HomeLiterature Study GuidesAntigonePart 8 What Have You Done Summary

Antigone | Study Guide

Jean Anouilh

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Course Hero, "Antigone Study Guide," December 12, 2016, accessed December 14, 2017, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Antigone/.

Antigone | Part 8 (What Have You Done?) | Summary

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Summary

The Chorus now pleads with Creon to have mercy on Antigone for the good of the people: "We shall carry the scar of her death for centuries." Creon defends his decision, saying she determined "to reject life and to die." The Chorus pushes back: she is a child. Soon an incredulous Haemon does the same; the young man declares he will not live without Antigone. Creon stands firm. "I am master under the law. Not above the law." Furthermore he urges Haemon to accept his judgment, telling him he must "cease to be a child and take up the burden of manhood."

The guards arrive with Antigone, who begs Creon to keep her away from the angry mob: "I don't want to hear them howl." All exit, except Private Jonas and Antigone.

Analysis

The Chorus's warnings to Creon seem a little disingenuous—after all, earlier the Chorus explained "the spring is wound up tight" and tragedy is already inevitable. His interaction with Creon does reinforce the idea that Antigone is not dying for Polynices—he was "a mere pretext"—she is dying because in her youthful idealism she believes she cannot live in a corrupt world. Haemon feels something similar: he will not live in a world without Antigone, a promise he will later make good on.

Antigone's revulsion for the real world is once again reflected in her attitude toward the mob. She wants to die while the world is still as beautiful as it was when she was a child; seeing the faces of the angry crowd would ruin that.

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