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What happens to Creon at the end of Sophocles' Antigone?

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At the end of Sophocles' Antigone, Creon is devastated by the tragic deaths of Antigone, his son Haemon, and his wife Eurydice, all of whom commit suicide. Creon acknowledges his responsibility for these deaths and is overwhelmed by grief, transforming from a confident ruler to a sorrowful man who prays for death, contemplating suicide.

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At the beginning of the play, Creon has assumed absolute control over Thebes and declares that Polynices's corpse should be left out to rot in the sun as an example to his supporters. Creon proceeds to have Antigone arrested and entombed alive for attempting to give her brother a proper burial and purposely disobeying his decree. Despite his son's pleas and threats to commit suicide if Antigone is not freed, Creon remains obstinate and resolute. Once the citizens' prayers go unanswered and sickness begins to plague Thebes, Creon argues with the blind seer Tiresias, who calls him a tyrant and informs him that his decision to entomb Antigone has angered the gods. Creon then consults the Chorus and rushes to bury Polynice's body before attempting to free Antigone. At her tomb, Creon discovers that she has committed suicide by hanging. Creon's son then attacks him before killing himself. When Creon returns to his home, he also discovers that his wife, Eurydice, has also committed suicide. At the end of the play, Creon acknowledges that he is responsible for the tragic deaths of Antigone, Haemon, and Eurydice and prays for death. Creon has transformed from a confident ruler to a sorrowful, grief-stricken man, who is overwhelmed by the tragedy and wishes to die.

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At the beginning of the play, Creon appears to be both a successful and benevolent ruler. The fratricidal war between Eteocles and Polynices having ended with both their deaths, Creon's leadership is undisputed. His judgement concerning the burial of the two brothers, although harsh, seems rational in light of circumstances.

When Antigone symbolically attempts to bury Polynices, Creon's harsh punishment of her and refusal to reconsider it in light of the pleas of Haemon and warnings of the prophet Tiresias, bring about the unhappy ending. There are divine signs -- the whirlwind and auspices observed by Tireisias -- that indicate Antigone should not be left to die and that the body should be buried.

By the time Creon finally laments, Antigone is dead. By the end of the play, Creon's son Haemon and his wife Eurydice have killed themselves and Creon has realized that his stubborness has been his downfall; he himself appears to be contemplating suicide as well.

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