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Creon’s Leadership Compared to Machiavelli’s Ideas

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Creon's Leadership Compared to Machiavelli's Ideas Sophocles's Antigone of Ancient Greece is a tale for all times. The actions and relationships between characters can be seen in any society. In particular, the leadership and actions taken by Creon in the play can be compared to the leadership traits that Nicolo Machiavelli suggests a leader should follow in his 16th century work The Prince. Machiavelli provides twenty six chapters on how leaders should act in specific scenarios. Princes and rulers need to maintain a subtle balance between love, fear, hatred, liberalism and meanness, all in addition to keeping possession of a newly obtained rule. Creon has obtained rule of Thebes through unique means. Etocles and Polyneices were to rotate rule between themselves, but since Etocles refused to allow Polyneices his time to rule, the two quarreled with armies, and killed each other, leaving Creon their uncle as the next hereditary male in line for the throne. (Sophocles 2) These deaths are bad ways to commence a rule. Creon needed to find a means to make the public view of him a positive one as he took leadership. ...read more.


He follows these rules for success as a monarch, yet he still fails in his doings. Fate has continued to curse his family name with ill providence and atrocities. Machiavelli warns of having to defend against and suppress conspirators. Antigone, in this case, could be classified as a conspirator. She was caught in the act, and didn't have any regrets about burying her brother. Machiavelli says that "The conspirators face nothing but fear, mutual distrust, and the prospect of punishment, so they loose heart" (57). This is the complete opposite for Antigone. She was only strengthened in her resolve to bury Polyneices as Creon continued his punishments for her, and this made her a martyr and backfired on Creon's leadership. Machiavelli's ideas failed again for Creon as he loses the love of his family and his people. Creon slowly looses the respect and love of his people and his family during his process of punishing Antigone. Haemon puts it perfectly when he says that "she is not going to die while I am near her. ...read more.


Creon is described as 'slither[ing] into wickedness sometimes' (Sophocles 16) by the Chorus. He seemed to have the original intent to aid his people, but later on when Antigone rebelled against him, he was irked that a lowly woman would try to question his authority, especially when he just attained power. He becomes crazed in his desire to stop her mini-rebellion against his influence, and it is at this point that his meanness is transformed into a two sided hatred: Creon towards Antigone's rebellious nature, and his people towards his suppression of a helpless girl trying to honor her family. When comparing Creon's leadership flaws to Machiavelli's ideals for a perfect rule, one can see how some of then work and some of them fail. Part of this is due to Creon's greed and open desire to have things his way. Through the suppression of Antigone's burial of her brother Creon creates an image for himself of a cruel leader, which in turns causes his people and family to turn against him and ruin his kingdom. This is in part caused by the Oedipus curse upon his family, which is his fate. But, Creon is hated as well as feared, which is the opposite of what Machiavelli suggests. ...read more.

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