This paper is a continuation section of Jean Anouilh’s Antigone. The setting is approximately one year after Antigone’s death, in the city of Thebes. Creon was murdered by the masses, and Ismene has risen to the throne. She is in the process of finding a suitor. As of now, Diomedes, the prince of Corinth, is her primary suitor. He is kind, intelligent, skilled with a sword and equally skilled with words. Yet his words are deceptive, and fall upon an innocent, unsuspecting ear.
Even his name means “Evil King”. Secretly, he is planning to murder Ismene and become sole king of Thebes and Corinth, the first step towards the expansion of his fledgling kingdom. It is the eve of Ismene’s wedding. In an attempt to imitate Anouilh’s style, I have written a continuation of the play with characters that use common dialogue, and a Greek styled chorus to narrate the play. The chorus functions as an integral part of the play, both narrating and living as commoners in Thebes.
The motif of impulsiveness is displayed in Nereus’ decision-making process, as well as the motif of rich versus poor. Anouilh’s themes of the unhappy human condition and the desire for human affection are shown through Ismene’s uneasiness about her marriage, yet her longing to be loved by Diomedes. Light and music are both utilized to enhance the theatrical experience. Anouilh’s dramatic technique of having a balanced cast of characters is attempted through the equal time devoted to both Ismene and Diomedes.
The play attempts to divert the people from their worries and consume them in a different world. The lighting is dim. A slow ballad is playing in the background. Voices are heard as the Chorus walks onto stage left. There is a throne in the back center of the stage, in which we see Ismene sitting alone, pondering her role as Queen of Thebes. To her left there is a book on a stand, and to her right a daybed. There are windows to both sides of her, but she ignores them. The chorus quiets, the music fades and the then speaks:
Well, here we are. One year later after the death of her sister Antigone, Ismene sits as Queen. This task should never have been for her, it is not in her blood. Creon felt the same strife as Ismene feels now. He died because of the strife. Ismene is thinking this, thinking of her fate. Thinking of how the crowd of angry Theban peasants took Creon and hung him in the square, for all to see. All to see except Oedipus and Antigone, who should have seen it. Ismene sits up, and walks over to the book on her stand.
This book that she holds is a diary of her life since the day Eteocles and Polynices were killed. She has kept it well, and remembers all. A tall, handsome man of twenty walks in, and approaches Ismene. She looks up and gives him a smile, one that does not show deep sincerity. This is Diomedes, prince of Corinth. He is to marry Ismene tomorrow, but not for love. There is to be no love in Ismene’s cursed life. Her father’s curse was never lifted. She does not know his treachery, Diomedes’ sinister plot.