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Oedipus and Creon - Essay Example

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Oedipus and Creon

The trust Oedipus has for Creon is obvious from the first time he is mentioned. Oedipus explains, "I have sent Menoikeus' son, Creon, my own wife's brother, forth alone To Apollo's House in Delphi" (Sophocles 6). The city is in despair and the oracle is Oedipus's last hope, so he sends his most trusted companion on this important journey. Oedipus's faith in him is obvious, and Creon really seems to warrant this trust. His sensitivity to Oedipus is apparent when he says, "Shall I speak now, with all these pressing close, Or pass within" (Sophocles 7). Creon tactfully states he would not openly express anything that Oedipus would prefer to remain private. As Creon relates the news he's heard from the oracle, Oedipus hangs on every word, questions him about the particulars, and generally believes the story. At the scene's end, he has accepted everything Creon has told him, and announces his intent to act upon this news, saying, "It falls on me then. I will search and clear This darkness" (Sophocles 10). On Creon's advice, he also summons the seer, Teiresias, for further instructions. There is no doubt of the trust that exists in their relationship.
Once Teiresias enters the picture, things begin to change. Threatened by the accusation, Oedipus grows paranoid and his relationship with Creon grows strained. The news is so awful and amazing that Oedipus cannot believe it. It's easier to suspect foul play, and his suspicions fall immediately on the man who stands to gain the most from his downfall. He asks Teiresias, "Ha! Creon!--Is it his or thine, this plot" (Sophocles 23) and refuses to believe it when the seer insists it is not a plot at all. "For this crown Creon the stern and true, Creon mine own Comrade, comes creeping in the dark to ban And slay me" (Sophocles 23), Oedipus insists. He insults Creon, calling him, "assassin" (Sophocles 30) and "robber of my crown" (Sophocles 30) as well as a coward, a snake, and an idiot. Creon defends himself against false charges, leading to a long argument. Eventually, even his patience wears out, and he tells Oedipus, "I see thou wilt not think" (Sophocles 35). The disagreement degenerates into name-calling; Oedipus will not see reason and Creon will not admit to something he has not done.
Only late in the play, when the shepherds have produced the evidence that convinces Oedipus of his crimes, does he realize that he has wronged his brother-in-law. Jocasta is dead, Oedipus has put out his own eyes, and Creon has returned, "Not to make laughter, Oedipus, nor cast Against thee any evil of the past" (Sophocles 81). This is true compassion on Creon's part. Not only has he been wronged, but he has learned that Oedipus is the cause of all the turmoil in Thebes, including his sister's death, and still he is kind. Even Oedipus doubts that Creon can deal kindly with him, saying, "How make him trust me more He hath seen of late So vile a heart in me, so full of hate" (Sophocles 81). Showing the same sensitivity as earlier in the play, when he asked whether he should make a public announcement of his findings, he offers Oedipus privacy, saying, "Quick within! Guide him. -- The ills that in a house have been They of the house alone should know or hear" (Sophocles 81). Creon's compassion is further demonstrated when Antigone and Ismene enter, and Oedipus shows his gratitude, saying, "Creon of his grace Hath brought my two, my dearest, to this ...Show more

Summary

As Oedipus the King begins, in all of Thebes, Oedipus can only one man as an equal: Jocasta's brother, Creon. Unfortunately, since Creon holds a position close to the king's, he is the first person Oedipus becomes suspicious of when he hears news he doesn't want to believe…
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