Comparing and Contrasting The Characters of Oedipus and Creon

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Words: 577 |

Page: 1|

3 min read

Published: Mar 6, 2024

Words: 577|Page: 1|3 min read

Published: Mar 6, 2024

When examining the characters of Oedipus and Creon in ancient Greek literature, one cannot help but notice the stark differences and intriguing similarities between the two. Both characters are prominent figures in various plays by Sophocles, with Oedipus appearing in "Oedipus Rex" and Creon appearing in "Antigone" and "Oedipus at Colonus." This essay will analyze and compare the characteristics, actions, and fates of Oedipus and Creon, highlighting their contrasting personalities and the consequences of their decisions.

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Oedipus, the titular character of "Oedipus Rex," is portrayed as a confident and assertive leader. He is quick to take action and solve problems, as demonstrated by his determination to uncover the truth behind the plague that afflicts Thebes. Oedipus is also portrayed as a proud and arrogant figure, unwilling to accept criticism or heed warnings from others. His impulsiveness and hubris ultimately lead to his downfall, as he discovers that he is the cause of the curse that plagues his city.

In contrast, Creon, the brother-in-law of Oedipus and king of Thebes in "Antigone" and "Oedipus at Colonus," is depicted as a more rational and pragmatic leader. Creon values order and stability above all else, making decisions based on logic and reason rather than emotions. While Creon's leadership style may be seen as cold and authoritarian, he believes that his decisions are in the best interest of the city and its citizens. However, his stubbornness and lack of empathy ultimately lead to tragedy in both plays.

Oedipus and Creon's actions and decisions play a crucial role in shaping the outcomes of their respective stories. Oedipus's relentless pursuit of the truth and his refusal to accept ignorance leads to the revelation of his tragic fate. Despite his best intentions, Oedipus's actions inadvertently fulfill the prophecy of killing his father and marrying his mother, bringing about his own downfall.

On the other hand, Creon's decisions are driven by a desire to maintain order and preserve his power. In "Antigone," Creon's decree to forbid the burial of Polynices leads to a series of tragic events, including the deaths of his son Haemon and his wife Eurydice. Creon's refusal to heed the advice of his son and the prophet Teiresias ultimately results in his isolation and despair.

Both Oedipus and Creon face severe consequences for their actions and decisions, ultimately leading to their tragic fates. Oedipus, upon discovering the truth of his origins, blinds himself and goes into exile, fulfilling the prophecy that was foretold. Despite his attempts to escape his fate, Oedipus is unable to outrun the inevitable consequences of his actions, highlighting the concept of fate and destiny in Greek tragedy.

Similarly, Creon's stubbornness and refusal to listen to reason result in the deaths of his loved ones and his own downfall. In "Antigone," Creon is left alone and broken, realizing the consequences of his actions too late. His tragic fate serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of pride and arrogance in leadership, emphasizing the importance of humility and self-reflection.

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In conclusion, the characters of Oedipus and Creon exemplify the complexities of human nature and the consequences of our actions. While Oedipus is portrayed as a tragic hero whose downfall is brought about by his hubris and ignorance, Creon serves as a cautionary figure whose rigid adherence to authority leads to tragedy and despair. Through their contrasting personalities, actions, and fates, Sophocles explores timeless themes of fate, free will, and the nature of leadership in his plays, leaving audiences with much to ponder about the human experience.

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Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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Comparing and Contrasting the Characters of Oedipus and Creon. (2024, March 06). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 26, 2024, from
“Comparing and Contrasting the Characters of Oedipus and Creon.” GradesFixer, 06 Mar. 2024,
Comparing and Contrasting the Characters of Oedipus and Creon. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 26 May 2024].
Comparing and Contrasting the Characters of Oedipus and Creon [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Mar 06 [cited 2024 May 26]. Available from:
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