Study Guide

Antigone Power

By Sophocles

Power

Antigone

GUARD
May I not speak, or must I turn and go
Without a word?--
CREON
Begone! canst thou not see
That e'en this question irks me?
GUARD
Where, my lord?
Is it thy ears that suffer, or thy heart?
CREON
Why seek to probe and find the seat of pain?
GUARD
I gall thine ears--this miscreant thy mind.
CREON
What an inveterate babbler! get thee gone!
GUARD
Babbler perchance, but innocent of the crime.
CREON
Twice guilty, having sold thy soul for gain.
GUARD
Alas! how sad when reasoners reason wrong.
CREON
Go, quibble with thy reason. If thou fail'st
To find these malefactors, thou shalt own
The wages of ill-gotten gains is death. (313-327)

Creon, irritated by the guard, threatens him with death. This is a far cry from the Creon we encountered in Oedipus the King.

HAEMON
The Theban commons with one voice say, No.
CREON
What, shall the mob dictate my policy?
HAEMON
'Tis thou, methinks, who speakest like a boy.
CREON
Am I to rule for others, or myself?
HAEMON
A State for one man is no State at all.
CREON
The State is his who rules it, so 'tis held.
HAEMON
As monarch of a desert thou wouldst shine.
CREON
This boy, methinks, maintains the woman's cause.
HAEMON
If thou be'st woman, yes. My thought's for thee.
CREON
O reprobate, would'st wrangle with thy sire? (734-742)

Creon’s power blinds him to the multitude of voices speaking against his actions.

Creon

CREON
Of all these Thebans none so deems but thou.
ANTIGONE
These think as I, but bate their breath to thee.
CREON
Hast thou no shame to differ from all these?
ANTIGONE
To reverence kith and kin can bring no shame. (506-512)

Emboldened by his power, Creon attempts to shame Antigone because her views are different from his.

CREON
Not even death can make a foe a friend.
ANTIGONE
My nature is for mutual love, not hate.
CREON
Die then, and love the dead if thou must;
No woman shall be the master while I live. (522-524)

Creon’s power has made him arrogant and cold.

Teiresias

TEIRESIAS
How far good counsel is the best of goods?
CREON
True, as unwisdom is the worst of ills.
TEIRESIAS
Thou art infected with that ill thyself.
CREON
I will not bandy insults with thee, seer.
TEIRESIAS
And yet thou say'st my prophesies are frauds.
CREON
Prophets are all a money-getting tribe.
TEIRESIAS
And kings are all a lucre-loving race.
CREON
Dost know at whom thou glancest, me thy lord?
TEIRESIAS
Lord of the State and savior, thanks to me. (1050-1058)

Having remarked just moments before that Teiresias’s prophecies are always true, Creon attacks the man anyway when offended by what the prophet has to say. Here, Creon displays the same rashness and temper that Oedipus did as king, and against the same man.

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