The Chorus In Sophocles Antigone

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“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” said historian Lord Acton. In Sophocles’ Antigone, Oedipus the King of Thebes newly departs after disgracing his people, and his successors to the throne, Polynices and Eteocles die in battle, thus leaving his brother Creon to inherit his throne. From the beginning, Creon uses his newfound power to impose excessive punishments against not only the people of Thebes, but also his family. As a result, the Thebans recognize his abuse of power, and express their fears through not only the chorus, but also his son. To finalize his play, Sophocles exposes how Creon uses his power to manipulate the hierarchy in Greek society; consequently offending the gods. Therefore, through King Creon’s…show more content…
In Antigone, the chorus is used to express the concerns of the Thebans who are too frightened by Creon’s power to confront him themselves. In the beginning, the chorus defends Creon’s laws, for they state that “[the] laws of the land, and the justice of the gods… / [will cause him] and his city [to] rise high” (Antigone 410-412). Although, when they learn as to how Creon enforces his laws, their views change, and they state that “even I [now] would rebel against the king” (Antigone 895-896). Creon’s abuse of power has become too barbaric to ignore, causing even his supporters to desire rebellion. In addition to the chorus, Creon’s son Haemon turns against him as well. In the play, Haemon and Antigone are in love, but Creon’s decree to execute her will abolish this. Creon confronts Haemon, and states that “[he has] to feel within [his] heart, / subordinate to [his] father’s will in every way” (Antigone 713-714). This statement exposes how Creon feels that his power alone gives him sufficient justification to execute Antigone, but Haemon disagrees, and states that “he should not be quite so single-minded, self-involved, / or assume the world is wrong and [he is] right” (Antigone 789-790). Creon responds stating that “the city is the king’s, that’s the law” (Antigone 825). The word “is” is italicized to stress how strongly Creon believes that he alone, the king, has…show more content…
He cleverly links Creon and Antigone together in order to stress the duality between Creon’s laws, and the divine laws; exposing how Creon will abuse his power by any means to ensure his laws are obeyed. He then expresses the severity of Creon’s abuse through his supporters, the chorus and Haemon, for it induces both to desire rebellion. To finalize his play, Sophocles successfully discourages anyone from abusing power by making it Creon’s tragic flaw, for he warns that it will always end “with mighty blows of fate” (Antigone
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