What are similarities in action between King Saul in 1 Samuel 14:24-15:35 and King Creon in Antigone ?

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Tamara K. H. | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

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One similarity between King Saul in 1 Samuel and Creon in Antigone is that both make foolish proclamations based on their desires for revenge.

Creon decrees that no person shall be permitted to bury his nephew Polynices because he views him as a traitor to the state. After Oedipus's fall, the two brothers Eteocles and Polynices were left to rule Athens jointly. However, neither brother could rule peacefully and battled each other. The two brothers' civil war led to both of their deaths. Creon views Polynices as the perpetrator and Eteocles as the hero, therefore, he gives Eteocles a proper burial, but treats Polynices as an enemy of the state, making it unlawful to bury him, even though he is part of Creon's own family. As Creon sees it, it is wrong to give as much honor to those who are corrupt as to those who are noble, as we see in his lines:

This is my judgement, and never from
me will the base take equal honor to the good;
but whoever is friend to this city will
in life and death be equally honored by me. (210-213)

However, he has passed this decree in defiance of the gods' laws. The gods command that all should be given equal and honorable burial. Therefore, Creon is making this decree out of anger towards Polynices and even using it as a means to avenge himself of the destruction that Polynices caused.

King Saul acts for similar motives. He orders that no Israelite should eat anything the whole day until he has "avenged myself on [his] enemies" (I Sam. 14:25-26, NASB). Jonathan points out that this is a foolish decree because it left the Israelites without strength to conquer the Philistines. However, King Saul made this decree out of anger towards the Philistines and with the motive of seeking revenge, just like Creon.

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