Creon’s Character in Antigone:


Humanities 1/23/03

In Sophecles’ Antigone, Creon is not a good person; in fact, he is a stubborn, selfish ruler. Creon rarely listens to an opinion other than his own. He also turns his back on his own niece, Antigone, because she breaks an unfair law by burying her brother’s body. Throughout the play, Creon ignores his son’s pleas to spare his fiancé, Antigone, from execution.

Creon rarely listens to another opinion other than his own. When the blind prophet Tiresias first brings news of his prophecy, Creon says, “ I’ve never wavered from your advice before.” Tiresias then continues to tell Creon of how, while practicing augury, he heard the sounds of the birds ripping each other to pieces. When he was unable to light the sacrifice, he realized that Creon’s pride had caused misfortune for this city. Tiresias explains that is because of Creon’s refusal to bury Polynices. Creon responds, “Old man-all of you, so you shoot your arrows at my head like archers at the target…You’ll never bury that body in the grave, not even if Zeus’s eagles rip the corpse and wing their rotten pickings off to the throne of god!” In this scene, once Creon knows that the prophecy is not in his favor, he changes his opinion from trusting and following the ideas of Tiresias, to accusing him of plotting against him. We see that once Creon realizes that Tiresias does not agree with his opinion about the burial of Polynices’ corpse, Creon will not listen to what the prophet has to say, even if it means causing a “plague” on the city of Thebes.

In the play, Creon constantly ignores the pleas of his niece, Antigone, and will eventually lead her to her death. From the beginning, we see that Antigone is willing to do whatever it takes to preserve the honor of her brother, Polynices, even if it means losing her own life. “He is my brother and –deny it as you will- your brother to.” Antigone would rather die than see the honor of her brother and her family sacrificed. When Creon hears that the body of Polynices has been buried against his orders, he says “Never! Sister’s child or closer in blood then all my family clustered at my altar worshipping Guardian Zeus - she’ll never escape, she and her blood sister, the most barbaric death”. Creon says this when he discovers that Antigone and Ismene are plotting against his orders. The statement shows that Creon has no interest in why Antigone proceeds to break the law to uphold her brother’s honor.

In the play, Creon ignores not only the pleas of his niece, but also those of his son, Haemon, who is set to marry Antigone. When Haemon says, “When you trample down the honors of the gods?” To which Creon responds, “You soul of corruption, rotten through, woman’s accomplice”. Creon automatically accuses Haemon of assisting Antigone in her illegal adventure. Creon even pushes his son to say that ,“Then she will die…but her death will kill another”. Even when his son has says this, Creon continues to argue with his son and even calls him a “woman’s slave”, one of the worst possible insults. Creon’s lack of understanding and caring for his son’s opinions shows that while he may think that he is doing a good thing, he has little understanding of what is best for his son. Creon’s concern with his own power has caused him to lose sight of what was originally important to him – compassion and love for his only son.

Creon is not a good person; in fact, he is a stubborn, selfish ruler. This thesis is supported by the quotes presented in this paper. If Creon had more concern about others and less concern about maintaining his own power, the final scenes of the play would have turned out quite differently. The tragic conclusion of the play is a direct result of the actions caused by Creon’s decisions.