Antigone Questions and Answers
by Sophocles

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In Antigone, why does Creon think that Eteocles should be buried?

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Kristin Pasculle eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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After the events in Oedipus Rex, Polyneices and Eteocles decide that they will alternate the duties of the king of Thebes. Eteocles serves as king for the first year, but when it is time for Polyneices to take over, Eteocles does not want to give up the throne. Polyneices raises an army and goes to war with his brother over the control of Thebes. The two brothers are killed in the battle, and their uncle, Creon, becomes the king. This fact is ironic because Creon stated he did not wish to be king in Oedipus Rex. He believed that he had all of the perks of being the king without the risks involved.

Creon decides that Polyneices is a traitor to Thebes because he was fighting against the king, even though Eteocles went against their agreement. Since Eteocles was the king, he determines that he should be given a proper burial, while his brother, Polyneices, should be left unburied.

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Kitty Sharp eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In AntigoneCreon thinks that Eteocles should receive a proper burial because he fought in honor of Thebes.  After Oedipus exiles himself and eventually dies, the decision is made that Eteocles and Polynices will alternate as kings of Thebes.  Eteocles takes the position first, but when his year is up, he does not want to relinquish the position to his brother.  To avenge his honor, Polynices creates a small army and wages war against Thebes.  When the two brothers simultaneously kill each other, Eteocles is technically the king of Thebes, and Polynices is viewed as a traitor.  Being the next family member in line, Creon takes the position as king and orders that Eteocles be given a proper burial because he was he former king of Thebes.  Creon orders that the body of Polynices be left for carrion and wild dogs because he was seen as a traitor to Thebes.  So, Creon orders the burial of Eteocles based on his narrow interpretation of law.

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