Literature Study GuidesAntigonePart 3 Later That Day Summary

Antigone | Study Guide

Jean Anouilh

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Antigone | Part 3 (Later That Day) | Summary



The lighting indicates late morning. Creon stands on the stage, and the page brings in Private Jonas, one of the three guards, who quakes with fear. He shares the news that someone has tried to bury Polynices using a child's spade. Creon believes a rebellious element is trying to stir up trouble and has used a child for political purposes.

Creon wants to ensure the matter is covered up. He swears the guards to secrecy and tells them to uncover the body and arrest the perpetrator if he returns. Turning to the page, he asks if he would have risked his own young life by defying the guards, adding, "Of course you would." He and the page exit, leaving the stage empty.


Creon reveals a coolly calculating nature in his response to the crisis. He immediately assumes it is a politically motivated stunt and overlooks no detail in planning a cover-up. The guard's fear turns out to be well founded, as Creon threatens to have him shot if rumor of the burial gets out. He also assumes the worst of the child who attempted the burial, calling him "a baby-faced killer"; then, looking at his page, he changes course, thinking the rebels have used "a real white-faced baby of fourteen who will spit with contempt on the guards who kill him." Though Antigone is presumably older than 14, his words foreshadow a future encounter.

When Creon says he believes his page would be willing to die for him, he reveals something universal about the youth, purity, and idealism Antigone champions. Creon's sensitivity to youthful idealism will be evident in his coming argument with Antigone, but it's clear for him idealism is a thing of the past.

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