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 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 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.