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What Are the Effects of Hubris on Creons Leadership?

The play Antigone was written by Sophocles. The play is centered on hubris which

lead to the downfall of various characters. One of these characters is Creon. Creon is the king of

Thebes, and he is tasked with making major decisions for the progress of Thebes. As Sophocles

shows, Creon was a good leader but for his hubris which cost him and the city of Thebes. He is

first portrayed as a leader who has excellent and rational reasons for his laws and punishments.

Sadly, this does not last for long. His demise, however, is caused by hubris, or excessive pride

which has taken over him. It takes Teiresiass prophecy to make it known to Creon of his

excessive pride. It is however too late to correct anything. Creon has hamartia or tragic flaw

which is the path for any tragic character. Creon later passes through peripeteia. This is a twist of

events where a character realizes that things might not turn out as they had expected. The causes

of Creons hubris are reflected through his refusal to acknowledge his wrong deeds, his blindness

to reality and his inability to handle conflicts appropriately and the effect of this is that he creates

enmity with the gods, refuses to let Antigone free and causes Haimons death, all of which serve

as the recipe for his downfall as the King of Thebes.

Creons hubris does not allow him to acknowledge when he wrong. Creon does not pay

attention or listen to anyone, and this becomes his major undoing. His pride and stubbornness do

not allow him to acknowledge that he is ever wrong. When Antigone asks him whether he
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intends to kill him, he sarcastically replies, That gives me everything (395) to show that he

does not accept that he could be wrong about Antigone. He also has a feeling of cockiness which

makes him feel superior to all. His statement The State is King! (598), reveals him as a leader

who thinks that he is better than the gods are. This hubris causes his enmity with the gods which

becomes the cause his downfall.

Teiresiass prophecy is a revelation of Creons blindness to reality. He fails to respect the

voice of the prophets such as Teiresias which come to haunt him later. This hubris alienates

Teiresias, Haimon and his people. His insensitivity to reality is his greatest undoing. This

prophecy reveals that Creon must suffer. Teiresias tries to make his sacrifice, but it refuses to

burn. The birds of the air fight and this is interpreted as a bad sign. He says, Think: all men

make mistakes, but a good man yields when he knows his course is wrong and repairs the evil.

The only crime is pride (804-806). This means that Creon has the chance to correct his mistakes

like letting Antigone free, but he refuses to do so because of his hubris. Teiresias further says, I

tell you, Creon, you yourself have brought This new calamity upon us. (796-797). Creon refuses

to back down from his laws since he wants to look like an unyielding leader and this becomes his

misdoing. The prophecy by Teiresias is a revelation that Creon cannot escape fate. His

stubbornness and the need to be seen as a great leader who is above correction become the

ingredients for his downfall. A truly strong leader would have realized his misdoings and

corrected himself but not Creon. This blindness to reality costs him a lot.

Creon cannot deal with conflicts appropriately. Dealing with conflicts requires a sober

mind and a person who is willing to either lose or win. Contrary to this, Creon is filled with

hubris and cannot accept defeat. After all, he has suffered, Creon has his epiphany, and he says,

I have been rash and foolish (1034). He comes to the acknowledgment that his pride has been a
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cause of the great trouble. His inability to deal with conflicts appropriately leads to Haimons

death. His hubris does not allow him to see that Haimon was in love with Antigone and he angers

Haimon advertently by putting Antigone on the fault. When he realizes this, he says, Fate has

brought all my pride to a thought of dust (1038). This is a revelation that Creon acknowledges

that he was not reasonable in solving his problems. His pride was misleading him, and before he

before he could do anything about it, it was too late. His hubris thus deters him from dealing with

his conflicts effectively.

In conclusion, Creons hubris is the recipe for his downfall. He is not able to sustain a

sober leadership. He goes through all the phases of a tragic character. He is unable to handle

many of the problems he faces because of the hubris. Every character in Antigone has pride

but too much pride is destructive. Creons pride is too much so that it blinds him to realize even

the slightest undoing. Pride is only beneficial if used moderately. In what looks like a

juxtaposition between Creon and Antigone, the latter benefits from her pride as she gathers the

courage to speak about issues she considers necessary. For the former, however, his excessive

pride makes him consider himself beyond correction, and it ends up destroying him. As such,

pride can be both a source of self-destruction and strength. When Creon finally realizes his

shortcoming, he tries to rectify everything, but it is too late. He has his anagnorisis when all that

could have could wrong have already gone wrong. Hubris makes Creon fall from being the king

of Thebes.
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Works Cited

Sophocles, , and Paul Woodruff. Antigone. Indianapolis: Hackett Pub. Co, 2001. Print.