Oedipus the King and Creon

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In Oedipus Rex the character of Creon serves as a foil to Oedipus. An individual who is the foil of another provides contrast. Creon is portrayed as a rational, ethical, and dutiful leader who represents the need for a stable society. All the while Oedipus is portrayed as a rash, unreasonable, and overly confident king, who is constantly trying to keep up with his unavoidable fate. Creon says that he doesn't want to rule alone as sovereign of Thebes. He prefers the power sharing arrangement that he has with Oedipus and with his sister Jocasta. In contrast, Oedipus prefers to rule without his brother-in-law. Specifically, Creon claims that as king he'd be doing 'many things against my will'. And so Creon comes off as Oedipus' foil. In contrast, Oedipus gives the impression of doing especially what fits in with his will. For example, Creon returns from the shrine to Apollo. He suggests that he and Oedipus meet privately inside the palace. But Oedipus insists upon Creon sharing the information in front of those Thebans who are assembled outside the palace. Creon believes in the privacy of conversations. So he's reluctant to share the prophecies of the Delphic Oracle other than privately with his brother-in-law and nephew. Oedipus believes in the public nature of affairs of state. So he wants his people to share in the breaking news items. Creon appears bureaucratic. He seems to act out of a clear sense of where his duty and his job begin and end. In contrast, Oedipus appears emotional. He seems to develop and defend strong beliefs and feelings. This leads him to accuse Creon of treasonous, ulterior motives. Oedipus jumps to conclusions, while Creon thinks before acting.

Creon shows his rationality when he replies to a question Oedipus asks by stating, "I don't know. And when I don't, I keep quiet" (line 635 page 670). This shows Creon's non-judgmental character and his desire to be just as a ruler. Creon also demonstrates that he is an ethical leader when he...
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