Creon's Speech

3883 WordsMar 24, 201316 Pages
English Essay Zita Chan 4G (7) How is Creon’s character introduced through his opening speech in the First Episode (lines 159-195) and how does this speech create tension? The bestowal of ruling legitimacy upon Creon sparks off the Greek tragedy. Polyneices and Eteocles, brothers of Antigone killed each other during their fateful battle for the Theban throne and Creon, as the closest surviving kinsman, rules as the Theban king. Creon then approaches the chorus of elders privately and pronounces his first speech, wishing to draw himself support from the group of elite elders to prevent further mutiny against his rule among the Theban public. Through declaring his legitimacy as a ruler, establishing his authority and outlining…show more content…
As well as in ‘he must be left unburied’ (line 191), Creon employs the modal verb ‘must’. The declaration is dogmatic and affirmative in tone, thus the declaration itself is a ‘command’ that Creon has pronounced on the elders and his people. This in turn reveals Creon as an absolute and even arrogant ruler, who demands complete compliance from his subjects. Another means that Sophocles introduces Creon’s contradictory, polarised and cruel character from his opening speech is the inclusion of literary techniques in the speech: hyperbole, imagery and proleptic irony. Creon accused Polyneices of not only burning Thebes to the ground, but also ‘throw the rest into slavery’ (line 189). Creon condemns Polyneices of putting the entire nation under ‘slavery’ hyperbolically. The message of his message suggests an extreme state of suffering of the nation, which is merely Creon’s own projection. Creon here is thus shown to be polarised, by claiming Polyneices guilty of a hyperbolic crime of ‘enslaving’ the nation. This is also to show is arrogant and judgmental nature when he proclaims the position of the judge and jury, accusing Polyneices of a crime which had never occurred and which was a result of his own stereotypical mindset about a ‘traitor’. The Gothic imagery ‘drink blood that he shared’ (line 188) echoes in a certain way with the Chorus using
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