Oedipus Rex or Oedipus the King

The Character of Creon as a Foil for Oedipus in “Oedipus Rex” 11th Grade

Throughout the history of literature, authors and playwrights have often employed a foil – a character whose purpose is to create a contrast with the main character that allows 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 allowing Creon's character traits to stand against those of Oedipus, but also by giving him his own magnitude in the events and direction of the play. Though Creon – who is Oedipus’s uncle, brother-in-law, and right-hand man all at once – demonstrates many qualities that provide stark relief against the title character’s, the ones that perhaps form the best grounds for contrast are Creon’s reactions, his piety, and his priorities.

One of the most critical elements of the plot’s rising action is the ongoing conflict between Creon and Oedipus, in which the first of their differences truly comes to light. Where Oedipus is portrayed as a frantic, paranoid king, Creon’s mature reactions to Oedipus’s attempts at provocation could not be more different. When Oedipus accuses Creon of “highway robbery of [his] crown” (l. 615), Creon’s only response to such a...

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