Why Antigone Now?
As Willa Cather once wrote, "There are only two or three human stories, and they go on repeating themselves as fiercely as if they had never happened before." One of those stories is about Antigone, daughter of Oedipus. It reached us through Sophocles' 441 BC play, in which the heroine defies King Creon's decree by giving her rebel brother a proper burial. This "struggle between the law of the individual conscience and the central power of the state," as David Grene puts it, has transformed the play Antigone through the centuries into a kind of beacon. Wherever powerless citizens are standing up against authority, for causes they believe to be morally right, Sophocles' play can be discerned. It is no surprise that the story has spawned countless adaptations, by everyone from Jean Cocteau to Bertolt Brecht, from Felix Mendelssohn to Jean Anouilh.