Deciphering the Politics of Anouillh’s Antigone


This article examines the twentieth-century adaptation ofSophocles’ Antigone by Jean Anouilh (1944). Written during the German Oc­cupation of France, Anouilh’s Antigone produced controversial and indeedopposite interpretations. Some critics found overt political allusions in theplay, arguing with equal fervour that it was pro-Resistance or collaborationist,whereas the author claimed political ignorance. Through a close analysis ofthe text and the historical context in which it was written, the article wishes toprovide a new interpretation of the play and its reception. By focusing on keyterms and iconic lines as well as on crucial divergences from the Greek ori­ginal, I highlight the open-textured and ideologically ambiguous nature of theplay. The “neutrality” of the author, the self-conscious game with reality andthe desacralisation of the tragedy contributed to shift the focus onto the in­timate and personal, rather than the political, conflicts of the Greek original.