Compare and contrast Creon’s and Oedipus’ characteristics and behaviors
In the play “Oedipus Rex” Sophocles portrays two characters, Oedipus and Creon, as rulers of Thebes. After the murder of Laius, former King of Thebes, Oedipus became leader when he killed the Sphinx. Some time later, Creon became King of Thebes as the result of his nephew’s deaths. Oedipus is a good ruler in spite of his defects. Creon is a bad ruler in spite of his virtues. Oedipus is seen as a good leader. He demonstrates the qualities any good leader possesses. When Oedipus learned that the plague had spread through the town he immediately took action. Oedipus is sympathetic to the needs and concerns of his townspeople that he already sent his brother-in-law to gain information from Tiresias. The news from the oracle suggested that the only way to end the plague was to remove the source of Laius’s death, either by banishment or murder. Oedipus immediately seeks out to uncover the murderer of the former king. These qualities are those admired in a leader, like Oedipus, but hard to find in Creon. Creon is seen as a poor leader of Thebes. His qualities are not liked by the townspeople. Creon immediately gives the townspeople a sense of fear as he acknowledges the absolute power he possesses in his speech as ruler of Thebes. Furthermore, Creon issues a decree to his people that anyone who provides Polynices with a proper burial will face death. By enforcing the decree, Creon lacks sympathy for the beliefs of his town and his family, Antigone and Ismene. Oedipus and Creon both ruled with pride. Both were proud of their actions and the way they lead the people of Thebes. At times they were so proud that they failed to believe what was being told to them. Tiresias warned Oedipus of his family curse and the he was the cause of the plague, but he failed to see this. Similarly, Creon was warned by Tiresias in “Antigone” of the trouble that was to result from his injustice. If he tried to make...
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