present in the performance. We are not even always certain when various characters exit and enter the stage from the text we have. Second, even if we could go back in time and watch the production, it would be so utterl y foreign to us as to be incomprehensible. Felix Mendelssohn, in his attempt at recapturing so me of the musical nuances in his score for Tieck's production in the 1800s, came to a sim ilar conclusion. As Schlesinger points out, it is important to convey to the audience that a play's characters and issues are universal, not simply confined to their ancient context. In an articl e discussing Anouilh's rendition, he notes : When one presents or goes to see a serious play out of antiquity, one may have an historical interest in what people used to think; but he will take little satisfaction in the play unless there is beneath the surface something living and undated (207). Recreations such as Anouilh and Brecht, both writing in the context of Nazi Germany, take the play and rewrite it fo r their own political agendas and modern
6 purposes. Brecht transforms Creon into an inhumane Nazi tyrant and Antigone into a representation of the opposed will of her pe ople. Anouilh, on the contrary, turns Creon into an exemplar of political prowess and Antigone into a sniveling child. My endeavor is closer to Mendelssohn, who sought to make the experience of the play as authentic as possible, to re-create Sophocles for what the play is and was, in homage to the original to add the elemen t of song and music back into the play, and translate the music (and to a lesser extent, th e text) into a modern interpretation. For the libretto, I have retained much of the original content of the play, although not the meter, as Tieck and Mendelssohn's production did. Howeve r, I wish to portray the characters of the play as if they were reincarnations of Sophocles' ve rsion though their speech has been modernized, their souls remain the same. My wish is for the modern audience to be able to appreciate and understand the play, and the characters in it, as a recreation of its original form, something that catches and holds in their memories in the way that merely looking at words on a page does not.
7 CHAPTER ONE Understanding ANTIGONE Stories such as Antigone were part of a set of myth s that were already well-known to the general populous, just as many modern audiences are familiar with certain books or fairy tales, but will still go and see the movie ve rsion. The thrill in both cases is to to see how the story progressed on stage, and how each character suffers in the play because of misguided action. In Antigone no one character is the hero in th e way that a modern audience would expect. The Athenians would have understo od and sympathized both with Antigone's desire to honor the rites of burial that were he r traditional duty, and also with Creon as a leader charged with protecting his city, albeit a misguided one. Both characters possesses an essential flaw: Antigone is willing to go agai nst the state in her quest to fulfill her duty to her brother, while Creon makes an unjust la w in the first place. There is no surprise that the play ends badly for all involved when such opposite motivations are at work, and the Athenian audience would have known this from the beginning. How would Antigone have been staged? All we have is the text of the play. The only stage directions are where the lines indicate some acti on or gesture. There are no indications or notations of exits and entries; no written music nor dance choreography exists. We can only surmise that the convent ions employed in Sophocles' stage spectacle would have been familiar to his audience. Much like theater today, each motion, gesture and way of speaking would have demonstrat ed well-established methods of acting and
8 performance1. Many tragedies produced at th e City Dionysia reflected on current events, and, as I will discuss below, Antigone is no exception. I believe that in order to understand Antigone we must examine the historical c ontext and cultural climate that the play was written and produced during. Even considering our modern, somewhat -limited understanding of the experience of the original audience, the play still holds meaning for us more than 2400 years later. For that reason, I believe it it important to try and understand the layers of meaning and explore the universal truths that lie within this widely-read and well-remembered play. I have sought to understand the characters' ro les and motivations, their flaws and their strengths, both as we see them today and as the original audience might have viewed them. HISTORICAL CONTEXT Sophocles wrote Antigone in the mid late fifth century B.C., after the Samian War. Athens, led by Pericles, the leader of the democratic party (Caldwell & Gyles 255), attempted to suppress a revolt from Samos, one of the island city -states (Caldwell & Gyles 258). The Samians defected to Persia and a war erupted that could have had devastating effects on trade, thus posing a huge threat to Athens. Tyrrell and Bennett explain that although Pericles and his forces emerged victor ious, the captured Athenians were bound to planks, beaten to death and denied funeral rites by the Samians (5). They 1 I'll discuss this in more depth in Chapter Two: Re-Envisioning Antigone.
9 draw a parallel between the discord among the city-states and the conflict in the Theban myth cycle between Eteocles and Po lyneices (Tyrrell & Bennett 5). The original audience of Antigone would have lived this conflict, and consequently may well have drawn the parallel between the events in the play and the insults of recent civil war. The wars with the Persians were also still a part of their recent memories, wars which had left countless Athenians dead in foreign soil, unable to be buried and lamented by their women. The grie f that would have resu lted was due to the Athenian belief that people are born from th e earth and should be buried in their native soil. Antigone's grief in the play echoes the grief of the Athenians (Tyrrell & Bennett 7). This loss was particularly devastating to Athenian women, who w ould have otherwise been responsible for performing the funera l rites in their own homes, surrounded by familiar people and possessions. Instead, they were denied these very intimate duties to family members and forced to lament out in the open at mass public funerals (Tyrrell & Bennett 8). Just as Athenian women were forced to mourn their deceased family members in public rather than private be cause of the mandated advent of public funerals, Antigone feels that she must defy the expected beha vior of women. As Pe ricles said, women should not be talked about either for good or evil (Caldwell and Gyles 282), which is a concise way of saying that women should neither seek gl ory nor ill-repute; Antigone manages to achieve both, effectiv ely defying her role as a woman. Tragedy was meant to emotionally connect with the audience, and Antigone was aimed to, in part, address the tension bei ng felt by the Athenians concerning burial and
10 mourning, as Tyrrell and Bennett explain (8). They suggest that by watching the play and engaging with the actors, both women and me n could experience their grief in a more productive, less violent way and diffuse tension. Thus, watching Antigone served as both entertainment and catharsis at once, a general goal of At henian tragedy. SCENE-BY-SCENE BREAKDOWN Scene One Ismene and Antigone (1-99) The play opens with a dialogue between Antigone and her sister, Ismene. Antigone summons Ismene out of the palace to tell he r of the news she has heard being discussed in the city concerning the decr ee of her uncle, the new King of Thebes. He has forbidden the burial of her brother's corpse, declaring him a traitor. Sophocle s immediately reminds the audience of the overly-close relationships in Antigone's family. Antigone's usage of terms that imply this unnatural closeness begin with her reference to Ismene as autadelphon (Tyrrell & Bennett 30-31), which tran slates to womb-mate, but the implication is more-familiar-than-sibling, something like self-same brother (or sister). This language continues throughout the play as a constant reminder that Antigone is the daughter of Oedipus and his mo ther, Jocasta, and th erefore all of her family relations are closer th an they should be not only are her sister and brothers womb-mates, but so too is her fath er, and also brother, Oedipus. Because of this closeness, and also because she expects Ismene to fulfill her familial
11 duty, Antigone asks Ismene for help in buryi ng their brother, Polyne ices, whom she also refers to incestuously later in the scene. Antigone rebukes Ismene's lack of participation by saying that she will please those that she ought to. At line 48, she tells Ismene that Creon cannot keep her from what is her own, referring to Polyneices. Ismene refuses to physically help Antigone, and the latter insists th at her sister at least lend her voice to the burial, declaring aloud to all who will hear what Antigone is about to do and join her in lamentation. Mourning, as discussed above, was a dut y that fell to the women of the family, and since Ismene and Antigone are the only two left she expects her sister to aid her. As Tyrrell & Bennett explain, Antigone is not unjus tified in her anger with Ismene's refusal; a silent, unlamented death would have been considered a bad death, implying that the dead was alone in life, without family or loved ones ( 35). Antigone feels deprived and confused at not being able to perform her duties as a wo man of the household (Tyrrell & Bennett 35-36). She has already been denied the lamentations for her brother Eteocles, who at this point has been burie d by the state. She was absent for this burial, an injustice that further motivates Antigone to want to give a proper burial to Polyneices. Antigone states that if it is her fate, sh e will lie with Polyneices in death, just as her parents were fated to marry each other and Oedipus was fated to slay his own father. Here, the tragedian reminds the audience that th e characters of the play are subject to the inevitabilities of Fate, even if that means that they must commit unspeakable wrongs like incest or killing a family member.
12 Scene Two Chorus of Theban Elders (101-154) The Chorus of Theban Elders enter afte r the sisters have left, exulting in the Theban victory, singing about the battle that has just occurred. They describe the duel to the death between Antigone's brothers, Eteocles, who had held the throne for longer than he had promised, and Polyneices, who so ught to take the throne by force from his brother. As Tyrrell and Bennett note, the Elders speak of the brothers together; they describe their hatred as equal, insinuating th at Eteocles is just as much a traitor as Polyneices (40). The Chorus, led by their Coryphaeus or Chorus-Leader, often serves as a guide for the audience, telling them information that is not obvious from the di scourse of the other characters. They lend insight to the unfolding events in the pl ay. Here, as they speak of the folly of pridefulness, they are describing the flaw in the tw o brothers that led to their mutual destruction, warning of the wrath of Zeus against the prideful. This speech also serves as a warning to Creon, who is just as prideful as his nephews. The King enters sometime during the end of th e scene, announced by the C horus. This is one of few incidences where the text actually gives us a cue as to characters' entrances and exits. Scene Three Creon, Theban Elders (155-222) The chorus flatters Creon as he enters. He begins a long speech to them, in which he reminds the audience that Polyneices and Eteocles are his nephe ws. In Athenian
13 understanding, this would mean that he should be loyal to his kin and allow them both to be buried. However, as Tyrrell and Bennett ex plain, Sophocles presented Thebes as an anti-Athens, where things occur that would hopefully never stand in Athens, such as a monarch causing pollution to the city by leav ing the corpse of his kin unburied (46-47). Creon next declares his philosophy on ruling guidelines which, according to Tyrrell and Bennett, the audien ce would presumably have thought reasonable and been in accord with (46). However, he swiftly cont radicts himself when, instead of conferring with the Elders as a wise ru ler should, he gives his decree and expects them to support him without question, a very anti-Athenian ac tion. He regards Eteocles as a hero and Polyneices as a traitor a very different attitude than the Chorus expressed in the previous scene. Creon believes that Eteocles was the hero because he was inside the city defending it, regardless of his brother's claim to the throne. Polyneices was therefore a traitor attacking the city, and Creon declares that anyone who buries him is a traitor as well. Creon stands on good principles, but hi s actions prove to be those of an unyielding dictator. He believes that by pos ting sentries by Polyneices' body, he will expose those in the city who seek traitorous action agai nst him (lines 289-292). Creon does not see himself as a leader who is a reflection of the will of his city. Rather, he believes that by ruling he should bend the city to his own will. He is not serving the city by leaving Polyneices' corpse to rot. He is simply preserving his own pride and lashing out at someone who is already dead.
