Sophocles’ tragedy Antigone is a sad tale that is essentially about a girl who buries her brother who was deemed a traitor by King Creon, the leader of Thebes. The story dives into the dilemma of valuing yourself over moral obligations toward another human being. King Creon’s hubris impeded his decision whether to allow the burial of Antigone’s brother Polyneices and this led to King Creon losing all that mattered to him: his family and leadership. Thus, King Creon’s excessive pride is his tragic flaw, a deadly trait for any leader.
While taking the throne, King Creon commanded, “Polyneices, who returned from exile,
eager to wipe out in all-consuming fire his ancestral city and its native gods, keen to seize upon his family’s blood and lead men into slavery—for him, the proclamation in the state declares he will have no burial mound, no funeral rites, and no lament.”(Sophocles 199-206). In this decisive ...view middle of the document...
That’s my decision.”(Sophocles 206-208). Not only was there going to be no burial, but the body of Polyneices would be left out like a piece of trash. King Creon was caught up improving his public image and flaunting his achievements, and this led to him losing everything.
Second, hypocrisy further fueled King Creon’s hubris. Creon professed, “For me, a man who rules the entire state and does not take the best advice there is, but through fear keeps his mouth forever shut, such a man is the very worst of men—and always will be.” (Sophocles 178-182). This statement implied that Creon would heed the advice others bestowed on him. However, when his own son said, “They [citizens] say of all women here she’s least deserves the worst of deaths for her most glorious act.” (Sophocles 694-695), Creon does not listen. He was a terrible leader by not leading for the Thebans, and even worse, they were scared of Creon. At this point in the play, Creon began to see that he might have made the wrong decision to severely punish Antigone. But Creon did not act on the advice or try to fix his mistakes, Creon was too proud to admit he was wrong.
From Creon’s fatal flaw of hubris, it is quite apparent that excessive pride is a terrible trait for a leader to possess. A leader must be humble and contemplate his strengths and weaknesses. Antigone shows that the leader of Thebes heavily leaned on past successes for power. Creon did not move forward or seek to understand and lead people; Creon thought only about himself and his image. This strongly differs from a great leader such as Abraham Lincoln who was humble and actively sought advice and assistance in making tough decisions. Antigone provides a great example of what a leader should not be, and through Creon’s pride, humility surfaces as the most vital skill a leader could possess.
To conclude, Creon’s hubris tragically killed off everyone he loved and cared about. This excessive pride led to the downfall of Creon as both a leader and a man. We should be proud of our accomplishments, but when this pride hinders our future actions, as it did for Creon, change must occur or we will suffer the consequences.