In Sophocles’ play Antigone, the city of Thebes is controlled by King Creon, who fails to acknowledge and distinguish his position as king from his familial relationships. He refuses to hear contradicting opinions and maintains a neglectful character. Throughout the play Creon’s family end their life because of his stubbornness. Although, he finally acknowledges his mistakes it is too late for him to take back his actions.
Antigone’s drive on following her traditional values puts her in the position of Creon’s first victim. All she wanted was to properly bury her late brother Polyneices; however Creon did not agree with that proposition. Antigone acted without talking with Creon on that matter which resulted in him sticking to his original plan of not burying Polyneices. When Antigone was planning this she asked Ismene for some assistance, she stated, “Will you help this hand of mine lift the dead?”(Sophocles). Antigone does not inform Creon of the law breaking that will be happening which is her first mistake. Discussing this plan from the beginning should have not made the situation larger. Antigone is defying Creon orders with her desperate tone of hers. Creon’s reaction to Antigone going against him makes him irritated. Creon’s tempered tone is displayed when ordering his men to bring the defiant who went against his orders. Creon orders, “Bringing this girl, who was caught performing the final rites.”(pg. 74). Creon should have been listened to when he had made his decision, except his huge ego could not let him see other outcomes. Creon would stick to what he has said and will not change his mind. The mistake that Creon had made right there was to give Antigone some sort of sympathy for losing her brother: however Creon being narcissistic explains for his ruling. Although this situation should have been discussed before it broke out to deaths.
Another instance Creon’s pride got in the way was having his wife, Eurydice not be involved in the matter of Antigone and Creon. Eurydice was not informed as to what was happening; although she managed to find out but rumors. She uses personification to clarify how she can to find out, stating, “The bolt, and my ears were greated by this tale of family disaster.”(pg. 100). The use of figurative language right here is to display how the queen was not important when it came to rulings. Eurydice who shares power of Thebes with Creon makes her look as a foolish individual. Eurydice should be on top of the edicts Creon passes left and right. She had to find out by the people of Thebes what was occuring at the castle to expose the rash decisions Creon commits without consulting with anyone. Another instance would be how Eurydice too had to find out her son, Haemon had killed himself. However, this time she was informed at the castle that her only child was now dead. The queen of Thebes would have looked better to her people had she been closer to Creon. Creon’s decisions came from not being held back on what he would say.
Not only were Creon’s family members betrayed in order to show off his narcissistic power, but he also went against the gods to demonstrate his confidence to the people of Thebes. Creon does not ask for opinions when he is deciding rules, but keeps to himself. Creon is similar to a child because they both throw tantrums when people go against them. These actions are displayed when talking to Teirisais, he states, “You circle me like archers, all of you, and i am made your target!”(pg. 95). Creon’s use of a simile proposes his thinking when people explain their own opinions. He doesn’t want to hear from other people that he is wrong, because then there will be no point in being King when his people have better ideas on situations. Due to him having the mindset of the world against him he tends to make irrational decisions, since he can not take criticism. Creon not listening to others is exhibited when talking about Antigone’s punishment, asserting, “…I can offer you no hope. Your punishment stands unchanged.” (pg. 91). Creon does not care that Antigone is his niece, he won’t change his mind to not look like a weakling in front of his people. He seems to care more about his image than helping out his own family members especially when it’s only Antigone and Ismene by themselves. Creon shows some sort of sympathy towards Antigone, as to say that he can’t take back what he already has ruled. However, people pressing on this edict makes him rage with anger on sticking to his idea of punishing Antigone.
In another occasion, Creon had not been wise enough to listen to his own son. Haemon wants his father to rethink his punishment towards Antigone, yet he is too turned down with them two having an argument at the end of their conversation. Haemon starts off by sweet talking to Creon on how he is the best and so are his ideas. On the other hand, Haemon desires for Creon to change his mind because it was unnecessary to go extreme on Antigone. Not only did Antigone have to suffer because of her punishment but so did Haemon. When he had gone after Antigone they found her, “[at] the tomb we saw her, hanged by the neck…” (pg. 101). Antigone had killed herself because of Creon unreasonable idea of punishing her. Haemon did not expect for antigone to be found dead, although his father had sentenced her to go basically die underground. Haemon should have gone after Antigone once Creon had punished her because she was Haemon’s soon to be wife. Instead his dread for Creon did not let him go after her. Creon and Haemon seemed to be close to each other, but they had contradicting ideas at times. In another instance Haemon wanted to peacefully talk to creon so he would not anger him any more than he already was. Haemon had proposed, “let your anger rest; allow us to persuade you.”(pg. 84). Haemon knows his father can twist one’s words to somehow make them offending towards himself. At this point of the play Haemon just wants Creon to listen to what he has to say and to not interrupt. Nonetheless, Creon still had to have the situation go his way and make him the victim. Haemon uses a persuasive and soothing tone to get Creon to listen. Creon though has his own plans on how to rule and doesn’t need people to tell him how to run his people.
A last instance where Creon’s power to put away his family and monarchy power is when Ismene declines to help Antigone. Ismene is afraid of Creon because she seems to now what the outcomes would be if she went against him. Ismene tells Antigone, “…but when it means defying the state – I am not strong enough.”(pg. 63). Ismene knows that if Antigone goes against creon she will have to be ready to be hit by anything from Creon. She uses a fearful tone to express herself to Antigone to beware of Creon. She doesn’t want to mess around with Creon because he is unpredictable and will do whatever he wants to do. Ismene tell Antigone, “…women, and so not meant to fight with men;…we must do what our masters tell us…”(pg. 63).
Overall, Creon’s huge ego got in the way of making decisions he thought was the best for the people of Thebes. However, Creon’s narcissistic side is shown throughout the play to demonstrate his inability to lawfully run as the monarch.