Essay about Creon's Pride

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Throughout Greek literature, the blind prophet Tiresias makes several appearances. In Sophocles’ plays Oedipus the King and Antigone, Tiresias tries in vain to warn the kings of Thebes of their wrong doing. In Antigone, Creon, the king of Thebes, refuses to reason with Tiresias after sentencing his niece Antigone to death for burying her brother. Throughout the text Tiresias and the Chorus to help Creon see the errors he has made, but he is blinded by his stubbornness.
When Tiresias arrives in Thebes to speak to Creon it at first appears that Creon will obey the advice the prophet has to offer. This can be seen through their exchange where Tiresias says, “I will teach you. And you obey the seer.” (1094) to which Creon responds, “I will,/ I’ve never wavered from you advice before.” (1095-96) through this dialogue it is clear that Creon values Tiresias’s opinion. It is also ironic because Creon later refuses to heed the advice he has been given by the prophet. In other Greek literature, such as Oedipus the King by Sophocles, the title character also chooses not to believe the blind prophet and in turn blinds and exiles himself. Considering that Creon was present for the events of Oedipus the King, it seems rather obvious that he should follow the prophet’s advice. What is truly ironic about both Antigone and Oedipus the King, the blind prophet Tiresias is the only character in both plays that can actually see what is really happening.

Tiresias tries to explain to Creon that he is the cause of the problems in Thebes. Tiresias reveals that through Creon’s stubborn actions he is causing a plague on Thebes:
“And it is you-
Your high resolve that sets this plague on Thebes.
The public altars and sacred hearths are fouled, ...

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... After hearing the fate of his wife, Creon laments that he is to blame:
“And the guilt is all mine-
Can never be fixed on another man,
No escape for me. I killed you,
I, god help me, I admit it all!” (1442-1445).

Creon then prayers for death, but is denied and is forced to continue living as punishment for his pride and misguided actions.
It is clear that throughout the play Creon was given plenty of opportunities to see his wrong doings. Tiresias not only tells Creon that he is making a mistake but warns him of the consequences. Creon chooses to insult Tiresias and ignore his advice until he is swayed by others to follow the advice. However, Creon’s hesitation and pride cause him to lose everything.

Works Cited
Sophocles. Antigone. The Three Theban Plays: Antigone, Oedipus the King, Oedipus at Colonus. Trans. Robert Fagles. New York: Penguin, 1984

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