Antigone

Creon Character Analysis

Brother-in-law of Oedipus, Creon becomes king of Thebes when Oedipus's two sons die while battling each other for control of the city. Creon believes in the rule of law and the authority of the state above all else. Bending the rules leads to anarchy, in his opinion, and anarchy is worse than anything. Creon's stubborn refusal to honor Antigone's desire to bury her slain brother and to acknowledge the opinions of the Theban people, his son Haemon, and the seer Tiresias, leads to the deaths of his wife Eurydice, Haemon, and Antigone.

Creon Quotes in Antigone

The Antigone quotes below are all either spoken by Creon or refer to Creon. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Blindness vs. Sight Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Penguin Classics edition of Antigone published in 1984.
Lines 1-416 Quotes
And speech and thought, quick as the wind
and the mood and mind for law that rules the city—
all these he has taught himself
and shelter from the arrows of the frost
when there's rough lodging under the cold clear sky
and the shafts of lashing rain—
ready, resourceful man!
Never without resources
never an impasse as he marches on the future—
only Death, from Death alone he will find no rescue
but from desperate plagues ha has plotted his escapes.
Related Characters: The Chorus (speaker), Creon
Page Number: 396-405
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lines 705-1090 Quotes
Spit her out,
like a mortal enemy—let the girl go.
Let her find a husband down among the dead.
Related Characters: Creon (speaker), Antigone
Page Number: 728-730
Explanation and Analysis:

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Anarchy!—
show me a greater crime in all the earth!
Related Characters: Creon (speaker)
Page Number: 751-752
Explanation and Analysis:

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Whoever thinks that he alone possesses intelligence,
the gift of eloquence, he and no one else,
and character too…such men, I tell you,
spread them open—you will find them empty.
Related Characters: Haemon (speaker), Creon
Page Number: 791-794
Explanation and Analysis:

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Am I to rule this land for others—or myself?
Related Characters: Creon (speaker)
Page Number: 823
Explanation and Analysis:

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What a splendid king you'd make of a desert island—you and you alone.
Related Characters: Haemon (speaker), Creon
Page Number: 826
Explanation and Analysis:

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If a man could wail his own dirge before he dies,
he'd never finish.
Related Characters: Creon (speaker)
Page Number: 970-971
Explanation and Analysis:

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But if these men are wrong, let them suffer
nothing worse than they mete out to me—
these masters of injustice!
Related Characters: Antigone (speaker), Creon
Related Symbols: Antigone's Tomb
Page Number: 1019-1021
Explanation and Analysis:

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Lines 1091-1470 Quotes
Then reflect, my son: you are poised,
once more, on the razor-edge of fate.
Related Characters: Tiresias (speaker), Creon
Page Number: 1099-1100
Explanation and Analysis:

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These arrows for your heart! Since you've raked me
I loose them like an archer in my anger,
arrows deadly true. You'll never escape their
burning, searing force.
Related Characters: Tiresias (speaker), Creon
Page Number: 1206-1209
Explanation and Analysis:

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Take me away, quickly, out of sight.
I don't even exist—I'm no one. Nothing.
Related Characters: Creon (speaker)
Page Number: 1445-1446
Explanation and Analysis:

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The mighty words of the proud are paid in full
with mighty blows of fate, and at long last
those blows will teach us wisdom.
Related Characters: The Chorus (speaker), Creon
Page Number: 1468-1470
Explanation and Analysis:

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Creon Character Timeline in Antigone

