Creon's Excessive Pride In Sophocles Antigone

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How would you react to your ruler’s actions if they were wrong? Would you try to help him realize his mistakes even with the risks? Would you be too afraid to because his excessive pride causes uncontrollable anger? What would you do to relieve your fellow citizens of the fear of their ruler? In Antigone by Sophocles, Eteocles and Polyneices (brothers) kill each other to be King of Thebes after their father, Oedipus dies. By order of the Creon (the new king), Eteocles is to be buried with military honors. However, Polyneices is to be left to rot for being a traitor in going against his brother. Antigone, who is the main character and their sister, buries Polyneices to give him peace in death. She is not caught the first time she does this,…show more content…
Not burying Antigone’s brother, Polyneices, was Creon’s act of injustice (hamartia), which categorizes Creon as a tragic hero with a tragic flaw. Ismene, Antigone’s sister, warns Antigone not to bury Polyneices with “Think how much more terrible than these/ Our own death would be if we should go against Creon” (Prologue.44-45). In saying this, Ismene is telling Antigone that their brothers’ deaths were terrible, but she would have one similar to their by going against Creon. This shows just how tortuous Creon has been as a leader that his pride causes him to think that only he is right, which causes him to inflict harsh punishments. Additionally, when Antigone does bury Polyneices for the first time, Sentry tells him what happened. Creon then questions the gods, “The gods favor this corpse? Why? How had he served them?” (1.107). Creon’s pride does not allow him to see anyone else’s reasoning for performing certain actions. This is shown by his questioning of the god’s authority to carry out what is necessary. When Antigone challenges Creon, he only sees the events through his perspective because of his pride. In this, Creon is demonstrated as a tragic hero with his tragic…show more content…
Creon’s law of not burying Polyneices disobeys natural law of what is right and wrong (the gods’ laws), which Antigone follows. In the Parodos, Antigone replies to Ismene not helping her with the words, “apparently the laws of the gods mean nothing to you” (Parodos.61). Creon’s laws, the laws of the land, do not follow the gods’ laws. Since the gods should be ultimate authority this shows Creon’s excessive pride in that he does not know what is right and wrong. Another example of Creon and his law would be in the Exodos. After all the misfortune he has gone through with losing his family, he makes his admission of guilt, “I have killed my son and my wife/ I look for comfort; my comfort lies here dead… Fate has brought all my pride to a thought of dust” (Exodos. 135-136, 138). Fate is caused by the gods, who Creon has defied with his law. His fate is losing his family as a result of his excessive pride. Antigone was right all along in following gods’ laws, but Creon never wanted to admit it. The knowledge of right and wrong, which is of the gods, trumped Creon’s foolishness that he demonstrated with his
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