The Paradox of Authority: Similarities Between Antigone and Creon

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Words: 689 |

Pages: 2|

4 min read

Published: Jun 13, 2024

Words: 689|Pages: 2|4 min read

Published: Jun 13, 2024


Antigone, a tragedy written by the ancient Greek playwright Sophocles, is a powerful exploration of conflicting principles of duty and governance. The play’s central characters, Antigone and Creon, appear to be diametrically opposed; Antigone is the impassioned defender of familial duty and divine law, while Creon is the embodiment of state authority and civic order. However, a closer examination reveals that these two seemingly antagonistic figures share several fundamental similarities. Both characters are unwavering in their convictions, exhibit profound stubbornness, and ultimately suffer tragic downfalls as a consequence of their inflexibility. This essay will delve into these shared traits to illuminate the paradoxical nature of authority and duty in Sophocles' timeless tragedy.

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One of the most striking similarities between Antigone and Creon is their unwavering commitment to their respective beliefs. Antigone is resolute in her determination to bury her brother Polynices, despite the edict issued by Creon that forbids it. She believes that divine law supersedes human law and is willing to face death rather than betray her moral and religious duties. Antigone’s steadfastness is evident when she declares, “I will bury him; and if I must die, I say that this crime is holy” (Sophocles, Antigone, line 55). Her unyielding stance mirrors Creon's own rigidity in upholding the laws of the state. Creon, as the ruler of Thebes, believes that maintaining order and authority is paramount. He views Polynices as a traitor and insists that his body remain unburied as a deterrent to others. Creon’s dedication to his role as the enforcer of state law is underscored by his proclamation, “No one shall bury him, no one mourn for him, but his body must lie in the fields, a sweet treasure for carrion birds to find as they search for food” (Sophocles, Antigone, line 34). This mutual inflexibility sets the stage for the inevitable clash between the two characters.

Another significant similarity between Antigone and Creon is their profound stubbornness. Both characters exhibit an unwavering refusal to compromise or consider alternative perspectives. Antigone’s stubbornness is rooted in her unshakable belief in the righteousness of her cause. She is willing to defy Creon’s authority and face the ultimate consequence—death—rather than betray her principles. This is evident in her interactions with her sister Ismene, who pleads with her to reconsider, but Antigone remains resolute. Similarly, Creon’s obstinacy is driven by his conviction that his authority must be absolute and unchallenged to maintain order in Thebes. He dismisses the advice of his son Haemon, who argues for compassion and warns of the consequences of his rigid stance. Creon’s refusal to listen to reason ultimately isolates him from those who care about him and exacerbates the tragedy.

The tragic downfalls of both Antigone and Creon further highlight their similarities. Their unwavering convictions and stubbornness lead to a series of catastrophic events that culminate in profound personal loss and suffering. Antigone’s determination to bury her brother results in her being sentenced to death. Her tragic end is a direct consequence of her inability to yield, and it precipitates a domino effect of further tragedy. Creon, too, faces a devastating downfall. His rigid enforcement of state law and refusal to heed warnings lead to the deaths of his son Haemon and his wife Eurydice. In the end, Creon is left to grapple with the immense guilt and sorrow of his actions, realizing too late the cost of his inflexibility. This shared trajectory of destruction underscores the inherent tragedy of their characters and the consequences of their unyielding natures.


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In conclusion, while Antigone and Creon are often portrayed as stark opposites in Sophocles’ tragedy, a closer analysis reveals that they share several fundamental similarities. Both characters are unwavering in their convictions, exhibit profound stubbornness, and ultimately suffer tragic downfalls as a result of their inflexibility. These shared traits serve to illuminate the complex and paradoxical nature of authority and duty within the play. Antigone and Creon’s tragic fates highlight the peril of extreme rigidity and the importance of balance and understanding in the face of conflicting principles. Through these characters, Sophocles offers a timeless reflection on the human condition and the consequences of unyielding adherence to one’s beliefs.

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Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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The Paradox of Authority: Similarities Between Antigone and Creon. (2024, Jun 14). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 18, 2024, from
“The Paradox of Authority: Similarities Between Antigone and Creon.” GradesFixer, 14 Jun. 2024,
The Paradox of Authority: Similarities Between Antigone and Creon. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 18 Jul. 2024].
The Paradox of Authority: Similarities Between Antigone and Creon [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Jun 14 [cited 2024 Jul 18]. Available from:
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