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Creon's Character in Antigone Essay


Creon's tragic flaw was his pride, arrogance and beliefs of a leader that cause his fall. His downfall began when he denied the burial of Polyneices and was firm when he condemned Antigone for her objection to his law. Creon represents the laws of the land and the divine ruler of society. He remains loyal in upholding his laws and trying to overpower the laws of the gods, until the end when he realizes that the divine laws are stronger than his own. His regards for the laws of the city cause him to abandon all other beliefs. He feels that all should obey the rules set forth by him, even if other beliefs, moral or religious, state otherwise. This is proven when he says, "As long as I am King, no traitor is going to be honored above the patriot. (Sophocles664)

Creon is in a position of great power, influence and responsibility. The extent of his power is quite clear when he sentenced Antigone to death for burying her brother Polynieces. Antigone's reasons for burying her brother were simply the fact that she was demonstrating her love, honor, and loyalty to her family. However, the reason Creon is upset is because he feels insulted that Antigone openly and publicly disobeyed him. He was also inflamed that she was his son Haemon fianc. It is known that in ancient times when a man's authority is threatened, especially by a woman, his ego is damaged.

Creon being a new king wants to prove his abilities as king. He is being hard so the people of Thebes wouldn't take him for granted or for being an easy king where as other problems may rise. Creon feels that if someone dishonors the city in which he rules they must be punished. If Polyneices is not punished then Creon's power may be taken for granted by the people of Thebes. They would view him as a weak king who can be dishonored without fear of punishment. Creon wants to be respected and feared as a king because this will give him more power. His pain and loss could have all been avoided if he had done what Tiresias advised him to do, but instead he put his pride first. His words to Tiresias were "Youll never bury that body in the grave not even if Zeus eagles rip the corpse and wing their rotten pickings off of the throne of god!(Sophocles 685). In respond, Tiresias gave him the judgments that will come upon him if he choose not to listen to the words of the gods; he said "Before you have surrendered one born of your own loins, your own flesh and blood, a corpse for corpse given in return(Sophocles 686).

Because of Creon's pride and stubbornness he has lost everything important to him. At the end when he realized that the gods were right, it was too late then to correct his mistakes because his son killed himself because of the murder that his father made Antigone kill herself . Creon came to realize this when he says My own blind heart has brought me from darkness to final darkness. Here you see the father murdering, the murdered son-and all my civic wisdom. My son, cut off so young! Dead,lost to the world not through your stupidity ,no, my own" (Sophocles 691). This shows how fate and freewill affects Creon's decisions and the outcome of those decisions that brought his downfall.

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