1) ANTIGONE: For of our two brothers, Creon(20)
gives honorable burial to one,
but dishonors the other. They say that
he hid Eteocles beneath the earth
with well-deserved pomp and circumstance,
as one honored among the dead below;(25)
but the corpse of Polynices, who died
so sadly, they say it has been declared
to the citizens that no one may bury
or mourn him, but must see him unlamented,
unburied, a sweet find for birds to feast upon.
Creon's actions set the stage for the entire play. By forbidding anyone to bury the corpse of the traitorous Polynices, Creon sets up the conflict between himself and Polynices's sister, Antigone, who wishes to bury her brother according to the accepted religious custom.
CHORUS: You are at your pleasure to decide this,
son of Menoeceus, concerning the city's(215)
friend and foe. You may use any habit both
with the dead and with all of us who live. The Chorus lets us know that Creon, as King, has absolute authority to forbid burial to Polynices: "You may use any habit [policy]...with the dead...
3) CREON: Now I am no man,
but she is a man, if power lies with her
Creon feels that if he is lenient with Antigone, it will show that is not a "real man."
4) HAEMON: Whoever thinks that
he's the only one who can think or use
his tongue or soul, no one else—these men, when
you open them up, are seen to be hollow.
Haemon accuses Creon of being stubborn and arrogant, a claim that most readers would agree with.
5) CHORUS: power, for a man who has it,
does not tolerate offenses against itself.
Creon is not really such a bad guy; it's just that as a man in a position of power, he feels that he cannot give in to people who have disobeyed him. (Does this explain the actions of some of your teachers? (: )