Oedipus Versus Creon

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Initially, Oedipus and Creon may seem like individuals with contrasting traits. However, as the story unfolds, their characters and destinies become increasingly alike. In Sophocles’s play “Oedipus the King,” Oedipus and Creon exhibit starkly contrasting personalities. Oedipus lacks tact and acts without considering the consequences, whereas Creon demonstrates wisdom and caution. In “Oedipus the King,” Oedipus effectively epitomizes the concept of a flawed hero. He gradually becomes prideful and impulsive.

Accusing Creon and Tiresias of treachery, Oedipus goes against the gods and incurs severe punishment. In contrast to Oedipus, Creon is characterized by his thoughtful actions.

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Creon displays wisdom and loyalty at the beginning. However, in Sophocles’ play “Antigone,” his character undergoes a dramatic transformation, resembling Oedipus more and more. Engaging in acts of hubris, Creon senselessly kills and humiliates others. Yet, upon recognizing the error of his actions, he self-punishes for defying the gods and causing the downfall of everything he cherished—a parallel to the tragic tale of Oedipus.

Initially, Oedipus and Creon appear as contrasting individuals with distinct characteristics. However, as the events progress, their personalities and fates become almost identical. In the play “Oedipus the King,” Oedipus is portrayed as an impulsive and arrogant ruler, while Creon serves as his patient and thoughtful right hand. Following the deaths of Oedipus and his sons, Creon assumes the throne of Thebes and gradually becomes even more reckless and uncontrollable than his predecessor. Oedipus accuses Creon of bribing Tiresias, a blind prophet, to deliver a prophecy that would lead to Oedipus’s downfall. He asserts that Creon is conspiring to “plot against the king” (189).

Oedipus accuses Creon of persuading him to call Tiresias, the prophet, without providing any concrete evidence. According to Oedipus, if Creon and Tiresias had not conspired together, he would have never known about the prophecy. Creon criticizes Oedipus for his stubbornness and lack of reasoning. Oedipus accuses Creon of betraying his kin without any proof.

Creon, without considering the consequences, impulsively accused and condemned Antigone. Despite initially opposing rashness and thoughtlessness, Creon ultimately becomes another Oedipus. In the play “Antigone,” Creon embodies all the negative qualities that plagued Oedipus’s leadership. Specifically, Creon asserts that no one is allowed to bury Antigone’s brother, Polynices.

Shortly after, a guard rushes in to inform Creon that Polynices has been buried, much to Creon’s anger. He swiftly blames the guard for burying the body, calling him a troublemaker and accusing him of prioritizing money over his duty. The guard highlights Creon’s change from a patient ruler to an impulsive king by remarking how terrible it is when someone in power makes incorrect judgments.

Creon, similar to Oedipus, falsely accused the guard and condemned him to death without sufficient proof or evidence. Additionally, both Oedipus and Creon displayed hubris through their participation in abhorrent acts.

Both Oedipus and Tiresias display disrespect for the gods through their foolish and purposeless actions. Oedipus, in an act of hubris, insults Tiresias by accusing him of betraying and destroying Thebes (177). Tiresias, as a prophet of the gods, is merely relaying what he has witnessed to Oedipus.

Tiresias’s refusal to reveal his secrets to Oedipus leads to further insults and embarrassment. Oedipus refers to him as the “scum of the earth” (178) and accuses him of being involved in the conspiracy, driven by anger towards his prophecies. Oedipus suspects that Tiresias is being paid off, asking “Who primed you for this? Not your prophet’s trade” (179). Oedipus’ impulsive nature causes him to accuse Tiresias, a revered prophet and wise seer, of being corrupt and fraudulent.

Insulting the gods and ignoring their laws leads to Antigone’s downfall. Creon, on the other hand, demonstrates even greater hubris by refusing to bury the body of Polynices. This act directly defies the gods and their laws regarding death. When Creon confronts Antigone about her illegal burial, she asserts that Zeus did not decree against it.

She points out that according to her, the laws that Creon imposed on men were not ordained by the justice who dwells with the gods beneath the earth (82). Creon took the daring step of claiming that he, as a mortal, could surpass the authority of the gods (82). As a consequence of this audacious act of pride, Creon is punished harshly, similar to what happened to Oedipus.

Both Creon and Oedipus face severe consequences due to their excessive pride, resulting in the loss of everything they value. Eventually, they both realize their mistakes but it is already too late. Oedipus learns the horrifying truth that he has unknowingly killed his own father and married his mother, with whom he has children. Upon discovering these shocking revelations, Oedipus becomes unable to tolerate the company of any other living being.

In Jocasta’s bedroom, Oedipus hastily takes two “long gold pins” and proceeds to forcefully insert them into his eye sockets, a self-inflicted punishment that instantaneously transforms him from a proud and conceited ruler into a humbled and visually impaired individual. It is through this act that the gods exact their retribution upon Oedipus.

According to the text, Creon experiences a punishment that is comparable to “all the griefs in the world that you can name” (237). He shares a similar fate as Antigone’s when he forfeits everything he considers precious in his life. Among the things Creon sacrifices is his refusal to allow Haemon and Antigone to get married. This decision causes significant emotional distress for his son, Haemon.

Due to Creon’s actions, Haemon takes his own life, causing his blood to be spilled by his own hand (120). Eurydice, Creon’s wife, also commits suicide in response. Consumed by sorrow over Haemon’s death, she stabs herself at the altar (126). Creon is responsible for the deaths of both his son and wife (127).

Both Creon and Oedipus lack support to lean on (127) and someone to rely on (127). The chorus predicts that a fitting fate awaits both of them, which will ultimately teach them wisdom” (128). It is evident that Creon and Oedipus share many similarities. Both attained power by chance and circumstances but were brought down by their arrogance and excessive pride. Initially, Creon appeared distinct from Oedipus. However, once he became king, he rapidly became virtually indistinguishable from Oedipus.

Due to his reckless and apathetic behavior, he suffered a similar outcome as Oedipus.

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Oedipus Versus Creon. (2019, Feb 25). Retrieved from


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