14 Scene 4 Sentry, Creon, Elders (223-331) A Sentry enters the palace, and in a long-winded speech, explains to Creon that someone has buried Polyneices, although it was only with a layer of dust. He hesitates to even tell him the story for fear that he will be punished or blamed for the action. His fear and trepidation add to the audience's expe rience of Creon as an unforgiving tyrant. The details of the Sentry's tale are contra dictory. First, he says that someone had given the corpse burial rites, then says that no signs of ritual were present no tears or water, no marks on the ground, as if someone merely wish ed to avoid pollution. The Sentry even assumes, with this language, that Polyneices should be buried with the rites. Here, the Sentry serves to represent the common man's viewpoints (Tyrrell & Bennett 5556). He also casts doubt for the audience on the events that ha ve occurred with his unreliable testimony. Did someone actually try to bury the body? If so, why was there no sprinkled water, no marks on the earth surround ing him? Why was a thin layer of dust the only sign that anyone might have disturbed the body? The Chorus wonders whether the gods might have done the deed, which Creon immediately dismisses on account of them be ing both old and foolish. However, their statement, combined with the Sentry's tale makes the audience wonder whether or not it had, in fact, been the work of the gods (Ty rrell & Bennett 56). When Antigone is caught burying her brother shortly thereafter with th e aforementioned ritual lamentations that were previously absent, the audience travels further into the realm of doubt. Antigone is
15 unwavering in her desire to give Polyneices bur ial rites it is unlikely that she would coat the body with dust and then later return to lament properly. There are also no signs of animal attack on the corpse. Tyrrell and Bennett cite several occurrences in the Iliad in which the gods protect corpses and facilitate their proper burial; because of Creon's ensuing anger and defensiveness, he himself might also suspect th at the Chorus' words have some truth (58). Instead of taking both the events that have just occurred and the Chorus-leader's advice into consideration, how ever, Creon retaliates by seeking to gain more control over the situation. Creon accu ses the Sentries of accepting bribes from those seeking to undermine him. As eviden ced by speeches of Thucydides and Lysias Creon's desire to crush his opposers is very anti-Athenian(Tyrrell & Bennett 61). Creon quickly dismisses any talk that contradicts hi s decree, showing himself to be a ruler who rejects wise advice and instead caters sole ly to his own whims (Tyrrell & Bennett 62). Scene 5, Hymn to Man Chorus (332-381) The Chorus sings what, at first glan ce, is a very lovely ode to the triumphs and victories of mankind. However, even from the first line where man is described as deinos, which can mean either 'wonderful' or 'terrible' uncertainty is present in their song. Their list of triumphs and tyranni es include capturing and taming birds. This description precedes the Sentry's later characterization of Antigone as a lamenting bird. Man is always trying to tame birds, just as Creon is trying to tame Antigone (Segal 151). Tyrrell and Bennett suggest that the Chorus expre sses not only wonder at the things men can be
16 driven to do, but also terror, which directly correlates to the events at hand, as they wonder what Creon is further capable of doi ng in order to prove his power (63). The Chorus also emphasizes that man cannot conqu er death alone, which serves both as a reference to the death-sentence that Creon ha s issued for betraying his decree, and as a portent for the deaths of those close to him which he will have to endure as a result of his actions. Creon leaves at some poi nt, because early in the next song, the text indicates that he returns. Just as in their first song, the Chorus is uttering a warnin g to Creon that he does not hear. Scene 6 Antigone, Sentry, Creon, Elders, Ismene (382-581) Antigone, much to the Elders' surpri se and dismay, is brought in by the Sentry. The Chorus-Leader refers to Antigone as an divine portent (lin es 372-3). As we hear from the Sentry's tale, Antigone reaches the body of her brother unseen because a dust storm obscured her from the eyes of him and his fellow guards. This same dust storm occurs after the body has been uncovered from the first dusting by the guards, and may be an allusion to the wrath of the gods (Tyrrell & Be nnett 64-65). The fact that both the corpse and Antigone remain unharmed in a storm th at that mangles nearby trees supports the notion that Antigone's actions ar e, in fact, supported and ai ded by the gods. Antigone is then described as wailing lik e a bird, which connects her wi th prophesy and portents, as birds often represent in the Greek mythos. Th e Sentry describes her as a bird bemoaning the emptiness of her nest, which Tyrrell and Be nnett theorize, may be a reference to many
17 simultaneous meanings that Polyneices does not have an empty grave to be put into, that Antigone's family has mostly perished, that Antigone has sentenced herself to death and therefore will never have children of her own, and that Creon will also be deprived of his kin (67-68). The Sentry describes how Antigone poured libations and wailed over the corpse. When Creon interrogates her about her ac tions, she denies nothing; she claims responsibility for both the first dusting and the second burial. As Tyrrell and Bennett suggest, Antigone sends the message to Creon th at even she did not do it the first time, she would do it a second time if she could do it over (70). She tells Creon that she was acting according to tradition, not his law, and ad mits outright that she knew of the decree that he had made. Echoing her words to Isme ne in the first scene, she tells Creon that Zeus neither forbid her burying her brother, nor did Justice, claiming that she does not want to pay the penalty of going against the laws of the eternal gods (Tyrrell & Bennett 70). However, she has other motivations for her actions. Antigone expresses that she sees her death as a profit, when she has lived the sort of life that sh e has, burdened by the shame of her incestuous parents and having burie d most of her family already. She wants to go beyond and be with them (Tyrrell & Benn ett 71). At line 570, she explains that she also seeks the renown of the deed, the ultimate proof of her loyalty to the family that has caused her life to be so shame-burdened. Th e Chorus chimes in that Antigone is just like her father (line 473). Creon sees this co mparison as a challenge to his reign (Tyrrell & Bennett 72). Her words possess none of th e womanly gentleness we might see from Ismene. Creon fears Antigone will become th e man and take his power away from him.
18 For Creon, Antigone's entire family has wronge d him Oedipus caused his sister's shame in marrying her own son, who killed Creon's brother-in-law. In Aeschylus' Seven Against Thebes which details the conflict between Et eocles and Polyneices, Eteocles is responsible for the death of Creon's other son, Megareus2. Whatever Creon's feelings are, Antigone can only conceive of her actions as being in accordance with what is right to do, and ne glects to see the hubri s in her actions. Segal (141) points out that al though Creon has been characterized by his need to profit from the situation, when Antigone expr esses her motivations, her meaning is diametrically opposed to Creon's. He has ca lled her foolish, and she retaliates by saying that she is being called a fool by a fool. This too holds opposite meanings for both Antigone and Creon. She is a fool for going ag ainst Creon's decree, but he is a fool for being so arrogant and prideful as to make the decree. In his rage, Creon, knowing that it is proper to have multiple women to lament a death, calls out Ismene to accuse her as well. Here, he fails to recognize that the very reason for the accusation is because of a tradition that he has forbidden to be carried out. Antigone tells Creon that she had nothing to do with it, but at this point he is not listening to anything she says. Antigone finally asks Creon if he wants anything more than to carry out her sentence, and he says he does not. Despite th is, he presses her to try to accept that what she has done as wrong. Tyrrell and Bennett su ggest that when Antigone defends her 2 Megareus is referred to as Creon's other son in lines 1448-9, but no details concerning his deat h are given, only that he died some time ago.
19 position by saying, It is not in my nature to jo in in hate, only love(line 525), that she is not necessarily saying that enemies are not st ill enemies even when dead, but that she does not consider her brothers enemies, no matte r their actions in life (75-76). They are her family, and could never be enemies. Th is, therefore, is the essential difference between Creon and Antigone, because Creon is willing to declare his family members enemies even in death, where Antigone is not. This will also be evidenced later when Creon declares his own son a tr aitor for attempting to get his father to listen to reason. Ismene is brought in, weeping tears for her family members. Although the audience and Antigone know that she is innocent, she offers to die with her sister, a legal form of expressing her loyalty. Tyrrell & Bennett once more emphasize that Ismene is the model female Athenian knowing how to wa lk the line between l oyalties to city and family (76-77). The discourse between the si sters is both oddly a ggressive and tender, Antigone torn between being an gry with her sister and touc hed by her loyalty. She tells Ismene that she may be considered noble to some in her way of expressing her familial love, and Antigone may be noble to others for her actions. Antigone is still hurt that her sister did not initially aid he r in burying their brother, an d will not allow her to claim responsibility for it either in word or in puni tive action. Ismene ac cepts her fate to live with her choices as Antigone has chosen to die for hers (Tyrrell & Bennett 77). Creon interrupts, and Ismene, again pl aying her proper role as a female family member, asks him if he will be so cruel as to kill his son's fiance. Creon dismisses this quickly, telling her he does not wish for his son to have such an evil wife as Antigone, saying there are other fields to plough, which, as Tyrrell and Bennett point out, would
20 come off as obscene and crude to an Athenian audience. Creon has already stated in lines 522-525 that Antigone is fated to be wedded to the underworld, saying if you must love then love the dead, disconnecting her already from her ties with his son. In most translations, line 576so it is settled, it seems, this one will die, is spoken by the Coryphaeus Tyrrell and Bennett, on the other hand, make a case that the words make much more sense if uttered by Ismene, rather than seemingly out-of-nowhere by the Chorus-leader. Ismene is admitting her failure to convince him of his familial obligation. Presumably, after all this arguing, the girls are led away, and Creon is left standing onstage alone with the silent Chorus, a porte nt of his future (Tyrrell & Bennett 81). Scene 7 Chorus Of Theban Elders (82-627) Again, the Elders take up a song, and it is unclear whether Creon is still on stage, but since he is already there when Haemon arri ves, we can assume that he is present for the next song of the Chorus. This passage deals with the ruin wr ought upon the house of Labdacus Antigone's family line. She is refe rred to both by the Chorus and by herself later in the play as the last of her line. Sophocles and his character, Antigone, ignore Ismene as a member of the family. She has divorced herself from her line by her lack of familial duty. Antigone and Haemon are both co nsidered the last of their respective lines, as Tyrrell and Bennett note, which arguably are already the same household, being that Jocasta was Creon's sister (82). The Chorus' song serves to warn Creon in an indirect way that the house of Labdacu s is cursed for unnatural be havior the incest which
