Creon claims that the rule of the king must be obeyed even if it’s wrong in order to avoid anarchy and chaos. Does the play agree or disagree with Creon? Cite 4 specific quotes that support your...
Creon claims that the rule of the king must be obeyed even if it’s wrong in order to avoid anarchy and chaos. Does the play agree or disagree with Creon? Cite 4 specific quotes that support your position.
The play seems to suggest that Creon's position that his will had to be done, that the law had to be maintained regardless of the human consequences, is ultimately wrong. Antigone's decision to obey the will of the gods is portrayed as fundamentally right. The closing line of the play, spoken by the leader of the Chorus, sums up this position:
Wisdom is the supreme part of happiness; and reverence towards the gods must be inviolate. Great words of prideful men are ever punished with great blows, and, in old age, teach the chastened to be wise.
Creon's pride brings about chaos, ironic since he argued that a commitment to law is necessary to avoid disorder. While the play does emphasize that Antigone's stubbornness brought about her death, her persistence is admirable rather than arrogant. He himself says to Eurydice's dead body that he is responsible for her death:
Ah me, this guilt can never be fixed on any other of mortal kind, for my acquittal! I, even I, was thy slayer, wretched that I am—I own the truth.
Creon realizes that he is wrong and decries the "wretched blindness of [his] counsels." Indeed, as the Messenger says, the king's decision to arrogantly defy the will of the gods, and to refuse absolutely to retreat from his position, has left him "a breathing corpse." Antigone does not oversimplify the dilemma at its core: Creon is not evil for having been so committed to enforcing his own edict. But it is clear that his intransigence has brought devastation to his family, to himself, and to Thebes. Again, it is Creon's edict, and his demand that it be obeyed at all costs, that brings about chaos. This is the profound irony at the heart of the play.