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

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In Antigone, Creon and Antigone are similar in their stubbornness and belief in their own ethical righteousness, which is central to the play's conflict on justice. Antigone follows divine law in burying her brother, believing it morally necessary, while Creon adheres to his own law that prohibits the burial, seeing it as maintaining order. Their stubbornness leads to tragic familial conflicts. A key difference is that Creon eventually recognizes his error, influenced by external pressures and prophecies, unlike Antigone who remains steadfast in her convictions until death.

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As other Educators have noted, both Antigone and Creon are stubborn and strongly believe they are correct. Their conflict forms the central issue of the play: what is justice?

Antigone believes she is following a higher law, that of the gods, in burying her brother. Creon, on the other hand, has passed a law stipulating that Polynices should not be buried since he fought against Thebes (and his brother Eteocles, who shut his brother out of power, though they were supposed to share the throne). Both Antigone and Creon believe they are acting ethically and following their conscience. Both strongly argue their sides to the other and refuse to back down. Even though they are family, Creon sees the law as higher and sentences Antigone, his niece, to death. Antigone accepts her punishment, knowing she would be betraying her moral sense if she were to follow Creon’s edict.

The two characters have similar personalities but hold opposite opinions on Creon’s law. One additional difference is that Creon eventually changes his mind. After the conflict with his son (who is to marry Antigone) and word that many citizens support Antigone, Creon rushes to the cavee where his niece has been placed to free her. However, he is too late. Antigone has died by suicide; Haemon follows suit once he sees that his bride is dead. Creon must live on and suffer the consequences of his initial obstinacy, while Antigone dies with the conviction that she is right.

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The most obvious similarity is their stubbornness. Both genuinely believe that they're doing the right thing and that anyone who disagrees with them is totally wrong. Antigone is adamant that she will accord Polyneices the proper burial that he deserves. Creon, on the other hand, is equally emphatic that as king his word is law and must be followed to the absolute letter on pain of death.

In both cases, stubbornness leads to disputes with family members. Ismene cannot understand why her sister is so openly defiant of Creon's express orders. Her genuine fear of Creon's wrath earns her a withering rebuke from Antigone, who like many principled people, can seem a little self-righteous at times.

Creon, for his part, becomes embroiled in a bitter conflict with his son, Haemon, who rails against his father's stubborn refusal to yield an inch, even after hearing Tiresias's dark and ominous prophecy. Creon's inflexibility effectively destroys his relationship with Haemon and leads eventually to his death.

Yet out of their most important similarity emerges a crucial difference—Antigone does not yield. She sticks to her guns right throughout the play, knowing that ultimately she's in the right. Creon, despite his previous refusal to budge, does eventually see the error of his ways, although it takes the tragic death of his son to make him realize it.

This leads us on to yet another important difference—Antigone feels herself bound to a higher law, one that transcends merely human, man-made laws. In defying Creon, Antigone is certain that she's honoring the gods. Creon, however, does indeed defy the gods by refusing to allow the burial of Polyneices. He disrespects the gods by effectively turning himself into one, and the consequences for him, and for his family, are catastrophic.

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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

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What are some similarities and differences between Creon and Antigone in Sophocles' play Antigone?

It's human nature to try to find common ground between even the most hostile enemies. It's important that we find something that the enemies share in their motivations, characters, or personalities so we can "bring them together" and help them to "work things out."

Sometimes the magic works, and sometimes it doesn't. In Antigone, it doesn't.

Antigone and Creon are not in the least similar. There's no common ground, or any other form of commonality, between them. They might as well live in different worlds, which, in a sense, they do.

At the beginning of the play, Antigone is already in heaven, communing with the gods—if not yet in person, then certainly in spirit.

Creon is stuck firmly on earth, overwhelmed by earthly concerns, and he appears to be working his way even lower on the continuum from heaven to the underworld.

Antigone and Creon's motivations for their actions are diametrically opposed. Antigone believes with all of her heart and soul that what she's doing in burying Polyneices is right, just, and, most important to Antigone, sanctioned by the gods.

Creon can claim none of these things. Creon believes only in himself and his own force of will.

The essential, irreconcilable difference between Antigone and Creon is that Antigone's actions are governed by an underlying moral imperative, whereas Creon's actions are ruled fundamentally and exclusively by his own pride.

Antigone never rationalizes her decisions or makes excuses for her actions because she commands the higher moral ground, and there's simply no reason for her to do so. Creon never ceases rationalizing his decisions and making excuses for his actions because he has no moral ground on which to stand.

Many scholars contend that Antigone, too, suffers from the tragic flaw of excessive pride. If Antigone suffers from anything, it's from righteousness, and not from excessive righteousness, which would represent a flaw in her character. Antigone has just the right amount of righteousness.

Creon rationalizes that he acts for the good of the state, and for the good of the people. In truth, he acts only for himself. Creon feels no sense of righteousness. He feels only self-righteousness.

Creon's character doesn't change. A consequence of Creon's tragic flaw of excessive pride is that it renders him incapable of change. Creon behaves absolutely in character throughout the play.

