Antigone (Anouilh)

Creon in Jean Anouilh's Antigone College

Aristotle believed that in order for a tragedy to be truly fulfilled, there must be a tragic villain who is completely aware of their evil but takes little pleasure from acting evil. In Jean Anouilh’s Antigone that character is Creon from the moment he is “cast as the villain” in the Prologue. Central to the prevalent success of Antigone is the way that Anouilh characterises Creon to overcome personal, moral or religious ethics to act with a degree of political pragmatism. This rationality largely derives from his gain of responsibility and power as we see Creon develop into a decisive leader, before his brutal pragmatic instincts diminish towards the end of the play. This is illustrated clearest during his confrontational power struggle with Antigone, where Anouilh uses literary techniques such as rhetorical devices to not only develop the audience’s perception of Creon as a pragmatist, but to also link his political expediency to the political backdrop of France at the time.

As the play progresses, Anouilh develops Creon into a cynical leader, despite holding Thebes at the vanguard of any decisions that he makes. Anouilh opts for rhetorical devices when displaying this, such as when Creon says Antigone would “do Thebes more...

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