Jaanvi Shah Mr. Eyre English 9 March, 2015 Literary Analysis of Antigone John Foster says, “pride comes before fall.” As the action of the Sophocles 's Antigone unfolds, it is clear that the protagonist Creon has all the six characteristics of a tragic hero. Teiresias interactions with Creon help to demonstrate three of those typical traits: Creon’s noble stature, his tragic flaw of having pride and arrogance, and his free choice that makes his downfall his own fault. Creon, the King of Thebes, accords with Aristotle’s theory of a tragic hero beginning as powerful distinguished and important person. Creon’s noble stature sanctions him to make his laws, and he is called “Nobles of Thebes,” (1135. P59) by Teiresias, who also mentions that “ you’ve been a good captain for the state,” (1143. P59). In terms of decision-making, Creon thinks that he is right and decisive when he says: Eteokles, who fought in defense of the nation and fell in action, will be given holy burial, a funeral suited to greatness and nobility. But his brother, Polyneices, the exile, who descended with fire to destroy his fatherland and family gods, _________________________________________________ will be left unburied so men may see him ripped for food by dogs and vultures. (233-43. P28) His power as a king allows him to make his own laws, and even give sentence to those who can defy him. Because of his law, Creon has so much arrogance that when Teiresias informs Creon of his doom-laden prophecy,
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Creon cares extremely about his country of Thebes and creates his own laws. He mentions that, “There's been a group of grumblers in this town: men who can hardly abide by my rule, who nod and whisper, chafing beneath my law, who are not in love with it at all,” (Sophocles, 203). He speaks these words with anger towards whoever disobeys him. His extreme love for his country shows his noble stature which causes him to punish those who do not love Thebes as passionately as he does. Creon has the appearance of good, but when he chooses to not bury Polyneices, which goes against the beliefs of the Gods by not honoring him, he shows his tragic flaw.
His pride keeps him from admitting that his actions against Antigone and her brother went against the customs of the gods and were wrong. Upon hearing about the death of his son and wife, he mourns by taking responsibility for their deaths, explaining himself as “the frantic man who killed my son, against my meaning, and you too, my wife”(Ant.1340-1). Through all of his grief and suffering, not once does he acknowledge or make it known that this was all brought about because of his refusal to lay aside his pride and follow the laws of the gods. Creon is in denial about the underlying consequences of his prideful
The play, Antigone, is a tragedy written by the Greek poet Sophocles. A common theme among tragedies is that they have a tragic hero, and Antigone is no different. The tragic hero of this poem is Creon, the King of Thebes. Creon is faced with the difficult task of punishing his niece, Antigone. She has broken one of his laws stating that no one is to give proper burial rites to Polyneices, Antigone’s brother, because he tried to overthrow Creon.
Throughout his speech Creon was able to effectively achieve his purpose of convincing his audience to agree with his decision on not burying Polyneices with the use of contrasting diction. In order to convince his audience that his way of ruling is the correct way Creon uses the rhetorical device of contrasting diction in his speech. This is done when Creon announced, “Eteocles, who died as a man should die, fighting for his country, is to be buried with full military honors, with a ceremony that is usual when the greatest heroes die…”. When talking about Eteocles and his honorary death, Creon uses words with a positive diction such as “honors, ceremony, and greatest heroes”, each of these words are linked to the positive connotation of a man with honor and great dignity. On the other hand, when speaking of Polyneices, Creon turns to the use of negative diction.
Creon shows an extraordinary amount of stubbornness throughout the story. An example is seen when Antigone wishes to give her brother, Polyneices a proper burial so he can have a pleasant afterlife with the Gods. Creon, as king wishes to have him rot in the fields because he turned his back on the state in which the events occurred.
He expresses this by stating,”Unfortunately... the prince Eteocles and Polyneices, have killed each other... I, as next blood, have… full power of… throne... no traitor is honored...whoever shows by word or deed...shall have...my reverence when he is dead.” Creon is informing the people of Thebes not only that he has been crown king fairly but also that whoever goes against the law that was enforced will suffer the consequences.
The reader feels pity for Creon for his lack of time to grieve and his tragic mistake that led to the loss of his family, this demonstrates his goodness. Creon, recently succeeded to take the throne of Eteocles, making him king. Therefore, giving him the title of royalty and showing superiority. His power and control over Thebes makes him important, and this power and importance leads to a lack of mercy for criminals.. CREON. I have summoned you here this morning because I know that I can depend on you: your devotion to King Laius was absolute; you never hesitated in your duty to our late ruler Oedipus; and
Even Creon own son agrees that Creon’s values are solely based on power an pride as Haemon challenges him, suggesting that by serving himself and instituting a totalitarian rule of state he is neglecting to positively serve the people of Thebes, this is evidenced when Haemon declares “ There is no city possessed by one man. ”(Antigone, 794) Creon’s devotion to following state laws is proof that he doesn’t believe in the moral ethics of others and that he demands that others follow his demonstration. Jebb supports this claim as he states, “Creon is responsible for teaching that morality must surrender to a nation’s order. (Antigone to Sophocles, 1599).
Creon shows nobility when he is announced as King of Thebes. The text states, “As the next in blood, I have succeeded to the full power of the throne. ”(pg.755) Creon has now become King of Thebes because Oedipus, the last king, has died and so have his sons, and Creon is the next in the line of nobility to be King. Creon is born into nobility when he starts enforcing laws that he makes as soon as he is made King.
Worse, the body of a traitor is left to rot above ground as food for scavengers. Creon’s law conflicts with Antigone’s loyalty to the gods. She believes the laws of the gods respect the dead and require a proper burial. She does not hesitate to ignore the law of the state and fulfill the laws of the gods. When she turns to her sister, Ismene, to bury their brother, Polyneices, Ismene’s fear consumes her.
As long as I am King, no traitor is going to be honored with the loyal man. But whoever shows by word and deed that he is on the side of the State,––he shall have my respect while he is living and my reverence when he is dead ( Scene 1). Creon’s regards towards his own laws cause him to withdraw from all other beliefs or opinions that others have to offer him. He believes that the people of Thebes should obey his rules if they want his support.
The play, Antigone written by Sophocles, presents a tragedy that fits the classical definition, but it is the story of Creon, the king of the main character. Creon starts out as the king of Thebes , Creon’s tragic flaw is his pride and his arrogance which caused him reflecting upon his mistakes making him a broken man, recognizing what he did to his niece, he is a character within Antigone, even though he was portrayed as an antagonist he was the main character since he was. Creon’s tragic flaw, hubris, causes his downfall. Creon will not listen to anyone.
Relating to his self-centered attitude, Creon always thought he was in the right, not matter what he did. Creon blurted many words without any thought before or after speaking them. He thought whatever he did and said was absolutely correct. Antigone blurts “The Good Fortune of Kings,Licensed to say and do whatever they please!”(Sophocles 1.2 116-117). Antigone described Creon’s attitude towards ruling pretty accurately.