21 occurred between Jocasta and Oedipus, and Oe dipus' patricide. A lthough not a direct descendant of Labdacus, Creon will later co mmit the unnatural crime of leaving his son to die with Antigone. Tyrrell and Bennett fi nd this passage problematicthey question how the audience was supposed to interpret the wo rd of the Chorus at this point (83), but Segal suggests that it is Sophocles' insertion of his own views on what it is to be human to know the will of the gods and accept the fu ll range of human experience, including suffering (160-161). If the Chorus represents in sight that the other ch aracters do not have, then their statements make sense here as a por tent of what is about to befall Creon, and predicts that Creon will have to suffer b ecause of his denial of will of the gods. Scene 8 Haemon, Chorus, Creon (628-780) Haemon enters the scene, heralded by the Chorus. At first, Creon is happy that his son is willing to accept his wisdom if Cre on is thinking like a good leader (lines 635636), but what Creon does not hear is the condi tional terms of his support for his father (Tyrrell & Bennett 85). Haemon presents his con cern for his father's actions not in terms of an emotional appeal, which would make him seem womanly, but rath er as an appeal to his father as a politician. He tells him how the very city grieves for Antigone's fate, and considers her deeds to be worthy of praise, not condemnation (lines 692-699). Creon not only resents his son's advice, dismissing it as a function of his youth and woman-like emotions, but also considers his actions as King to be without fault. He reiterates the values that he himself
22 set forth in the beginning of the play, but here he is trying to use those values to prove that his decisions have been for the sound pr otection of the city ( lines 639-680). Tyrrell and Bennett point out that Creon believes that if he yields to Antigone, he forfeits his own glory (90). Haemon tries to remind him that he should reflect the will of his city, to which he responds that he IS the city, (l ines 734-738) and since he is the King, his citizens should follow without complaint. Segal explains that Creon's view is very narrow (156). He thinks he is protect ing the city by burying Antigone alive, thus disposing of a rebellious element of his society. His city however, is praising Antigone's actions for getting rid of the pollution from an unburied corpse. Haemon sees that Creon has alienated his c ity and his family, and tries to keep his father from making a decision that he will regret. Haemon also possesses a great concern for doing what he feels is right a belief whic h is also reflected by the people of the city. Creon, however, can only see Haemon's word s as a betrayal, and, in his ignorance, equates his son with his perceived enemy, Antigone. The argument devolves into cruel taunts by Creon, claiming he will have Antigone killed right before her bridegrooms eyes. As Rehm points out, Creon is almost as set on condemning Antigone as torturing hi s son about her loss ( 61), saying that the embrace grows cold when an evil wife is bedmate (lines 650-651). Haemon responds to the accusation that he is a llying himself with a woman by responding [only if] you are a woman, for my concern is for you (line 741). He insists that his loyalty lies with his father. Tyrrell and Bennett draw parallels to other instances in which the father feels threatened by his son's power, such as Zeus and Chronos or Oedipus and his father (92-
23 93). In his desire to rein his son in, he dooms both Haemon and himself. Creon condemns Antigone to be entomb ed in a stony bridal chamber, with, ironically enough food to avoid po llution (lines 775-776). Cre on is almost sadistically poking fun at Antigone by using a term that th e Athenians had for the death of a virgin such as Antigone a bride of Hades (T yrrell & Bennett, 94). Tyrrell and Bennett also note that, reflecting back on the Elders' Hymn to Man, Creon seeks to tame Antigone in her wild state, enclosing her in her stony tomb and saddling her with Hades as her bridegroom (95-96). Because he has not been able to domesticate her with words, he must exert his will over her by walling her into a cave where she cannot corrupt or harm anything, just as man seeks to do with all wild animals. Finally, after neither Haemon nor the C horus can convince Creon to change his mind, Haemon tells his father he will die with Antigone. Creon, not be lieving that his son will follow through on his threat, lets his son st orm off. Creon then turns to the Chorus, saying how he will put the sisters to death. Scene 9 Chorus (81-802) The Chorus sings a Hymn to Eros, which seems out of place, but the Chorus is alluding to how Haemon's passion has been twis ted from the civility of marriage rites to an unharnessed grief that causes him to consummate his marriage to Antigone by killing himself with her in her tomb (Tyrrell & Benn ett, 97-98). Rehm expl ains that their song
24 also serves to blame fighting against Eros, or love, as a cause for discord between those of shared blood, which hearkens back to Creon's jibe at 658-659 that Antigone should complain to Zeus, the lord of those with s hared blood (62). In their first Hymn, the Chorus reminds the audience that death is th e only force that can conquer men, but here they bring up another such force; Eros is so powerful that it conque rs men and gods alike, conquers everything, its power enthroned besi de eternal laws (lines 798-9). Everyone in the play who dies does so because of Eros, but the Chorus implies that their actions are all in accordance with a higher law, as Antigone states earlier in the play. Scene 10 Antigone, Elders, Creon (803-943) At the beginning of this scene, Antigone emerges, wearing a purple wedding gown, ready to wed her dark Lord, and go down to Ac heron's shore still livin g (lines 810-11). From the very first scene of the play, Sophoc les plays with and juxtaposes images of weddings and funerals. Indeed, there was a di stinct parallel in Athenian culture between marriage and death. Both involved a journey of the woman into a different phase of being, where her body was adorned by those cl ose to her perfum ed and dressed in clothes appropriate to the ceremony. (Tyrrell & Bennett 98, Rehm 11-29). Rehm sums up the overlaps in the practice of both: A bride will offer a lock of hair before her marriage; Mourners will offer the same when visiting a grave. Like the bride and groom, the
25 dead are ritually bathed, dresse d, adorned, and crowned, activities in which women play a crucial role. The corpse is covered, the bride is veiled; the dead are laid out on a bed or couch, the wedding leads to the nuptial bed. Both events involve a journey at night to a new home, often take n by horseor mule-cart, in a procession that include torchbearer s, family and friends, and where song and dance mark the occasion. A makarismos blessing is used for the happy couple and the b lessed dead. The bride receives gifts in her new home, the corpse receives gifts in theirs, and both rites include a final banque t (...) For the young who die unmarried,(...) graves are crowned with large loutrophoroi representing the vessel for nuptial bathing. (29) Rehm explains that traditionally, the ma rriage process involved three phases (10). The first is betrothal or engue which would be arranged by a kurios : usually the fathers of the betrothed. In this case Creon serves as this person, having arranged both his son's marriage and Antigone's marriage to Hades (R ehm, 63). The next phase was the givingaway, or ekdosis of the bride (Rehm, 12), which invol ved transference of the bride into the new home which she was about to be in charge of keeping. The Chorus sings of Antigone's final voyage to her bridal chamber, although, as Antigone states, the journey is devoid of joyful marriage songs. She sings her own lament, wh ich substitutes. The final phase, the consummation or gamos is completed in the deat hs of Antigone and Haemon
26 together, the story of which is relayed by the messenger later on (Rehm, 63-64). Antigone will be deprived of the most important transition of her life the journey from maiden to wife. She calls out to her audience in the streets the Chorus and whomever else can hear, saying See me!(lin e 805). Tyrrell & Bennett speculate that as she does this she lifts her veil, as she woul d have during her wedding at the feast where she is unveiled to her groom (101). Rehm expl ains that in Athenian marriage ritual, the only part which the bride performs herself is the unveiling, giving her consent to the marriage (17). Antigone has consented to her fa te from the beginning of the play, but she needs to carry out this twiste d marriage ritual to replace the real one that she will never have with Haemon. The Chorus, led by the Coryphaeus plays a dual role in this scene: they sing responses to Antigone's marriage/ funeral song, while also acknowledging that she has brought about her own ruin. In answering Antigone, their rhythm is not dolorous, but rather formal. Their words alternate between praising Antigone and blaming her at the same time, which illustrates how their own loyalties are torn between their duty to Creon and their belief, as illustrated earlier, that Antigone's act ions have been divinely sanctioned. Antigone takes up her funeral / marriag e song, drawing on the mythic comparison between herself and Niobe, the daughter of Ta ntalus who was turned to stone for her boasting about her many children3. They are both, in being torn from their respective marriages, doomed to be enclosed in stone on the soil, having returned to their fathers Niobe on Mt. Siplys, Antigone going to Hade s to be reunited with Oedipus. Antigone 3 See Iliad 24.599-620 for this story.
27 laments the type of death she has been forced to die isolated, unmourned and unwept. Creon harshly interrupts her lamentations to tell her that men would sing songs forever if it could delay death. Antigone returns to speaking; she describes her tomb as a wedding chamber, but it is also the gateway to her fallen family members (Rehm 63-64). Creon is disowning her from his family and associations with his son, and sending her back to her own family (Ty rrell & Bennett 111). The Chorus wonders whether or not she is being punished for her family's incest and Antigone expresses how cursed her life has been because of it. When she blames her br other's marriage for her fate, she means both her father's marriage to his own mother, and Polyneices' marriage to the Argive princess. The Elders point out that her own actions, no matter how righteous, have doomed her. Antigone's convictions that her actions we re sanctioned by the gods are strong through the end of her speech. She implores the gods in a subtle way to wreak their vengeance upon Creon for murdering her: Ill come to recognize that Ive done wrong. But if these people here are being unjust may they endure no greater punishment than the injustices theyre doing to me (lines 922-927). Though he r words seem to be full of doubt, she is simply rhetorically affirming her decision as she is finally going to her death. The Chorus-leader describes her at titude as a storm with the same winds (lines 928-9). Creon sends Antigone away to die in her final procession. The chorus sings to her as she goes about Danae's imprisonment by he r father, Acrisius (lines 944-954). Danae's son was destined to kill his grandfather, so Danae was lock ed away to prevent her from conceiving a child. Zeus came down and impr egnated her, however, and Danae's son
28 Perseus indeed fulfilled the prophecy4. This song is a nod to the praise Antigone might have deserved at her wedding or funeral under normal circumstances, even though Danae was innocent, and Antigone is paying for he r actions. The Chorus serves a complex purpose during this scene, as they simultaneously blame and praise Antigone (Tyrrell & Bennett 125-126), following thei r comparison of Antigone to Danae with a comparison of her to Lycurgus, a man who killed his own son while possessed with a divine madness, but reconciled himself with Dionysus a nd was spared (lines 955-965). Danae is imprisoned for her father's self-serving purpos es, Lycurgus is imprisoned to heal the land and bring back fertility. The third myth, concerning Phineus and Idaea5, serves to compare Antigone to a savage mother who harms her children The implication is, in Tyrrell and Bennett's interpretation, that she harms her own family by her actions, since with her death and the disowning of Ismene, sh e is the last of her line, and is likewise harms her unborn children by dying. They explain : [These] mythic associations ( ) would prompt Sophocles' audience to think of Creon's actions in terms of Acrisius' thwarted imprisonment of Danae, Lycurgus' impiety toward a god's devotees, and a savage woman's ruin of a man's household. Destruction, although late coming, awaits Acrisius, Lycurgus changes his mind about the god and is saved, and Phineus loses his household the hands of a wo man not domesticated by 4 See Apollodorus Library 2.4.1-3 and 2.4.11. 5 Apollodorus. Library 3.15.3.
