In Antigone, how are Creon and Antigone both similar and different?  

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Susan Hurn eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Creon and Antigone are similar in some significant ways. Both are very strong, aggressive, willful personalities who are utterly convinced of the rightness of their actions. Neither of them will even consider the other's position or attempt to understand it. These traits are very evident in their confrontations; they argue but they do not discuss in terms of solving the conflict between them. Each tries to intimidate the other, to no avail. Creon reminds Antigone that he will kill her, while Antigone points out that he is defying the gods and will suffer for it. Also, both reject those who do not support them. Antigone ends her relationship with her sister when Ismene will not join her in burying their brother, and she coldly rejects Ismene's love when she tries later to share Antigone's punishment. Creon flies into a rage against his son Haemon  when Haemon dares to question Creon's actions and tries to save Antigone's life.

It is their primary essential difference, however, that creates the conflict between them and drives the action of the drama. They have different priorities. Creon is most concerned with the strength and security of the state, while Antigone is most concerned with the welfare of her unburied brother's soul. Her loyalty to him surpasses all else. Creon believes that if he backs down from his edict to kill anyone who touches the body of Polyneices, whom Creon despises as a traitor, such action will make him appear weak and thus will weaken his political power and threaten the security of the country. Antigone believes that if she does not bury her brother, his soul will never find peace in the afterlife and she will have defied the will of the gods. Creon and Antigone hold firmly to very different values, and their strong personalities guarantee that the conflict between them will not be easily resolved