How Do Creon from "Antigone" by Sophocles and Bernarda from "House of Bernarda Alba" by Frederico Lorca Respond to Challenges to Their Power?

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Creon, the King of Thebes, and Bernarda, who is the head of her household are the most powerful characters in their plays. Both characters want to have complete control over everything and everyone around them; however both suffer losses as a result of their attitudes and use of power. The main difference between Creon and Bernarda is how they react to these losses and to the challenges to their authority. It is this aspect which the essay will explore.

The House of Bernarda has an interesting beginning because it tells us what other characters- namely Poncia and the servant- think of Bernarda. It gives us a very clear and true representation of the kind of person Bernarda is. We discover that she is the mother and leader of the household who is made out to be a complete tyrant-"If Bernarda doesn't see things shining here, she'll put out what little hair I still have left." From what the servants say it seems that even when her husband was alive she was in control of the family, "Her poor husband's earned himself a good rest!" Her position is firmly established as head of the family. Her power is shown by the fact that while both servants hate her they continue to do her bidding and remain fearful,"Damn her I'd like to stick a red-hot nail in her eyes! ...But I'm still a good bitch, I bark when I'm told."

Creon's position is very different from Bernarda's. He has very recently become King of Thebes, he is in fact still presenting to the people what kind of king he will be. He does this in his first monologue, "I now possess the throne and all its powers...As I see, whoever assumes the awesome task of setting the city's course, and refuses to adopt the soundest policies but fearing someone, keeps his lips locked tight, he's utterly worthless." From the beginning he sets out to do as he said he would, to do what he thinks is best and not be swayed by other people's point of view. But already at the opening of the play it is clear that there are those...
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