29 marriage.(128) Tyrrell and Bennett interpret this to mean that Lycurgus alone is the example from which Creon could draw on and cha nge his mind (128), although I would argue that the example of Phineus and Idaea also serves that purpos e. In Appollodorus' version, Idaea accuses Phineus' sons of corrupting her virtue (3.15.3), and Phineus, believing her, blinds his sons. There are parallels in this myth to Antig one 's own story. In a way, the Chorus is sending Antigone away with mythic co mparisons of her fate, a sort of makarismos but also illustrating how Creon plays his role in her fate. They are subtly urging him to reconsider, so he might be redeemed like Lycurg us, or avoid a fate such as Phineus', who after his crime was beset by Harpies who ate him alive (Apollod. 1.9.21). A hundred lines earlier the Chorus chas tises Antigone for her crime against the law, going against justice and acting autonomos as a law unto herself (Segal 140). She claims she has been charged with impiet y for being too pious (Segal, 144), for excessively overvaluing the divine laws, especi ally those, as Creon points out, that Hades demands. The Chorus' attitudes towards her ac tions reflect the essential conflict between Antigone and Creon as representa tions of family and state, divine and mortal law, and masculine and feminine realms of influence. The Elders are unsure about both character's motivations, since both Creon and Antigone ar e very narrow in their vision of what is right and just, and the Chorus is moved by loyalty to both. Scene 11
30 Teiresias, Creon, Chorus (988-1114) The blind prophet Teiresias enters, led by his guide-boy. He reminds Creon that his advice has always been wise (lines 993-994) as a precedent for the advice he is about to give. This serves to remind the audien ce that Teiresias is the one who ends up revealing the horrible truth about Oedipus' incest and patricide in Oedipus Tyrannus (lines 300-446) His advice in that situation lead to th e purification of the city. Teiresias, like Haemon, implores Creon to think about hi s actions with regard to the consequences that will befall the city as a result. Already, he says, offerings are failing, sacrifices unaccepted by the gods (lines 999-1013). Pieces of Polyneices' body are being dragged about by birds and dogs, polluting and infecting the city's hearths and altars, reminding Creon and the audience that there is also a pr actical reason for burial. Teiresias tells him that he does not need to kill the dead again (lines 1015-1022). Creon retorts by saying that it is impossible to pollute the gods, and that Polyneices will remain unburied e ven if the eagles of Zeus wish to snatch him up(lines 1038-1040). Creon still refuses to understand that it is not the gods he pollutes but himself and his own city by his prid e and lack of action(Segal 156). Creon and Teiresias engage in a verb al sparring match. Cr eon still stubbornly refuses to yield despite all the wise advice he has been given. After Teiresias leaves, the Chorus reiterates his advice. At this point Antigone's crime is irrelevant; it is clear to them and the audience that Polyneices should be buried. At last, with such overwhelming proof, Creon undergoes the reversal the audien ce has been anticipat ed, saying a battle
31 must not be waged against necessity (line 1106). Scene 12 Chorus of Theban Elders (1115-1172) The Chorus sings Hymn to Dionysus, recalling Thebes' mythic history and imploring the god to come thr ough and purify the land and rele ase them from their foul disease (line 1141). This song also reflects back to their first s ong where they call upon the god to lead their victory dances. They know that the method of this cleansing is to be harsh and violent, but the good of the city must prevail over the intere sts of family or the ruling party (Tyrre ll & Bennett 138). Scene 13 Messenger, Chorus, Creon, (1173-1352) The Messenger begins to tell the Chorus what has happened at the stony tomb, but is interrupted by the appearance of the as -yet-unseen Eurydice, wife of Creon. The Chorus tells the audience that Eurydice has b een interrupted from going to the temple of Athena to offer prayers when she overhear s the Messenger telling the story (as Tyrrell & Bennett point out, 138, this is another inst ance of Creon's actions preventing or corrupting the duties of women). The Messe nger recounts how Cre on and his men buried Polyneices, and how Creon then proceeded to the tomb to hear Haemon shrieking over Antigone's suicide. When Haemon sees Creon, he spits at his father and attempts to attack him, reminiscent of Oedipus attacking Laius. Haemon mi sses killing his father and
32 plunges onto his own sword, wrapping himself around Antigone to die. Like Antigone, he has not only ended his own life, but has de nied the continuation of his father's line. Eurydice, after hearing this gruesome tale, leaves in silence, her cries of lament distinctly absent. The Messenger supposes she is going insi de the house to grieve. Creon comes in holding Haemon's body in his arms. Shortly af ter, another messenger comes to tell Creon of his wife's suicide upon the altar of the house (1301-1305). The messenger calls Eurydice the all-mother, referring to he r duties running the household and exemplary womanly character (Rehm 66). In many ways, Eurydice is an older, mate rnal model of Antigone. She has lost all her family, their demises caused by her own husband (Rehm 67), whom she cursed before dying, as the Messenger relates. Eurydice welc omes death as an alternative to a life where all whom she loves are dead and gone a sentiment that echoes Antigone's feelings earlier in the play. At the end, Creon realizes how much deat h has affected him in all possible ways. His stubbornness and pride did not allow him to see his mistake before he made it, despite being given so many opportunities. At last, the audience pities him, alone in his house. He is still King, but now that title is empty for him as empty as his palace.
33 CHAPTER TWO Re-Envisioning ANTIGONE In order to adapt any play from the origin al, I believe that we must first visualize and structurally map the original production in Athens. I will also examine the adaptations of Tieck and Mendelssohn, Brecht a nd Neher, and Jean Anouilh in order to compare their approaches to adapting the pl ay. Each rendition ha s its own methods of dealing with the text, staging, and plot which resu lts in very different pl ays. In seeking to gain a better understandi ng of past productions of Antigone I hope to make a more educated attempt at creating my own. The Greek Stage: Sophocles' Original Antigone Antigone like many tragedies produced in fi fth-century Athens, was performed at the City Dionysia, a religious festival devoted to the god Dio nysus. The theater itself was a sacred institution, and plays were not perfor med outside of it (Haigh 1-3). The Festival was presided over by the Chief Archon6 of At hens. All residents of Attica, not just Athenian citizens, were able to attend, as were visitors a nd dignitaries fro m other cities. The Festival involved a feast, accompanied by wild revelry, follo wed by four days of dramatic exhibition (Caldwell and Gyles 286). Each playwri ght was required to exhibit four plays. These usually consisted of th ree tragedies and one satyr play, which would 6 Archons were religious officials and law clerks who were c hosen by lot. The Chief Archon's wife was ritually joined to Dionysus in marriage (Caldwell and Gyles 269).
34 provide a change of atmosphere from the trag edies. Three tragedians competed each year at the festival, as well as several comic play wrights. All playwrights were chosen by the Chief Archon (Caldwell and Gyles 301). The plays were performed at the base of the Acropolis, in the precinct of Dionysus. Next to the temple of Dionysus it self, there was a stage which, by the time Antigone would have been produced, had been made into a permanent theater7. There was also a special circular stage, called the orchestra that was used for dancing (Ley 17). Another common element was called the thymele or altar. This structure was sometimes centrally located, or off to the side if it was too much of an obstruction (Haigh 131) There are several characteristics that a ll plays performed at the City Dionysia had in common. First, each actor did not portray a single character. Rather, a small number (three, in Sophocles' plays) of actors played all the characters in a given play. In addition, a Chorus of fifteen singer/danc ers performed with the actors. All performers wore masks, both in homage to the god8 and to serve the functional purpose of portraying different characters. As a consequence of this, the majority of expression would have been done through vocal inflection and more broadly soma tic gestures. Costum es largely reflected modern dress with some elabor ation from the basic form where needed (Ley 27) to reflect the status or state of the character. Pickard-Cambridge posits th at the only scenery for An tigone would have been a set of palace doors, in front of which all th e action happened. He explains that this may 7 Previously, the theater was erected every year out of wood. By the time of Sophocles, it had been erected permanently out of stone. 8 Ley explains that a mask with a robe hanging below it wa s used as an icon of Dionysus in the festivals (25)
35 have been because Sophocles believed excessi ve technical aspects to be a distraction (47). The primary actor of each play was th e protagonist, who wa s said to act the play, as certain actors were praised and given sole recogni tion as such (Haigh 42). At the time that Antigone was written, Sophocles proba bly picked the actors himself (Haigh 57). One can reasonably speculate that the prota gonist who played Antigone most likely also played Haemon and Teiresias, although, altern ately the protagonist could reasonably have also played Creon, who has the majority of th e lines in the play, with the deuteragonist playing the aforementioned parts. The third actor, called the tritagonist, usually played the remaining characters such as Isme ne, Eurydice, the Sentry, and others. Antigone as well as other tragic plays wri tten around the same time, had a very distinct structure.The play begins with a dialogue referred to as the prologos (Haigh 302). In Antigone this is the conversation between An tigone and her sister, Ismene. Next would be the procession and introductory song of the Chorus, like the 'Victory Song' of the Theban Elders. This song is the parodos (Haigh 302). Other choral passages, or odes, are called stasima (Haigh 303). The choral pass ages were divided into a strophe and antistrophe pattern. These had distinct meters and served to provide differentiation between verses. In Antigone the chorus would have stayed in the orchestra throughout the entire play, and sung their parts, often accompanied by dancing, as would befit the revelry due to Dionysus. Many plays, including Antigone would also possess one or more kommoi a heightened, emotional part of the pl ay in which speech is abandoned in favor of song by the actors. Sophocles employed the kommos as a form of joint song
36 between the chorus and the actors, such as Antigone lamenting her de ath as she is about to be marched off to her tomb, with the Chorus answering (Haigh 268). Dialogue in between these sung portions are called epeisodia The last scene, called the exodus refers to the brief choral piece paired with the dialogue of the final scene Creon's last speech and the Chorus' reply of the m oral of the play (Haigh 316). Unlike modern plays, each work wa s usually only performed once at the City Dionysia, with reproductions goi ng on the rest of the year in rural areas. Well-to-do nobles could travel to these areas if they de sired to see the play again. Occasionally a play would be performed again if it had b een significantly re-worked by the tragedian (Haigh 71). Most plays were based on myth cycles that were familiar to the audience, as discussed in Chapter One. Tieck and Mendelssohn According to George Steiner, Antigone has been routinely translated and adapted since the 1530s (6). No particular emphasis was placed on the play until 1699, when Scarlati wrote Creonte and then it burst in to pre-eminence. In th e next hundred years, more than 30 operas on the Antigone theme [were] known to have been composed (Steiner 6). Steiner does not go into detail about any of th ese operas discounting them as a mutation(7). In the late 18th century, he describes anothe r resurgence, spurred on by a trio of students at a theologica l seminary (7). These were Hegel, Holderlin, and Schilling, who, as Steiner describes, would go on to create a cult of Sophocles through their writings(8).
