Power and Corruption in Antigone

Power and Corruption in Antigone

In Sophocles’, Antigone, we are captured through tragedy, family drama, outbursts, and revealed secrets. When reading this, it will arouse emotions with in you that maybe you have or have not felt before. The characters in the story encounter multiple tragic events throughout time. Antigone and Creon are two of the major tragic figures within this play. Can a play write over thousands of years old connect to the way society works now? Is it possible that unfortunate fate is a hereditary issue, or do we bring the fate we have been given, upon ourselves due to the ignorance of our doings?

Is power more important, than the morals you behold and the loyalty you bestow upon your family members? Today, “power” is used in our society to make the way of living life somewhat orderly and easier. We use power to set rules, to show people our beliefs and disbelief in their doings, and some would say they withhold power just to be boastful and feel in charge. Power is said to keep everyone in perfect harmony, this was a belief from thousands of years ago as well. In Antigone, one of the main characters, Creon, shows how power can be manipulated and used for the more corrupt side of things.

Creon is best described as egotistic and bombastic, to say the very least. The story basically begins when the King of Thebes, Eteocles, and brother Polynices, have a battle and are both slain by each other. Creon, the uncle of both men, discovers the tragic deaths of the two nephews; he demands Eteocles have a proper burial. But, for Polynices, Creon demands that he be left out, to be devoured or decay with pure ugliness; because he was considered a traitor to his own family. Was Eteocles truly the traitor or was Creon trying to mask his true fear and foreshadow his own struggles of internal and external conflicts he’d soon be experiencing.

Due to the death of Creon’s nephew, Creon was now to move up and hold down the throne for his state. This could be an extremely unpleasant experience for King Creon and his people. Oedipus was the brother of Creon, as well as the father of Ismene, Antigone, Eteocles, and Polynices, and husband of Jocasta. When Oedipus was declared King of Thebes, things began to quickly spiral out of control. Jocasta hung herself, due to all that was going wrong around her. Oedipus first, gauged his eyes out, due to the gruesome scene of his hung wife, causing him to become a blind man, left alone, to die of old age.

Much like Creon, Oedipus foreshadowed his own fate. You can definitely say that karma was a logical explanation for what happened. After Creon is professed King of Thebes, all is well, until Antigone decides that leaving Polynices out without a proper burial was wrong. Though Creon vowed to punish anyone who went against his word, Antigone believed she owed loyalty to her dear brother, dead or alive. Antigone, went to bury Polynices, but was stopped by the king’s men. She was brought forth onto Creon. When asked if she truly went against the civil law, Antigone did not deny her doings; and in fact was accepting of her punishments.

When Antigone shows that she believed in herself and that what she did was right, it angered Creon. Due to his pompous attitude and crude personality, he figured the best way to punish Antigone was to wall her up in a tomb alive, rather than to commit a murder. Thus, making his hands “clean” of any dirt, because he did not commit a true crime. While Creon walled up Antigone, he felt no remorse upon it. Knowingly, he put away his son, Haemon’s fiance. Doing so was about to cause Creon a great deal of grievances. Creon is just another one of the many fallen tragedies, held within the family tree.

As time sailed along, Creon felt inferior and wise, with his works of decision. He allowed his pride and ego to stand in the way of the love and loyalty that he owed to his family. Because he possessed so much power and made people obey him, through the fear of his punishments, everyone was frightened to speak against Creon. Finally Creon was met by a wise prophet, Tiresias, whom warned him of errors. Creon was ordered to fix his mistakes; he began to realize what he had done and raced to the tomb to free Antigone. Though he was trying to turn his evils around, it was much too late for Creon.

Antigone, like her mother, had hung herself from the agonizing and suffering she had grown to face. Haemon was dissatisfied by the person his father had become and was outraged by the loss of his dearest fiance. Haemon then drawled back his sword and slain himself as well. In the short amount of time Creon had two deaths on his hands, followed by yet another, Eurydice, the wife of Creon. Creon was left, hurt, confused, angered, and in pure disbelief of what happened. Is supreme power always best for a person and their people? Creon believed so; he became immoral to divine law and let his selfishness rule him.

Creon believed strongly that he was in the midst of right doings, because he had power and he held possibly too much dignity, due to no one standing up to him. It meant more to him to look the part of a power holding king, than to act the part while remembering his true morals. Heroism-real and perceived, lost honor, loyalty to state, mind over matter, are all themes portrayed with in the story of Antigone. Creon is one of the many majorly known, tragic figures. “Because power corrupts society’s demands for moral authority and character increase, the position of power increases. ”