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Oedipus vs. Creon

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  • November 29, 2010
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One City; Two Corrupt Leaders
In the plays Oedipus Rex and Antigone by Sophocles, Oedipus and Creon exert similar characteristics as leaders that ultimately result in their characterization as tragic heroes. They take a similar course throughout their stories, which leads to a similar fate, resulting in tragedy. Both characters tried to revive a city in need, but in the process, the hubris they possessed got in the way. Both men had the chance to see that their actions would lead to a tragic ending, but neither one could see around their pride. Because of their tragic flaws, these two rulers caused great pain to themselves, their family and the people of Thebes. Although Oedipus and Creon ruled over Thebes at different times, the truth is that they both are similarly defined by their tragic actions because of their overbearing determination, uncontrollable fate, and enormous grievances.

With the intentions of making Thebes a better city, Oedipus and Creon both set laws they thought would help the people, but they both made themselves blind to their own fates and sped their demise. When Oedipus began his reign, Thebes was suffering from the plague, and to ensure the happiness of his city, Oedipus promised the people of Thebes that he would find the person who killed the king Laius and exile them, so that the gods would restore health to the city. When he does this, he is unaware that he himself killed the king, who also happened to be his father. Oedipus spends much of the play searching for this so-called murderer and does not realize that his determination to find them is only hurting himself. In the opening scene of Antigone, Creon decided that a “traitor” does not deserve a proper burial even what that traitor is his own blood. He then announced that anyone caught burying Polynices, will be publically stoned to death. Later on, Creon got news that someone had tried to bury Polynices. This person was Antigone. Creon needed to keep control over the people...