37 During the 19 th century, German interest in Ancient Greece rose with the advent of work produced by these and other pr ominent writers such as art historian Winckelmann, and classical scholars such as Bockh and Droysen. These writers lauded the Greeks, drawing on or studying Greek tragedy as part of their evidence of the superiority of their civiliz ation, and using plays like Antigone to glorify their political systems. Out of the aftermath of th is outpouring of classical sc holarship came one of the most successful efforts at making the Antigone accessible to its modern audience a version commissioned by King Friedrich Wilh elm IV of Prussia (Geary 87). This adaptation of Antigone was first performed at the Prussian Court Theatre on October 28 th 1841 (Geary 187), and later premiered in England at Covent Garden Theatre on January 2nd, 1845 (Thompson & Mendelssohn 22). From there, it was produced all over Europe (Steiner 8). The play was staged by Ludwig Tieck with incidental music by Felix Mendelssohn, using a translation by Joha nn Jakob Donner. Donner had attempted to recapture the metrical nuances of the play in his translation, using stressed and unstressed syllables to mirror the metrical cons truction of the original (Geary 187). Tieck sought to accurately recreate the Athenian stag e for his production, using an orchestra for the 15-man chorus and raised thymele for the main action of the play (Geary 188). Tieck had further assistance from archaeologist Hans Ch ristian Genelli and aforementioned philologist August Bockh. As with the original performance in Athens, the first scenethe prologos was
38 spoken. This was followed by the parodos where the Elders come in singing their Victory song. Mendelssohn could not re-creat e the original music, so he instead employed the compositional conventions of his own time. He sought to make the music of the play both familiar and exotic to his audience. In the parodos The Elders' song is consistent with military festival music (Geary 218). Mendelssohn very carefully thought about how to compose each section to both ca pture the original form of the play and make it accessible to his audience. Rather than compose the music in four-measure phrases as the audience might have exp ected based on his contemporary works, Mendelssohn used asymmetrical phrasing which, Geary argues, defamiliarizes the audience with the material just as Donner's me trically-oriented transl ation did (222). In his attention to the recreation of the music, Mendelssohn took the text into account to draw together different instrumentation in the antistrophe and strophe of each section to make clear the shifts in mete r, structure and form throughout the play. He uses a third contrasting form for the end passage where Di onysus is invoked to lead the dance (Geary 222). Mendelssohn's original intent was to com pose the chorales in recitative, with the accompaniment limited to instruments that mirro r ancient greek ones flute, tuba, harp. According to the memoirs of Eduard Devrient a friend of Mendelssohn and actor in the production, he quickly abandoned this appro ach he had intended, conceding that the monotony of the recitative made the text incomprehensible (Geary 190). An unpublished letter from Mendelssohn details the singing of the rec itatives as such:
39 Let them sing the Choral Recitatives with great energy and not in time [doubly underlined], but qu ite as a common Recitative, following each other and thus keeping together. It sounds as if impossible, but is very easy thus (Thompson & Mendelssohn 22). Devrient also said of Mendelssohn's approach: He therefore came to believe that th e choruses had to be sung in the same manner that the dialogue [of the play] was to be spoken, that is, not in an attempt to imitate the delivery characteristic of Attic tragedy something which indeed could lead us to laughter but rather in a way that we express ourselves nowadays in speech and song (Geary 190). What Tieck and Mendelssohn sought to do was recreate Sophoc les for a modern audience. Until we invent time machines th ere is no way of knowing exactly what the original performance was like, but their goal was to make the experience akin to how the Athenians would have seen the play. Ever y modern recreation is necessarily an adaptation, but Tieck and Mendelssohn's goal wa s to find a balance between historical accuracy and making the play performable and understandable to their audience. At the latter task, they certainly succeeded. Steine r says (of the music) that: throughout the 1840's the Mendelssohn choruses from the Antigone were a staple of family and amateur
40 chorales (8). Jean Anouilh Anouilh's Antigone was first produced on February 4, 1944, during the Nazi occupation of France (Anouilh 6). At first glan ce, I found the play an appalling caricature of Sophocles, but upon further reading and resear ch I have come to agree with Steiner's thoughts on the play. Steiner describes the play as such: Anouilh's version, whose stagecraft, whose argumentative cunning, far ex ceed[s] what is a fundamentally tawdry and reductive treatment of the An tigone theme (. ) (193). In many ways, this is an entir ely different play than Sophocles' Antigone. Clancy posits that Anouilh's goal in his work is to illustrate that, Life corrupts and Death is the choice of the innocent, the pure at heart, the brave, the human in search of the ideal . In addition, he argues: Antigone gives the final rites to her brother not to demonstrate her belief in a power that supersedes the narrow considerations of manmade law but as a purely intuitive response to the violation that has been done to her own inner purity (250). Anouilh's Antigone is an extreme idealis t with no concept of the reality of politics a very different girl than the Antigone of Sophocles, who is perfectly aware of state politics, but also keenly aware of the domestic politics that shared equally in Greek life. William Calin writes that, as Pol Vandromme sa id, the charm of Anoulih's Antigone is her
41 childish idealism and wild, innocent quality(76). Anouilh's Antigone has a strong connecti on to nature; she l oves animals, and when she loses her toy shovel and must dig in the dirt with her hands to bury Polynices9 ; she resembles an animal. These comparisons connect with Sophocles' references to Antigone as an animal: Creon trying to tame her like a wild beast, Antigone wailing like a bird. Creon even asks the guards if perhaps an animal had committed the crime. She exults in nature, running barefoot and bathing in the stream. As Calin explains, Her most lyrical outbursts are reserved for the exaltati on of nature(77). Creon is very much the opposite of this, he regu lates drinking water and sees natu re as needing to be controlled and ordered. He is the solid, strong leader whose job it is to regulate men's actions. To him, the good things in life are books, work, crafted things happy memories that Hemon recalls about his childh ood (Calin 78). Creon's attempts to appeal to those desires in Antigone are lost on her. Creon wishes to have order, harmony, and peace, but Antigone is governed by her carnal connection with nature and her will is like a hurricane's gale winds. Calin posits that Anouilh's Creon and An tigone are both ideal ists in their own ways. As I have argued in Chapter One, they also certainly are in Sophocles, but the nature of each character's ideals are different in Anouilh. Antigone revels in the natural, the grey night, the ways in which she rise s above the din of humanity. She is ugly, 9 Anouilh changes the spelling of some of the characters' names the ones mentioned hin this thesis are Polyneices Polyneices and Haemon Hmon.
42 awkward, poorly-groomed, unlike her radiant a nd beautiful sister, Ismene. She does not care to please humanity, and Anouilh's pres entation of her suggests that her outward appearance is an expression of her character someone untamed by societal expectations and traditional definitio ns of beauty. Despite this, she tells Creon that fearful men are ugly, and all who are morally corr upt are ugly, too (Calin 79). To Creon himself, he is the King, th e Captain, who single-handedly keeps his country from falling victim to the storms of treachery. He is rational, pragmatic, and takes great pride in these qualities (Calin 79). A nouilh's version, like Sohpocles, serves to illustrate that neither Creon or Antigone are absolutely right or wrong. Calin explains that Anouilh gives Creon mo re moral equality, and ennobl es him (82-83). O'Hanlon illustrates several ways in which Anouilh does this. Creon is constantly trying to comprehend and understand Antigone's actions and motivations, whereas Antigone in her stubbornness refuses to hear Creon's side at all or understand his point of view(535). She defies at all times the idea that compromise is inherent in the adult world. Anouilh's Creon is tender at points towards Antigone, recalling her youth fondlyhow he not so long ago gave her her very first doll. Anouilh portrays Antigone as an object of sympathy due to her innocence and childishness which even Creon recognizes. However, unlike her unapologetic, comparatively mature Sophoclean counterpart, Anouilh's Antigone tends to be impetuous and over-em otional; she goes on for three pages about her dog and how she needs him to be taken ca re of after she dies (O'Hanlon, 539). Creon cannot indulge Antigone's incessa nt glorification of innocence and childhood, however, and he, unlike his Sophoclean counterpart, understands the grim
43 reality of his position, knowing that a King ma kes the difficult decisions. He sees the world as it is, understanding that changes in politics can only be made slowly and by the people in power. Sophocles' Creon is driv en by power, mistakenly believing that his country should bend to his will. Rosamund Deutsch, in her review of the pl ay, argues that the essential difference comes in the motivation for Antigone's action. In Anouilh's version, Antigone is not motivated by a sense of duty or divine sense of moral guidance, rather, she is in rebellion of Creon's edict because she desires the free dom of choice (14). Antigone is reduced to an emotional, rebellious girl, rather than a moral exemplar of familial duty. Creon becomes the rational character, Antigone th e one who refuses to see reason. Anouilh goes so far as to change and add elements to the story to make Antigone seem more unreasonable and irrational (Deutsch, 16). Albert Schlesinger, in direct response to the claims set forth about Anouilh's Antigone by Rosamund Deutsch, argues that rather than representing moral ideals, the characters of Antigone act according to their a lignment with either cold logic or instinct and tradition. In his assessment, Antigone's a character does not act based on morals, but on instinct. She is not upholding some divine law but rather acti ng according to tradition (208). Creon's fatal flaw is his devotion to cold logic. Despite similarities in plot to the original version, the finale of Anouilh's Antigone has a vastly different tone than its Sophoclean predecessor. Anouilh adds, as Steiner mentions (193), a young page boy at the end w ho comforts Creon and escorts him to his council:
44 And the man to whom the Chorus has just proclaimed his utter abandonment exits leaning on th e shoulder of a young boy. Not only is Creon's punitive isolation broken, but the contact with childhood is, inevitably, suggestive of a larger re-entry into life (194). Anouilh's version not only differs in th e way his characters are presented, but in the cast itself. In addition to the page boy, Anouilh has a single na rrator instead of a Chorus. This character speaks directly to the audience most of the time instead of interacting with characters on stage. Anouilh has also added to character of the Nurse, who serves to emphasize Antigone's childishne ss. Characters who never speak to each other in Sophocles, such as Antigone and Hemon, interact extensively in Anouilh's version. Although Anouilh strives for simplicity in his Antigone its popularity proves that his approach appealed to his audience. Stei ner describes some aspects of the play's appeal: Anouilh's Antigone swept th rough the schools, colleges, universities, as well as the amateu r and professional theatres of the post-war period ( ) The apparent simplicity of Anouilh's idiom, the fact that the play can be stag ed in everyday dress with minimal
45 dcor ( ) (293) Anouilh uses the basic outline of Sophocles' play to tell his own story. I believe that it has been worth researching as an exam ple of how a playwright can take a story like Antigone and recreate it in a way that audiences still connect with and enjoy the narrative. Brecht and Neher Brecht's version of Antigone was performed first in Switzerland in 1948 (Jones&Vidal 39). Brecht, for the most part, used the aforementioned Holderlin's translation of the play for his own adap tation. Brecht's thoughts on the motivation behind his own version of the play can be summed up by the following statement from his work On Theatre : there can be be no question of us ing the Antigone story as a means or pretext for 'conjuring up the sp irit of antiquity'; philological interests cannot be taken into account. Even if we felt obliged to do something for a work like Antigone we could only do so by letting the play do something for us (Brecht 210-211). The introduction of the play, as stag ed by Neher, was designed so that the audience would not think they ha d been transported to the s cene of the story, but rather,
