King Creon's Decree in Antigone

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About this sample

About this sample


Words: 663 |

Page: 1|

4 min read

Published: Jun 14, 2024

Words: 663|Page: 1|4 min read

Published: Jun 14, 2024

Table of contents

  1. Motivations behind the Decree
  2. Consequences of the Decree
  3. Conflict and Implications of the Decree
  4. Conclusion
  5. Bibliography

Throughout the play Antigone by Sophocles, the character of King Creon issues a decree that becomes a central point of conflict. This decree states that Polyneices, the brother of Antigone, is not to be given a proper burial, but rather left to rot on the battlefield. The purpose of this essay is to analyze and discuss the implications of King Creon's decree in Antigone, exploring its impact on the characters and the themes of the play. By examining the motivations behind the decree, its consequences, and the conflicts it generates, we can gain a deeper understanding of the complex dynamics at play in this ancient Greek tragedy.

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Motivations behind the Decree

King Creon's decree to deny Polyneices a proper burial stems from his desire to maintain order and stability in Thebes. Creon sees Polyneices as a traitor who led an attack against the city, and he believes that by denying him a burial, he is sending a strong message to anyone who might challenge his authority. Creon's decree reflects his autocratic nature and his belief that obedience to the state should come before individual rights. Furthermore, Creon's decree can be seen as an expression of his fear of chaos and an attempt to assert control over the situation.

King Creon's decree is reinforced by his belief in the importance of loyalty and obedience. He values loyalty to the state above all else, and he expects his subjects to prioritize their allegiance to Thebes over their personal relationships. Creon's decree reflects his rigid sense of duty and his belief that individuals must sacrifice their personal desires for the greater good of the state. This uncompromising stance on loyalty sets the stage for the conflicts that arise throughout the play, as characters are forced to choose between following the law and following their own moral compass.

Consequences of the Decree

King Creon's decree has significant consequences for both the characters and the overall plot of Antigone. One of the immediate consequences is the polarization of the characters, with some, like Antigone, defying the decree and others, like Ismene, choosing to obey it. This division creates tension and conflict between the characters, as their loyalties and values come into direct conflict with one another.

Furthermore, the decree leads to a moral dilemma for Antigone, who must choose between obeying the law of the state and honoring her familial obligations. This conflict highlights the clash between personal morality and the expectations of society, forcing the audience to question the limits of obedience and the consequences of blindly following authority.

Conflict and Implications of the Decree

King Creon's decree sets off a chain of events that ultimately leads to tragedy. The conflict between Antigone and Creon, fueled by the decree, becomes the central conflict of the play, with both characters firmly entrenched in their positions. This conflict explores themes of power, authority, and individual rights, forcing the audience to grapple with questions of morality and the nature of justice.

Additionally, the decree highlights the limitations of authoritarian rule and the dangers of unchecked power. Creon's refusal to listen to the advice of his son, Haemon, and the blind stubbornness with which he enforces his decree ultimately lead to his downfall. This serves as a cautionary tale about the dangers of pride and arrogance, illustrating the need for wise and compassionate leadership.


In conclusion, King Creon's decree in Antigone serves as a catalyst for conflict and tragedy. The motivations behind the decree reflect Creon's desire for order and control, as well as his belief in the importance of loyalty and obedience. The consequences of the decree are far-reaching, leading to division, moral dilemmas, and ultimately, the downfall of Creon himself. By examining the implications of the decree, we gain a deeper understanding of the complex dynamics at play in this ancient Greek tragedy. The story of Antigone serves as a timeless reminder of the dangers of unchecked power and the importance of balancing individual rights with the needs of the state.

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Sophocles. Antigone. Translated by Robert Fagles, Penguin Classics, 1984.

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Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

King Creon’s Decree in Antigone. (2024, Jun 14). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 24, 2024, from
“King Creon’s Decree in Antigone.” GradesFixer, 14 Jun. 2024,
King Creon’s Decree in Antigone. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 24 Jul. 2024].
King Creon’s Decree in Antigone [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Jun 14 [cited 2024 Jul 24]. Available from:
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