Oedipus Rex Questions and Answers
by Sophocles

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Oedipus, Creon of Antigone, and Antigone herself are all tragic characters in some way, yet only Oedipus provokes our pity. Why?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I am not entirely certain if this is the case.  I think that Oedipus evokes pity, but I also think that a certain level of pity can be felt for Creon.  Due to his own pursuit of law and justice, Creon sees his wife die and his son die, both by their own hands because of him.  Creon is left to understand his own stubbornness and gains nothing of value from this revelation.  I think that Creon is worthy of pity because in seeing Creon's suffering, the reader recognizes their own mistakes.  Creon simply believed in his own infallibility.  This is a very human tendency.  He might be worthy of scorn from the audience.  Yet, I believe that Creon is pitiable.  Certainly, there is little to suggest that the audience believes Creon deserved more or "got off light."  Rather, Creon does reflect and understand, albeit too late, the errors he has made.  Certainly, he suffers greatly for it.  He is faced to deal with the repercussions of his own sense of hubris.  What he suffers is for merely being an imperfect human being.  I believe that this is where he is worthy of pity.  It seems to me that it is a highly appropriate response for pity to be intrinsic to understanding Creon.

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