Antigone And Power Essay Research Paper Power

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Antigone And Power Essay, Research Paper ?Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely,? said Lord Acton generations ago. In the Greek tragedy Antigone, written by Sophocles, there was a character named Kreon, the antagonist, who was the king of Thebes. Thebes was an autocratic state where Kreon had absolute power. Throughout the course of the play, Kreon abused his privilege of absolute power; and this caused him to suffer greatly, even though he was warned by a few people of his bad deeds. What Sophocles commented on absolute power was that one should not abuse it. If it was abused, he or she had to expect bad consequences. This was indicated by what happened to Kreon when he abused his power. Kreon settled a decree that prohibited anyone from burying Polyneices?

dead body. He was proud of his decree, and he also stated that he would be a good king by listening to what people said regarding his decisions. When the decree was broken by Antigone, Kreon sentenced her to death. This angered the gods because they wanted the dead body of Polyneices buried, and they did not want a live body (that of Antigone) buried in a cave. Kreon was told by Haimon to change his mind, but Kreon rejected his request and went ahead and buried Antigone alive. Teiresias warned Kreon that the gods were angry and his actions were to be blamed. Kreon rejected both Haimon?s request and Teiresias? warning, and as a result, he suffered in the end. In the beginning of the play, Antigone and Ismene were found arguing about whether Polyneices? body should be buried.

Antigone wanted to bury her brother?s body, but Ismene objected because she said that they should not disobey Kreon, who had absolute power and had prohibited Polyneices? burial (26-80). Ismene indicated that the citizens of Thebes did not dare to go against what Kreon decreed. They all knew that if they objected to Kreon, punishment would be the result. In the play, Kreon was first found addressing the senate as to how a ruler should rule his state. He said in his long speech, ??I believe that he who rules in a state and fails to embrace the best men?s counsels, but stays locked in silence and vague fear, is the worst man there. I have long believed so?? (217-221). To impress the senate Kreon told them that he would listen to any advice they gave him because that was what a good

ruler should do. However, this was not how he reacted when Kreon heard that somebody buried Polyneices? body. While he was talking to the senate, a sentry came in and told Kreon that Polyneices? body had been buried. ??…somebody up and buried the corpse and went off: sprinkled dust over it and did the ceremonies you?re supposed to?? (310-312). Kreon got very angry and threatened to kill the sentry if he didn?t find the culprit who had buried the body. Kreon thought that all of the sentries were bribed into not telling him who was the culprit (372-391). Koryphaios suggested that the gods might have had buried the body: ??My lord, we have been considering whether a god might not have done this?? (350-351). Just like a dictator, as if he knew the actions of the gods, he declared

that it was impossible for the gods to honor (bury) criminals (363-364). He defied what Koryphaios had said and just declared that the gods would never bury Polyneices, and he got his way. Before, Kreon had said that a good ruler like himself would listen to people, but Kreon did not do that. He went against what he had said. This showed that Kreon was very hypocritical, and he always only declared what he thought was right. Some time passed, and the sentry came in the palace with Antigone, who had buried Polyneices out of sheer respect. Kreon asked her if she really went against the decree, and Antigone denied nothing. ?Yes, because I did not believe that Zeus was the one who proclaimed it; neither did Justice, or the gods of the dead whom Justice lives among. The laws they have