The timeline below shows where the character Creon appears in Antigone. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Lines 1-416
Fate vs. Free Will Theme Icon
...years earlier when Eteocles overthrew him. Now that both brothers have died, the brothers' uncle, Creon, is king of Thebes. (full context)
Citizenship vs. Family Loyalty Theme Icon
...Antigone and Ismene, discuss their grief in the palace. The outraged Antigone tells Ismene that Creon has decreed that the slain attackers will not be given proper burial rites. Eteocles, who... (full context)
Citizenship vs. Family Loyalty Theme Icon
Civil Disobedience Theme Icon
Fate vs. Free Will Theme Icon
...Antigone challenges Ismene to help her bury their brother Polynices. Ismene is frightened, both of Creon's decree and of her sister's rash words. She begs Antigone to think of all of... (full context)
Blindness vs. Sight Theme Icon
Natural Law Theme Icon
Citizenship vs. Family Loyalty Theme Icon
Civil Disobedience Theme Icon
...plead with Antigone, but Antigone only grows angrier with her and more determined to defy Creon's decree. Antigone challenges Ismene to tell the world what Antigone is about to do, and... (full context)
Natural Law Theme Icon
Citizenship vs. Family Loyalty Theme Icon
Civil Disobedience Theme Icon
Creon enters and addresses the chorus. Creon explains that, after the death of Oedipus's two sons,... (full context)
Natural Law Theme Icon
Citizenship vs. Family Loyalty Theme Icon
Civil Disobedience Theme Icon
...sentry enters. He's afraid to speak because he brings bad news and is afraid of Creon's reaction, but is at last persuaded to say what he knows. The sentries have discovered... (full context)
Natural Law Theme Icon
Citizenship vs. Family Loyalty Theme Icon
...the chorus suggests that this might be the work of the gods. This idea sets Creon into a rage. He accuses the sentry of having been bribed to allow the burial... (full context)
Lines 417-704
Natural Law Theme Icon
Citizenship vs. Family Loyalty Theme Icon
Civil Disobedience Theme Icon
The sentry returns, escorting Antigone. He calls for Creon and presents Antigone as the culprit who defied the law and gave burial rites to... (full context)
Citizenship vs. Family Loyalty Theme Icon
Civil Disobedience Theme Icon
Creon asks Antigone if she denies this charge. She does not. Creon dismisses the sentry and... (full context)
Natural Law Theme Icon
Citizenship vs. Family Loyalty Theme Icon
Civil Disobedience Theme Icon
Creon asks why she would dare to break the law. Antigone says that Creon's law was... (full context)
Natural Law Theme Icon
Citizenship vs. Family Loyalty Theme Icon
Civil Disobedience Theme Icon
Fate vs. Free Will Theme Icon
...of it. But she could not bear to leave her brother to rot. And if Creon thinks she is acting stupidly, she says, that's because Creon is a fool. (full context)
Blindness vs. Sight Theme Icon
Citizenship vs. Family Loyalty Theme Icon
Civil Disobedience Theme Icon
...leader of the chorus notes that Antigone is as passionate and stubborn as her father. Creon responds that he will break her stubbornness, and that he refuses to let her go... (full context)
Blindness vs. Sight Theme Icon
Natural Law Theme Icon
Citizenship vs. Family Loyalty Theme Icon
Civil Disobedience Theme Icon
...support her actions, and would speak up in her favor if they weren't afraid of Creon. She calls him a tyrant. (full context)
Natural Law Theme Icon
Citizenship vs. Family Loyalty Theme Icon
Civil Disobedience Theme Icon
Creon asks how Antigone can honor Polynices, who killed her other brother, the patriotic Eteocles. Antigone... (full context)
Natural Law Theme Icon
Citizenship vs. Family Loyalty Theme Icon
Ismene turns to Creon and asks him if he'd really kill his son Haemon's intended bride (Antigone is Haemon's... (full context)
Blindness vs. Sight Theme Icon
Fate vs. Free Will Theme Icon
...remain subject to the whim of the gods. The chant ends when Haemon, son of Creon, enters, weeping. (full context)
Lines 705-1090
Natural Law Theme Icon
Creon asks Haemon if he comes in anger or obedience. Haemon says he will obey Creon.... (full context)
Citizenship vs. Family Loyalty Theme Icon
Civil Disobedience Theme Icon
Creon says that had he not punished Antigone's defiance of the rule of law, it would... (full context)
Blindness vs. Sight Theme Icon
Natural Law Theme Icon
Citizenship vs. Family Loyalty Theme Icon
Haemon tells Creon that it's not his place to correct the king, but that the rumors in the... (full context)
Blindness vs. Sight Theme Icon
Citizenship vs. Family Loyalty Theme Icon
Creon reacts with anger at his son's offering of advice. Again he calls Antigone a traitor.... (full context)
Blindness vs. Sight Theme Icon
Natural Law Theme Icon
The king and his son continue to argue. Creon accuses Haemon of supporting Antigone against his father. Haemon responds that he is trying to... (full context)
Blindness vs. Sight Theme Icon
Natural Law Theme Icon
Fate vs. Free Will Theme Icon
The leader of the chorus worries that Haemon may do something violent. Creon doesn't care. He decides to spare Ismene, but says that he will take Antigone into... (full context)
Blindness vs. Sight Theme Icon
Civil Disobedience Theme Icon
Fate vs. Free Will Theme Icon
...intense mourning. The chorus tells Antigone, "Your own blind will, your passion has destroyed you." Creon enters, and tells the guards to interrupt her lament, to take her away, build a... (full context)
Natural Law Theme Icon
Fate vs. Free Will Theme Icon
...being punished for her devotion to the gods. She then begs the gods to punish Creon as terribly as he is punishing her if they agree with her that Creon has... (full context)
Lines 1091-1470
Blindness vs. Sight Theme Icon
Natural Law Theme Icon
Fate vs. Free Will Theme Icon
Tiresias, the blind prophet, enters, led by a young boy. Creon greets him and agrees to follow Tiresias's advice. Tiresias warns Creon that he is at... (full context)
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Natural Law Theme Icon
Fate vs. Free Will Theme Icon
Creon flies into a rage, cursing Tiresias and swearing that the body will never be buried.... (full context)
Blindness vs. Sight Theme Icon
Natural Law Theme Icon
Fate vs. Free Will Theme Icon
...for burying Antigone alive, the gods and the Furies will soon take the life of Creon's own child. In addition, the hatred of all those whose dead loved ones have not... (full context)
Blindness vs. Sight Theme Icon
Natural Law Theme Icon
Fate vs. Free Will Theme Icon
Creon is shaken by the prophet's words, but is reluctant to undo his decree. He asks... (full context)
Natural Law Theme Icon
Fate vs. Free Will Theme Icon
...and asks the messenger to tell her what happened. The messenger says that he and Creon first went to bury Polynices. Just as they were finishing, they heard a cry at... (full context)
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Natural Law Theme Icon
Fate vs. Free Will Theme Icon
Creon and his attendants enter. Creon is carrying Haemon's body, and is almost mad with grief.... (full context)
Blindness vs. Sight Theme Icon
Natural Law Theme Icon
Fate vs. Free Will Theme Icon
As Creon weeps, the messenger returns with the news that Eurydice, the queen, has killed herself. The... (full context)
Blindness vs. Sight Theme Icon
Natural Law Theme Icon
Citizenship vs. Family Loyalty Theme Icon
Fate vs. Free Will Theme Icon
Creon calls for his attendants to take him away. He says, "I don't even exist—I'm no... (full context)