In what ways does Creon change over the course of the play Antigone?I am writing an essay about Creon.  I would like to know some of the ways in which is character develops or changes?  Thank you.

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davmor1973 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It would seem that Creon changes considerably over the course of the play. Initially, he is a cruel, implacable tyrant. He's refused to allow Antigone or anyone else to bury the body of her brother, Polynices. Instead, he's just going to leave his broken corpse to rot out in the open. Creon's actions are not just cruel, petty and vindictive; they're also impious. In ordering that Polynices shall not be given a decent burial, Creon is defying the gods. He is guilty of displaying what the ancient Greeks called hubris, or overweening pride.

Later on in the play, Creon realizes that he's made a disastrous mistake. But it's too little, too late. Whatever sympathy we may have for Creon is tempered by the fact that in changing his mind, he's still thinking of what's best for himself and this throne, rather than doing what he knows to be right. That said, it's impossible not to feel for Creon as he enters the palace, cradling the bloody corpse of his son, Haemon. And then to hear about the suicide of his wife, Eurydice, merely compounds our sympathy.

At last, Creon has achieved a degree of wisdom. But it has been hard-won indeed, bought at an unacceptably high cost. That it should have taken such appalling suffering and sorrow to bring Creon to his senses is itself a tragedy, but one that's quite revealing of his true character.

gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

At the beginning of the play, Creon is depicted as a strict ruler who values loyalty to the state above everything else. He decrees that any person attempting to bury or pray for Polyneices will be sentenced to death. Creon stubbornly stands by his decision when Antigone defies his law and dismisses her argument about honoring the gods by burying her brother. Creon again displays his inflexible disposition when he addresses his son Haimon. Creon shows his lack of empathy by rebuking Haimon for defending Antigone and proves his point by locking Antigone in a vault located in the wilderness. Creon's pride also prevents him from listening to Teiresias, who urges him to reconsider his decision. When Teiresias leaves, Creon listens to the Choragos and realizes his mistake. Creon experiences a change of heart and shows remorse for his actions by properly performing the burial rights for Polyneices. Creon also demonstrates empathy for those adversely affected by his terrible decision at the end of the play. Unfortunately, it is too late for Creon to rectify matters, and he experiences the tragic loss of his son and wife. Creon's self-assurance and confidence are diminished by the end of the play as he laments, "Fate has brought all my pride to a thought of dust" (Sophocles, 1038).

teachertaylor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Over the course of the play Antigone, Creon becomes a more sympathetic character.  At the beginning of the play, Creon is entirely stubborn and insists that there should be no mercy for Polyneices.  When he learns that Antigone has in fact attempted to bury her brother's body, Creon orders that she be put to death.  He will not let Haemon reason with him, and Creon tells his son that he has been pushed over by a woman.  Creon insists that the people of Thebes respect his orders as King.  However, over time Creon begins to see that he is being blinded by the laws of men.  Great tragedies befall his family and Creon begins to change his ways; however, he is ultimately too late to save the ones closest to him.  In the end, Creon does learn that his earlier stubborn nature has led him to his own downfall.