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...