Abuse Of Power In Sophocles Antigone

Superior Essays
“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely” said historian Lord Acton. In Sophocles’ Antigone, Oedipus the King of Thebes has newly departed after disgracing his people, and his successors to the throne Polynices and Eteocles have died in battle, leaving his brother Creon to inherit his throne. From the beginning, Creon uses his newfound power to impose excessive punishments against not only the innocent people of Thebes, but also his family. As a result, the people of Thebes recognize this abuse of power and express their fears through not only the chorus but also his son, whom he both chooses to disregard. Finally, Creon not only abuses the people of Thebes with his power, but also uses it to offend the Gods by intentionally breaking their divine laws. Through King Creon’s use of power in the autocratic society of Thebes, Sophocles exposes a key flaw within the government system of monarchy; abuse of power.
From the beginning, Sophocles introduces the audience to the core conflict that ultimately leads to the tragedy; the duality between characters of whether or not to follow the divine laws set forth by the Gods, or the laws set forth by Creon. Antigone strongly believes in the divine laws rather than Creon’s, and therefore a duality is created between the
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Sophocles cleverly links Creon and Antigone together to stress the duality between the divine laws and Creon’s laws; exposing how Creon will abuse his power in anyway to ensure his laws are obeyed. He then ensures the audience recognizes how severe his abuse of power is getting by causing his supporters, the chorus and his own family to desire to rebel against him. Finally, to assure the audience recognized his abuse of power, Sophocles makes it Creon’s tragic flaw and forces him to admit it stating that “it’s best to keep the established laws to the very day we die” (Antigone.

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