What kind of impression does Sophocles give of Creon as a father, husband, and relative in Antigone?

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Tamara K. H. eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Sophocles paints Creon as a very stubborn, unyielding, and self-interested father and relative.  When both of his nephews kill each other in battle, he treats only Eteocles as a nephew and gives him proper burial rights.  But he refuses to see Polynices as anything more than a traitor to the state.  He refuses to relate to how the last two of Oedipus’s remaining children, Antigone and Ismene, would feel toward their brothers’ deaths and the refusal of burial rights for Polynices.  When Haemon appears, at first Creon appears to be a loving father and to want what is best for him.  But when Haemon informs him that the people of the state are questioning Creon’s decision and believe Antigone to be innocent, Creon, afraid of losing authority over the state, puts his authority above all else and turns Haemon away, spurring Haemon to take his own life.  Creon’s actions are no better as a husband.  Creon’s stubbornness that kills his son and niece also leads to his wife’s suicide.  Eventually Creon sees that the gods are angry with his decisions and repents, but it’s too late.