The play was first written by Sophocles in 441 B.C.E. Creon, the new king of Thebes, decrees that the body of Antigone?s rebel brother must not be buried. Antigone defies him, deeming his orders "an offense against every decent human instinct, against the laws of God and Man." She is sentenced to die and her betrothed, Haeman (Creon's son), joins her. Since the spirit is the god within us, Antigone's love for her brother and Haemon is more powerful than Creon's will to rule all.
French writer Jean Anouilh reconceived Sophocles' timeless tragedy in 1944, during the Nazi occupation of France, to underscore the dangers of living under oppressive, authoritarian rule. This sort of triumph of the spirit in dire circumstances is found in the lives of people like Albert Schweitzer or Martin Luther King, or the Huguenots in Chambon who housed Jewish children who might have been captured and sent off to concentration camps. ?Antigone? rings true today as societies still struggle to nourish and defend the human spirit against oppression.