Antigone and Oedipus Essay example

Antigone and Oedipus Essay example

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In the plays Oedipus of Rex and Antigone by Sophocles, Oedipus and Creon exert similar characteristics as leaders that ultimately result in their characterization as tragic heroes. Their overbearing determination, relentless pride, uncontrollable fate, and enormous grievances all portray the inevitable outcome. Sophocles writes that the characters in the plays are chasten not because of something they had done in the past but merely it is their fate. Oedipus and Creon can not stop their fate no matter what great lengths they go to. Revealing that catharsis is created when the audience has pity or fear when they see that bad things can happen to good people. For this purpose, neither Oedipus nor Creon where good leaders because both were hypocritical tragic heroes. Initially, both Oedipus and Creon exert an overbearing determination that can be the tragic flaw that destroys their lives. However, both have contrasting motives. Oedipus was determined to find the killer of King Laius saying, "As for the criminal, I pray to God- whether it be a lurking thief, or one of a number- I pray that that man's life be consumed in evil and wretchedness and as for me this curse applies no less…" (World Lit 316). Creon' s motive of determination was not to back down from his word and law. The law was whoever buries Polyneices would be publicly stoned to death, since Polyneices didn't deserve a proper burial for his actions in war. Creon later finds out that Antigone has buried her brother and Creon replies " She has much to learn. The inflexible heart breaks first, the toughest iron cracks first, and the wildest horses bend their neck at the pull of the smallest curb…Breaking the law and boasting of it. Who is the man here she or I, if this cri...


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... child as well and couldn't live with out him and so she kills herself. Creon's reply is "Oh pity! All true, all true, and more than I can bear! Oh my wife my son!… It is right that it should be. I alone am guilty. I know it and say it. Lead me in quickly, friends. I have neither life nor substance. Lead me in." (Western Literature 711) The humanity is now showing through Oedipus and Creon and as leaders they both realize now what they have done and how they want to take everything back, but they can't. Therefore they live in their misery. Such catharsis that pours from the audience is unbearable. In brief, the actions and words of Oedipus and Creon can account for their poor leadership, but fate played the upper hand. Fate did not allow for Oedipus or Creon to rule long enough to have the experience to be considered wise, noble leaders who could face any situation.

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