Creon the Play Oedipus the Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

This is a major departure from the Creon seen in Oedipus Rex and reflects his changed role. In addition, he sees changing one's mind as a weakness, "womanish," an undesireable trait in a king. Once he's made a decision he feels he must stick by it even if he suspects it might have been incorrect.

The first decision Creon makes that affects this play is that he will give Etocles a state funeral, but that Polynices' body is to be left out in the open, unsanctified, and left for the animals to eat. This is a terrible fate for a Greek, who must have certain rites performed to move on to the next life. Creon sided with Etocles, but both brothers broke the agreement.

Antigone is outraged that Etocles is to be ushered in to the next life proplerly but not Polynices. She takes a stand and decides to perform the rites herself. Polynices' body is seen with ceremIsmene onial dust on it, indicating that someone has disobeyed Creon's edict. He follows one bad, rigid decision with another: even though Antigone is his niece, and even though he promised her father he would look after her, he sentences her to death for ignoring his rule about Polynices.

In one way, it appears that Creon had more confidence in his role when he was a helper to the king than when he was king himself. As Oedipus' assistant, he knew exactly what to do and exactly how to behave. He was an honest, rational man, and he spoke the truth even when the truth was unwelcome. Without his personal integrity and courage, Oedipus would not have found out that it was his actions that had brought Thebes to grief. But in the next play, Antigone, this determination has gone too far. Creon is afraid to reconsider decisions based on new information, nor to consider any viewpoint but his own. He does not have a sound reason for dooming Polynices to an unannoited death. When he sentences her to death, he brings great grief on himself. HIs son, in love with Antigone, kills himself. Then Creon's wife kills herself in grief over losing her son.

While Creon was a wise advisor for Oedipus, he was a better advisor than decision-maker. His single-minded view of what was right and wrong served him well when Oedipus was king, but that trait became stubbornness when he was the ruler, and brought another round of grief to the ruling house of Thebes.

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