After Polynices and his allies siege Thebes, the city was left all but unconquered in the drama Antigone. Due to the curse of their father Oedipus, Polynices and his brother Eteocles were left dead in the ensuing struggle for leadership and control. They had killed each other according to sibling rivalry. The ruling leader at the time, Creon, had given full orders on the burial of Eteocles. He had stated that he was to receive full honors as he had died while defending his city. He had also decreed that Polynices’ body would be left to rot as an act of his betrayal. Antigone decided to give Polynices a proper burial, much to the anger of Creon. It resulted into Creon’s assertion that she would be put to death. Despite the plea from various quarters on her life being saved, Creon does not change, albeit too late. In the end, several lives are lost. Pride and respect for authority should not be used as reason to deter reasoning and logic by rulers.
Creon’s characterization in the drama signified pride and abuse of power. At the siege of the city, Polynices and Eteocles had endeavored to ensure that Thebes was not in disarray. After their father had placed a curse on them, they in evidently killed each other, leaving the dominion to Creole. Thus, he did not earn the right to the throne by merit. Despite his tenure, he was filled with pride. He did not considering the equality between the two brothers. He failed in logic and reasoning of proper honor to fallen servants of the land, through Polynices and Eteocles. Rather than giving both of them proper burial, he was biased towards Polynices. He preferred burying Eteocles as expected but left Polynices’ body to rot (Reginald and Segal 22). It was an inhuman act without respect. It was also not expected of a leader.
The role of gender in the struggle between Creon and Antigone was evident in his leadership. Antigone did not see any reason to discriminate against the burial of one of her brothers, despite the rifts that was between the two. In addition, she understood that her father’s curse was responsible for the demise of the two during the war. On the other hand, Creon only saw Polynices as a traitor and not worthy of honor. Creon’s son, Haemon, tried to persuade him from not sentencing Antigone to death by stoning. The response from Creon was blatant disregard for a woman’s role in the society. He was dismayed at Haemon’s obvious influence from Antigone. He stated that Haemon was too weak of a man to be influenced by a woman. He noticed that women could only raise their concerns but not have any power.
Pride and respect for authority should factor the influence of religion in decision-making. After Antigone had decided to hang herself from the pressure from Creon, Haemon was left frustrated. Haemon had tried to persuade his father from making Antigone go through the process of stoning. It was also confirmed from the blind prophet that the gods did not approve of Creon’s judgment of Polynices’ body. He also warned that the gods would punish Creon on his impiety of Haemon’s death by hanging. Thebes had been known to be religious and followed the will of the gods. Nevertheless, due to Creon’s pride and disregards for religion, he changed his stance too late. Consequently, Haemon hanged himself after Antigone had died. Creon was left to suffer from the consequences of his action, rather than reasoning out beforehand.
Power was responsible for the metaphorical changing of reasoning and logical judgment of Creon’s character. The set rules and regulations of Thebes had been clear on the consequences of betrayal from members of the society. There had been a high regard on the respect for authority as well as Creon’s leadership. Kitto (34) argues that his decision-making and influence on the people was significant towards the unity and prosperity of the territory. However, his metaphorical blind faith to power prevented him from making logical decision on Polynices’ burial as well as Antigone’s treatment. He became arrogant in the treatment of Antigone after she had tried to bury her brother’s body with the respect it deserved. As a human, Creon should have reasoned on the need to accord Antigone closure in her deeds, as she was the deceased sibling. The enabled ruling was responsible for the division realized in Thebes, even if it was too late for Creon to salvage the situation.
Pride and respect for authority
should not be used as reason to deter reasoning and logic by rulers. Creon
became too arrogant and unapproachable after his stance on Antigone’s decision
to try to bury her brother Polynices with honor as opposed to leaving it to
rot. Clear disregard for religion, role of women in the society, pride, and
blind faith to power were all characteristics of Creon’s role in Antigone. The
drama teaches that reason and logic should be considered before decision-making
is achieved despite the crime committed.
Kitto, H D. F. Form, and Meaning in Drama: A Study of Six Greek Plays and of Hamlet. London: Routledge/Taylor and Francis, 2014. Print.
Reginald Gibbons and Charles Segal. Antigone. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008. Print.