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The Characters Of Antigone And Creon In Antigone By Sophocles

1588 words - 7 pages

The Characters of Antigone and Creon in Antigone by Sophocles

Antigone is story of divine retribution and human imperfectness. In
this tragedy a powerful king, Creon is brought down by the Gods
because of his contempt against their divine laws and true justice is
shown to triumph at the end. Creon makes the mistake of putting his
personal views over and above the divine laws and fails in the eyes of
the Gods. He makes the mistake of testing the Gods' power and the
remaining story is basically the degeneration of Creon. After the
'crime' of Antigone, Creon is increasingly shown to be lone warrior in
his cause and family and well wishers start deserting ...view middle of the document...

At the beginning of the play, Thebes has fought back an armed attack
and the brothers, Eteocles and Polynices have died ;Creon crowns
himself the king and issues edicts to proclaim Eteocles a hero to be
buried with full military honours and decrees that the body of the
traitor, Polynices' be refused burial and left to rot. He issues warns
that any person disobeying his edicts will be put to death. However,
his edicts clash with the divine laws which explicitly state that
every dead body deserves a burial, even that of a traitor. Creon thus
starts the chain of his own destruction. He considers himself to be
paramount in his ideals and expects everyone to obey his edicts
without question. And for this, he is willing to risk everything he
has :- his prestige, his son, throne and his own life at the altar of
his pride. And in the end, he loses.

The Gods however give a number of chances to Creon to remedy his folly
of judgement but he misses every one of them. When Creon gets the news
of Polynices' burial he hastily judges that the sentry or the sentries
have been bribed and is on the verge of having the latter tortured or
even killed. In his illogical state of mind he accuses the Chorus of
lunacy and illogical behaviour by their mere suggestion that the
burial may be the work of The Gods to correct the human error. He
accuses them of contempt against him and chides them for being in the

On the discovery of Antigone's 'crime' Creon first passes the death
sentence and then proceeds to have her tortured further by forcing her
to live a living death. He decrees that she be banished from the city
and live in isolation beyond the city limits, a scenario worse than
death itself. This action on his part alienates him from the citizens
of Thebes as they hold her deed in high esteem and even necessary. He
accuses his son's report on the feelings of Theban citizens and
accuses him for being a woman's slave and is about to have Antigone
killed in Haemon's presence to teach 'him' a lesson. This action on
his part makes him fall out of favour with his own son who later spits
on his face, tries to kill him and failing to do so takes his own
life. Thus, Creon's tyrannical attitude prevents him from bending down
his own decree and leads him to his own doom.

In his pumped-up self importance Creon he even refuses to believe
Tieresias and has disgusting verbal alteraction with the God's medium.
His willing stupidity his path to destruction comes when this
foolishness on his part earns him a curse from the Tierisias and
finally seems to put him on the right path to self-correction. But
here again he fails to do the first things first and places the dead
over the living. This final mistake is the "last straw that breaks the
camel's back". He goes on to bury Polynices' first when...

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