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Creon vs Antigone Essay Sample


Creon vs Antigone Free Essay Example

The Oedipus Trilogy by Sophocles is full of conflicts and clashes of views. One of the main themes in the tragedy Antigone is a choice between civil obedience and family values. The conflict between the main characters – king of Thebes Creon and his niece Antigone. Antigone is a daughter of Oedipus, the former ruler of Thebes.

Antigone is always greatly devoted to her family. When her father Oedipus found out that he had married his own mother, he put out his eyes, considering that he did deserved death. He had four children, but the only one who followed him was Antigone. She is loyal and helps her father during his long trip. At the same time, her positive features and devotion towards her father can be partly explained by the lack of choice because Antigone was neither such beautiful as her sister Ismene, nor powerful as her brothers. Her destiny makes her melancholic, desperate and selfless. Although it may seem that she is not independent, Antigone is the most stubborn character in the tragedy.

Creon is one of the most contradictory characters in Sophocles’ tragedy. He was reasonable and strong leader in the first part of the trilogy, but in Antigone he appears excessively arrogant and ruthless. Unlike Antigone, family values mean nothing to Creon. He ignore appeals of his son and wife in order to  He adheres only to the rule of law. However, soon he becomes an autocrat, and the law of Thebes depends only on his will.

Finally, the differences of values and loyalties between Antigone and Creon resulted in the main conflict in the tragedy, when Creon prohibited her to bury Polynices according to the religious rites. Being an extremely stubborn person and devoted to the family, Antigone ignores his command and steals brother’s body in order to give it a decent burial. Creon cannot allow anybody to violate the law, and sentences to bury Antigone alive. Antigone commits suicide to prove that she will never obey Creon’s will. Thus, even death of Antigone is a manifestation of her independence. As a result of her death, Creon’s son also commits suicide that leads to the death of Creon himself. However, his death becomes an acknowledgement of being in the wrong. When his son and wife had died, he finally realized that family values are more important than the rule of law.

Nevertheless, even taking into account all differences between Creon and Antigone, it is hard to fail to notice the striking resemblance of their characters. Both of them have an explosive temper, which sometimes develops into brutality and rude manners. Creon and Antigone used to dictate their will, and are getting furious when somebody disobey them. They are extremely independent and proud, but Antigone’s reasons of being proud are nobler than Creon’s. Both characters accept only their own opinion, ignoring those who try to impose theirs. That is why, Antigone could not let Creon to tell her what she should do with the body of her brother. For the same reason, Creon could not tolerate that somebody disobeyed his will. Both Creon and Antigone are marginal persons, and they are ready to give their lives for their principles.

Actually, they both believe in the rule of law, but Creon is convinced that human beings are able to dictate moral codes, while Antigone is determined that it is a divine prerogative. Antigone breaks the law and Creon’s will when she stole her brother’s body, although she follows the law of nature and morality. At the same time, Creon disobeys the divine codes but abide the state laws. Both Antigone and Creon justify their deeds by their principles, but the end of the tragedy shows whose principles are true.