Sophocles' Oedipus Cycle: Creon's Deterioration

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Abdul Ibrahim
English 12R
November 9, 2010

Confidence breeds Ignorance

Sophocles’ Oedipus Cycle, Oedipus’s uncle and brother-in-law, Creon, has more lines than Oedipus. The story of the deterioration and eventual loss of Creon’s family is a plot point emphasized more in the final play of the Oedipus Cycle, Antigone, than in the latter two plays, Creon’s deterioration, however, is brought about by the same cause that triggers Oedipus’s downfall: his hubris. Though Creon is the voice of reason in Oedipus Rex, his hubris in the latter two plays causes his deterioration and eventual downfall. Throughout Oedipus Rex, Creon acts as the voice of reason, as displayed by his actions, which are calculated and politically well thought out. Early in the play, as Oedipus waits to have an audience with Teiresias, the seer, Creon, aware of Oedipus’s fate and understanding the dire repercussions should Oedipus’s prophecy be revealed to the public, suggests that the meeting be held in private. Oedipus, however, acting in egregious hubris, insists that Creon speak in front of everyone. In his explanation, he tells Oedipus that his father was murdered, causing the plague, and that “the god commands us to expel from the land of Thebes/An old defilement we are sheltering.” Creon’s intentional vagueness saves him from incrimination and allows him to maintain his standing in society and maintain his standing in political affairs. The second scene of the play displays Creon, defending himself against the accusations made that he conspired with Teiresias to accuse Oedipus of murder. Through Oedipus’s blind rage at him, Teiresias remains composed, and waits for his opportunity to speak. When he does, he speaks with eloquence, and informs Oedipus that he is “the kind of man/Who holds his tongue when he has no facts to go on.” He goes on to explain to Oedipus that he never longed for the king’s power: only his rights, which he, as the former king, abuses, as evidenced when Creon...
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