‘Creon is the Perfect Leader: Firm but Fair.’
How Far Do You Agree With This Statement?
In Sophocles’ ‘Antigone’, Creon, the newly appointed King of Thebes, is depicted as being a strong willed and ruthless leader who’s actions are influenced by a need for order and a sense of morality to his state. Throughout the play, Creon’s makes various decisions and judgments which continually alter the audience’s opinion of him as a leader. Many of Creon’s acts are conflicted and contrasted by those of his niece, Antigone and the audience is presented with more than one side to many arguments which they are left to evaluate for themselves.
At the beginning of the play, the audience learns that Creon has declared a new law regarding the dead bodies of his recently deceased nephews, Eteocles and Polynices. While Eteocles “has been given full military honors” in his burial, “a city-wide proclamation…forbids anyone to bury him (Polynices), even mourn him”. Antigone is outraged by Creon’s lack of family loyalty and by his obvious disrespect for the laws of the gods and for the dead. These profound traditional values would have been highly regarded in the fourth century BC when Antigone was written, and would have been seen as qualities of a good leader which Creon did not possess. On the other hand, Creon’s uncompromising opinion principal that “never at my (his) hands will the traitor be honored above the patriot” would have been seen as good leadership as it emphasizes Creon’s devotion and loyalty to Thebes and its laws and shows that he is not willing to compromise his beliefs or disobey state law for his kin. His forbidding of the burial of Polynices may have acted as comfort or closure for the population of Thebes whom had had their homeland invaded by their banished prince.
When Creon first appears onstage, he makes a long speech to the chorus in which the audience is presented with his ideas and personality from his own point of view, rather than from...