The Burial at Thebes: A Version of Sophocles' Antigone
Sophocles' play, first staged in the fifth century B.C., stands as a timely exploration of the conflict between those who affirm the individual's human rights and those who must protect the state's security. During the War of the Seven Against Thebes, Antigone, the daughter of Oedipus, learns... show more
Sophocles' play, first staged in the fifth century B.C., stands as a timely exploration of the conflict between those who affirm the individual's human rights and those who must protect the state's security. During the War of the Seven Against Thebes, Antigone, the daughter of Oedipus, learns that her brothers have killed each other, having been forced onto opposing sides of the battle. When Creon, king of Thebes, grants burial of one but not the "treacherous" other, Antigone defies his order, believing it her duty to bury all of her close kin. Enraged, Creon condemns her to death, and his soldiers wall her up in a tomb. While Creon eventually agrees to Antigone's release, it is too late: She takes her own life, initiating a tragic repetition of events in her family's history.In this outstanding new translation, commissioned by Ireland's renowned Abbey Theatre to commemorate its centenary, Seamus Heaney exposes the darkness and the humanity in Sophocles' masterpiece, and inks it with his own modern and masterly touch.
Publish date: November 3rd 2005
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Pages no: 88
Edition language: English
, European Literature
, British Literature
, Irish Literature
Seamus Heaney's Antigone is excellent. In part he means to draw a connection between Creon and GW Bush - bear with me - or don't - and while that's vaguely interesting, it also consigns it to be debated in terms of modern politics, which is a shitty little rabbit hole. Sophocles is better than GW Bu...
In 2003, Heaney was asked by the famous Abbey Theater to do a version of Antigone and this is the result. Heaney keeps the poetic form and the sharp, sparse feel of the play. What is most striking about this version is the timeliness of it: the actions of Creon and his refusal to hear reason seems t...