Oedipus Rex or Oedipus the King

How does Creon defend himself against Oedipus's accusation?


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Oedipus indicts Creon as the murderer himself, guilty of crafting a plot against him. Creon mocks Oedipus as “obstinacy without wisdom” (549) – but Oedipus replies that his public interest supersedes his private: “you are wrong if you believe that one / a criminal, will not be punished only / because he is my kinsman” (551-3). Oedipus’ belief at this stage is that Teiresias is a vicious liar, and as he was sent by Creon, Creon must be involved in the plot against him.

He and Creon argue, and Creon tells him that they searched for information about Laius’ death but found none. Creon, moreover, informs Oedipus that he is happy with his life and has no reason to plot against him – and reminds Oedipus in a long speech that since there is no proof against him, Oedipus cannot cast such damaging aspersions until fully supported. Creon then tells him that ‘in time you will know all with certainty” (613). Oedipus refuses to listen, and Creon finishes his diatribe by accusing the king of ruling unjustly.

Jocasta enters and berates the two men for airing their private griefs when there is a public crisis. The men repeat their arguments, and she begs Oedipus to believe Creon and to be merciful. The Chorus joins in her pleas, and Oedipus reluctantly lets Creon go. At this stage, each of the brothers-in-law think the other is the murderer of Laius.