Oedipus & Creon, a Great man or a Great Fall? Compare/contrast two characters in Sophocles' Plays and relate them to the great fall of man in Greek society. (Oedipus and Creon)

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Sophocles was a great playwright in ancient Athens who had written many trilogies that were victorious in the City Dionysia festival. One of the most famous myths depicted in these plays would be those of Oedipus and the curse on his family. In his play Antigone, Sophocles focuses on Creon's faults as a character, including his hubris and impatience which leads to his ultimate downfall and causes him to lose those that are dear to him. In Oedipus the King, Sophocles emphasizes the fallibility of human knowledge, which is once again due to hubris.

Antigone takes place after the deaths of Antigone's two brothers Eteocles and Polyneices. Creon, who has now been named king, declares that Polyneices is to remain unburied. In his first speech of the play, Creon places much emphasis on the words "law" and "principle" thus portraying his belief in government as the supreme authority.

Thus, Sophocles establishes Creon's main argument for upholding his unholy edict. However, his hubris becomes very clear when he states "I swear I am no man and she the man if she can win this and not pay for it" (Antigone, 484). Here, Sophocles shows that even if Creon believes that Antigone is justified in the actions that she took, he will refuse to exonerate her from death because she is a woman, reaffirming the presence of Creon's hubris.

In Oedipus the King, a seer tells Oedipus that there is a plague rampant among Thebes because the murderer of the previous king was not brought to justice. The seer then warns Oedipus and tells him that he is the murderer of his own father and also that he has slept with his mother. Oedipus, the king of Thebes, the great conqueror of the sphinx, refuses to be insulted by a blind old man, and accuses the seer of being a conspirator. Thus his hubris has caused him to spurn a holy prophet who has knowledge of the divine, and it has led him to assume that he is being plotted against and about to be overthrown.

Because both of these plays were written by Sophocles, many thematic similarities can be drawn, as well as character flaws such as how hubris has driven both Creon and Oedipus to believe that they are being conspired against by some person close to them, (Oedipus thought it was Creon in Oedipus The King, Creon thought it was Antigone and Ismene in Antigone). In both these plays, Teiresias is the one to bring light to both characters as they realize their ate has come about.

In Greek tragedy, ate is the preordained ruin of an individual by the gods. In the case of Oedipus, from birth his ate was set in motion, and it was his hubris that caused it to be revealed to him. However it can be argued that in Antigone, Creon could have prevented his ate had he shown a little more humility to the gods, but instead, he let his hubris control his actions which caused him to suffer.

Therefore in both of these great Sophoclean plays, the fall of man came about as a result ultimately of a fate preordained by the gods, but the character flaw that helped to bring about this great fall was the hubris of man, either by transgressing religious boundaries and imposing human law over divine law, or by assuming the perfection of human knowledge and imperfection of divine knowledge. In both cases, man's hubris towards matters of the divine brought about his ultimate ruin.

Works Cited1.MacKay, L.A. "Antigone, Coriolanus, and Hegel". Transactions and Proceedings of the American Philological Association, Vol. 93. (1962), p. 1672.http://www.jstor.org/stable/283759?seq=13.Sophocles I Edited by David Greene and Richmond Lattimore