Similarities between Creon and Antigone
In Sophocles’ play Antigone, Creon was engaged in a conflict with Oedipus’ daughter Antigone. Creon and Antigone did not see eye-to-eye the entire play due to extreme differences. Creon and Antigone had many similarities despite their enormous discrepancies. Having as many differences as they did, it made them uniquely similar in numerous ways. The similarities that Antigone and Creon shared were independence, loyalty toward their views, cruelty and arrogance (“The Similarities”). The connection shared by Antigone and Creon showed that as hard as Sophocles tried to make them diverse, he made them unintentionally equivalent at the same time.
What does it mean to be independent? According to Webster’s New World Dictionary, it means “to be free from the influence or control of others” (“Independent”). Antigone and Creon both showed that they would not be influenced or controlled by anyone, regardless of the situation. Antigone showed her independence by refusing to obey Creon’s law. His law stated that traitors could not have a proper burial in Thebes, but be left for the birds and dogs to devour. Creon also stated that if anyone was caught giving the body a proper burial then that person would be killed, but Antigone did not care and insisted on burying her dead brother. Ismene, Antigone’s sister, wanted no part of burying her brother because she was afraid of the consequences. Antigone did not care if her sister was going to help, but proclaimed to her, “I won’t insist,/ no, even if you should have a change of heart,/ I’d never welcome you in the labor, not with me” (Antigone ll 81-83). After her sister refused to assist her with the burial, she acted independently and attempted to put her brother’s body to rest. Antigone’s actions in the play showed that she was not going to wait for others to help her, but she was going to take initiative and act as an independent person. Whether she was right or wrong, she showed the audience that she was not scared to stand up to Creon and his laws and show her independence.
Similarly, Creon was extremely independent; he refused to listen to anybody’s opinion (“The Similarities”). He believed that his opinion was the right one, so nobody else could voice his/her concerns. It was proven in a scene with his son Haemon. Haemon entered the room to talk with his father about Antigone, but Creon wanted no part of it. Haemon stated that his father had dishonored the gods by sending Antigone off to her death, but Creon responded by saying, “You, you soul of corruption, rotten through-/ woman’s accomplice!” (836-37) Creon refused to acknowledge his son’s point, therefore, not changing his mind on Antigone’s fate. In another scene, Creon showed his independence by refusing to listen to Tiresias’ prophecy. Knowing that Tiresias’ prophecies were never wrong, Creon still ignored him. Creon stated, “You and the whole breed of seers are mad for money!” (1171) He claimed that Tiresias was wrong, and he was doing the right thing. In this scene Creon showed his independence in a cruel manner by disrespecting Tiresias. Antigone and Creon both showed that they wanted to be independent. Antigone’s will to be independent ultimately caused her death, and Creon’s caused him to lose his son, niece, and wife.
Creon and Antigone also demonstrated a similarity in their loyalty to their own views. They both had different views, but they both remained loyal to them throughout the entire play. Creon and Antigone did not give in to others’ views, but relied on their own for survival. Creon was extremely loyal to his laws that he had made, and Antigone was loyal to her beliefs. Nothing was going to change either of them. When Antigone was brought in by the sentry, Creon was disturbed to find out Antigone was the person burying Polynices. He was extremely upset at Antigone for breaking his laws, but he did not realize that he was breaking the laws of the gods. Creon shouted at Antigone, “And you still had the gall to break this law?” (498) That statement proved he was loyal to his laws and the consequences of them. Creon thought that his laws were more important than any others, including the gods (“The Similarities”). Creon stood by his laws for as long as possible until he was proven wrong and had to attempt to fix all of his hideous mistakes.
Antigone’s loyalty to her beliefs ultimately caused her own death. Antigone believed that her brother was treated unjustly by not receiving a proper burial; therefore, she was loyal to her beliefs that no matter what Polynices did, he should be honored with a burial. In the beginning of the play Ismene attempted plead with her not to disobey Creon’s laws, but Antigone’s beliefs got the best of her. Ismene declared, “What? You’d bury him-/ when a law forbids the city?” (54-55). As hard as Ismene tried to persuade Antigone not to bury Polynices, Antigone believed that she was doing the correct thing, and her loyalty to her beliefs overpowered every emotion that was present. In the end, Antigone was willing to risk her life to stand up for what she really believed. Her loyalty to her beliefs was amazing and unheard of for the time period, as women usually did not challenge men.
