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Compare the portrayal of Creon in Oedipus the King and Antigone

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In both plays Creon is of high social status. In Antigone he is the king of Thebes. In Oedipus the King he is the brother in law to Oedipus and becomes king at the end of the play.

In Antigone, Creon is portrayed as a main character as the plot revolves around him and his decisions as he is the King of Thebes.

In this play Creon’s character is irrational, as he does not obey the Laws of the Gods by sentencing his son’s fiancĂ©e to a slow death, ‘she’ll never escape, she and her blood sister, the most barbaric death.’

Creon’s character in Antigone shows great hubris. This is shown when he harshly punishes Antigone as she betrays him in public. This is made far worse by the fact that she is a woman and his son’s fiancĂ©e.

Creon shows no care for the Laws of the Gods, as he punishes Antigone for her brother’s burial, which is against the God’s rules.

Also he is not considerate to others. He ignores his son’s pleads to save Antigone, and he also disregards her want to bury her brothers so that they can have a proper afterlife.

In this play Creon condemns others, for example he condemns Antigone to death and also accuses her sister Ismene.

Creon’s pride rapidly diminishes when he realises his wrong doings. ‘Ai, dead, lost to the world, not through your stupidity, no, my own. This occurs when he founds out both his wife and son have died. At this point he loses all respect from the men in Thebes, even though many disagreed with his decision to disallow Polyniece’s burial.

At the end of the play comes Creon’s downfall as loses his crown and has to live in suffering as both his wife and son committed suicide, therefore some sympathy is felt for him.’

Therefore in Antigone, Creon goes from powerful to powerless through his wrongdoings.

In Oedipus the King Creon is a background character, i.e. the plot does not revolve around his actions.

In this play Creon does not wish to be king either, which in comparison to his character in Antigone is very different. ‘Not I, I’m not the man to yearn for kingship.’

He is also portrayed as rational, as he tells Oedipus to go to Delphi and ask the Oracle if the prophecy is true.

As in Antigone, Creon is seen as proud and arrogant, ‘Now all men sing my praises.’ He believes he is powerful, even though he is not the King.

Creon respects the Laws of the Gods in Oedipus the King and he shames Oedipus for not doing so, ‘First I wanted the God to clarify my duties.’

Unlike in Antigone, Creon is shown as considerate, as he brings Oedipus’ children, Antigone and Ismene, to say goodbye to him before he is exiled.

As in Antigone Creon blames others, he blames Oedipus for his own downfall.

Creon becomes the King of Thebes when Oedipus is exiled; therefore he becomes more proud towards the end of the play and more respect from the people of Thebes.

Unlike in Antigone, Creon goes from powerless to powerful as what he believes is right.

In conclusion I think that both of Creon’s portrayals are effective. For Creon’s character I think that in Oedipus the King is the more effective as it shows him in a better light, powerful and correct in his beliefs. He also is very considerate to other people’s needs; although he is a secondary character therefore there is less response from an audience towards him.

However for an audience I think Creon’s portrayal in Antigone provokes a far more emotional response, as you feel pathos for him yet also go through a stage of dislike for the character, especially as he is a main character of the play.

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