Creon, the king of Thebes, is one of the major characters. The author utilized several characters/ foils in order to build up the king’s image, the pride, cruel, stubborn and superior ruler. Through those conflicts, arguments and persuations, the king’s figure was gradually set up and was foreshadowing the tragic ending of his own life. The conflict between Antigone and Creon in the play is very outstanding and intense. Creon commanded that Eteocles would be buried in formal way, meanwhile, Creon also made laws to prevent people from burying Polynices. Let his corpse rot and be eaten by animals. Antigone buried the body without any hesitation that she was violating the laws. Because Antigone believed there is nothing can be superior to the gods, the gods would agree with her action. She argued that Creon, a mere mortal, did not have the power to override the gods, which enraged Creon. The things Antigone believed utterly subverted Creon’s value.
In contrast, Creon thought the king’s power overtopped any other thing, all the laws he made should be obeyed no matter they were right or wrong. He also believed once the king made the decision, there is no way that the king was about to make mistake. Nobody should doubt the power of the king. Compare to Antigone, Creon was too pride of being a king, he wallowed in dominant power, forgot and betrayed the traditions of gods. The closed bonding between Antigone and Polynices also urged Antigone to decide to bury his body. Antigone said, once father, mother and brothers passed away, there would never be another one. Antigone treated the dead fairly because she knew let the body of her family rot in the desolate place was cruel, just like killing the person twice.
Creon never regard Polynices was his family but a bastard traitor. He did not want to forgive his sin even though he had already received deserved punishment. Creon ignored Antigone’s argument and sentenced her to death. Once again he thought he was doing the right thing, he did not consider about the impact that would fall on Antigone’s fiancé, his son Haemon. Creon was cold inside his stone-like heart, which is a great contrast to Antigone’s selfless and devoted characteristic.
Heamon was judicious and sensibl, not like his father Creon. Knowing Antigone sentenced to death, Haemon tried to persuade his father in a rational and peaceful way. He brought up the general opinion from the citizens that Antigone did not deserve death. He pointed out Creon’s mistake and he would admire his father more if he could fix the situation. But Creon did not take in Haemon’s advise. Creon analysed things with a fixed perpective that he was always right. He was pride and irrational. There is no need to consider advises from lower class people, in this case, his son and his citizens. It was conventional that father gave lessons to son. Though Haemon came to argue with a positive and irenic attitude, not to pick up a fight, Cremon distorted his meaning with the assumption he was on Antigone’s side and called his son the woman’s slave. Readers would conclude Cremon was bad at controling his sentiment and was very easy to get maddened.
Tiresias, the prophet also came to persuaded Creon. Tiresias encountered strange phenomenon that indicated the gods was angry about the decision Creon had made. He told Creon to change his mind. Creon found his speech so harsh and dreadful. Once again he felt his power was being challenged by other ordinary people, he doubt Tiresias’s purpose and wondered if he came for his own profit. Creon showed no repects for the messenger of gods, Tiresias, same as the gods themselves. This instance lead to the climax of the play, the gods were enraged and Creon was punished for his mistakes.
The above three charaters, as the major foils for Creon, their contrasting traits exposed Creon’s peremptory ruling and cruel father image. The intense conflicts also add more tension and help with the development of the plot.
Courtney from Study Moose
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