Another similarity that both Creon and Antigone share is their cruelty directed against others. Creon was cruel toward everyone with whom he came in contact. For example, Creon when speaking to his son Haemon exclaimed, “Don’t flatter me with Father-you woman’s slave!” (848) Creon did not care he was talking to his own son in that manner, which shows how cruel of a man he was. He accused Haemon of defending Antigone’s actions of burying the body of Polynices. Creon is also cruel towards Tiresias, his old friend. Creon showed him disrespect by not believing his prophecies. Tiresias’ prophecy proclaimed that if Antigone was not released, bad things would happen (“The Similarities”). As a result of Creon ignoring his prophecy, Antigone, Haemon, and Eurydice all were dead. Creon’s disrespect of Tiresias was the beginning of the end for him and his family.
Antigone was also cruel at moments. She treated her sister unfairly at times, but it was for a purpose. Antigone was only trying to save her brother’s dignity, and Ismene was only complicating the problem. When Ismene told her not to risk everything to please the gods, Antigone told her to go away before she started to hate her (“The Similarities”). Ismene made the comment, “Oh Antigone, you’re so rash-I’m so afraid for you!” (96) Ismene was scared of her sister because she would not cooperate with her during the burial process. Ismene did not think she was doing the right thing by burying their brother. Antigone’s cruelty toward her sister was not intentional, but it was out of frustration and urgency to do the right thing with the body. Antigone’s cruelty was different than that of Creon’s. Creon was mean and nasty to everyone he came in contact with because he saw himself as superior to everyone else, but Antigone was cruel only because the situation called for urgency. Ismene was doing nothing but making things more difficult.
The final similarity that existed between Creon and Antigone was arrogance. Both characters showed signs of arrogance throughout the play, which showed how these characters were just as similar as they were different. Creon demonstrated arrogance when he would not listen to common sense. Haemon tried to explain to him why Antigone should not die, but Creon saw him as defending a women and scorned him. Creon stated, “This boy, I do believe, / is fighting on her side, the woman’s side.” (828-29). Haemon was trying to provide proof that Antigone should be saved, but Creon was so full arrogance that he believed whatever he did was correct and acceptable. In the end his arrogant attitude got the best of him, so he was forced to save Antigone. While attempting to do that, his son and wife killed themselves. Creon was devastated, but he blamed himself for the misfortunes that occurred to his family.
Antigone also possessed an arrogant attitude at the beginning of the play. She was so overwhelmed with the necessity to bury her brother, she refused to listen to logic. Her sister Ismene the whole time was trying to talk sense into her, but Antigone was focused on one thing-putting her brother to rest. Antigone did not care about the consequences of burying her brother; all she wanted was for him to be at peace. The entire time Ismene was attempting to persuade her to not bury the body, but Antigone was not going to let some laws get in the way (“The Similarities”). Antigone’s arrogant attitude showed up once again when Ismene tried to state that she helped Antigone with the burial, “I did it, yes-/if only she consents-I share the guilt,/ the consequences too” (604-606). Ismene tried to admit helping her, but Antigone showed how arrogant she was by telling Creon that she acted alone. Telling Creon might have been a nice gesture, but it showed that she was only thinking about herself. Both characters showed extreme arrogance during the play. It affected them both in negative ways, but it proved that they were only thinking of themselves during times when they could have used some advice or help.
In Sophocles’ play Antigone, he showed how characters can be so different, but similar at the same time. Throughout the entire play, Creon and Antigone were in a constant struggle, but the audience did not realize how alike they really were. The common traits they shared consisted of independence, loyalty toward their views, cruelty and arrogance. Creon and Antigone both expressed their similarities in different ways, but were extremely comparable characters opposing each other.
Agnes, Michael. Webster’s New World Compact Office Dictionary. 2002.
The Similarities between Creon and Antigone. 1996. 03/14/2005
Sophocles. Antigone. The Three Theban Plays. Trans. Robert Fagles. New York: