Creon’s Tragic Flaw: Comparing Impulsiveness In Romeo And Creon

The Imperfection of Humanity

‘The essence of being human is that one does not seek perfection’ (George Orwell). Every individual, when progressing through life, begins to realize that perfection is unattainable and human beings all have flaws. The struggles and flaws of individuals govern the consequences of their judgment and belief. Showing the way of thinking behind one’s actions. This is evident in Romeo and Juliet as Shakespeare demonstrates Romeo as an impulsive young man madly in love with Juliet and determined to be with her, nevertheless overlooking advice given. Likewise, these tragic flaws are perceptible in King Creon in Antigone by Sophocles, who is just as stubborn, refusing to recognize the bonds of family that tie Antigone to her brother Polyneices and see his irrational laws as unfair, as well as his rashness in putting Antigone in jail. While both King Creon and Romeo exhibit tragic flaws of pride and impulsiveness, the greater downfall is clearly demonstrated by Romeo.

Consequences of Rash Decisions

If one was punished for every rash decision made, the world would be filled with punishment. For instance, Romeo is so deeply in love with Juliet he doesn’t realize his errors, and this intensifies his consequences’. Unfortunately, his impulsiveness becomes evident, and Romeo fights Tybalt. If Romeo had thought reasonably, he would not have been separated from Juliet. His banishment causes Romeo to act out with extreme despair to Friar Lawrence, and thinks that death would be better than exile.

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This is unbearable for Romeo, for he feels being banished from Verona is worse than death because he will not be able to see Juliet. He is so rash that he does not see how happy he should be for not being killed. The friar advises Romeo, ‘Ha banishment? Be merciful, say ‘death.’ This also portrays Romeo as very stubborn and intentionally chooses not to listen to advice, although Friar Lawrence precisely tells Romeo he should be merciful that he only got banished, furthering his downfall. Romeo could have prevented his leave from Verona if he had fully considered all options and thought about the consequences.

Pride and Downfall

Choosing deliberately to avoid the advice of another will truly show the error in ways one’s self. This would evoke consequences that could’ve been prevented. Creon will not listen to anyone; he is stubborn, and his pride is so great he cannot bring himself to acknowledge that he could ever do wrong. When Creon is talking to Teiresias, he thinks that he is being paid off. He does not want to believe he could be wrong about Antigone. Creon even says, “Whatever you say, you will not change my will.” Creon also has a self-righteousness and cockiness, a feeling that he is superior to all. “The State is King!” says Creon, which shows that he even thinks he’s better than the gods are. Creon has too much pride, and the gods do not like that, and this causes Creon’s hubris downfall.

The death of someone close to another can embark on a change to one’s personality, mentality, and way of life. Romeo is not given that chance to change the error in his ways, whereas King Creon is shown the ongoing sequence of his actions and works to undo them, but obviously, it is too late. This is much less of a consequence than death. While Romeo is not able to reevaluate his life and change his errors because his downfall is his death, and this displays clearly that Romeo’s downfall is clearly greater, for he is not even able to amend his conflicts and change for the better. King Creon has the opportunity to amend his lifestyle and change his way, but Romeo is left to commit suicide, resulting in him not even being able to see his errors and fix them.

“Better to be a strong man with a weak point than to be a weak man without a strong point.” (William B.) Mistakes make people the way they are, and the consequences that come from them shape them into being better. If one takes those bad experiences and learns from them, one can then use them to prevent future consequences’ before they occur. Both Romeo and King Creon demonstrate that the tragic flaws made both downfalls rather hard, but they learned from them, although it took major consequences.

References

  1. Orwell, George. Collected Essays. Harcourt, Brace & World, 1961.
  2. Shakespeare, William. Romeo and Juliet. Oxford University Press, 2000.
  3. Sophocles. Antigone. Penguin Classics, 1984.

The Importance Of Journey Over Destination: Life’s True Path

GPS and Emotions: An Unexpected Connection

“You have arrived,” says the robotic and lifeless voice of the GPS. I have always wondered why there is no trace of joy whenever the GPS has successfully guided you to your destination. And then I thought, maybe it is because it is not always that we are happy to reach our destination. When you need directions to the cemetery where you are to bury your best friend, or when you need directions to the courthouse to appear before a custody hearing involving your younger siblings, a joyous or jubilant “You have arrived” is the last thing you want to hear.

Childhood Obsessions: “Are We There Yet?”

“Are we there yet?” This is a question every child seems to ask the parent the minute they ride the car or go on a trip. It does not matter whether it is a short trip to the grocery or a road trip to see the giant natural amphitheaters of Bryce Canyon. There is an obsession with when we are “getting there.” And does it not seem like whenever we get “there,” the next question asked is, “What now?” The whole thesis of this course is that life is a journey. If life then is a journey, where is its destination? We go through life, and then what? How I look at it is that we should live our life as if this is the destination and this is where we are supposed to be. Every day we live, we have arrived, and what we should do once we have arrived is what really matters.

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What I am proposing here is that life itself is the destination. We have often heard that what should matter is the journey and not the destination. The process is more important than the result. What if the journey and the destination are one and the same? What if the process is the result? We are giving both the same importance and value, and there is nothing wrong with that. In fact, our life every day makes for a good destination. To prove that the journey is as important, or even more important than the destination, let us take the poem, The Road Not Taken, by Robert Frost. Two roads are in front of the speaker, and the speaker needs to make a choice about which one to take. The speaker looks at both roads and decides that one looks better than the other, but then retracts and says the roads look about the same (“Though as for that the passing there, Had worn them really about the same).

