Monday, February 13, 2006

Antigone - Find the Antigone in yourself

Hey everyone....
I'm back... I know its been a long time... I've been a lil busy... Excuse me....

My sister acted in the Stella Maris play called Antigone... Named after the main character Antigone... Well i am not a person very well read on Greek mythology and greek literature!! But this play did make me reflect though it was a very modern rendering of the original story(they actually had phones and video games as part of the play!!!)

But the basic concept remained the same... The wonderful thing in this story is unlike so many stories we here all around us, we will not be able to find a villain in this story. As every person is very justified in the way he behaves. Well let me at first outline the story for you.

Creon is the king of Thebes and his niece is Antigone. Polynices is Antigone's brother and is deemed a traitor and a rebel. And so Creon has decreed that Polynices' body should not be given a proper religious burial and should be let to rot at the gates of Thebes. The central theme of the play is the battle between Antigone's personal beliefs and the principles that dictate an autocracy. The fight between an individual's rights and what is percieved as the common good! Antigone represents any human being and Creon represents the ruling powers.

Antigone's beliefs stands with being a good sister and she wishes to give her brother a decent burial despite the fact that her uncle, King Creon has decreed that any person attempting to give Polynices a decent burial would be put to death. And yes there is one more important character in this story, Haemon, who is the King's son who is in love with Antigone and is to marry her.

Antigone attempts to bury her brother's body(with a kid's showel!) and gets caught in the attempt and is brought to the King by his guards. The scene that ensues is one which will make any person reflect for hours.

The King ask's Antigone to give up her attemp and tells her he will save her by silencing the guards. But Antigone refuses saying she will not give up her attempts to bury her brother... Well the king tries desperately to convince Antigone as the king knows that his son is in love with her and he wants her to live on. But she is willing to face death in the process of standing for her principles and beliefs.

There is an instant wherein Antigone asks Creon why he became King when Creon was actually not interested in becoming King. Creon was a very talented person and had other interests! But he had to take responsibility i.e. as she very rightly put it, he said "yes" when he should have said "no". The play makes us think of many things that we do in light of being in the 'common good' that we actually don't want to do.. Each one of us have made so many decisions that are highly influenced by what is deemed to be the common good and what we ought to do rather than what we want to do... Or what we believe in doing... This hypocracy has its root deep into our society... We speak for hours on what we believe and our ideas but our actions often take a different route, all being in the idea of looking good or looking correct in the face of society.

Well as destiny had it, Creon could not convince Antigone to give up her futile attempts and the rest is history. But as Creon was trying to get Antigone to understand what she had to live for, he said she was young and had a 'happy' life to look forward to. To this she questioned as to what he meant by a 'happy' life for her. Whether it was living in the castle and being a good wife. Likewise each one of us feign happiness with so many of the different things we act like we love doing!! After his futile attempts, Creon says it was impossible for him to convince Antigone and he could not 'condemn her to live'. That one phrase made me think for hours at end. I spent a night thinking of that. When a person strongly believes in something, and sees death as just a path following the course of action he takes, then the trivial happiness promised by life is nothing that can change his or her decision. He or she cannot be condemned to live.

Thus, when we think of society on the whole today most of us aren't making decisions that we strongly believe in but are rather making decisions that we feel we should strongly believe in!

1 comment:

Livewire said...

thanx for the story, and ur comment on her stance... we should catch up on it someday.