The Burial at Thebes is a reworking of Sophocles' Antigone. Creon the King of Thebes declares Antigone's dead brother a traitor. He then proclaims anyone who tries to bury him will be executed. But Antigone won't be deterred, and fearlessly faces the consequences. This leads to Creon's own demise.
While the action takes place in ancient Greece, Heaney told MPR's Euan Kerr the play was well received by modern audiences when it came out in 2004, just after the Allied invasion of Iraq.
"The exchange between Creon and the Chorus is a kind of parallel to the exchange between the White House and the Pentagon, and the rest of the world of 'If you are not for us, then you are against us,' you know. 'Are you terrorists or are you with us on the War on Terror'?"
Heaney has been a poet most of his life, and turned to plays later in his career. In fact he hesitates to call himself a playwright. However he said he likes the Guthrie's adaptation of The Burial at Thebes so much he's almost tempted to venture into play-writing again.
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