Antigone – Strong and Powerful or Spoiled and Stubborn? Essay

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Antigone – Strong and Powerful or Spoiled and Stubborn?

Of the tragic figures in Antigone, Creon is the most obviously evil because his motives are self-serving and his fate the worst. As the play begins, we learn that Antigone has defied Creon's royal decree by performing sacred burial rites for her exiled brother, Polyneices. Polyneices has been declared an enemy of the state by Creon. The sentence for anyone attempting to bury him is death by stoning.

Creon has become King of Thebes by default, as a result of Oedipus' fate as previously predicted by the Oracle at Delphi: Oedipus murders his father and unknowingly marries his mother. Jocaste, his mother and wife and Creon's sister, commits suicide upon learning the truth.
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If I permit my own family to rebel,

How shall I earn the world's obedience?

(Sophocles 3,26-31).

Beginning with the Messenger, who brings news of Polyneice's burial, Creon repeatedly accuses everyone, including his advisors, the Chorus, and Teiresias of accepting bribes. These paranoid and constant accusations raise questions concerning Creon's motives.

Creon: No, from the very beginning

There have been those who have whispered together,

Stiff-necked anarchists, putting their heads together,

Scheming against me in alleys. These are the men,

And they have bribed my own guard to do this thing.


There's nothing in the world so demoralizing as money.

(Sophocles 1,102-108).

Has Creon deliberately created the conflict between the brothers by siding with one and exiling the other? Is it not better for Creon if the sons of Oedipus fight each other rather than him for the throne? Has Creon usurped the throne by planning their conflict and deaths? This is evil and premeditated murder. We also learn later in the play that Creon has had previous knowledge of Oedipus' fate before Oedipus knew it himself. Teiresias confronts Creon.

Creon: I admit my debt to you. But what have you to say?

Teiresias: This Creon: You stand once more on the edge of fate.

Creon: What do you mean? Your words are a kind of dread.

(Sophocles 5,7-9).

... They sputter
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