Essay 1 Sophocles’ : Discuss the ethical implications of Creon’s decree. Examine each argument that he has with Antigone, Haemon, and Teiresias. Make certain that you have a thesis in which you state what you think of Creon’s decree. Parameters: APA style and format. Must cite the story in your text and with an end reference in APA format. No other sources besides the story are needed. If you choose to use an outside source, you must cite it. 700 word minimum.

Title: Ethical Implications of Creon’s Decree in Sophocles’ “Antigone”


Sophocles’ play “Antigone” presents a moral dilemma through the clash between the protagonist, Antigone, and her uncle, Creon, the king of Thebes. Creon’s decree, which prohibits the burial of Antigone’s brother, Polynices, raises several ethical implications. This essay aims to examine each argument that Creon presents in his debates with Antigone, Haemon, and Teiresias, and evaluate the ethical consequences of his decree. Through a thorough analysis, it becomes evident that Creon’s decree ultimately exhibits a morally flawed perspective.

Thesis Statement:

Creon’s decree in “Antigone” represents a misguided exercise of power, as it violates the principles of familial duty, divine law, and social harmony, ultimately leading to disastrous consequences.


I. Creon’s Argument with Antigone:

Creon’s first argument with Antigone centers on the notion of familial duty. He argues that Polynices, who fought against Thebes, should not be given the same burial rights as his brother, Eteocles, who died defending the city. Creon asserts that burying Polynices would undermine the stability of their society, for it sends a message that rebellion will be rewarded with honor. However, Antigone counters this argument with her belief that familial loyalty supersedes political alliances, emphasizing the importance of personal responsibility and moral obligations to one’s family.

II. Creon’s Argument with Haemon:

Creon’s discourse with Haemon, his son and Antigone’s betrothed, further highlights the ethical implications of his decree. Haemon argues that Creon’s decree has lost the support and respect of the people, who sympathize with Antigone’s actions. Haemon suggests that rulers must listen and adapt to the voice of the governed, teaching his father the essential principle of democratic governance. Nevertheless, Creon stubbornly insists on his authority, dismissing Haemon’s plea for moderation. This demonstrates Creon’s disregard for the voice of his citizens and his inability to merge personal convictions with a broader understanding of the needs of his society.

III. Creon’s Argument with Teiresias:

The confrontation between Creon and Teiresias, the blind prophet, further illustrates the ethical implications of the king’s decree. Teiresias’ prophecy warns Creon that his refusal to bury Polynices will result in disastrous consequences for the city of Thebes. Teiresias emphasizes the importance of respecting divine law, which transcends human laws and demands proper burial rights for all individuals. However, Creon remains obstinate and accuses Teiresias of being bribed, showcasing his refusal to accept wise counsel and consider the welfare of his city.

Ethical Implications of Creon’s Decree:

Creon’s decree demonstrates a flawed moral perspective that contradicts fundamental ethical principles. Firstly, his emphasis on political loyalty over familial duty negates the importance of blood ties and personal responsibility. The duty to bury one’s kin is deeply ingrained in ancient Greek culture, and by forbidding Antigone from honoring her brother, Creon defies a fundamental societal obligation. Moreover, Creon’s decree disrespects divine law, as exhibited in Teiresias’ prophetic warnings. The Greek concept of moira, or fate, supports the idea that disregarding divine law will result in severe consequences for individuals and society as a whole. Creon’s refusal to heed the divine warnings exemplifies his arrogance and lack of moral insight.

Furthermore, Creon’s decree disrupts social harmony and destabilizes the city. By forbidding the burial of Polynices, Creon alienates a significant portion of the population who sympathize with Antigone’s actions. The societal unrest that ensues highlights the importance of considering public opinion and maintaining a balance between personal convictions and the needs of the greater community. Creon’s failure to achieve this balance leads to the downfall of his rule and the tragedy that befalls Thebes.


In “Antigone,” Creon’s decree exposes the ethical implications of his actions, leading to disastrous consequences. Through examining Creon’s arguments with Antigone, Haemon, and Teiresias, it is evident that his decree violates the principles of familial duty, divine law, and social harmony. Creon’s refusal to consider alternative viewpoints and adapt to the legitimate grievances of his citizens ultimately leads to his downfall. Sophocles’ play serves as a cautionary tale about the perils of rigid adherence to unjust decrees and the importance of ethical decision-making in leadership.