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King Creon

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Stephany Gomes
Professor Dennis Donahue
Humanities 211
17 April 2008
      Creon is to Blame for the Unnecessary Deaths Due to the Laws he had

  Implemented and the Personality Conflicts between Antigone and Creon in the

                                Drama of Antigone. (440BC)


       `        Antigone is a story that depicts the events between King Creon, Antigone,

Ismene, Haemon, Eurydice and his followers. King Creon came into power after the war where

he saw the potential of his power and started putting it to work. One of the laws Creon set forth

stated that no one was to bury, honor, or mourn Polynices because he was a traitor “who

brought foreign troops against his own city” (intro). Now this seems like an ideal law since he

was a traitor, but Polynices was the brother of Eteocles and Antigone and Antigone felt it was

only right to bury him no matter the circumstances. Even though Eteocles, Polynices’s brother,

was given a full military honor burial Creon saw Polynices only as a traitor and nothing more.

The burial of Polynices triggered a chain of events that fed on Creon’s harsh attitude and

untrustworthiness and from there it turned into a tragedy.


       The war began when Oedipus was exiled from Thebes; at first Eteocles and Polynices

had agreed that they would jointly rule the city taking turns by ruling for one year each but

Eteocles refused to step down at the end of his one year term, which eventually led to Eteocles

expelling Polynices from the throne. When Polynices was expelled he sided with other foreign

troops who became known as the Seven Against Thebes and brought them into war against his

brother where they both killed each other. With both brothers dead, Creon was the next in line to

become king.
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                  King Creon was seen as a power hungry, stubborn leader that used laws to

manipulate people to do what he wanted. He also was narrowed minded and selfish. In detail

the law states,


             [Eteocles] has been given full military honors, rightly so- Creon has laid him in

     the Earth and he goes with glory down among the dead. But the body of Polynices,

     who died miserably -, why, a city – wide proclamation, rumor has it forbids anyone to

     bury him, even mourn him. He’s to be left unwept, unburied/… Such, I hear, is the

     martial law our good Creon lays down. / Whoever disobeys in the least will die, his

     doom is sealed . . .! (Sophocles 659).

Who was Creon to make those laws of who was allowed to be buried and who was not? As we

have learned in earlier reading the Gods were the ones responsible for deciding who deserved

to be buried and who deserved not to be. Another characteristic of Creon was that he was very

untrusting of anyone. When Creon found out from a sentry that someone had buried the body of

Polynices, he automatically assumes that the sentry was lying, stating that the only reason that

the sentry was not telling Creon who buried the body, was because someone had paid him off

not to tell. Creon said to him, “ Money! Nothing worse in our lives, so current, rampant, so

corrupting. Money- you demolish cities, rot men from their homes, you train and twist good

minds and set them on to the most atrocious schemes. No limit, you make them adept at every

kind of outrage, every godless crime- money” (Sophocles 666). We see here that Creon trusted

no one even the sentry, who as we know, was not paid off and really did not know or see who

buried the body. Creon always saw the worst in people.

       On the other hand, Antigone was strong willed, aggressive in her beliefs, self-ruled but

extremely stubborn. From the beginning she had set her mind to bury her brother’s body by

scattering dust on the body even though Creon, had made the law that forbid the burial of

Polynices’ body. At the beginning of the story when she was speaking to her sister, Ismene, we
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saw how strong willed and aggressive in her beliefs. Even after openly admitting to having

known what the law stated she still decided to bury Polynices’ body even when her sister

begged her to change her mind and think about what she was about to do. Antigone responded

with, “ . . . I will bury him myself. And even if I die in the act, that death will be a glory. I will lie

with the one I love and loved by him – an outrage sacred to the gods! I have longer to please

the living here: in the kingdom down below I’ll lie forever” (Sophocles 660). We see here that her

aggression in her beliefs in honoring and respecting her family as well as the laws set forth by

the Gods. She was a family oriented character who was willing to do anything for her family

regardless of the consequences attached to it. When Oedipus, her father and king of Thebes,

was expelled by Creon, he was left “to wander as a blind beggar” where only Antigone

accompanied him when no one else would. So with all this happening and the law forbiddening

the burial of Polynices she was willing to die to honor and mourn him. This also showed the

stubborn and selfish side of her in that she does not think of how her actions will affect others

nor was she willing to change her beliefs for anyone or anything. Her stubbornness towards the

burying of his body caused her to be exiled, which then lead to all the deaths that followed.


        Creon and Antigone were both very stubborn characters and therefore they tended to

have conflicting attitudes throughout the story. Being that neither of them was willing to change

their ways nor laws the story became a tragedy. Creon lost his family and everything he once

loved; Antigone lost her life and the chance of marrying her finance when she hung herself after

being sentenced to death. Creon openly admitted to the deaths having been his fault at the end

of the story when the seer came to tell him of his future but by then it had already been made

and the damage had been caused.

				
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