King Creon from Antigone Is a Tyrant
Amy Lin Mr. Lieu English 1 H 7 December 2012 The Tyrant of Thebes Henry VIII of England was infamous for executing people who contested his views. He was a ruthless ruler and most of his citizens were compliant to him due to consternation. In Antigone, a play written by Sophocles, the actions of King Creon are closely akin to Henry VII of England. King Creon declares a decree that prohibits the burial of his nephew, Polynices, because Polynices had betrayed the city of Thebes and started a rebellion. Creon is enraged when his niece, Antigone, defies his decree and sentences her to death by entombment.
Creon is tyrannical, selfish, and stubborn in the ways that he commits double blasphemy by letting Polynices body decompose unburied and cruelly entombing Antigone alive. As a king, Creon is inarguably tyrannical. When he persecutes Antigone, she boldly points out, “lucky tyrants—the perquisites of power! Ruthless power to do and say whatever pleases them. ” She makes it clear that Creon is abusive of his authoritative powers. In addition, Creon refuses to submit to reason. His son, Haemon, shares the perspectives of Thebe’s citizens with him and reminds him that Thebes is “no city at all, owned by one man alone. Creon dismisses the wise reminders of his son by bluntly declaring, “the city is the king’s! That’s the law! ” When Haemon attempts to use reason and elaborate on the moral reasons as to why Antigone defied Creon’s decree, Creon refuses to accept them simply because of his hubris. In fact, Creon realizes Antigone’s obligations of honoring her brother, yet he cries, “I’m not about to prove myself as a liar, no not to my people, I’m going to kill her! ” Creon is a ruthless tyrant who does not scruple to destroy anyone who gets in the ways of his tyrannical rule and reputation over Thebes.
As a father, Creon is undeniably selfish. He does not consider his son’s feelings or the possibility that his ruthless actions may affect his son’s life. Creon is well aware of the fact that Haemon is in love with Antigone, and yearns to marry her. Yet, he still sends Antigone to a cave and entombs her to death, which is unquestionably a cruel and painful way for her to die. After Creon sends Antigone to death, he assumes that “there are other fields for [Haemon] to plow. ” His selfishness as a father causes Haemon to hate him and attempt to kill him before committing suicide.
Creon ignored the plead of Haemon for the bride he yearned for and firmly stated, “you will never marry her, not while she’s alive”. In a sense, Creon encouraged his son to kill himself because he told him to give up loving Antigone while she is alive. The death of Haemon was only expected. Haemon grew disgusted by his father’s selfish and narcissistic thinking. As well as being selfish, Creon is also stubborn and refuses to show empathy in his niece’s endeavors. He fails to consider the well-being of anyone other than himself and his reputation as a ruler.
Even when he is presented with reason, Creon does not hesitate to withdraw his cruel decision of sentencing his niece, Antigone, to death. When Antigone attempts to explain her obligations of burying Polynices, Creon refuses to alter his cruel sentencing simply because of Antigone’s gender in society. When the citizens of Thebes discuss that Antigone should not die, Creon firmly states, “better to fall from power, if fall we must, at the hands of a man—never be rated inferior to a woman. ” King Creon does not care about the opinions of his subjects, nor his niece.
He only rules to uphold his own opinions that only the opinions of people that conveniently accommodate his pride. Furthermore, he threatens to punish his sentry for bringing unfavorable news to him. Although the sentry did not commit a crime, or act immorally, Creon tells his sentry that he will send him to death. Clearly, Creon does not care about justice, and is content as long as he has someone to blame. King Creon of Thebes is closely akin to the tyrannical King Henry VIII of England in the way of being ruthless tyrants. Both tyrants assigned their subjects to agonizing deaths for holding values differing from their own.
Creon was unquestionably immoral to his subjects, son, and his niece. Yet, he was in complete denial of the fact while he still had time to redeem himself. Furthermore, Creon claimed to be religious, yet, he completed double blasphemy by allowing his nephew rot in the city he was once proud of, as well as sending his niece to a slow and excruciating death of entombment. Not only did Creon ruin the reputation that he yearned for, he initiated his own downfall by condemning anyone who he perceived might tarnish his reputation as well as anyone who did not share his views.