46 had been invited to take part in the delivery of ancient poem (Brecht 21 1). Despite the ancient theme, the staging of the first scene is not at all like what Sophocles' play might have looked, but is staged in front of so mething resembling a war zone, represented by red walls, tent-like structures, and the ruins of a m odern city; unlike Tieck's staging, it is vastly divergent from the or iginal production (Brecht 212). Brecht adds a pre-prologue, in which two sisters see their brot her hanging outside from a meat hook, and one is questioned about trying to cut him down, while the other denies association with th e man (Elwood, 56). The play then begins, as Sophocles' version, with a regular prologue sc ene between Ismene and Antigone. Brecht planned his Antigone with a series of sketches and phot os paired with accompanying written explanations, believing that, given that this was, as he said, not so much a new school of playwriting as a new way of performance being tried out on an old play (Brecht 210), he could not simply give the play over to the theater to do as it pleased with it, but he intended to give th em something to work with to make each performance unique. Brecht says that his reason for choosing the Antigone story was because it was interesting as far as the politic al aspects were concerned, that is, how both relevant to the political climate and how di stanced from the German modern political experience the story was (Brecht 210). As the play progressed, the actor was remi nded that he or she were participating in a story by the third-person narration of each action. For example, before the actress playing Antigone entered, she would say So then Antigone went daughter of Oedipus...etc. to herself, alt hough in rehearsal this would ha ve been said aloud (Brecht
47 213-214). Brecht seemed intent on reminding a ll participants in the play, both those acting it and those watching, that they had been drawn into the story of a far-away time. Brecht took this attitude toward the play, in part, to remind a ll involved that they were not to associate any of the characters or even th e storyline with any mode rn characters. Of the similarities, Brecht said: So far as [Antigone's] political aspect went, the present-day analogies emerged astonishingly powerfully as a result of the rationalization process, but on the whole they were a handicap; the great character of the resister in an old play does not represent the German resistance fighters who nece ssarily seem most important to us (Brecht 210). This statement seems forced, and contradictor y to his previously mentioned statement. Steiner explains the climate in whic h Brecht was taking on his version of Antigone deserters and stray soldiers had been hung on lampposts in th e streets, decaying and flyridden, and any who dared cut them down were punished with execution (141-142). William Elwood argues that Brecht's interpretation indeed focuses upon the dilemma projected by Hitler for Germany(49), which gave him an opportunity to study fascism as a moral philosophy determining crucial political actions(49). Brecht's intention, therefore, may not necessarily have been, as he himself said, to directly relate the story of Antigone to current events, but, as Elwood puts it, Brecht used the antigone story of
48 Sophocles to sound a warning to the German people that lusting for power would eventually destroy the state ( 49). It seems like that warni ng would have been issued too late, but perhaps Brecht intended to reinforce the lesson that Hitler had taught the world. Jones and Vidal argue that Brecht sees the conflict as one between two kinds of politics. Creon stands for im perialism and autocracy; his opponents, for democracy and non-aggression (42). In Brecht's play, Cre on's motivations are simply to conquer Argos and strip the land of its metals that he want s for Theban armaments. Brecht did not intend for the audience to have any sympathy for Cre on at the end of the play, nor even really for Antigone. She exists solely to represen t the unexpressed common will of the people. In an interview, Brecht explai ns: ...here Antigone feels what the public at large feels, and shares its arguments. She represents the ins ight of the public in to the beginnings of dissension among the rulers, of whom Antigone is one. For him, the tragedy of the play is not based on emotion or sympathy, rather, the tragedy exists in the comprehension of the entire situation. (Jones & Vidal 43) Brecht's Antigone has several notable changes and additions in plot, characters, and text. In his recreat ion, it is Creon, not An tigone's brother, who ha s started the war, in an attempt to take over Argos (in Sophocles, Polyneices had enlisted the Argive warriors, his wife's kinsmen, to aid him in the fight). Polyneices deserts the war, leading to his murder by Creon, whereas Eteocles has alread y recently died fighting in the war. Creon forbids his burial to make an example of him and his disloyalty. As Jones and Vidal illustrate, it is not, as in Sophocles' version, Creon's impiety, but rather his inhumanity that is his downfall(40). Antigone takes on a much more accusing tone in Brecht's version
49 of the play, and Creon becomes a symbol of Nazi leadership, calling for the city to be purified (Elwood, 56-57). In the equivalent of the parodos Brecht adds several lines to the play elaborating on the punishment for political arrogance (Jones & Vidal 40). In the ensuing scene where Creon and Antigone argue, there is a ve ry noticeable diversion from Sophocles. Antigone stands for the familial, the human el ement, the sympathetic character who hates and defies Creon proudly. Brecht has added 80 lines here developing Antigone's portrayal as a heroine, going so far as to have Antigone chastise Creon for claiming his own actions are divinely sanctioned, claiming that be so, but she would rather have humanity (Jones &Vidal, 40). She tells him that th e city sides with her, but is afraid to say anything. Later, in the argument between Creon and Haemon, Haemon backs this statement up and is even agre ed with by the Chorus, much more so than in Sophocles (Jones&Vidal, 41). As Antigone is led to her death, Brecht adds a few lines to Antigone's speech prophesying the downfall of Thebes due to Creon's tyranny. Brecht adds an echo of her remarks to the following lines of the Chorus Teiresias comes in to give Creon a due tongue-lashing about celebrating a victory he has not yet accomplished, and in his bloodthirsty rage Creon tells him and the C horus that it is only a matter of time, mentioning his son Megareus who, although only briefly mentioned in Sophocles' version, is Haemon's brother in the Theban myth cycle10. Shortly thereafter, a messenger arrives to tell Creon of his son's death. Creon 10 See reference to Aeschylus' Seven Against Thebes in Chapter One: Understanding Antigone
50 hopes that Haemon will go finish the battle a nd bring him back a victory, and as in Sophocles, hurries to free Anti gone. The Chorus sings thei r Sophoclean Ode to Bacchus. However, another messenger arrives to repor t the suicides of Haemon and Antigone. Creon's last words, as quoted by Jones and Vidal, are as follows: See what I have here. It's his co at. I thought what I went to get might be a sword. It was soon for my child to die. One more battle, and Argos could have been crushed! But all the bravery there was, all the supreme effort, only went against me. So, Thebes falls now. And if it must fall, let it fall w ith me, and it shall be gone, and for the vultures. That's how I want it to be (42). The play concludes with the Chor us predicting Thebes' downfall. If indeed Brecht was seeking to subtly address political te nsions caused by the aftermath of World War II, then in a wa y his adaption mirrors Sophocles' intentions11. He has adjusted the play to address issues of his own time, adding and changing where necessary. Much like th e original production, part of Brec ht's focus was on the spectacle of the stage. Every new adaptation proves that there are endless ways to modernize, edit, rework and twist every aspect of Antigone to suit the author's intentions and vision. 11 As posited by Tyrrell and Benne tt. See Chapter On e: Understanding Antigone
52 Chapter THREE Excerpts from the Creation of a New ANTIGONE The goal I have set in my reproduction is to add the element of song and music back into the play, and translate the music (a nd to a lesser extent, the text) into modern, plainer English. My wish is for the modern audience to be able to appreciate and understand the play as a tribute to and adaptati on of its original form something that stays with them the way a textual reading might not. I, like many others, am able to remember song lyrics much more easily than passages of books, or even lines of poetry. In my research I watche d a modern staging on VHS produced by the BBC, where all lines we re spoken and the c horus shouted in unison. As I tried not to fall asleep, I realized that without something to capture my attention, these long speeches gr ew very tiresome for me. Af ter two or three viewings, I doubt if I could remember any of the lines. Adding music gives the audience something to engage with. For the rest of my life I will remember Aristophanes' speech on love from Plato's Symposium because it was made into song in the musical Hedwig and the Angry Inch The musical element allows some of us to connect with the text, and absorb it as we would otherwise be unable to. If I saw Les Miserables as a spoken play instead of a musical, I guarantee that I would not have cried to the extent that I did when I saw it for the first time on Broadway. Mu sic is imbued with emotion. We associate significant moments in our modern lives with music the first dance at a wedding, the funeral song, and any number of other moments that hold emo tional significance for us. The characters
53 in Antigone want their words to be remembered, to be felt by those who hear them; setting their words to music is a way to accomplish that end. At the start of this re-envisioning, I began to write the songs in order of their place in the play. As I pieced together a translati on that would fit into the meter of the first song, I found myself needing to make some significant changes, despite my original intentions. I expect that Tieck and Me ndelssohn found themselves in a similar predicament. To me, the language had to beco me very simple to fit into the meter and often slower pace of the song. I ended up doing a lot of text alteration through paraphrasing. The first lines, even in the simp lest translation into English that I could find, by Ian Johnston of Malaspina Univ ersity-College, Nanaimo, BC, reads: Now, dear Ismene, my own blood sister, do you have any sense of all the troubles Zeus keeps bringing on the two of us, as long as were alive? All that misery which stems from Oedipus? Theres no suffering, no shame, no ruin not one dishonour which I have not seen in all the troubles you and I go through. Whats this theyre saying now, something our general has had proclaimed throughout the city? Do you know of it? Have you heard? Or have you just missed the news?
54 Dishonours which better fit our enemies are now being piled up on the ones we love. In my version, I paraphrased it: Ismeneyou know of our father's plight passed on to us through his lack of sight12 You know that between us we've had our fill Of shame, dishonor and ruin. My text does not have every dolorous detail of the original, but for the sake of the point of the song and the duration of the ove rall piece, this and other passages were shortened considerably. If I did not make these alterations, the musical version would probably end up taking upwards of 3 hours to perform, which is very taxing on the performers (especially for the Chorus, who st ays on stage for the entire play), and might be quite tedious for the modern audien ce of the general public, who, from my observations, do not have the attention span to appreciate an intensive theatrical work. Despite textual revisions, I attempted to accurately recapture the plot and the spirit of each character. However, any adaptation is boun d to be colored by the author's own ideas and interpretations. These are the excerpts that I have produced to give readers of this 12 This is a bad pun on my part, since Oedipus failed to see th at he was marrying his mother and ended up blinding himself because of it.
55 thesis an idea of what my adaptation would look and sound like. Scene One When I began writing the background musi c for the first song, I used simple chords accompanying the song. Just as Mendelssohn used the music of his time, my music is diatonic and simply constructed, like many modern musicals. As I sometimes do when composing, I filled in the other harmony lines with my voice, intending to change them later to strings or synthesizer. Upon listening to this result, I found myself quite intrigued by the inte rplay of background song that came into being, and I decided to create what I now call the Chorus of Ethereal Voices. In essence, this character opens the play, fueling Antigone's actions and suppor ting her in her quest to bury Polyneices. Like Brecht, I felt compelled to adapt cert ain aspects of the play by inserting new elements. In this case, the Ethereal Voices add both a supernatural and dramatic element to the prologue, akin to Shakespeare's babbling gossip of air13 Antigone throws a stone at Ismene's window from the palace steps. Like the original production, there is a wa ll with a set of palace doors on stage. Stairs lead down from them. Antigone runs in from offstage. In the original text, Antigone says she has been calling for Ismene, but this seems impracti cal to me, as it is night, and surely more people would emerge if Antigone were yelling up to the window. Her sister sneaks out of the palace doors shortly ther eafter. Both girls are w earing subdued colors in 13 Twelfth Night I.v.145-9: Halloo your name to the reverberate hills / And make the babbling gossip of the air / Cry out 'Olivia!' O, You should not rest / Between the elem ents of air and earth / But you should pity me!
