How does Anouilh’s Antigone differ from Sophocles’s play?

While the plot of Anouilh’s play largely follows the same trajectory of Sophocles’s Antigone, he makes a number of key changes which work to streamline the action, develop the characters, and heighten stakes of Antigone’s self-sacrifice. The role of the Chorus, for example, becomes a single, omniscient character in Anouilh’s play, and Tiresias, a blind prophet, disappears entirely. Anouilh spends more time developing Haemon’s relationship with Antigone, and he gives Creon’s character more dimension by allowing him to initially offer Antigone a chance to escape punishment. Finally, Anouilh’s Antigone feels less inspired to act by a commitment to family and religion than she does by a desire to honor her own moral code.

Why does Creon refuse to give Polynices a proper burial?

The initial reason that Creon gives for refusing to bury Polynices is that he became a traitor to the kingdom when he tried to remove his brother, Eteocles, from the throne. This justification, however, ignores the fact that Eteocles refused to adhere to the agreement that the brothers would share the throne. The brothers fought each other in the civil war that fell upon Thebes, and they suffered equally gruesome deaths. Creon eventually explains to Antigone that both Eteocles and Polynices were equally corrupt and, since the people of Thebes were bound to pick one side of the war to support, he also picked one brother to honor and one to disown. His choice was rather arbitrary as he simply chose to honor the brother whose dead body was less mangled.

How does Antigone die?

Although Creon initially tries to avoid punishing Antigone for her actions, she eventually convinces him that she must not be an exception to his edict. Antigone learns from a guard that she will be sealed up in a cave, left to die a slow, miserable death in its darkness. Not wanting to suffer, she hangs herself by the cord of her robe once the guards begin blocking the entrance to the cave. Haemon, desperate to be with his bride, sneaks into the cave, stabs himself, and lies down next to Antigone to die.