Creon appears to undergo a change of character and a change of heart towards Antigone. He rescinds his death sentence against her, and he hurries to the cave where she's been entombed in order to rescue her. When Creon arrives at the cave, Antigone is already dead.

In his seeming change of heart, Creon is less motivated by what is right and moral than by self-interest, and he's acting in response to the dire warnings from Teiresias.

TEIRESIAS. Know then for sure, the coursers of the sun
Not many times shall run their race, before
Thou shalt have given the fruit of thine own loins
In quittance of thy murder, life for life;
For that thou hast entombed a living soul,
And sent below a denizen of earth,
And wronged the nether gods by leaving here
A corpse unlaved, unwept, unsepulchered.
Herein thou hast no part, nor e'en the gods
In heaven; and thou usurp'st a power not thine.
For this the avenging spirits of Heaven and Hell
Who dog the steps of sin are on thy trail:
What these have suffered thou shalt suffer too.

These warnings would be a strong motivation for change for anyone, and particularly for someone as self-possessed, self-protective, and prideful as Creon. Creon does what's expedient, not necessarily what he thinks is morally right.

Antigone doesn't change through the play, but she doesn't need to change. By the end of the play she's dead (which is a significant change in her life, of course), but Antigone's death is a consequence of Creon's prideful behavior, not her own.

On the issues presented in the play, Antigone and Creon have no common ground, and no hope for a peaceful resolution of their essential differences.

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What are some similarities and differences between Creon and Antigone in Sophocles' play Antigone?

At a glance, it may seem that Antigone and Creon are two completely different characters, and indeed, their different priorities certainly cause them to come into conflict with one another. However, what ultimately causes them to oppose each other—to their individual downfalls—is their similar sense of justice. Creon is so frustrated with Polynices' disruption that he strips him of the right to a burial. Antigone, one the other hand, has a deeply ingrained sense of divine justice, and sees this punishment as out of touch with the will of the gods. Both are doing what they believe is truly right and just, and neither will back down.

The primary difference between the two is one of priority, and can be seen as a conflict between the masculine and feminine. Antigone, as a woman, is largely concerned with the care of the dead and burial rite. The idea of her brother as carrion for vultures is too much to bear, regardless of what crimes he may have committed. Creon's priority is to appear as a powerful and just ruler, and one whose policy cannot be swayed by public outcry or by one rogue girl's actions. Antigone, whose sense of justice is rooted in the will of the gods rather than in holding on to political power is, of course, where the moral high ground lies in the context of the story.

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What are some similarities and differences between Creon and Antigone in Sophocles' play Antigone?

Creon and Antigone are similar because they draw power from their definitions of "justice."  The difference between them is their beliefs on the origins of just action.

Both Creon and Antigone feel that their power comes from their understandings of justice.  Antigone believes that the duty she has in honoring her brother Polynices’s death comes from the divine.  She believes that her actions are done in name of honor, family, but most of all, in recognizing an ethical responsibility: 

Be whatever you want, and I will bury him.
It seems fair to me to die doing it.
I will lie dear to him, with one dear to me,
a holy outlaw, since I must please those
below a longer time than people here,
for I shall lie there forever. You, though,
dishonor the gods' commands, if you wish.

Antigone's responsibility lies outside of the world of human beings.  Antigone believes that "the gods' commands" are the source of just action. Her understanding of justice is a divine one.  She feels power by acting in the name of the divine.  Antigone has no problem being "a holy outlaw" because her devotion to the gods gives her power.

In a similar way, Creon believes that his perception of justice gives him power. Antigone's sister, Ismene, refuses to join Antigone because she cannot "go against the king's decree and strength."  Indeed, Creon views justice as originating from himself.  When arguing with his son, Haemon, Creon argues that justice originates from his rule because he is in power.  In lines 735- 740, Creon is pointed in how "the mob" is not going to "dictate my policy" and how he will rule for himself and not "for others." Creon believes that "the state is his who rules it." As a result, Creon believes that he is just because his position as leader makes him the source of justice.  Both he and Antigone feel justified because they feel that their perceptions of justice empower their actions.

The difference between both is, of course, what justice looks like.  Antigone views justice as originating from the divine.  In honoring the gods, she feels that she is acting just.  Creon views justice as originating from whoever holds political power.  She sees justice as something beyond the realm of human beings, while Creon feels that justice exists within it.  This difference highlights their collision of convictions, and reflects why they are unable to negotiate.

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What are some similarities and differences between Creon and Antigone in Sophocles' play Antigone?

Although Antigone and Creon are antagonists in Sophocles’ plays, the conflict between them is due as much to their similarities as to their differences. Both are dedicated to abstract notions of justice. Both are pious and both wish the best for the city of Thebes. They also share in common a degree of stubbornness; once they have decided a certain course of action is right, they will pursue it regardless of the negative consequences to themselves or others. Neither of them is particularly good at listening to the opinions of other people, and neither is easily swayed by sentiment.

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