The main difference between Antigone and Creon is that Antigone is loyal to her family, but Creon is loyal to the state.
Antigone and Creon are the two main characters in Sophocles’ play Antigone. They also appear in Oedipus Rex and Oedipus at Colonus, which depict events that take place before the events of Antigone. These two characters are often compared and contrasted since they appear to be like the sides of a coin.
Key Areas Covered
1. Who is Antigone
– Behaviour, Traits
2. Who is Creon
– Behaviour, Traits
3. What are the Similarities Between Antigone and Creon
– Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Antigone and Creon
– Comparison of Key Differences
Antigone, Creon, Oedipus, Sophocles
Who is Antigone
In Greek mythology, Antigone is the daughter of Oedipus, a mythical king of Thebes. She is also the sister of Polynices and Eteocles. She is the titular character of Sophocles’ play Antigone, and also appears in the Oedipus Rex and Oedipus at Colonus, which narrate the story of Thebes during and after the reign of King Oedipus. In Oedipus Rex and Oedipus at Colonus, we see Antigone as a loving and dutiful daughter. However, it is in the play Antigone that we really see her character traits.
The play Antigone revolves around Antigone’s attempt to give a respectable burial for her brother Polynices, and the consequences of her actions. King Creon, who rules Thebes, has issued a decree stating that Polynices is not to be buried or mourned. Antigone goes against this decree and is brought before the king, where she argues that her action is honourable and justifiable as she feels that it was the right thing to do. However, the king orders her to be buried alive in a cave. Although the king later changes his mind and tries to release her, by then Antigone has killed herself.
Antigone’s actions prove that she is courageous, fearless and determined. She has the courage to stand up for herself and fight for what she believes in, even at the cost of her life. In ancient Greece, women were under the power of men – their fathers, brothers, husbands or sons. However, Antigone’s role breaks these stereotypical female figures and portrays a strong and honourable heroine.
Who is Creon
Creon is a king of Thebes in Greek mythology. He mainly appears in Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex and Antigone. Creon is a brother of queen Jocasta and un uncle of Antigone. In the play Antigone, he is the king of Thebes, as both sons of Oedipus, Eteocles and Polynices, are dead from the war. While Creon gives Eteocles an honourable burial, he decrees Polynices’ corpse be left to rot on the battlefield as punishment for his treason. When Antigone defies this decree, he also orders her death. However, he later changes his mind and agrees to bury Polynices and pardon Antigone, but by the time makes this decision, Antigone has already killed herself.
In the play Antigone, characters of Antigone and Creon are often compared and contrasted together. Although some readers may see Creon as a villain at first glance, he is a dutiful and pragmatic king. At the start of the play, he is full of pride and ambition. However, his hubris, which is his tragic flaw, finally leads to his downfall.
Similarities Between Antigone and Creon
- Antigone and Creon are proud and stubborn and do not like to change their word.
- Both feel that they are justifiable in their actions.
Difference Between Antigone and Creon
Antigone is the daughter of Oedipus and titular role of the play Antigone, but Creon is Antigone’s uncle and the king of Thebes.
Antigone’s decision to give a proper burial to her brother is motivated by family obligation. Creon shows moral obligation as his decision to not give Polynices a proper burial stems from his reluctance to honour a traitor.
Moreover, Antigone is courageous, resolute and brave, but Creon is proud, dutiful and ruthless.
Gender and Power
Since Antigone is a female character in an ancient Greek family, she is not powerful, but as the ruler of Thebes, Creon is a very powerful character.
Although Antigone dies at the end of the play, she receives the sympathy and admiration of all (other characters as well as audience). However, at the end of the play, Creon suffers the wrath of the gods for his actions.
1. “Antigone.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 8 Mar. 2020, Available here.
2. Carnevale, Jennifer. “Antigone Character Traits and Analysis.” Study.com, Available here.
3. “Creon.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 15 Oct. 2019, Available here.