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Published: 01-10-2019

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The Power of Pride in Oedipus Rex and Antigone

What occurs when pride requires control of a human? In the plays Oedipus Rex and Antigone, Sophocles paints a dismal picture of what occurs, exactly where pride is depicted as each an obstruction to sight and an obstruction to hearing. According to Sophocles, the pride of Antigone, Creon, and Oedipus blinds them from seeing their own stubborn determination and deafens them from hearing the wise counsel of their advisors. These characters’ pride produces tragic consequences not only for the arrogant characters themselves, but also for those closest to them. Sophocles utilizes the prideful determination of Antigone, Creon, and Oedipus to illustrate how disregarding smart counsel leads to fatal errors in judgement.

1st, Antigone’s pride takes the type of a stubborn want to act on her personal volition. In the opening act of the play, Antigone, in her arrogant persistence to get her way, does not listen to the counsel of her sister. This initiates a chain of events that leads to her demise. Insightfully recognizing Antigone’s fiery determination, her sister declares “You have a hot thoughts over chilly things” (Ant. 88) and warns her against the dangers of acting against their strong uncle Creon, who has commanded that no one particular can bury Polyneices, Antigone’s brother. Nonetheless, Antigone is resolved to bury her brother, in spite of her sister’s warnings about the threat of such reckless actions. Antigone can't let the matter rest, for in her eyes, she need to safeguard the honor of Polyneices and her personal pride by burying her brother. Though Ismene speaks sensibly, Antigone’s arrogant determination to bury Polyneices deafens her from hearing the wisdom of Ismene. For that reason, she wrongfully attributes Ismene’s warning to mere fearful excuses. Ismene, seeing the futility of her counsel, relents, leaving Antigone with a warning: “go, because you want to. But know this: you go senseless indeed” (Ant. 98-99). Through her dogged determination to have her personal way, Antigone can not see the folly of her actions and the consequences for defying Creon. Though some may possibly argue that Antigone was right to bury her brother, there is no doubt that Antigone would benefit from proceeding in a much more honorable fashion rather than blatantly disobeying Creon’s decrees. Conceivably, it was a lot more of Antigone’s misplaced stubborn pride, as opposed to true honor, in action when she buries her brother a second time, even although she fulfilled the burial rituals when she buried her brother the first time. As expected, Creon does invoke a fatal punishment on Antigone. If she had listened to Ismene’s warnings against foolishly acting as an alternative of blatantly acting against Creon’s decree, perhaps Antigone’s story would not have such a tragic end. Had she permitted Ismene’s warnings to pierce her stubborn pride, her errors in judgement could have been rectified by enabling Ismene to show her that it was not honor at work in her actions, but rather a prideful, stubborn attitude.

In addition, though Creon was the 1 to invoke punishment on Antigone, he also ensured his personal demise in his condescending attitude towards counsel. Unlike Antigone’s pride, his pride requires the form of sexism, which permits him to create off his son Haemon’s counsel as foolish love for a woman. In a testament to his personal maturity and love for his father’s effectively being, Haemon reveals to Creon that he has been keeping “watch on all men’s doing exactly where it touches you,” (Ant. 687-689). He inquiries his father’s course of punishment for Antigone out of this concern, as he discovers that “the whole town is grieving for this girl, unjustly doomed” (Ant. 693-694). Moreover, he recommends that his father slackens his firm stance against Antigone, for, as Haemon states, “a man, though wise, should in no way be ashamed of learning far more, and have to not be also rigid” (Ant. 710-711). Even the chorus leader notes the wisdom of Haemon’s words, agreeing that Creon would be prudent to heed his son (Ant. 724-725). Regrettably, all the sensibility of Haemon’s words is lost on Creon, who can't appear past his personal prideful sexism. Rather than with regards to Haemon’s words, which are so undoubtedly rational to the chorus leader and even the city as a complete, he excuses Haemon’s sentiments as merely his feeling towards Antigone performing the speaking. Antigone threatens Creon’s masculine pride, and he is fixated on the fact that a woman had the audacity to disobey him. He pours out this anger, which has misogynistic undertones, on Haemon, calling him “weaker than a woman” (Ant. 746) and a “woman’s slave” (Ant. 756). Creon’s chauvinistic pride shows itself in the way he distributes punishment. He does not punish a male guard, who is portion of a group incriminated for failing twice to watch more than the body of Polyneices. Nevertheless, when a female dares to cross his path, he penalizes her with the ultimate kind of punishment: death. Though Antigone’s crime is arguably much more deliberate, the enormous distinction in Creon’s administration of justice to those who have failed him points towards his sexist attitude. Creon’s dismissal of Haemon’s counsel ultimately leads to the death of Haemon and Creon’s wife, Eurydice. Had Creon listened to the smart counsel of Haemon, he would not have knowledgeable the tragedy of each his wife and his son dying. For if Creon had looked past his misogynistic reasoning for ignoring Haemon’s words he could keep away from his errors in judgement in punishing Antigone.

