A master artisan and innovator of the Greek tragedy, Sophocles’s insightful plays have held their value throughout countless time periods and societies.
Through the use of common literary techniques, Sophocles was able to express themes and ideas that reflect all of humankind. On particular idea was that Sophocles believed that hubris is destructive and will eventually lead to one’s demise. Creon, the proud king of Thebes has such a fatal flaw. His hubris alienates Teiresias, Haimon, and his people. Teiresias attempts to explain to Creon the severity of Creon’s actions, but Creon only shuns Teiresias. No matter how potent the signs, Creon “would not yield,” (Scene 5, Line 47).
Creon’s hubris prevents him from recognizing his self-destructive behavior. Instead, he accuses Teiresias of disloyalty and succumbing to bribery. He feels Teiresias has “sold out” (Scene 5, Line 65) and that Creon was “the butt for the dull arrows of doddering fortunetellers” (Scene 5, Line 42). Such inventions of Creon prove to be both counter-productive and foolish, for Teiresias did speak the truth and Creon is only further drawn into his false reality dictated by hubris.
Creon’s fatal flaw overcomes him in a discussion with his son. Haimon confronts his father about Creon’s reckless and unreasonable actions dealing with Antigone. His hubris transcends his better judgement and causes Creon to become defensive. Creon then ignores his son’s recommendations on the basis of age and seniority as follows: “You consider it right for a man of my years and experience to go to a school a boy?” (Scene 3, Line 95). His anger intensifies until he explodes at his son, “Fool, adolescent fool!” (Scene 3, Line 114). At that point, Creon was far too immersed in his own foolish pride to recognize his perverseness.
His hubris had reduced him into a raving lunatic only capable of destructive behavior. Not even the Choragos was too insignificant to suffer the wrath of Creon’s fatal flaw. The Choragos asked if the gods might have had some part in the burial of Polyneices. To this he replied in a most vile manner, “Stop! Must you doddering wrecks go out of your head entirely? “The gods!” Intolerable!” (Scene 1, Line 92).
The attitude of Creon’s response demonstrates the counter-productivity of his fatal flaw. The resolution of Antigone is Creon’s loss of everything dear to him. Creon is left a pitiful wreck, “I am alone guilty.”, “My own heart… darkness to final darkness”, “I have been rash and foolish.”, “To risk everything for stubborn pride.” (Scene 5, Lines 121, 87, 143, and 93 respectively).
Creon is in such a position because he allowed hubris to cloud his judgement. While Creon did not directly kill his family, his foolish pride did, “I have killed my son and wife.” (Scene, 5 Line 135). Antigone committed suicide because her situation, which was dictated by Creon, seemed hopeless, “hanged herself… father had stolen her away…” (Scene 5, Line 60).
His hubris had led to the destruction of all he loved. Creon is the representation of all humanity and his misfortunes were brought about through hubris, which eventually leads to unhappiness, demise, and or destruction. Sophocles presented this idea to his audience over two centuries ago, and it is still a subject of much conversation. His plays have influenced past works and they will continue to affect literary works to come. Category: English