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Character Analysis: The Personality Of Oedipus

1626 words - 7 pages

There are many facets of personality of a minor character that authors may utilize to supply contrast to the main character of their work. Some of these contrasts are extremely noticeable and some are not. One such facet is with the use of a neutral character; to not only showcase the main character’s flaws, but so not to detract from the moral of the story. Creon, from the play “Oedipus the King” by Sophocles is used for both of these reasons. Sophocles wished to show that one cannot escape fate, yet did not want to cloud this issue with a possible coupe against his main character Oedipus. He also showed how, at times one character can act completely irrational, while one remains calm in the face of serious accusations.
Creon is the brother of Iocaste, the Queen of Thebes, and was the brother-in-law to both King Laios and King Oedipus. When King Laios was regent he had consulted an oracle concerning possible children. When the oracle revealed there would be a curse upon the child, that he would kill his father and marry his mother, King Laios and Queen Iocaste chose to have the infant slayed. Although no one aware, the child was rescued and taken to a far off land. Years later, Oedipus, unaware of who his biological parents really were, received a similar prophecy from an oracle and chose to leave his homeland forever, so as not to cause his parents harm or shame. In the same timeframe, King Laios decided to make a pilgrimage and the court was uncertain exactly what had transpired, but the King never returned. It was “said that a band of highwaymen attacked them, outnumbered them, and overwhelmed the King” (Sophocles 713). Supposedly one lone survivor got away and this was the tale he imparted. As King Laios and Queen Iocaste had no known children, the default ruler became Creon. Shortly after the death of King Laios a Sphinx came to torment the people of Thebes, killing anyone who could not answer her riddle. Creon in an astonishing display of “sound common sense and executive ability” (Peterkin 265), offered marriage to Iocasta, as well as the position of king, to anyone who could solve this riddle and free the country of the suffering inflicted by the Sphinx. Oedipus bested the Sphinx, and claimed the kingdom and his spouse. Although Creon could have remained in power, he proved to be a man of his word. He relinquished the dominant authority in Thebes to Oedipus and seemed to “have ac-cepted the situation with good grace” (Peterkin 265).
After a long established rule as king, a plague afflicted the land. Over the years, Oedipus had “delegated much of his authority, in complete reliance on his efficiency and dependa-bility” (Peterkin 265) to Creon. In trying to relieve his subjects suffering, Oedipus sends his valued right hand man, Creon, to consult the oracle. Oedipus was hoping to receive some revelation as to why his kingdom was suffering so. Upon his return, Creon prudently wanted to speak privately with Oedipus. During this...

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