Click this quilt piece to go to Litonline's home page.VCCS Litonline Introduction to Literature
English 112 (English Composition II)
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Oedipus the Wreck

Oedipus vs. Creon  Not online: From Greek National Theater production

What sources of conflict or jealousy might there have been between Creon and Oedipus before this day? How do you think Creon felt about Oedipus' getting the throne after Laius was reported dead (he would have been next in line for the throne after Laius, wouldn't he)? Oedipus apparently trusted him enough to send him to Delphi; does Oedipus accuse Creon of not reporting the gods' message accurately or just of trying to take advantage of it to get Oedipus ousted?    How does Creon seem to feel about becoming king at the end of the play?

Jealous Creon: Homeboy in 2001 said: "I think that Creon probably was jealous because he was supposed to become the king after Lauis' death. He was looking forward to becoming the future king.  Everyone knew him already as the brother of Jocasta, but then Oedipus comes and just like that Creon does not become the king of Thebes because Oedipus took his place after saving the town from the sphinx. I know Creon was mad and jealous because just out of nowhere, coming like that to Thebes, he becomes elected the king after all. So Creon, having all this in mind, hates Oedipus because of that, but since he was the king now he could not do anything about it except accept it. We see some of his resentment, maybe, at the end in Creon's relatively harsh treatment of him. Now that all has ended, I think Creon is shocked, but at the same time he's confident that he's going to get the throne--that's if his nephews don't take it away from him."

Jealous Oedipus, Reluctant Creon: Melissa (1999) saw Creon's kingly ability:  "I don't think Oedipus would have liked the fact that Creon would have become king after the death of Laius, but then again Creon would not have liked being king either. Creon made it clear in the beginning of the play that he did not want to be King. At the end of the play though Creon took the responsibility of being King and I think he used it well."

Vice-President Creon: Becky Dorsett (1998) suggested that Creon is not ambitious but does feel vindicated in the end: "I think that Creon might have harbored feelings of jealousy toward Oedipus. The saying "always a bridesmaid, never a bride" comes to mind when I think of Creon. Even though Creon says he has all the perks of being royal without the responsibilities, to me it's like being vice president -- you have the power but does anyone really take you seriously? Creon doesn't seem to have a problem telling Oedipus at the end of the play 'Think no longer that you are in command here, but rather think how, when you were, you served your own destruction.' I think Creon felt vindicated."

Lauis's brother: Josh Beckham (NVCC, 1998) suggests that Oedipus has been paranoid about Creon since well before the play began but that Creon was actually relieved not to have to rule when Oedipus was given the throne for saving Thebes from the Sphinx:  "Creon and Oedipus appear to have been like "brothers" before this day - maybe Cain and Able. Judging Oedipus by his past actions and dialogue, we get the feeling that his paranoia was larger and deeper than just the oracle's prophecy of his fate. Oedipus must have harbored the self-defensive, paranoid idea that Creon secretly desired the throne. I think Creon, at Laius' death and Oedipus assumption of the throne, becomes a relieved member of the household and royalty again. He does not seem upset about not getting the throne when his brother died. From his dialogue, and it seems forthright enough, having the privileges of wealth and 'kingship' were better than assuming the position and all of the policy and worries that go with it. He is able to remain in the role that he filled under his brother's rule.

"Something that he had never thought of having happen (him assuming the thrown) is suddenly a reality, and Oedipus, in this, is his and Thebes savior. Oedipus thinks Creon and Tiresias are in a plot together against him. Since everyone believes the blind truth-sayer, Oedipus thinks that Creon is getting the old man to accuse Oedipus as the source of their woes. Unable or unwilling to face the truth, Oedipus pushes the mistrust onto someone other than himself. At the end, Creon seems to be a reluctant but capable king. His discussion with Oedipus and his logic in defending himself seems fair, even and just. This ability gives us a hint at his inner strength, his love of Thebes and its people. The duty of king, even though it's brief that we see it in Oedipus the King, is evident in his closing words and actions with Oedipus. He seems to be very caring, but stern and even-tempered."

Powerful Creon: Fargo2 (1998) noted that Creon takes over [again]: "By the end Creon accepts the throne reluctantly, but smoothly. He is, after all, used to power."

