Antigone is a 1944 play by French playwright Jean Anouilh that is an adaptation of a play also named Antigone by the Ancient Greek writer Sophocles that was first performed around 429 BCE. Written in the heat of World War II, Anouilh’s adaptation of the classical drama was first performed in Paris during the Nazi occupation while the pro-Nazi Vichy government of Marshall Pétain was in power in France. Anouilh’s Antigone is generally received as an allegory on the Nazi occupation and the heroism of resistance. According to this reading, Creon, the ruler in the play, represents the collaborationist Pétain, and the tragic heroine, Antigone, represents the French Resistance.
After World War II ended, Antigone was translated into English and performed in Washington, D.C., London, and elsewhere. Today it is the best known and most performed of Anouilh’s works, with newer English translations being produced in 2002 and 2009.