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The Character of Creon as a Foil for Oedipus in “Oedipus Rex”
All through the history of literature, authors and playwrights have frequently employed a foil – a character whose goal is to create a contrast with the main character that makes it possible for the latter’s attributes to cement their presence. Ancient Greek tragedian Sophocles, in his play Oedipus Rex, seamlessly weaves his foil character, Creon, into the tapestry of the intricate plot not only by permitting Creon’s character traits to stand against these of Oedipus, but also by giving him his own magnitude in the events and direction of the play. Even though Creon – who is Oedipus’s uncle, brother-in-law, and appropriate-hand man all at once – demonstrates many qualities that offer stark relief against the title character’s, the ones that maybe type the greatest grounds for contrast are Creon’s reactions, his piety, and his priorities.
One particular of the most critical components of the plot’s increasing action is the ongoing conflict among Creon and Oedipus, in which the 1st of their variations genuinely comes to light. Exactly where Oedipus is portrayed as a frantic, paranoid king, Creon’s mature reactions to Oedipus’s attempts at provocation could not be much more diverse. When Oedipus accuses Creon of “highway robbery of [his] crown” (l. 615), Creon’s only response to such a far-fetched claim is to calmly request an explanation that is just-as-composedly dispelled by him. When Oedipus proceeds with his poorly-founded accusations, which often come dusted with ill-concealed insults, Creon fails to be provoked into any reaction beyond unruffled, logical responses, as demonstrated by his attempt to explain to the king that he would have no motivation to frame him, since he already enjoys all the benefits of a higher-ranking position with no getting weighed down by the burden of its responsibilities. Oedipus, nevertheless, refuses to listen to the voice of purpose: each following exchange among them stands to additional emphasize just how illogical and volatile Oedipus can be.
One more important dissimilarity in between the two characters is their drastically different views of divinity and their reverence – or lack thereof – of the gods. Creon, who from the quite beginning of the play is established as a man of piety, often tends to make note of the gods in conversation, ever cautious to remain inside his mortal boundaries. He also mentions that he awaits “to find out from the God [Apollo] the course of action [he] must follow” (l. 1620) before coming to any decisions, thus exhibiting his belief in fate. Oedipus, on the other hand, becomes infamous for his hubris – his pride that is so excessive that he believes himself superior to the gods. In his initial conversation with the prophet Teiresias, Oedipus criticizes the power of the gods and their oracles:
“When the dark singer, the sphinx, was in your nation, did you speak word of deliverance to its citizens? And however the riddle’s answer was not the province of a likelihood comer. It was a prophet’s task and plainly you had no such gift of prophecy from birds nor otherwise from any God to glean a word of information. But I came, Oedipus, who knew practically nothing, and I stopped her. I solved the riddle by my personal wit alone. Mine was no knowledge got from birds.” (l. 455-463)
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Level: Law School
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