In Antigone, how does Creon act unwise? How does Antigone act wise?

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teachertaylor | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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In Antigone, Creon acts unwisely by refusing to heed the advice of others who try to counsel him.  For example, the blind prophet Teiresias tries to tell Creon that the people of Thebes stand behind Antigone's decision to bury Polyneices and that they feel sympathy for her situation.  Teiresias is known throughout Thebes as a voice of truth, yet Creon does not listen to him.  Instead, Creon insults Teiresias by assuming that he has been bribed to take Antigone's side in the matter. 

On the other hand, Antigone acts wisely by not allowing the baseless threats of others influence her decision to do what she believes is morally the right thing to do.  Ismene disagrees with her sister about the burial of Polyneices and tells Antigone that she will suffer terrible consequences as a result of her decision.  However, Ismene speaks out of fear and a false sense of loyalty to Creon, so Antigone is wise to disregard Ismene's words.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I would say that Creon's hubris is what allows him to act in an unwise manner.  Creon's unwillingness to demonstrate flexibility in his rules and edicts is unwise for a political leader.  This does not meant that rulers cannot have absolutes, but their ability to be an effective leader has to involve some level of circumstance and condition.  There is not a clear case made as to how Creon's rules about burial traditions helps to benefit his people.  It is a rule made on his own preference and done so to enhance his own power.  This is not a very wise move on his part.  Antigone demonstrates a keen sense of wisdom in how she is able to pursue her own path and not capitulate despite the clamors of those around her to surrender her notions of the good.  Antigone stands for her convictions in her belief that her family deserves proper respect and she does not waver in this commitment.

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