Trustworthy Creon: Lilia Crouch (1999; Northern Va. CC) made a case for Creon as a good man, trusted by his brother-in-law, Oedipus, until Tiresias accused O of being the murderer of Laius: 

"Oedipus' relationship with Creon in the beginning of the play is characterized as being trustworthy. The city has fallen under a curse of multiple plagues. Oedipus beseeches Creon to go the gods for the answers on stopping these plagues. Oedipus even tells the people that he has sent Creon, Menoeceus' son, to learn what they might do to protect the city. If Oedipus did not trust Creon he would have not sent him on such an important mission in which Creon would have to report back with the words of the Gods. Creon gives Oedipus counsel to send for Tiresias, a seer, and Oedipus does as Creon suggests. I believe that Oedipus would not have sent for this seer if he did not trust the words of his brother-in-law.

"Creon would have been the next inline for the throne if Oedipus did not marry his sister. However, It is made clear in the play that Oedipus ruled with his queen and that all three gave counsel on how the kingdom is to be ruled. I do not believe that there was any jealously among Creon and Oedipus until the seer tells Oedipus that he is the murderer. It is only then that Oedipus becomes so enraged that he begins to point his finger at his brother-in-law.

"It is Oedipus who imagines that his brother-in-law wants the throne and that he has hired this seer to state false predictions. Oedipus becomes so angered that he is quick to judge Creon and decides he wants him dead. Oedipus would not even listen to what Creon had to say about begin king.

"Creon never wanted to be king. Creon had a lush life without having to work for it. He never had to make any decisions and the people all loved him, he says. It is only the king who is hated by some and has the ultimate responsible when decisions are made. I believe that at the end of the play Creon still did not want to be king, yet because he was so honest and just he knew it was his duty. Creon knew that Oedipus could no longer rule with his beliefs about the gods and that it was he who caused this curse upon the land. Creon was compassionate toward Oedipus and did as Oedipus requested. I felt that Creon was very wise at the end of the play."


Instructive Creon: Miguel (1999) considered Creon a construct by Sophocles, a politically neutral character, who is meant to show a king's proper relationship to the gods: "No doubt, before Oedipus took the throne by defeating the Sphinx, Creon was next in line to be the king. However, I do not believe that Creon had any jealousy towards Oedipus, nor did he want the kingship at all. The tellers of the tale did not want to complicate the story or stray too far from the moral of the story by making Creon an evil or sinister character, filled with greed. Creon seemed to have a character that was simply neutral and ready and willing to follow the prophets of the gods.

"I also believe that not enough information is given about Creon to say that he is the jealous type or that he has wrong feelings toward Oedipus. In any case, Creon would be justified by feeling threatened by Oedipus after Oedipus showed himself to be so unsure of his power and made Creon a definite enemy.

"Towards the end of the play, Creon proves that he would be a good, if not great leader. He says that he would check in with the gods to make sure of his role. He accepts his destiny and does not want to change or alter it. The very approach that Creon takes when he is appointed King is the total opposite of what Oedipus thought and felt with the power that the throne gave him. Oedipus let that power get to his head and soon he was feeling that he was equal to and maybe even beyond the gods, since he thought he could alter his own destiny. Creon is a character set up solely for the purpose of showing the people of the ancient Greek society the 'right way' of doing things and going about your life."

Laid Back Creon: "AP English Group 2" (2000) suggested that Creon was calm and not ambitious and therefore would NOT alter the message from the oracle: "If Oedipus had not defeated the Sphinx and therefore succeeded Laius as king, Creon would probably have become king. Moreover, his succession would have been supported by his royal blood, Jocasta's brother, and respect in society.

"Oedipus resents the fact that Creon is so well respected by the people. Creon is satisfied with his place in society. He has all the advantages of royalty, such as wealth and respect, with none of the hassles. Therefore, he would not alter the god's message.

"Creon is very laid back about the situation. He accepts his place as king with no apparent strong feeling one way or the other."

Too Smooth?  Joni (2000) thought maybe Creon was too smooth, because he already had his suspicions about Oedipus:  "Creon takes over too smoothly perhaps. Note that it was Creon who tells Oedipus what to do. Perhaps Creon was hoping to get rid of Oedipus. Whether or not he knew of Oedipus' background is not important. That Creon may have suspected something about Oedipus is entirely possible, In fact, he may have spoke with Tiresias & after that discussion decided to expose Oedipus by having Tiresias confront him."

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