Punishment Oedipus VS Creon in Antigone
Some people might declare that Oedipus was punished worse than Creon. On the other hand, some people might believe that Creon had the worse punishment out of the two. Oedipus’ story started out as him being a prince of Thebes. The city has been struck by a plague, the citizens are dying, and no one knows how to put an end to it. Creon then tells what he has learned from the god Apollo, who said the murderer of Laius, who ruled Thebes before Oedipus. He must be die in order for the plague to end. The blind prophet Tiresias meet with Oedipus who begs him to reveal who Laius’s murderer is. Tiresias does not tell him and responses he knows the murders name but does not wish to tell him.
Oedipus then accuses Tiresias of the murder, Tiresias tells Oedipus that Oedipus himself is the murder. A messenger has come to Thebes to tell Oedipus that his father, Polybus, is dead and Oedipus is to rule. Oedipus is convinced that since Polybus is dead from natural causes, the prophecy that Oedipus will murder his father is false. However, Oedipus still fears the part of the prophecy that said he would sleep with his mother is true, which after all he was and had four children with her. Jocasta is mother/wife is dead, by suicide. He burst through the bedroom door, where he saw Jocasta hanging from a noose. He then took the gold pins that held her robes and, with them, stabbed out his eyes. Crying because he could not bear to see the world now that he had learned the truth. Oedipus now blind and knowing the truth of his past was banished from the city he once ruled. Creon story started off raising his cousin children. Polynices was Oedipus oldest and set to become king but that was no the case. The brothers fought for control of Thebes, they have now died at each other’s hands.
Now that the two sons of Oedipus are death at the hands of each other Creon is now temporary king. Antigone ignores Creon’s recent law that whoever tries to bury or mourn Polynices must be put to death. Knowing they have little power is the situation, Antigone insists that she will bury Polynices, and asks for Ismene’s help. Ismene claims he loved her bother but does not wish to go against the king’s new law and she does not want to risk punishment by death. Antigone rejected Ismene’s arguments, saying that she will only honor and love higher power and only abide by the law and death of the higher power. A sentry comes with a message for the king, he finally reports the scandalous news. Someone has given a proper burial to Polynices’ corpse, and no one knows who has done it. It does not take Ceron long to figure out the Polynices sister had given him a proper burial. Creon condemned Antigone to a horrifying fate: being “buried” alive inside a tomb. He intends to leave her with just enough food and water so that neither him nor the citizens of Thebes will have any of her blood on their hands when dies. Her imprisonment in a tomb symbolizes the fact that her loyalties and feelings lie with the higher power. Her imprisonment is also a symbol of Creon’s lack of judgment and his unfaithfulness of the higher power.
Tiresias points out that Creon committed a horrible sin for “burying” a living human being inside a grave, as he keeps a rotting body in daylight. Creon’s actions against Antigone and against Polynices’ body show him attempting to interfere with the order of nature, defying the gods by asserting his own control over their territories. In other words, being given absolute power will corrupt anyone when they are unfaithful to the higher power. When comparing Oedipus and Creon life and tragedies there experiences are very similar. For instance, Oedipus and Creon wives both killed themselves. They also both had families and one of their children committed suicide. On the other hand, there lives had some significant differences. For example, Oedipus plucked his own eyes out after finding his wife hanging dead above their bed and then Creon exiled Oedipus from Thebes after Oedipus killed Creon’s father and married his mother. Creon took over the throne because Oedipus’ two sons, Eteocles and Polyneices, were too young to become rulers. Sophocles purpose for both stories is to show that what comes around comes back around and that evil people who do cruel things will be punished in the end. After looking at both Oedipus and Creon’s lives, Creon was punished worse than Oedipus because he was king of the throne and was blamed from that events that happen while he was king.
The first thing that occurs before Creon is ever truly king is he has to banish Oedipus from Thebes because the prophecy of murdering his father and incest was proven true. Creon took over the throne because Oedipus’ two sons, Eteocles( youngest son) and Polyneices(oldest son), were too young to become emperors. As time passed, and the two sons reached age, Eteocles claimed the throne for himself and exiled his older brother Polyneices. Polyneices retaliated by gathered a giant army and attacked Eteocles for the throne. Both of the sons died on the battlefield. Creon once again resumed power and declared that Eteocles is to have a proper burial: however, Polyneices’ body was left for the dogs and vultures to eat, as a punishment for disgracing his family and the throne. Antigone, Polyneices’ sister, learned of Creon decision and decided that she must give her brother a proper burial. Antigone goes to her brothers’ guarded body and pours dirt and sand over him, performing the proper burial rights. Creon is infuriated at the disobedience of Antigone has her brought in and she confesses. Antigone tired to explain to Creon that the gods wanted Polyneices to have a proper burial. She also explained that if Polyneices did not have a proper burial that god would come after Creon and punish him. Creon did not care what Antigone had to say even if what she said was true.
After sentencing her to death Creon’s son, Haemon, plead with his father to have Antigone released after all that was his bride-to-be. Creon did not care, maybe because if his son were to marry Antigone he would lose his “power”. Creon then states, that the only one who should be punished is Antigone, so he takes Antigone to a cave outside the city and buried her alive. Soon after Creon buries Antigone alive Teiresias, the blind prophet visits him and warns him that the gods are unhappy for the lack of proper burial of Polyneices and in retaliation the gods shall punish Haemon by death. Creon does not believe him at first but is later reminded that Teiresias has never been wrong. Now worried for his son’s life, Creon performs the proper burial rituals for Polyneices’ body but it is too late in the eyes of the gods. Creon then rushes to free Antigone, but it is too late, she is dead, she hung herself by tearing a piece of the dress and Haemon has killed himself to be with her in the after life. Now a broken man, Creon returns to the kingdom only to learn that his wife, Eurydice, has killed herself after learning about her son’s death.
The reason Creon had a harsher punishment than Oedipus is because Creon is the main reason that everyone is dead. The amount of power Creon had went straight to his head, he did not care what anyone had to say unless they were agreeing with his way of ruling. Clearly all the power came back to bite him; The gods had made up their minds just like Creon had about Antigone trying to bury her brothers body, the gods were not going to change their minds even if Creon was trying to do right. If Creon had just listened to Antigone about having a proper burial for her brother Creon’s family and Antigone would still be alive. Everyone would have been happy including the god. In conclusion, Creon should not have been so quick to judge Antigone for doing the right thing without consider the consequences of doing the wrong thing.
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