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Three Features of an Ideal Ruler Contrasted in The Aenied and Antigone Essays

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An ideal ruler possesses 3 distinct features: courage, honor, and virtue. Courage is often shown when facing difficult leadership decisions. Honor is gained as one honor’s the gods or serves one’s own state. And virtue is gained as one looks out for the best interest of one’s own state. The importance of such virtues is contrasted in Antigone and The Aenied. In Antigone, Creon shows the 3 components of a good leader when he takes rule and objectively enforces the laws to maintain order. But as Antigone progresses and Creon’s hubris becomes more prominent, he loses sight of the three qualities that make a good leader. However, unlike Creon, Aeneas starts as the ideal leader by utilizing the 3 qualities and ends as an ideal leader, still demonstrating the same qualities—he is able to balance his personal desires with the needs of his citizens.
Even when Creon’s own family does not honor the laws of Thebes, Creon still punishes them to show that laws are meant to keep order. When Creon finds Antigone was the one that buries Polynices, Creon cannot make an exception for her, Though she is family, Creon looks past her claims of family and puts the good of the city in front of the good of his family. By doing so, Creon proves his devotion to the city, because even family cannot stop Creon from doing what he believes is best for the city, which is to carry out laws consistently and objectively. By bringing Antigone to justice for her actions Creon shows that laws are not mean to be broken. Creon is right in punishing Antigone because the citizens will then see that even his own family cannot get away with breaking the law, no one can. In this light, Creon uses Antigone as an example for all citizens of Thebes to see what happens to t...


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... without confront her which portrays Aeneas as less courageous. Aeneas shows great courage on the battlefield and in front of his people, yet he was unable to confront Dido about his leave. Though this detracts from Aeneas, he still shows great courage as a leader.
Examining the 3 features that make up a good leader, we see that Creon and Aeneas are not the same type of leaders. While Aeneas is able to keep calm and control a difficult situation, Creon loses his ability to separate his emotions from his rule. While Creon is unable to rule his citizens successfully, Aeneas shows his virtue by fighting in wars for Troy, and his greater loyalty to his future kingdom displays itself as he forfeits his love relationship with Dido for the promise of future nation. A war hero, loved by women, and future king, Aeneas seems to be everything that Creon wants to be and more.


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