Antigone Essay Research Paper The Brutality of

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Antigone Essay, Research Paper The Brutality of Creon Vs. The Admirability of Antigone Many critics feel that in the play Antigone by Sophocles, there are two characters that can be considered the tragic hero. Antigone and Creon both display many characteristics that would label them the tragic hero. Creon s actions are against the will of the gods, and this is why he cannot be the tragic hero of Antigone. In his literary criticism of the play, Brian Vickers presents a similar feeling, Creon is brutal and Antigone is thoroughly admirable. This idea proves true throughout the play. It is eveident that Antigone s actions are driven by a love for her brother, and a desire to please the gods. While Creon s actions are founded in his quest for more power and complete control over

the city of Thebes and its people. Creon s brutality can best be illustrated by looking at the way his citezens, other than Antigone, react to his laws. One example is the way Ismene talks about Creon when she is trying to convince Antigone not to bury Polyneices. She tells Antigone, We must obey them (the laws) I yield to those with authority. (Sophocles) The people of Thebes obey his laws purely out of fear of Creon, and the respect owed to a king. Antigone is not disrespectful of Creon but she also is not afraid of his brutality. Even if she were afraid of Creon it still would not have changed her actions because she answers to a higher power, the gods. Creon s love for the city-state cause him to abandon all other beliefs. He tries to enforce this upon the people of Thebes.

He wants them to think that his laws should be followed before any other personal, moral, or religious belief. This is where the conflict of character occurs between Antigone and Creon. Antigone knows that the sacred laws held by heaven are far more important than those made by a king (Hathorn, 61). Those who argue that Creon was only trying to protect and preserve the city extend this idea too far. To use this as a reason for Creon s actions that have nothing to do with protecting Thebes is rediculous. Yes Creon had a great love for the city of Thebes, but this is not a reason for having a close family member executed for putting her brother to rest. In his book, Aspects of Literature James Hathorn addresses this thought. He says His (Creon) patriotism is too narrow and

negative, and his conseption of justice is too exclusive to be considered love for the state (Hathorn, 59). The method in which Creon enforced his laws was brutal and extreme. He felt he had to be that way because being a new king he wanted to gain the respect of the people. He didn t want them to take him for an easy king. Although this is true, it does not give him the prerogative to blatantly defy the will of the gods. Creon wants to be feared because this will give him more power. That is why his treatment of Antigone was so harsh. His main concern was not about the burying of a traitor, his main concern was about gaining the respect and fear of Thebes. If he had been an established king, his punishment would not have been so brutal. Creon was simply trying to make a name for

himself. The brutality of Creon does not just refer to the way he treats Criminals. It also refers to the way he socializes and acts around the people. He is egotistical and feels that he can talk to people however he wants. This is evident in two separate dialogues. The first is with his son Haimon. Haimon comes to speak with Creon about Antigone, but Creon refuses to listen to Haimon claiming he is a girl struck fool . The second dialogue proves to be more costly to Creon than the first. It is when Tiresias comes to deliver the morbid prophecy. Once again Creon says the prophet has been corrupted by money. Both dialogues show how Creon treated the people he talked to. It is not the manner in which a hero would speak to his people. Another action that defenders of Creon