Last Updated on April 30, 2020, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 351
Extended Character Analysis
Creon features in each story of the Sophocles's Oedipus Trilogy: Oedipus Rex, Oedipus at Colonus, and Antigone. Creon is Jocasta’s brother and Oedipus’s brother-in-law. Oedipus sends him to consult the oracle at Delphi in the hopes of bringing an end to the plague. Upon returning to the city of Thebes, Creon reluctantly tells Oedipus that for the plague to end, King Laius’s murderer must be found and brought to justice.
As the play progresses, Oedipus grows increasingly wary of Creon, coming to believe that Creon is plotting against him in a bid to take the throne. After Teiresias tells Oedipus what he will learn about his true identity, Oedipus assumes he is working for Creon. Creon takes these accusations seriously and retorts by saying that he is as much a Theban as anyone. He proves himself an honorable man when he logically explains that he has no desire to be king of Thebes.
Creon’s levelheadedness serves as a contrast to Oedipus’s fiery temper. Creon logically refutes his brother-in-law’s anger-fueled provocations. He is primarily concerned with defending his honor as a patriotic Theban after Oedipus accuses him of being a traitor. Creon believes that he is already powerful enough on account of being Jocasta’s brother. According to Creon, being king would be more trouble than it’s worth, an attitude that exemplifies his rational approach to life.
In the final scenes of the play, Creon proves to be a merciful man when he shows compassion to the blinded Oedipus, despite Oedipus’s ill-treatment of Creon earlier. Rather than killing or exiling Oedipus immediately, Creon allows him to see his children one last time. He also promises to care for them after Oedipus goes into exile. Creon highlights his pious nature by announcing that he will consult the gods again before he sends Oedipus into exile, wanting to be sure of their wills before acting. Though Oedipus desires exile, Creon refuses to rush into the decision. He instead offers his respect to the judgment of the gods and thereby demonstrates his lack of hubris.
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