Similar to Antigone and Creon, Oedipus’ resolute determination to act as he pleases keeps him from hearing the warnings of his counselors. Oedipus’ pride manifests itself in his belief that he is invincible against the fate set ahead of him by the gods. As Oedipus searches to uncover the murderer of Laius, he inches closer and closer to the tragic truth that he is, in truth, Laius’ murderer. When he concerns the smart Teiresias, the prophet shrewdly advises Oedipus to not seek the truth, for it will only bring discomfort. He says, “Let me go residence. It will be easiest for us each to bear our several destinies to the end if you will comply with my advice” (OT. 320-322). Nevertheless, Oedipus refuses to let him go, saying “you’d rob us of this your present of prophecy?” (OT. 323). In addition, Teiresias is not the only one particular to warn Oedipus that he is headed down a dark and unsafe path. Oedipus’ prideful tenacity reveals itself more so as Jocasta gives her counsel, which Oedipus, unsurprisingly, does not heed. Jocasta recognizes that this search will only lead to a lot more suffering, and she entreats Oedipus, “do not hunt this out” (OT. 1060). Oedipus brushes her off, insisting that he must uncover the truth, despite that truth that she continues to ask him to finish this search. Jocasta proclaims that “it is because I wish you effectively that I give you this counsel- and it’s the ideal counsel” (OT. 1066). Nonetheless, Oedipus grows frustrated with Jocasta, saying her counsel “vexes” him, and he continues in his pursuit of the truth (OT. 1067).

Oedipus’ prideful tenacity stems from the proof that Oedipus believes, at least on a subconscious level, that he is greater than the gods. For ahead of he was king of Thebes, Oedipus left who he thought had been his parents, King Polybus and Queen Merope, so as to escape the prophecy that he would kill his father and marry his mother. It is as if he believed that he could, by his own energy, change the path the gods had set ahead of him. All through his search for Laius’ murderer, he regularly ignores the warnings of Teiresias and Jocasta, denying that he could be the murderer simply because he, in all his strength, naturally escaped the fate of the gods. This prideful belief in his own sovereignty over fate leads to his errors in judgement about the identity of Laius’ murderer. Nonetheless, Teiresias and Jocasta’s warnings come accurate, and Oedipus realizes he is, unfortunately, the murderer of Laius. When he finds this, Oedipus cries in despair and remorse, “madness and stabbing pain and memory of my evils!”(OT. 1316). His sensible counselors saw through his prideful belief in his personal energy against fate, and foresaw where his investigation would undoubtedly lead. Had he listened to the wisdom of his counsel, probably he would have continued to live in the mindless bliss that he had at the beginning of his reign and marriage to Jocasta.

Despite the reality that Antigone, Creon, and Oedipus’ pride takes various types, they all make errors in judgment. As Sophocles implies, these errors could be rectified by heeding the counsel of their much less hot-headed counterparts. Their counselors had the capacity to see by means of the arrogant determination and self-blindness which displays itself in Antigone by means of stubbornness, Creon by means of sexism, and Oedipus by way of belief in his strength against fate, and can as a result provide beneficial guidance from a much less emotionally charged location. Sophocles gives wisdom on this via the voice of Haemon, saying, “Have you not noticed the trees beside storm torrents – The ones that bend preserve their limbs and leaves, while the resistant perish root and branch?” (Ant. 712-714). Through this, Sophocles suggests that these who make use of the wisdom of others and allow themselves to compromise and adjust based on smart counsel will survive, although those who stay fixated on their resolute need to do factors their personal way will perish. Hence, Antigone, Creon, and Oedipus’ prideful determination blinds and deafens them from acknowledging their personal limits in their capacity to make crucial choices.
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