Overpowering and overbearing rulers can blur their judgment of what is right. Taking leadership to the extreme can cause a person to act in ways that do not correspond with their personal beliefs. This problem comes up a number of times in Sophocles plays, Antigone and Oedipus the king. Creon, the second king of Thebes, who is also the uncle of Antigone and Ismene, is a ruler who only cares for himself. Oedipus, the previous king, cares for the well- being of the people and views them as equals. Although Creon transforms over the course of both plays, he is still an uncaring tyrant leader whereas Oedipus is a more humane leader.
Initially Creon and Oedipus put forth an overbearing sense of determination that can be the catastrophic flaw that obliterates their lives. In spite of this their motives stand out against one another. Creon’s motive of willpower is not to yield from his word of law. The law in which he stated that if anyone were to bury Polynesis would be stoned to death publicly. In view of the fact that he is not worthy enough to receive a proper burial due to his actions in war. Creon soon uncovers that Antigone has buried her brother. In reaction Creon says,
No? Believe me, the stiffest stubborn wills fall the hardest; the toughest iron, tempered strong in the white-hot fire, you’ll see it crack and shatter first of all. And I’ve known spirited horses you can break with a light bit- proud, rebellious horses. There’s no room for pride, not in a slave, not with the lord and master standing by. (83)
At the beginning, he is entirely stubborn and persists that there is not and should be no mercy for Polyneices. Creon also will not let Haemon, his son, reason with him. And further goes on to tell his son that he has been ...
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SENTRY: Maybe so, but I never did this thing, so help me!
CREON: Yes you did- what’s more, you squandered your life for silver!
And in Oedipus the king, Oedipus blames the god Apollo for his fate saying,
Apollo, friends, Apollo- he ordained my agonies- these, my pains on pains! But the hand that struck my eyes was mine; mine alone- no one else- (241).
Because of Creon and Oedipus’ simpleminded and quick reaction to falsely accuse one of their actions, it leads them to the same fate.
Ultimately the play of Antigone and Oedipus the king, shows that pride cause a person to act in ways that do not correspond with their personal beliefs. And pride can also lead to ones eventual downfall. The plays also teach us that you need to be ready to receive the consequences of your corrupt actions. The overall moral is that your fate is something you cannot escape.
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