Character Analysis of Oedipus the King and Creon
- Date:Jun 22, 2019
Characteristics of Oedipus in Oedipus the King that led to his downfall:
Sophocles’ Oedipus the Kingnarrates the tragic saga of Oedipus and of how he creates his own downfall. Just like every other tragic hero, Oedipus has his own tragic flaws and such other characteristics, which directly cause his downfall. Firstly, on analysis of the text, one can see that Oedipus possessed excessive pride. Thus, he was blinded by this pride and it led him to believe that he could escape his fate. The arrogance he developed from solving the riddle of Sphinx was far too much and Oedipus fails to realize the damage ultimately caused to his soul. Oedipus is blinded to the extent that he cannot see what is in front of his eyes as compared to the blind Tireseas who not only sees but also foresees. Furthermore, it is Oedipus’ misunderstanding that he can escape fate, which ultimately leads him to making several decisions to avoid his fate, but ironically, ends in him playing right into it. Another characteristic is his short-temperedness and anger, which determine his ultimate demise. Oedipus kills Laius at the crossroads only because he becomes furious for a moment, as he is not allowed passage. However, despite knowing his fate, he still does not stop a moment to think. Another negative quality of Oedipus is his unwillingness to listen to other people and to listen only to himself. This is highlighted from Oedipus’ stubbornness as well as determination to find out the truth behind who killed Laius despite objections from Jocasta and Tireseas. Thus, these are the characteristics of Oedipus that led to his downfall.
Characteristics of Creon in Antigone that led to his downfall:
The sequel to Oedipus the King, as depicted in Antigone, continues where the former story leaves off. Creon is Oedipus’ brother in law, and it can be seen that like Oedipus, and other tragic heroes of ancient Greece, Creon also possesses similar qualities that lead to his downfall. Although Creon is portrayed as quite a just ruler in the beginning, as the play unravels, the reader begin to see how his position and authority have created excessive pride in him, thereby making him arrogant and think that he is above all gods. This is seen when he denies the burial rights to Polyneices, which is directly opposed to the law of their gods. Thus, through that denial, he is going against the gods and favoring his own interests against their law and tradition. Furthermore, Creon is so arrogant and filled with pride that he does not take any advice from others. Moreover, despite Tireseas’ warning, Creon does not go back on his decision, fearing he will hurt his pride and ego if he does. However, later on Creon strives to wrong his right, but it is a little too late for that and thus, he brings his demise upon himself. Thus, Creon is blinded by his pride and his every decision is an influence or reflection of his ego being manifested into action. Although Creon really did not want to kill Antigone, he wants to punish her due to her rebellion, and he would have decided not to do so had she asked for forgiveness. However, Antigone is stubborn and stays true to her decision, as she believe she is right in the light of their gods’ wishes, but Creon simply does not yield to the truth behind her words. Thus, it becomes clear that these are the characteristics of Creon that caused his ultimate downfall.
On an analysis of both the characters, it becomes clear the both are tragic heroes of ancient Greece, and just like similar tragic heroes, they possess characteristics such as excessive pride, egoistic nature, arrogance, stubbornness and blindness caused by pride that lead to their downfall.