How does Creon's image change in the last scene?How does Creon's image change in the last scene comparing to the image he has in the beginning of the play

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kplhardison's profile pic

Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

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In the opening, Creon has a commanding presence yet has deference to the preferences of Oedipus; he defers to what Oedipus wants:

Enter Creon
Creon. I tell thee, what is now our worst annoy,
If the right deed be done, shall turn to good.
[The crowd, which has been full of excited hope, falls to doubt and disappointment.
Oedipus. Nay, but what is the message? For my blood
Runs neither hot nor cold for words like those.
Creon. Shall I speak now, with all these pressing close,
Or pass within?—To me both ways are fair.

By the end of the tragedy, Creon's commanding presence is still obvious though he now commands Oedipus; his deference is a thing of the past.

Creon. Enough thy heart hath poured its tears; now back into thine house repair. [...]
Oedipus. One oath then give me, and I go.
Creon. Name it, and I will answer thee.
Oedipus. To cast me from this land. 
Creon. A gift not mine but God's thou askest me. [...]
Oedipus. Thou givest thine oath?
Creon. I see no light; and, seeing not, I may not swear. [...]
Creon. Seek not to be master more. Did not thy masteries of old forsake thee when the end was near?

belarafon's profile pic

belarafon | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Creon suffers (or benefits) from the classic disillusionment of a follower towards his fallible leader. By allowing his point of view to change based on his observations of Oedipus, he becomes the true leader that Oedipus could not be; Creon also never wanted the throne, which makes him far better suited for it than one who desires power. Although he takes it at the end, it is reluctantly; earlier, he would never have dared to serve as king, since he was so in awe of Oedipus.

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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There is a definite development that we can see in Creon's character as the play progresses. At the beginning of the play, he is very much in awe of the power and might of Oedipus and acts very deferentially towards him, showing him great respect. However, by the end of the play, once it is clear that Oedipus has suffered a downfall and has lost all of his power, Creon begins to assert himself and become more independent, seizing the power that has been left by the downfall of Oedipus.

booboosmoosh's profile pic

booboosmoosh | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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By the end of the play, Oedipus (who felt Creon was jealous of him and trying to steal the throne), finds that Creon has actually come to him not to judge, but to ascertain what the gods want Creon to do. Oedipus wants to be led away from civilization so he can speak to no one. He wants to die, but Creon tells him that no matter what Oedipus has done, Creon needs to look to the gods for direction as to what comes next for this tragic figure, and he suggests that Oedipus do the same.

OEDIPUS:

Cast me immediately from this land,
somewhere I can avoid all mortal speech.

CREON:

Know well that I would do this, but first I (1460)
must learn from the god what must be done.

He also arranges that Oedipus be with his children once more. Oedipus asks...

What’s this now?

By the gods, do I somehow hear my two dear girls
crying? Has Creon pitied me and(1495)
sent to me the dearest of my offspring?
Is it true?

CREON:

You are, for I am the one who prepared these things,
knowing the joy they have long brought you.

While Oedipus expected Creon to act harshly with him, Creon shows that he has the capacity to be wise and look to knowledge greater than his own (the gods). Bringing Oedipus' daughters to him shows that Creon can be a kind and understanding man, but he still believes that the gods will make decisions for Oedipus that Creon, as a man, cannot do.

e-martin's profile pic

e-martin | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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Creon has grown tired of being falsely accused of harboring ill-will toward Oedipus. He is so tired of it that he actually feels an ill-will toward Oedipus.

Creon has been doubted, and though he tried to bring Oedipus back to reason, the relationship between the two men cannot go back to the positive footing that once characterized it.

rrteacher's profile pic

rrteacher | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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By the end, Creon emerges as a tough, self-confident leader. He banishes Oedipus somewhat reluctantly, but when Oedipus, now no longer king, attempts to get Creon to promise to care for his daughters, he will not take his hand. He has become much like Oedipus was at the beginning of the play.

vangoghfan's profile pic

vangoghfan | College Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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One difference between Creon at the beginning of the play and Creon at the end is that at the end he is far less deferential to Oedipus than he had been at the beginning. For instance, near the beginning of the work, Creon had addressed Oedipus as follows:

CREON: Before you came, my lord,
to steer our ship of state, Laius ruled this land.

However, the last words Creon speaks in the play (spoken to Oedipus) are far less deferential:

CREON: Don’t try to be in charge of everything.
Your life has lost the power you once had.

Clearly Creon feels more personally powerful at the end of the work than he had at the beginning.


litteacher8's profile pic

litteacher8 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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I am not sure exactly what you mean by image.  Do you mean self-image?  At the beginning of the play he says he is not interested in ruling, but he does seem to want power and in Antigone he is the king.  By the end of Antigone he is a miserable wreck.

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