Creon was a powerful leader of the city-state of Thebes who was viewed as a tyrant. Whether his qualities were good or bad, the people listened and obeyed him. The qualities of leadership he possessed were very strong and evident. The potential to be a good leader was within his ability, but his hubris stood in his way. He didn’t care what people had to say about an issue, it was his way of doing things, whether it was morally right or wrong. He abused his power which hurt the people, and ended up hurting him in the end. Creon’s emergency decree offended some people. This made the people think of him as a power hungry oppressor.
Creon says of Polynices, “He’s not to have a grave or any mourning. His corpse is to be left, a grim warning, pecked at by the birds and worried by the dogs. That is my policy. A malefactor mustn’t have the same treatment as the loyal man. ” The citizens of Thebes knew that he did not have the power to bring forth this edict, but he still went forth with it. The people disagreed with him because they knew he was going against the gods. Although it is seen as morally right to uphold the laws of the state, sometimes it is only right to fulfill your family duties first.
The chorus says, “God and the government ordain just laws; the citizen who rules his life by them is worthy of acclaim. But he that presumes to set the law at naught is like a stateless person, outlawed, beyond the pale. ” This reiterates that it is right to follow rules, but they should be susceptible to change. Creon rules with an attitude that he will bend the law for no man. Even though Creon wasn’t liked by his followers very much, he stood strong of his opinions. He goes on to say in line 183, “And if any man thinks a friend more important than his fatherland, that man, I say, is of no account.
Creon possesses a great quality of standing by his beliefs which is evident in his quote. This also shows that he is very loyal to his country, another characteristic of a good leader. In line 207 Creon also says, “Never will I allow the traitor to stand in honor before the just. But whoever has good will to Thebes, he shall be honored by me in death as in life. ” This statement shows that Creon holds honor to the state before honor to the family, which he and his people are in extreme disagreement about.
He loses supporters because it is almost second nature to care for one’s family before they defend one’s state. The qualities possessed by Creon make up an unsuccessful leader due to his excessive pride. He was self-righteous, strict, stubborn, and loves power. These qualities portray a dictator, not the democratic-type leader the city-state was looking for. The people did not respect Creon or his edict because he did not show respect for the people. All he wanted was to prove he had power and didn’t show concern for his people. This is what caused him to be an ineffective leader.