“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.”; It proves this throughout the story through a tragic hero. In Sophocles’ Antigone, it’s a story of the conflict between Antigone, who is the daughter of Oedipus, and Creon which whom is the ruler of Thebes and uncle of Antigone. When the brothers of Antigone fought over the right to rule, the older brother whom named Polyneices invaded his home city. As a result, both brothers died and Creon decides that Polyneices is forbidden from a burial as he invaded his home city. Meanwhile, the other brother Eteocles, gets a proper burial with high honors, as he defended his city from Polyneices. However, this creates a conflict between Antigone and Creon as Antigone wants to bury Polyneices but Creon forbids with fierce punishments. A comparison of Creon throughout the story, illustrates a shift in tone from authoritative to powerless where anyone who has absolute kurios will be blinded and corrupted.
In Antigone, the tragic hero, Creon was trying to display his influence as the king of Thebes through his audacity and his hubristic tone. It explains this when a sentry was trying to address Antigone burying her brother to Creon. As the Sentry asks “King, may I speak?” and Creon replies “Your very voice distresses me. / You talk too much” (Sophocles 35). The tone used by the Sentry displays Creon’s reputation for having a short temper, whilst the violate tone of Creon bullies the Sentry for have done nothing wrong. Creon’s use of diction such as “Your voice”, “distress”, and “too much” exhibits his authority as the King of Thebes. Through his authority, Creon allows himself to act in a very hubristic manner, which is shown through Creon’s diction when insulting the innocent Sentry. As a result, through Creon’s kurios, his excessive pride blinded and corrupted him from the well-being of others.
Similarly, during Creon’s argument with Haimon, Creon forbid Haimon and Antigone to wed, Haimon challenges Creon’s kurios, Creon replies “I swear you’ll regret this superior tone of yours! You are the empty one!” (Sophocles 59). As a result, the verbalization with Haimon display the diction that creates the graphical sentences which entrenches the hubristic tone. The tone that Creon provides, illustrates a theme where Creon leaves the people lesser than him nothing that can question his authority as king. In addition, the use of phrases such as “I swear”, ”regret”, and” superior tone” marks a perseverance in the absence of commiseration for the people who go against him. As a result, Creon’s kurios blinds and corrupts him of his willingness to compromises and the opinion of others. Both scenes show Creon’s inability to perceive others views and ideas which is his critical flaw that leads to his downfall as a tragic hero.
When a tragic hero such as Creon realizes his mistake, it is often too late to change fate as the transition into their downfall is complete. A shift in Creon’s tone is shown after the death of his family members. Imagery like “O God, I am sick with fear. Are there no swords here? Had no one a blow for me?” (Sophocles 85) emphasizes how powerless Creon feels after the death of his family members which were all avoidable. Furthermore, the use of diction help present a contrast in the tone throughout the story. Words and phrases such as “Oh God”, “fear”, and “swords” leaves two different versions of Creon, a proud version to a powerless and depressed version. Through his kurios, it blinded and corrupted Creon until he became an abiding leader that plummeted to a widower and childless ruler.
On the whole, Sophocles use of diction and imagery reveal the effects that kurios and pride has on mankind. Creon’s denial of basic human morals and feelings grants him blindness to ture harm until the damage was irreversible. Creon’s tone was to assert authority as the king of Thebes, and he demonstrates this with the battle with Antigone. Creon won the battle against Antigone, however he lost all value to what he has to live for. Sophocles declares men not as admirable while compared to the gods, but through god’s’ creations they are the most wondrous creatures of all.