Creon's Metamorphosis in Antigone, Oedipus the King, and Oedipus at Colonus
Temptation is ever present in our society and always has been throughout human history. When a person gives into temptation, this is seen as a sign of weakness. Usually, after a person has given into temptation once, that person will find each successive temptation easier and easier to give in to. Before realizing it, this person has changed into a completely false, morally lacking being. Over the course of Sophocles' three plays Antigone, Oedipus the King, and Oedipus at Colonus, Creon gradually changes from a moral, just king into a morally corrupt and deceptive character.
In the opening of the first Theban play, Oedipus the King, Creon is a neutral character. He informs Oedipus that the city of Thebes is suffering from a great sickness, and he even goes to Apollo to acquire information as to how this plague may be stopped. Oedipus proclaims Creon's trustworthy nature when he states "I sent Creon,/ my wife's own brother, to Delphi- / Apollo the Prophet's oracle-to learn /
what I might do or say to save our city" (Lines 81-84). Oedipus later relies on Creon to arrange a meeting with Teirisias, the blind prophet who sees all things and is usually found within the city limits of Thebes.
Later on in the play Oedipus accuses Creon of conspiring with Tiresias against Oedipus' kingship. It is at this point in the play where Creon serves as the voice of reason and logic. Dodging Oedipus' insane accusations, Creon derives at many logical, unarguable explanations in his defense. Creon argues,
Who in his right mind would rather rule
And live in anxiety than sleep in peace?
Particularly if he enjoys the same authority.
Not I, I'm not the man to yearn for kingship,
Not with a kings power in my hands. Who would?*
How could kingship
Please me more than influence, power
Without a qualm? (Lines 654-665).
Even the chorus backs Creon up in his self-defense. After Creon tells Oedipus not to "Convict me on sheer unverified surmise" (Line 683), the chorus agrees with Creon, telling Oedipus, "Good advice / my lord, for anyone who wants to avoid disaster. / Those who jumps to conclusions may go wrong" (Lines 691-693). Even when it is evident that Oedipus should excuse Creon of this great accusation, Oedipus remains ignorant. At this point, the audience, knowing that he is unwarrantedly being accused of high treason, pities Creon.
Towards the end of Oedipus the King, Creon's change first becomes apparent. Now that Oedipus has blinded himself and gives up his throne, his seat is left unfilled. Although Creon doesn't jump at the opportunity to become the new king, he takes on some authority, driving out Oedipus from the land. Even though it was Oedipus' idea to be exiled, Creon does little to stop him, perhaps realizing with Oedipus gone, it is he who will be king. ...