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The greek tragedy of creon by sophocles

Laiusa previous king of Thebes, had given the rule to Creon while he went to consult the oracle at Delphi. During Laius's absence, the Sphinx came to Thebes.

When word came of Laius's death, Creon offered the throne of Thebes as well as the hand of his sister and Laius' widow Jocasta, to anyone who could free the city from the Sphinx. Oedipus answered the Sphinx's riddle and married Jocasta, unaware that she was his mother.

Over the course of the play, as Oedipus comes closer to discovering the truth about Jocasta, Creon plays a constant role close to him. When Oedipus summons Tiresias to tell him what is plaguing the city and Tiresias tells him that he is the problem, Oedipus accuses Creon of conspiring against him. Creon argues that he does not want to rule and would, therefore, have no incentive to overthrow Oedipus. However, when the truth is revealed about Jocasta, and Oedipus requests to be exiled, it is Creon who grants his wish and takes the throne in his stead.

Antigone[ edit ] In Antigone, Creon is the ruler of Thebes.

Creon as a Tragic Character in “Antigone”

Oedipus's sons, Eteocles and Polyniceshad shared the rule jointly until they quarreled, and Eteocles expelled his brother. In Sophocles' account, the two brothers agreed to alternate rule each year, but Eteocles decided not to share power with his brother after his tenure expired. Polynices left the kingdom, gathered an army and attacked the city of Thebes in a conflict called the Seven Against Thebes. The Thebans won the war, but both sons of Oedipus were killed, leaving Creon as ruler once more, serving as regent for Laodamasthe son of Eteocles.

Creon gives Eteocles a full and honorable burial, but orders under penalty of death that Polynices' corpse be left to rot on the battlefield as punishment for his treason. Such state of non-burial was considered a frightening and terrible prospect in the culture of ancient Greece. Antigonethe daughter of Oedipus and Jocasta, who is betrothed to Creon's son Haemondefies him by burying her brother, and is condemned to be entombed alive as punishment.

Antigone tells Creon that it is the duty of the living to bury the dead and that if a body is not buried then the one who died will wander around in nowhere aimlessly for all eternity. Creon finally relents after advice from the chorus leader choragosafter Tiresias tells him to bury the body. However, when Creon arrives at the tomb where she was to be interred, Antigone has already hanged herself rather than be buried alive.

His son, Haemonthreatens him and tries to kill him but ends up taking his own life. His behavior, however, suggests otherwise. He aggressively preaches the concept of family honor to his son, Haemon. Creon also believes that his decrees are consistent with the will of the gods and with the best interests of the people, whether true or not. When a legitimate argument is raised against his course of action by Tiresias, he is in fact completely open to changing course, even before he learns of the deaths of his family members.

In Oedipus Rex, he appears to favor the will of the gods above decrees of state. Even when Oedipus says that, once dethroned, he must be exiled, Creon waits for the approval the greek tragedy of creon by sophocles the gods to carry out the order once he has been crowned king.

Some explanation for these discrepancies in personality may be drawn from his characterization in the third of the Oedipus plays by Sophocles, Oedipus at Colonus. Here, Creon takes on another persona: He is a "colorless figure" beyond his official position, which suggests that his differing personality traits in the books are because he is a flexible figure whom poets can characterize as they please. At the end of Oedipus Rex, Creon takes the throne directly from Oedipus.

Antigone, however, implies that Eteocles and Polynices had been given shared rule following Oedipus' excommunication, that Eteocles had taken control, and that only afterwards did Creon rule. Other representations[ edit ] Creon is also featured in Euripides ' Phoenician Womenbut not in Medea —the latter had a different Creon.

As in Antigone, he refuses to allow the burial of defeated enemies. His enemies' widows appeal to Theseuswho defeats Creon in battle. Though much discussed, he does not appear as a character in either version. The Roman poet Statius recounts a differing version of Creon's assumption of power from that followed by Sophocles, in his first-century epic, the Thebaid.

This alternate narrative may have been based on a previous epic of the Theban cycle written by the Greek poet Antimachus in the 4th or 5th century BC. Antimachus' work has been lost, but in any case, the classic myths often had more than one variation, and playwrights and poets had some freedom to choose or even innovate for dramatic effect. Oxford University Press, 1948.