56 mourning. In Anouilh, Antigone is supposed to be rather homely, and Ismene beautiful and coiffed. I disagree with his portayal of the sisters. Antigone is the one who is engaged to Haemon. Ismene might take more care in her appearance, but in my mind Antigone is always the beautiful one. I have written Antigone as a strong alto She sings in what female singers call their chest voice a sound appropriate to Antigone's song, coming from her heart a deep place of instinct. Contrarily, the sopra no Ismene mostly sings in her head voice; her words are cautious and logical, as is her melodic line, staying within the confines of the key. The vocal range of Antigone's song broa dens as she rants, rising to shrill points that reflect the peaks of her elevated emo tional state. While Ismene maintains a steady mezzo piano throughout, Antigone is never softer than mezzo forte Her voice easily overpowers Ismene. The song ends with Ismene expressing her concern for her sister as Antigone storms off to perform the burial, as in Sophocles. INTRO (Where Are You Going?) Ismene/Antigone (Track One) Antigone: Ismene, you know of our father's plight Passed on to us through his lack of sight You know that between us we've had our fill Of shame, dishonor and ruin. And what news now that fills the streets? Have you heard of this disaster?
57 This woe-filled word that tears my heart I've brought you out here to tell you Ismene: Antigone, what is this darkness you speak? Antigone: The King has declared an injustice! While one brother's death is honor and pride The other's is unmourned and slandered And what adds injury to this travesty? That the harsh penalty for the crime of a proper burial for this criminal is death, oh sister of mine. Will you aid me? Ismene: Antigone, where are you going? Antigone: I must bury our brother! Ismene: You would die for the crime? Antigone: I obey not the laws of man, only those of heaven and if I die, so be it then, I die.
58 Ismene: Sister, my sister, know that I love you But I've not the strength to defy There's only us two We've lost our mother Our father, our brothers all have died Antigone: Sister, my sister, I won't demand that you help me, but I must do what's right Do what you must do Ismene: Antigone, this is foolish! Antigone: I shall be done be fore the morning light (Antigone is insistent, she doesn't care what Ismene thin ks, she knows what is right to her and she is very adamant about it) Ismene: Antigone, please, do it quietly I beg you, please, do it secretly! (Ismene tries to get Antigone to at least be secretive so that she will not get caught, but
59 Antigone will have none of her warnings.) Antigone: Ismene, you'll shout it to all who'll hear or earn my contempt and hatred (Antigone is appalled that her sister is su ch a coward about her sisterly duties. She threatens that such behavior wi ll only make her hate Ismene.) Antigone: I know that death awaits my crime, But my heart is sure and certain (Antigone expresses her need to do what is right yet again. In the original text, Ismene tells her something like You have a hot heart for chilling deeds, which is a fantastic phrase, but I had to leave it out because it didn't fit the meter of the song, and it would have lost its effectiveness to awkwardness. Inst ead, I have skipped a bit of text to simply have Ismene send Antigone on her way, saying:) Ismene: Then go, knowing that although you may be a fool You are dear to my heart Scene Two
60 The Chorus of Theban Elders processe s onto the stage, singing their Victory song. The fifteen-man Chorus, as Sophocles had, is led by the Coryphaeus who wears a distinguishing medallion. They are all dressed in grey robes. This is to accomplish a uniform appearance and to allow them to blend into the scenery when they are not actively singing or moving around. They asse mble themselves on the palace steps and sing animatedly to each other, telling the st ory of the recent battle. It may have been perfectly normal in Athenian theater for ol d men to be dancing onstage during a serious song, but to us it seems ridiculous. They should be credible as an in formation source, so I have limited the grandiosity of their gestures. One of the functions of the Chorus is to stand outside of the action of the play and commentate. For this reason, they sing a capella but to allow for the expression of tension or discord in their music, th ey sing in three-part harmony. The Coryphaeus leads alternating verses, echoing the strophic/a ntistrophic construction in Sophocles. Mendelssohn employed harmony in his Choruses as well (although his were accompanied by an orchestra), and different musical construction for the strophes and antistrophes. In both versions, there is an audible shift in the music. As they are finishing th eir song, Creon enters thr ough the double doors of the palace, identified by the Coryphaeus VICTORY SONG Chorus of Theban Elders (Track Two) Chorus: Sun that beamed o'er seven-gated Thebes O'er Dirce's fountain shone
61 And speeds the Argives home. Shrieking bird of white-plumed wing Warrior with the white shield The Argives that swooped down Are sent into the ground Solo: Led by Polyneices, they were against us A shrill eagle armored to the wings That rained down upon us Screaming insults o'er us and dared besiege our city's defenses Chorus: Seven gates they poised against Striking in the dark night But! Before they could take us they tasted our might Solo: Zeus frowns down upon them braggarts led by traitors And smite them he did back from our walls His thunder bellowed Heard by all those below And scattered his boasting to the winds Chorus: Seven fought at seven-gated Thebes
62 and by the gods were damned They lie upon the land Solo: Brothers faced each other now Lost within their dark rage when both had been struck down They lay upon the ground Chorus: Sun that beams, upon our victory Let Thebans sing once more For we are done with war Solo: And look here's Creon The Son of Menoeceus! He's summoned us to him We praise him as our King The chorus recaps the events of the ni ght, praising Thebes as being blessed by Zeus and the Sun in fighting off the attacker s. I have taken some liberties with the wording in order to get it to fit into the meter of the song. Overall, the message is preserved, especially the imagery of Pol yneices as a shrill eagle swooping down and shouting insults over Thebes, inci ting his compatriots to action. Scene Three Creon's accompanying music is driving, re gal and repetitivemuch like the King
63 himself. His very first word is I, underlin ing his egocentricity. He sings forcefully and confidently, never opting for a softer dynamic than forte Creon has a proud bearing. He gives the Chorus a subtle smile of ack nowledgement and spreads his hands magnanimously in greeting. His costume is not opulent, but suggest s wealth and power nonetheless. I do not wish to paint Creon as a v illain, so in his first appearance I wish to imbue him with a bit of char m and charisma. He believes that he is protecting his country, even if he goes about enforcing his la ws with all of the arrogance that a King tends to possess. Creon outlines the principles by which he intends to rule, and switches keys to declare the law he has set forth concerning Polyneices' corpse. His song varies from mezzo forte to fortissimo. He asks for the Chorus' support. The Chorus lends a line of agreement with him accompanied by music, because here they are not serving in a narratorial function. The music becomes lilting as the Sentry enters, reflecting his hurried manner. His music is simple, like his characte r, set in minor tonality to foreshadow the bad news he is about to deliver. CREON'S CREED Creon, Guard (Track Three) Creon: I have called you here, for your loyalty's been proven Your steadfast reverence is known When Laius then was ruling and Oedipus the same You have never strayed. (Creon comes in pleased with his new positi on as King, praising the Theban Elders for
64 their dedication and loyalty al l through the rules of both Laius and Oedipus. He obviously expects them to support him in any decisi on, including the decree concerning Polyneices) Now no man can be known until he has shown His skill in law and governance And if he shall refuse the advice of the wise He is no leader at all And if he puts anyone or anything before his country He yet shall fail For he must keep priority And never bend to frailty Or he will fall (This speech is much longer, but the essence of it is that Creon is declaring his personal philosophy in ruling, setting up his stubborn refusa l to hear appeals to his emotions later in the play, even by his own son. This goes ag ainst his own statement that it is foolish to ignore the advice of the wise, as he later doe s Teiresias. He is very concerned with upholding his own appearance as a good leader emphasizing ruling and governing as the highest judge of a man.) Oh Zeus on high I would not falter if I saw disaster heading for our walls
65 And that is why I'm sure to make an enemy That dares to raise to us the battle call. (Invoking Zeus as a god of Justice, and comple tely neglecting his other domains, Creon swears he will defend the city from threats, and will not bend, which he later completely fails to uphold.) Now for my decree That Eteocles be honored with ritual a nd burial be crowned (Eteocles as the temporary King of Thebes, will be honored as a hero, a defender of the city, even though the feud was largely fraternal.) The traitor shall be le ft for the birds and the dogs Unwept and alone (Here, I've decided to not even justify Pol yneices with his own name to show Creon's contempt for the man. Creon is trying to make an example of him in saying that if you betray your city, then you will not even be granted a re turn to the earth by your women, which woud have been particularly harsh in 5th-century Athens.)
66 And no one shall dare to honor the man Who laid siege to his own home And if any shall dare to subvert my decree He shall feel the weight of the stone (His decree is that any who bur y Polyneices will be stoned to death, which I have made a bit unclear with my interpreta tion, but since Antigone mentions death earlier, it is to be inferred. Creon does not realize that the burial is not about praising the man's actions, but honoring that he was a person who people did love and care about. Not being a woman, his understanding of this would be impaired.) Sentries have been posted Will you stand with me? (Speaking to the Chorus again directly, he as ks for their support. In Sophocles' text they whine that they're old and can't guard the body th emselves, but I didn't f eel that that bit of dialogue was necessary.) Chorus: No man is such a fool to wish for death (The Chorus doesn't exactly express their suppo rt other than to say that he, as King, has the right to uphold his decree, but instead convey that they think no one would go against
67 the decree because they'd be afraid of the c onsequences. Creon cites money as a possible motivator, which I've left out because he la ter says it again when he accuses the guard and sends him away to find the criminal. The music shifts when the guard comes in. It is much simpler, reflecting his character's lower social status.) Enter Guard Guard: Your Highness, I ain't gonna say I didn't loiter Truth is I took my time to come. For self, says I, you're gonna be in trouble if you bear bad news to Creon So I said to myself 'You'd better just do it Even if he thinks you did it, you should do what's right So here I am, Sir, to tell you my story And I hope you'll believe me. (The Guard speaks a bit crudely, and he likes to talk around things. He is trying to tell Creon that his decree has been subverted, but he doesn't want to take the blame himself or risk Creon killing the messenger. The Gu ard represents the co mmon man who holds a healthy distrust and fear of authority.) Creon: What's troubling you?
68 Guard: Well, first I shoul d tell you that it wasn't me. But I didn't see who did it. Don't harm me, please! Creon: You deflect the blame quite adamantly, What have you to say to me? (Creon is already starting to get annoyed w ith the Guard, who has a gift for babbling) Guard: Sir, the news I have makes me shudder, Makes me wish that I hadn't come. Creon: Well, out with it, man So we can be done! (Obviously already irritated with the guard for talking around th ings, he wants him to just say what hes trying to say so he can be rid of him.) Guard: Well, the corpse of the man that you declared a traitor and forbid any to bury has been buried with the rites Creon: What!? Who has dared this?
