Essay on Sophocles' Antigone - Antigone's Fatal Flaw
Length: 796 words (2.3 double-spaced pages)
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It is clear that Creon's tragic flaw was his pride, arrogance and beliefs of a leader that cause his downfall. His downfall began when he denied the burial of Polyneices and was firm when he condemned Antigone for her objection to his law. Creon represents the laws of the land and the divine ruler of society. He remains loyal in upholding his laws and trying to overpower the laws of the gods, until the end when he realizes that the divine laws are stronger than his own. His regards for the laws of the city cause him to abandon all other beliefs. He feels that all should obey the rules set forth by him, even if other beliefs, moral or religious, state otherwise. This is proven when he says, "As long as I am King, no traitor is going to be honored with the loyal man. But whoever shows by word and deed that he is on the side of the State-he shall have my respect while he is living and my reverence when he is dead" (40).
This proves that no one should disobey his rules even if the people that he rules for thinks his morals are wrong. But no one wants to speak out or stand up to Creon because they all fear him and afraid to loose their life going against his words. But Antigone isn't afraid of Creon or the consequences that faces her if she goes against his ruling. Creon knows that Antigone would not back down, she shows him that she is not afraid of the consequences but yet still he wants to prove himself that his word is law even if the gods advised him that he would loose everything important to him.
Creon is in a position of great power, influence and responsibility. The extent of his power is quite clear when he sentenced Antigone to death for disobeying his order. Antigone's reasons for burying her brother were simply the fact that she was demonstrating her love, honor, and loyalty to her family. However, the reason Creon is furious is that he feels insulted that Antigone openly and publicly disobeyed him. He was also inflamed that she was his niece and his son Haemon fiancé. It is known that in ancient times when a man's authority is threatened, especially by a woman, his ego is irreparably damaged.
Creon being a new king wants to prove his abilities as king.
He is being hard so the people of Thebes wouldn't take him for granted or for being an easy king where as other problems may arise, this is clear when he says to his son Haimon "Do you want me to show myself weak before the people? Or to break my sworn word" (25). Creon feels that if someone dishonors the city in which he rules they must be punished. If Polyneices is not punished then Creon's power may be taken for granted by the people of Thebes. They would view him as a weak king who can be dishonored without fear of punishment. Creon wants to be respected and feared as a king because this will give him more power.
His pain and loss could have all been avoided if he had done what Teiresias advised him to do, but instead he put his pride first. His words to Teiresias were "If your birds-if the great eagles of God himself should carry him stinking bit by bit to heaven, I would not yield. I am not afraid of pollution: No man can defile the gods" (45). In respond, Teiresias gave him the judgments that will come upon him if he choose not to listen to the words of the gods; he said "The time is not far off when you shall pay back corps for corps, flesh of your own flesh (70). And your house will be full of men and women weeping, and curses will be hurled at you from far cities grieving for sons unburied, left to rot before the walls of Thebes" (80).
Because of Creon's pride and stubbornness he has lost everything important to him. At the end when he realized that the gods were right, it was too late then to correct his mistakes because his son killed himself because of the murder that his father had done. Creon came to realize this when he says "My own blind heart has brought me from darkness to final darkness. Here you see the father murdering, the murdered son-and all my civic wisdom! (85). Haimon my son, so young, so young to die, I was the fool, not you; and you died for me" (90). This shows how fate and freewill affects Creon's decisions and the outcome of those decisions that brought his downfall.