Antigone Creon Character Traits

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Sophocles’ play Antigone provides the character of Creon who reflects traits that Pericles attributes to Athenian character. The overall character of Creon serves as an example of how there is a fine line between being a ruler and a tyrant and how certain traits in moderation are good for the city-state but should not be taken to excessive lengths. All of Creon’s traits could have been strengths if he had used them with a discerning judgment befitting what the situation might have called for but are instead represented as weaknesses by Sophocles. One of these traits is Creon’s belief that the good of the country should be put above the good of the individual, which mirrors Pericles’ commitment to civic virtue, or the subordination of the private…show more content…
When practiced in restraint, civic virtue could be a powerful factor that could help to create a common identity among the citizens of a city-state, but if taken too far it could be of serious detriment to the citizens’ individual lives and how effectively they can run their households. If Creon had paid more attention to making sure that his household was in order, then perhaps Polynices would not have rebelled in the first place and Antigone would not have defied Creon’s orders to bury her brother. A closely related trait is the denial of physical pleasure in order to live a more civic-minded life. Creon praises his son Haemon for putting the needs of the city above his engagement to Antigone, but Haemon’s later suicide over Antigone’s death seems to imply that Sophocles meant to use the character of Haemon to serve as an example to Creon that the complete denial of family ties in the face of public service, which could possibly function as a strength theoretically, is too high of a standard to hold men to (Antigone pg. 93). Another Athenian trait that Creon exhibits is the belief that self-interest, especially in terms of money, ruins men and therefore the state (Antigone pg.…show more content…
One possible concern that they might have had was that Athens had gone from being too family focused to too state focused. Creon represents the extreme on the state focused side while Antigone represents the extreme on the family focused side. Sophocles may have been implying that city-states like Athens need to strike a balance between the two opposites in order to allow its citizens to have a public service minded outlook but not completely at the expense of their family lives. This concern is closely related to another similar one that the state is too controlling of personal affairs. This can be seen when Tiresias tells Creon that the king has “no business with the dead” (Antigone pg. 115). The cursed House of Oedipus may represent the ancient Greeks’ growing belief that hereditary family rule in politics may complicate matters and cause unnecessary internal struggles for power such Polynices’ rebellion. The play also reflects the uneasiness that Greek citizens may have had with the different roles they were expected to play in their societies (ex. statesman, husband, slaveholder, etc.) and how to move between those roles. It also reflected an underlying anxiety that women and slaves might perhaps forget their place in society as seen by Antigone’s defiance of Creon’s orders. This anxiety might have been a particular point of tension in

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