... he who has not first laid his foundations may be able with great ability to lay them afterwards, but they will be laid with trouble to the architect and danger to the building. - The Prince by Machiavelli
Sophocles addresses this very problem in his play Antigone by the methods Creon uses to rule Thebes. Creon begins ruling Thebes in a very difficult time and circumstance. The polis has been embroiled in tragedy for over a generation. Creon must rule the city and consolidate the Theban citizens behind him. He resorts to symbolic means to unite the people, but he goes too far-- he is unyielding in his adherence to the symbolic policy he adopts, and too late becomes aware that he is actually losing the people he tries to lead.Creon capitalizes on recent tragic events in Thebes to consolidate his power and legitimize his position.
The latest war in Thebes was waged between two brothers-- Eteocles and Polyneices. Polyneices, the elder brother, was to have the throne; but Eteocles drove him out by convincing the people that Polyneices carried Oedipus' curse. Polyneices went to Argos and raised an army, then returned in order to drive Eteocles out and retake control of Thebes (Oedipus at Colonus 1532-5). In the ensuing battle, the brothers killed each other-- they "worked out their share in common death" (Antigone 162). Their strife is over. Polyneices' army has returned to Argos, leaving the kingship of Thebes to Creon.Creon has just come to power in a city that has had more than its share of grief: King Laius was murdered, then the Sphynx and a plague tormented the polis with death. Next, Oedipus discovered his own crime...
... middle of paper ...
...e question is not unique the ancient Thebes, however, and it behooves us to examine Creon's methods and goals in light of current events. For example, President Bush is currently using the tragedy of the World Trade Center attacks last year to unite the American people... more importantly to unite them under his leadership. His approval ratings are sky-high, up in the 70th percentile, according to polls by Gallup, CNN, USAToday, Fox, the Christian Science Monitor, Time, and others (http://www.pollingreport.com/BushFav.htm). By making his policy one of "Good vs. Evil," he has polarized the conflict, and who wouldn't want to be on the side of the Good? This method is not inherently wrong or bad, but with it come many caveats, as Creon discovered, and as Machiavelli warns. Symbols can be useful tools, but like any good tool, they can be dangerous if used without care.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- An old Chinese proverb states that a man who is wise will change his mind often, while the fool will remain obstinate. In Antigone, by Sophocles, King Creon makes a law contradicting a person’s basic human rights, and in the end he pays dearly for it by losing the remainder of his family. In comparison is the late President George W. Bush, he, in the early years of his presidency, launched an illegal war on Iraq. Both leaders ultimately met their downfall, and in Creon’s case, lived out his own words, “the stiffest stubborn wills fall the hardest” (528-529).... [tags: Presidents, George W. Bush, Antigone, Sophocles, w]
873 words (2.5 pages)
- Comparing the Character of Creon in Oedipus and Antigone Creon does not learn a lesson from Oedipus' accusatory behavior. Instead he adapts this bad personality trait. Throughout Antigone, he accuses everyone who tries to give him advice of betraying him. Whereas, in Oedipus, he is falsely accused by Oedipus of trying to take over the throne. This paper will compare and contrast his behavior and evaluate if he learned anything from one play to the next. Creon was seen in a different context in Oedipus compared to his character in Antigone.... [tags: Oedipus Antigone]
825 words (2.4 pages)
- The tragedies of Antigone and Othello were written with great depth and are structured in such a way that both characters are victims, in spite of their crimes. Antigone and Othello are tragedy plays created by using many techniques to create the feelings of fear and pity. There are differences and similarities in characters, action, and themes between Antigone and Othello. First, the major characters in both of the plays are suffering through great pain and end up with death. The drama Antigone which is written by Sophocles, tells the story of Antigone.... [tags: othello, antigone]
963 words (2.8 pages)
- Antigone says of her decision: “I didn't say yes. I can say no to anything I say vile, and I don't have to count the cost. But because you said yes, all that you can do, for all your crown and your trappings, and your guards—all that your can do is to have me killed.” Whenever an object receives a title, some people will disagree with the name. Some people feel that certain songs should consist of different names, some books should possess alternative titles, and some plays would better represent their meaning under different names.... [tags: Titles, Antigone]
889 words (2.5 pages)
- Antigone is a great Greek tragedy by Sophocles. The story is about a young woman who has buried her brother by breaking king’s decree, and now she is punished for obeying God’s law. There are many arguments about who is the tragic hero in Sophocles’ Antigone. Some believe that it is Creon because he also has the characteristics of a tragic hero. Others believe that it is Antigone because the play bears her name. Antigone is the perfect hero, to exemplify the meaning of a tragic hero. In order to determine whether Antigone is the tragic hero, one will have to answer the question, what is a tragic hero.... [tags: Antigone]
643 words (1.8 pages)
- The hubris resonating throughout the play, ‘Antigone’ is seen in the characters of Creon and Antigone. Their pride causes them to act impulsively, resulting in their individual downfalls. In his opening speech, Creon makes his motives clear, that “no man who is his country’s enemy shall call himself my friend.” This part of his declaration was kept to the letter, as he refused burial for his nephew, Polynices. However, when the situation arises where it is crucial that Creon takes advice, he neglects the part of the speech where he says “a king...... [tags: antigone]
712 words (2 pages)
- Both Sophocles and Jean Anouilh use the simple story-line of a girl defying her uncle and king in the face of death to reflect upon the events and attitudes of their days. Sophocles' Antigone models the classical pattern of tragedy by incorporating key elements such as a tragic hero with a fatal flaw and the Man-God-Society triangle. Creon is the tragic hero who disturbs the natural harmony of Thebes by denying Polyneices a funeral. Antigone is the catalyst who forces him to reckon with the consequences of his pride and arrogance.... [tags: Antigone Compare Contrast Essays]
2301 words (6.6 pages)
- At the beginning of the play, Antigone brought Ismene outside the city gates at night for a top secret meeting. Antigone wanted to bury her brother Polyneices' body because even though he died in dishonor he was her brother. Ismene refused to disobey the king which is also their Uncle Creon, and she failed to talk Antigone out of doing the act herself. "Consider, sister, how our father died,/hated and infamous; how he brought to light/his own offenses..Then, mother...did shame/violently on her life, with twisted cords.... [tags: Antigone, ]
936 words (2.7 pages)
- Frank Jevons in “In Sophoclean Tragedy, Humans Create Their Own Fate” comments on Sophocles’ irony: In this connection we may consider the “irony of Sophocles.” In argument irony has many forms That which best illustrates the irony of Sophocles is the method by which the ironical man, putting apparently innocent questions or suggestions, leads some person from one preposterous statement to another, until, perhaps, the subject of the irony realizes his situation and discovers that when he thought he was most brilliant of impressive, then he was really most absurd.... [tags: Antigone essays]
2338 words (6.7 pages)
- Antigone is an admirable character in some aspects through out the play. Her pride basically serves as a building block to her being admirable. Certain examples through out the play prove this to be true ,but in some instances the end result is negative. A big example of this was her willingness to bury her brother accepting any consequences. To Antigone the Gods are more important than any subject ,and Creon seems to think that he is at their level of standing just because he is king.... [tags: Antigone]
300 words (0.9 pages)