69 Scene Four The Guard enjoys rambling on as his st ory unfolds, his music and song become as tedious as he is, swirling monotonously until the Chorus of Theban Elders chimes in to let us know that the events might hold divine significance. Creon angrily dismisses such a notion, but his song becomes more discordant to reflect his uncertainty. Eventually, he tells the Sentry that he'd bette r find who did it unless he wants to be blamed for the crime. Creon's melodic line stabilizes as he finds a course of action. SENTRY'S DEFENSE Sentry, Creon, Chorus (Track Four) Guard: Well, sir I do not know But there weren't no marks or anything Of anybody having been there And when we saw it we started blaming each other for only a small layer of dust was upon him Like someone who'd symbolically buried him and given him rites There weren't no beastly marks upon him Angry words were thrown about and fists about to follow And about to swear an oath a nd, By Zeus!, take up fire
70 and then a wise member of our group suggested we take it to you That seemed best so we drew lots and I was picked to deliver the news unto you Chorus: Sir, I've been thinking could this be the work of gods? Creon: Cease thy speaking before you incur my wrath And prove yourself old and fools Why would the gods show favor To one who pillaged his own home temples? Do they now favor evil men? Do they now favor evil deeds? I hear the whispers from the town disavowing duty with their mouths Scene Five The Chorus, while Creon waits for the Sentry to return, sings an ode to the wonder and terror of man, warn ing that although man may c onquer everything else in the world, he cannot escape death that will conquer him. There is a choreography of walking patterns around the stage, hearkening back to the original, in which they would have danced.
71 HYMN TO MAN Chorus (Track Five) Chorus: Nothing is so wonderful as man He sails the great wide seas and ploughs the land He has tamed the beasts of the earth He has planted seeds in the ground He has traveled this whole lovely world around He can catch the ocean's bounty in his snares And track the beasts of land into their lairs With cunning, wit, and resolve, He tames the wildest steed And yokes the beast to cater to his needs Nothing is so great or well-refined He reins his thoughts with actions, tames his mind He evades the perils of ice, He escapes the storms of the air There is nothing he won't conquer if he dares... But death claims all despite his will Though he find cures for every ill He masters poem and song and ode But death claims every person's soul. Nothing is so terrible as man Who honors gods, and heeds the way of the land
72 But if he should turn from the laws, And let evil into his soul Such a man, he has no country and no home! What ill omen is this? Here's Antigone! Daughter of Oedipus Escorted by the sentry? Scene Six (partial) The Sentry brings Antigone in. He te lls the tale of how he and the others discovered Antigone wailing like a bird, lamenting her brothe r as she poured out libations. Antigone waits with her head down as the original text indi cates. Creon starts pacing back and forth on the stage, clearly conf licted about what he is hearing. He asks Antigone about her actions, and she does not deny what she has done. Creon looks pained. I wish to bring some of Anoulih's portrayal of Creon as a compassionate but realistically pragmatic leader into this version, because in Sophocles, I believe that the original audience might have had more symp athy for Creon than modern audiences, so we must do something to make him more likab le. I have decided th at his inner conflict about Antigone's fate should show in his acti ng very clearly. Hi s stubbornness is fueled by prideful rage, but it is not his nature to be completely cold and unconcerned with his family members. However, he quickly stif fens defensively as Antigone refuses to deny her actions. He still firmly believes in protec ting his city, even if it means sentencing his
73 niece to death. Creon sings softly as he questions Antigone, not wanting her to be the guilty party. She responds without emotion at first, but swiftly resorts to a passionate mezzo forte, overpowering Creon, but ma king her words clear. Scene Ten (partial) For me, certain songs were much easier to write because of their weight in the play. Antigone's lament for herself stands out to me as such a poignant moment that it easily sprang into my head in song form. Th e short phrases lend themselves much more easily to singing than the more densely ve rbose speeches See me, she sings to the Chorus. She is about to die an d all she wants is that ackno wledgement. That they, the Elders of Thebes, will not shun her as she goe s to her death but rather, that they might offer a silent lament unto her with their eyes. This is the last light that will ever shine upon her and, by extension, her family lineO h, my bridal suite, my tomb, my eternal prison. I go below to join my ownwho've already gone and are welcomed by the arms of the Queen of Hades. The words are sung slow ly, so that they will not be mistaken or misheard. She is drawing out her own la ment, invoking the image of her deceased family, and the Dark Bride of Hades, Perse phone, who as a young girl was also snatched down into the dark by the Lord of Death to be his bride. The Ethereal Voices sing here, surrounding her as she is about to go to her death. The C horus of Theban Elders not only answers her with their weeping eyes, but by responding to her song wi th their own short interjections, singing back and forth with Antig one, as in Sophocles, as women in lament
74 might sing to each other. I want to really pl ay with the marriage to death concept in my rendition, especially in this scene. Antigone wears a white dress tied around her waist by a thick satin cord which she will later hang herself with. She has a make-shift veil on as well, and right before she sings, she lifts it to look upon her city. ANTIGONE'S FAREWELL Antigone, Chorus, Creon (Track Six) Antigone: See me, looking to the light The last I'll ever see. I'll never have my wedding night I'm now the bride of Hades My groom leads me to Acheron's shore Where sunlight shines no more He takes me in his arms alive as his bride Chorus: Go, then in glory, undefi led by age, illness or injury Antigone: I, like Niobe, encas ed in stone, die alone... Chorus: It's a great honor when you die to share the fate of one divine
75 Antigone: My beloved city! Must you mock me? Oh! My Thebes... You at least will bear my witness and weep for me. Chorus: You have crossed the line, it has done you in Now you continue to pay for your father's sin Antigone: You strike at my bitterest thought the torment of my life The shame that my father has his mother for a wife. Alas, my dear brother, in taking such a wife, You have deprived me, with your death, of my life. Chorus: You have undone yourself, No matter how praiseworthy your actions may be. Antigone: Unlamented and alone, I go, without my marriage songs, I know No further delay. I go to my grave! Creon: Don't you know that every man Would sing a million songs If he though it would delay death Go now! Take her way!
76 And when you close her into stone leave her alone, whether she dies or lives a buried life in such a home Our hands are clean she shall be denied of her journey in the light Antigone: Oh, my bridal suite, my tomb, my eternal prison I go below to join my ownwho've already gone and are welcomed by the arms of the Queen of Hades I'm the last of my line And I die the most unjust death by far As I slip below before my time has rightly flowed. Other Thoughts and Production Notes Antigone draws me in; I am seduced by its pa ssion, the emphatic certainty of its characters. I've had these songs in my h ead for months, tossing and turning inside, begging to be played with, to be sung. I ha ve thought a great deal about Antigone how do the characters look, how do they carry th emselves? What are they wearing, how do their voices sound? Some of these answers came to me immediately, others emerged after
77 long contemplation. The costumes and set should be simple The play can continue on without the curtain being drawn until the end. All attention is given to acting, gesture and singing. I could spend years perfecting my vision of Antigone. This is just the beginning of something which I hope to one day finish.
78 CONCLUSION A young girl stands in front of her uncle, the King of Thebes. Her eyes shine with absolute conviction as she raises her head, her fiery eyes meeting his cold gaze. She stares into the eyes of a man willing to sentence his own flesh and blood to death to uphold his ideals, and she is just as willing to die for hers. The emotional and ideological significance of this image in its various incarnations is, I believe, at the core of wh at makes this ancient story so appealing to audiences and the playwrights who have recrea ted it over time. I have sought to examine the historical events and cultural concepts surrounding the original play, in order to contextualize the original play. Its producti on around the time of th e Samian and Persian Wars holds implications for the exploration of burial and mourning themes in the play. I then broke the play down scene by s cene in order to gain a more thorough insight into its inner workings, and to attemp t to shed light on those ideas that we latch onto and relate with as a modern audience: prid e, grief, a conflict in loyalty to family and state. I also took into account Athenian values and customs, in order to try and gain a glimmer of how the Athenians might have understood the play. I explored how the original production might have looked how it was staged, what kind of costumes were worn, and the atmosphere of the Festival of the City Dionysia in which the plays were performed. This gave me a foundation for looking at other productions and adapta tions later in history.
79 I looked at three productions of Antigone two from the World War II era, and one from right after the German resurgence of interest in Hellenism. Each adaptation had a unique approach to recreating the play. Tieck and Mendelssohn sought to make a historically accurate staging, but struggled with how to reconc ile that desire with a need to make the recreation accessible and compre hensible by their audience. Anouilh stripped the play down and made it his own in a wa y that re-told the st ory of Antigone from a different angle. He explored a different e ssential conflict than Sophocles: the struggle between free, innocent naivety and realisti c pragmatism. Brecht brought back the stage spectacle of the Greeks, but made the adapta tion his own by adding his own pieces of text and scenery to the production. Brecht arguabl y exaggerates the play to suit his own agenda for the play. After all this, I presented some excerpts of what my production would look like, if I were to produce a modern musical version. For me, s ong is the highest form of expression, worthy of Antigone After 2400 years, we still connect with the Antigone I do not doubt that Antigone will continue to be adapted, recreated and re-imagined far into the future.
80 WORKS CITED Aeschylus. The Seven Against Thebes Trans. Herbert Weir Smyth Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1922. Print Apollodorus, Library Trans. Sir James George Frazer. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1921. Bartholdy, Felix Mendelssohn Mendelss ohn and His English Publisher. Some Unpublished Letters. The Musical Times Vol. 46, No. 743 (Jan. 1, 1905): 20-23 Brecht, Bertolt. On Theatre. Trans. John Willett. NY: Hill and Wang, 1964. Print Caldwell, Wallace Everett and Mary Francis Gyles. The Ancient World NY: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc., 1966. Print Calin, William Patterns of Imagery in Anouilhs Antigone. The French Review Vol.41, No.1 (October, 1967): 76-83. Clancy, James H. The American Antigone . Educational Theatre Journal, Vol. 6. No. 3 (Oct., 1954): 249-253 Crow, Dallas. Antigone in Her Tomb Arion, Third Series, Vol. 11, No. 3 (Winter, 2004): 83 Deutsch, Rosamund. Anouilh's Antigone The Classical Journal Vol. 42 No. 1 (Oct., 1946): 14-17 Geary, Jason. Re-inventing the Past: Mendelssohn's Antigone and the Creation of An Ancient Greek Musical Language. The Journal of Musicology Vol. 23, Issue 2: 187226 Haigh, A.E. The Attic Theatre Ox ford: Clarendon Press, 1907. Print Hoar, Shauna. Conceptual Excerpts for 'Antigone'. Sarasota, FL: Self-produced (Recorded as accompanying material to The Antigone Experience Thesis). Compact Disc Homer. Iliad Trans. A.T. Murray. Camb ridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1924 Jones, Frank and Gore Vidal. Tragedy w ith a Purpose: Bertolt Brechts Antigone. The Tulane Drama Review Vol.2, No.1 (November, 1957): 39-45
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