John Luscy September 13, 2010 Mini Paper 1 Inge Fink In the story Oedipus Rex, Sophocles portrays two certain characters as leaders. Both of these characters have the potential to be the leader of Thebes and eventually both of them are the leaders of Thebes. They both show leadership qualities that make them great leaders. One of them has more qualities than the other. The first leader of Oedipus Rex was Oedipus himself. He was the king of Thebes at the beginning of the story.
The biggest leadership quality that Oedipus has and the reason that he is the king is bravery. In the prologue, the story tells that Oedipus got rid of the sphinx that was killing whomever it was coming across in the land. Besides showing bravery in accomplishing this feat, it also shows intellect on the part of Oedipus because he figured out the answer to the sphinx’s riddle. Another part of the prologue where Oedipus shows a leadership quality is when the citizens of Thebes come to him to consult Apollo about why the plague has come upon them.
Oedipus had already sent Kreon to the oracle to consult Apollo long before the citizens come forth. This shows that he takes charge and acts when he knows that he must. When Kreon returns he wants to tell Oedipus what the oracle told him but Oedipus wanted Kreon to say it in front of the citizens so that they all can hear. He did this because he knew that the citizens wanted to know why the plague had come over their land. He also cared about them so he believed that they deserved to know why Apollo put the curse upon them.
Oedipus tells the citizens that their burden is his burden and that their suffering makes him suffer. He is showing his affection towards them. The other person that Sophocles portrays as a great leader is Kreon. Kreon is the queens brother in the story which makes him Oedipus’ brother in law. Kreon is the leader who will always consult the gods before making conclusions or making decisions. He admires tradition and knows that there are people in the world that know much more and are much more powerful than he is.
Kreon has a great sense of pride and does not like it when Oedipus accuses him of treason. In one of the scenes Kreon agrees with Oedipus that a man who sins against his own kind should be punished. In agreeing with Oedipus Kreon is trying to prove that he is innocent and that whoever did kill Laios should be punished. He stands by what Tyresias says because he knows that Tyresias is right and that neither of them killed Laios. In the same scene Kreon tries to prove that he does not want to be king by saying that he has all the power of the king without the worries.
He would rather be where he is than be king. He does not want all the responsibilities that Oedipus has. In the final scene where Oedipus realizes that it was he who killed Laios and that he fulfilled the prophecy that he was trying so hard not to fulfill Oedipus gouges out his eyes. He sticks to the vow he makes by trying to get Kreon to banish him from the land. Kreon being the great leader he is shows mercy toward Oedipus. He allows Oedipus to be with his children and allows him to stay with Kreon.
It never says in the story that Kreon actually banished him from the land but it does say that Kreon tells him to go inside. Kreon acts as a king should in being merciful to his subjects and not enforcing rule and power. I believe that Kreon is the better leader of Thebes because he shows more qualities than just bravery. The main reason why Oedipus was even crowned king was because he was brave. Kreon is the one who did all of Oedipus’ duties because Oedipus told him to. A true leader does not want to be leader but becomes one when he is needed.