English / Being A Fair Leader

Being A Fair Leader

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Autor:  anton  12 June 2011
Tags:  Leader
Words: 1032   |   Pages: 5
Views: 377

Gods, pharaohs and kings are leaders and examples. To control and guide people in the right direction is what all the leaders aim for throughout their life. Being the main person in the group certainly means that the individual has a lot of power over the public and is able to influence people as he wishes. People with power such as kings are often forced to chose between families and laws they make often in their lives. In the play “Antigone” by Sophocles, King Creon has to make such a decision. He issues the edict to outlaw the burial of a traitor, his nephew, Poleneices. In reaction, his niece Antigone disobeys the law, thus she disobeys Creon as well, and buries her brother out of loyalty to her family. When brought on trail she “den[ies] nothing” (1334). Creon is now faced with the decision to uphold the laws or pardon his family member. Creon’s decision to punish Antigone is a right decision and is one that any good leader would make. While a leader is also looking for the respect of his countrymen, all those who disobey the law must pay the price.

King Creon’s major decision throughout this play is to punish Antigone for disobeying the laws of the State. Creon’s philosophy of government helps elaborate his reasons for his punishment of Antigone, knowing she is a family. Creon "[has] nothing but contempt for the kind of Governor who is afraid, for whatsoever reason, to follow the course he knows best ” (1328). In other words laws must be held over all, and also over what course a person chooses for his/her State. Since Antigone does not uphold the laws, Creon knows that the best thing to do is follow the laws. By not upholding the law against Antigone, Creon would be going against his precedents. To Creon “the man who sets private friendship [or family matters] above the public welfare. . . .” (1329) is useless. If Antigone is excused and put over the public welfare then Creon would be made a hypocrite.

“No Ruler can expect complete loyalty from his subjects until he has been tested in office” (1328). Creon’s test is whether or not to hold the law against Antigone. If he does not he is failing his test and would not be accepted by his State. This would lead to chaos amongst his people. To have complete order all laws have to apply to all people. If Antigone is excused from the laws, havoc is bound to break out all over the State because people would see the State’s laws as biased. Creon is trying to live up to what he thinks is right and what he only knows. All he knows are his own expectations of what a good king or good ruler should be. Creon’s decision to punish Antigone leads to fatal consequences, which does not affect the validity to punish her in the first place. The most critical part of the consequences of Creon’s actions is Haimon’s suicide. Haimon is Creon’s son who is in love with Antigone and feels she should have mercy. Mercy on Antigone is wrong because she disobeyed the laws, that she had full knowledge of. Antigone chooses her own path and knows what she would encounter. When her sister Ismene asks Antigone if she has knowledge of Creon’s edict she replies yes. Haimon is not the only one Creon looses, but he also looses his wife, Euridice, and Antigone suicide as well. Eurydice commits suicide after knowing her son has committed suicide. Creon is left alone, but a king is left with the full confidence of his country and their submission to his laws.

The character flaws of Creon are what affect his decision negatively. The character flaws in part cause the consequences to be so horrible. One of his character flaws is rashness, which is shown by Creon not seeing past the decree or edict itself. This causes him to not see beyond the sentencing of Antigone alone. Creon although is not made evil by this but only short sighted. In Creon’s opinion, to become a strong leader an even stronger base is needed. When he enforces laws on all of his subjects the base of his kingdom is built. Since Creon is a new king, he needs to illustrate to his country how serious he is about the enforcing his laws. Punishing Antigone is a critical element of his plan. If Creon does not uphold the laws against Antigone, people would see him as a weak leader and would disobey the laws. Creon does not punish Antigone because he is evil, but that she brought it upon herself. Antigone says that “Creon is not strong enough to stand in [her] way” (1326). This shows Antigone is in total competence of the unlawfulness of her decision, and feels the laws does not apply to her by challenging the king. She “[is] not afraid of the danger; if it means death it will not be the worst of deaths---death without honor” (1327). This illustrates that Antigone knows what the consequences will be. Antigone herself chose to cut her life short because of her honor. If she is to do this in order to keep her honor, then Creon must punish her as the laws stated. Therefore keeping his honor.

“Anarchy……is why cities tumble and great houses rain down”(1338). Anarchy is what Creon is dodging by sentencing Antigone. Creon’s decision is a just and fair decision that corresponds with the laws. Creon encounters many situations throughout the play and makes the right decisions, especially the ones that refer to Antigone’s fate. Antigone is “like [her] father….deaf to reason” (1334). Creon is only upholding the law, for he is the king if he is not upholding it then nobody will after him. He is trying to create a strong State, and Antigone knew what would happen if she disobeyed the law. Antigone brings it down to herself with all do respect. If Creon does not punish her, his credibility, as a king would be lessened. Often in the paths of laws great empires increases while families or family relationships decreases.

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