Antigone- Sophocles: Creon’s Downfall
Antigone is a Greek classic tragedy; it is a play which tackles about the choices that individuals make in which it will have a huge impact on the destiny of a person. The main issue of the play is should Polynices receive a burial or not? And in the core of this issue is the conflict between Creon and Antigone, in which these two individuals are unwilling to compromise their own view and belief regarding the matter and each of them sees their view as the appropriate response. (, 2006)
This essay discusses the play Antigone by Sophocles, particularly examining the cause of the downfall of Creon, the King of Thebes.
Creon is the proud King of Thebes; Creon became the king of Thebes after the death of Eteocles. At first Creon is a good king because he is doing everything he can for the betterment of his kingdom; however because of his pride it has caused both tragedy and disaster in his Kingdom through his arrogant and foolish actions and attitudes. His pride became Creon’s downfall.
According to (2006) when Creon became the king of Thebes he possessed a great determination to establish his authority all over the kingdom of Thebes. His characteristics as a king include being self-righteous. When Creon found out that Antigone had disobeyed the rules in the Kingdom of Thebes, because she wants to bury Polynices he was enraged and ordered punishment even though Antigone is a relative and the fiancé of Creon’s son Haemon. And just like Creon Antigone also has a very strong pride and did not ask Creon to relive her from the punishment. And because Haemon is the fiancé of Antigone, he goes to his father full of calm, love and respect to begged for Antigone to be relieved from the harsh punishment. However, even if Haemon asked for it, Creon was not moved and was even infuriated. And because of that he became distant to his son, and has even reached to the point where Haemon have decided to leave and never come back. And still, Creon continued to punish Antigone where she was sealed inside the cave and left until she died. And because of his actions the Gods got angry, and became deaf to the prayers and offerings of the people of Thebes. The blind prophet Teiresias advised Creon to repent and admit that he made a mistake. But Creon did not listen and still kept his pride. The gods then demanded Creon to make up for the loss, but because of Creon’s huge ego he did not admit his mistakes. The thought of admitting his mistakes was foreign to Creon he then set the blame to the blind prophet Teiresias and even accused the prophet for taking bribes. Creon did not listen to the prophet and gods; however when his people started to speak and asked him to admit his mistakes, Creon then realized his mistakes. He then prepared to make up for his wrongdoings, but his repentance was too late because three of the people he loves died.
According to (2006) the clear flaw and downfall of Creon is his pride and arrogance. His downfall started when he did not allow Polynices to be buried, and punished Antigone for her disobedience. Moreover, the character of Creon is a very loyal ruler especially in upholding the laws of the land. However, Creon exceeded the boundaries of the laws of the land when he tried to overwhelm the laws of the gods; his loyalty and strong belief in the laws of the land have caused him to leave other beliefs that are higher than the rules in his Kingdom. Creon perceives that all individuals regardless of the stature in life must obey and follow the rules and laws that he established in the Kingdom of Thebes even if there are beliefs and morals that are of higher standard and value than his man-made laws. And when Creon realized that the laws of the gods are stronger and more powerful than his own laws it is already too late. His belief in his own laws are so strong that even the people that he rules are afraid to speak against it even they know that his morals are wrong. However, no one from his people wants to go against him or speak against his belief because they are also afraid that they will be punished and loose their life. On the other hand, Antigone, went against Creon and was not afraid of the outcomes if she went against his will and belief. She has proven it to Creon by showing him that she does not fear his punishment on her just because she went against his will. Creon knows that Antigone is firm on her decision and will not back down, but still Creon wants to establish his authority and wants to show to his people and to the gods that his words are the law of the Kingdom of Thebes. Creon has a wide range of authority over Thebes with a huge power to take the responsibility of a leader and influence his people. The magnitude of his authority was displayed when he sentenced Antigone to die because of the fact that she did not follow his orders that Polynioces, Antigone’s brother to be buried. Creon was very mad at Antigone because of her disobedience and he felt insulted because of the fact that a woman went against his will in front of the public and his people, his anger was even doubled because of the fact that Antigone is his kin, particularly his niece and the fiancé of his son Haemon. Creon acts very authoritative over the Kingdom of Thebes because he is scared that his people will just take him for granted and will perceive him as a weak king therefore being too hard on his people is brought about by his great desire to prove his capacities as a new king of Thebes. Creon firmly believes that if an individual have disgraced the whole of Thebes they must be punished. If Creon was not able to punish the individual he thinks that his people will not obey him because he have shown to them how weak their new King is, he wants to be well-respected at the same he wants that his people will be frightened at him. His eventual loss of loved ones and pain would have been prevented when he should have listened to the blind prophet Teiresias and have done what he had advised which is to admit his mistakes and repent, however the pride of Creon is too high that even Tereisas who speaks for the gods cannot reach. When the time has come for Creon to realize the wrong actions he has done it is already too late, because of his high pride and ego Creon lost the people that he considers important in his life.
Too much pride is the cause of Creon’s downfall, his unwillingness to listen to other people that are wiser than him and the high belief in his own system have caused him three lives, the lives of his wife, his son and Antigone the fiancé of his son.
The morale of the story is that too much pride will not generate any benefits. The leaders of the society and the wise persons in this world should read the story of Creon in order for them to have a share of the humble juice. Being humble and accepting the fact that we are only humans and we make mistakes is the lesson of the story of Creon.
If Creon was only humble enough to realize his mistakes and if he was only open enough to know that the rules of man are not flawless and have some loopholes he would have saved the life of the persons that he love, and would have lived happily ever after. But not all stories have happy endings just like in the case of Creon, he did not kill the persons he love but his pride have killed them.