Choices, Roads, and Life’s Endless Journey: Insights from Poetry

He knows that when he makes a choice, he can never go back and undo that choice (“Yet knowing how way leads on to way, I doubted if I should ever come back”). The speaker seems to know, sometime in the future, that he will look back at this time and realize that what mattered is the road he chose. Whether he will look back at this time with regret or relief really depends on our interpretation. The last line of the poem, “And that has made all the difference,” shows the importance of the journey. The speaker realizes that the road he has taken has significantly impacted where he is at that point in his life. The poem does not mention where the speaker ended up or where his final destination was. It did not seem important. What mattered really is that by choosing whichever road he chose, he knew that it was the reason why he is where he is. In the poem Uphill by Christina Rossetti, two friends are having a conversation about a road.

One friend asks, “Does the road wind uphill all the way? And his friend replies, “Yes, to the very end.” The uphill road symbolizes life and its endless struggles and challenges. The friend asks again, “But is there for the night a resting place?” and his friend reassures him that he will find it (“that inn”). That there will be a refuge, even during the most difficult time. The questioning friend sounds disheartened, even scared, to go on the road. He keeps on asking if there will be other travelers and if, in the end, there will be a place for him (“Will there be a bed for me and for all who seek?”). His friend patiently answers all his questions and reassures him that there will be a place for “all who seek.” The ending of the poem does not really tell us if the friend eventually took to the road or gave up on the journey.

Faith in the Journey

How many times have we found ourselves discouraged and just straight-up gave up? How many times have we tried and then, mid-way, decided to quit? Our society looks at quitters as failures. If the journey is the destination, then there really is no halfway or an incomplete journey. Where we “quit” is our destination, and our destination is different from another person’s destination, so who’s to say we did not get there? I would like to mention here that as I read the poem, it took a religious nature that aligned with my beliefs. I thought of the passage in Isaiah 41:10, and it even strengthened my belief that God is with me every day. That I do not have to go through life in a certain way to get to a “destination” to be with Him. He is with me already, and I do not have any reason to be afraid. For all the weariness, the uncertainties, and the trials, my faith in God is strong, that He will deliver me, and that there is a place for me in His kingdom in heaven.

By looking at the journey as the destination, we are able to truly live life one day at a time. And is that not the goal- to make the most of each day? As we live our lives day to day, we must live our truth and our purpose. We must be committed to these two if our journey is to be worthy. How do we commit to our truth and purpose? Setting guidelines is one way to help us stay on task. It is like the road signs we see when we are traveling. These signs keep us safe or give us information to make for a smooth journey. The same is true as we go through our journey of life, and for me, these road signs are borne out of my faith, which has always been a source of inspiration, strength, and knowledge.

Franklin’s Plan: A Guidepost for Life

Ben Franklin’s Plan for Attaining Moral Perfection is the perfect model for these “road signs.” Not only does it share a lot with my Church’s teachings, but the simplicity of it is what makes it so appealing. Admittedly, it is simpler to state than to execute, and as Franklin himself highlighted, “the mere speculative conviction that it was our interest to be completely virtuous, was not sufficient to prevent our slipping;” by putting it down on the one-word list, it makes it easy to tick off one item at a time. Words such as “silence,” “order,” “resolution,” “sincerity,” and “justice” are easily understood and remembered. They are very similar to road signs that say, “STOP,” “Yield,” “No Entry,” and “35” (to signify speed limit).

The effectiveness is not diminished because there is no lengthy explanation provided. I also liked that Franklin put the list in order of what he deemed as the most important one, or at least the one he needed to master first-“…I judged it would be well not to distract my attention by attempting the whole at once, but to fix it on one of them at a time; and, when I should be master of that, then to proceed to another, and so on…” He went on to explain how the previous virtue will help with the next, and how that virtue will help him to the next one down the list, and so on until he has mastered all thirteen. And he did not stop there.

To hold himself more accountable, he made a table where he could mark which virtue he was concentrating on and how he exercised each virtue every day. Talk about commitment and accountability! At the end of the day, Franklin spent time on self-examination, reflecting on his efforts for the day. He treated each day as if it were his destination. And with a different virtue to work on the following day, it is a different destination every day for the next thirteen days. It is doubtful that Franklin reached the moral perfection he was aiming for. Still, a lot of good lessons can be learned from his efforts. He may not have reached his “destination” of being the epitome of moral perfection, yet the journey he took to get there has made him a better and happier man.

He wrote, “But, on the whole, tho’ I never arrived at the perfection I had been so ambitious of obtaining, but fell far short of it, yet I was, by the endeavor, a better and a happier man than I otherwise should have been if I had not attempted it…” (emphasis mine) And is self-improvement and happiness, not a destination itself? “Therefore, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own,” is what the good book says in Matthew 6:34.

References

  1. Frost, R. (1916). The Road Not Taken. Mountain Interval.
  2. Rossetti, C. (1861). Uphill.
  3. The Holy Bible, New International Version. (1984). Isaiah 41:10, Matthew 6:34.
  4. Franklin, B. (1791). The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin. J. Parsons.

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