Comparing the Character of Creon in Oedipus and Antigone


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Comparing the Character of Creon in Oedipus and Antigone

Creon does not learn a lesson from Oedipus' accusatory behavior. Instead he adapts this bad personality trait. Throughout Antigone, he accuses everyone who tries to give him advice of betraying him. Whereas, in Oedipus, he is falsely accused by Oedipus of trying to take over the throne. This paper will compare and contrast his behavior and evaluate if he learned anything from one play to the next.

Creon was seen in a different context in Oedipus compared to his character in Antigone.
In Oedipus, he wanted nothing more than to help Oedipus rid the city of whatever plague the gods were hurling at them. Creon goes to Apollo's shrine to find out why the gods are angry and then brings Tiresias to help Creon see what has the gods angry. Oedipus does not want to believe the truths Tiresias is telling him and falsely accuses Creon of plotting against him to become king of Thebes. Creon is so hurt by this that he tells the chorus, "This accusation against me by our ruler Oedipus, It's outrageous. (514)" By the end of the play, Creon tells Oedipus that "I'm always as good as my word; I don't speak before I think(1520)."

In Antigone, Creon becomes king of Thebes after Polynices and Eteocles commit fratricide in battle. Antigone commits her ‘crime of reverence(74)' by burying Polynices after a direct order from Creon dictating that everyone leave him on the ground, unburied. Creon first accuses the council of elders of being stupid and old (281) when they suggest that the gods were behind Polynices' burial. After this, he goes on a tirade against men who supposedly were not happy with his leadership and therefore paid off the watchmen to bury the body. Creon blames the watchman of burying the body for money and the watchman tells him that, "It's terrible when false judgment guides the judge (323)."

After the Watchman comes back and tells Creon that they found Antigone burying Polynices' body a second time, Creon accuses Antigone of breaking the law. Antigone does not feel she has broken the law because she is obeying laws passed down from the gods and not Creon's man-made law. Creon is so angry that someone would disobey his edict that he orders Antigone to be buried alive and that Ismene be put to death also. Ismene had nothing to do with the crime but Creon blames her regardlessly.

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He believed that they plotted the burial together and therefore shared equal guilt (489). This shows that Creon learned nothing from Oedipus' past behavior of accusing before you had the facts.

Creon's tyrannical rule is seen at its climax when his son, Haemon, comes to talk to him. Haemon tells his father that the people of Thebes are mourning for Antigone already. The people believed that she deserved honor for burying her brother, not death.
Haemon explains that the people are too afraid of Creon to speak out against him. Creon does not trust what Haemon is telling him to be true, so he accuses Haemon of betraying him for Antigone. Haemon tries to explain to his father that he needs to loosen up and take the advice given to him. Creon retorts by telling Haemon that a city belongs to its master (738) and he rules it for himself (736). Haemon tells his father to go and rule in a desert, for he'd do it well (739). Creon is so mixed up with his own madness that he actually threatens his own son and wants to put Antigone to death right in front of him. Haemon leaves and promises that Creon will never see him again (764).

After Creon sends Antigone to be buried, Tiresias comes to speak to him. Before Tiresias speaks Creon tells him that, "I have never rejected your advice," and "I know firsthand how helpful you are (993, 995). After Tiresias tells Creon what he has seen from the gods and what the horrendous plague is, Creon goes into a fit against Tiresias. He accuses Tiresias of telling him a false prophecy and wanting nothing but money. Creon already knew that Tiresias' prophecy was truthful, he should have learned a lesson from watching Oedipus' life crumble before his eyes after not heeding Tiresias' advice.

Creon learned nothing about false accusations and bad judgement from Oedipus' tragedy.
He instead picks up these traits and takes them farther than Oedipus had the chance to do. He trusted no one who tried to help him, including his only son. He loses everything that he holds dear because he refuses to take advice and bend just a little. He learns that as a king, he has to be willing to see when he has done wrong and reverse his mistakes before it is too late. Creon should have known that he should not have repeated Oedipus' mistakes. "Great words, sprung from arrogance, are punished by great blows. (1351-2)


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