The conflict between father and son
Haemon, Creon’s son and Antigone’s fiancé, first appears in the third act of the play Antigone by Sophocles. He has learned about his father’s decision to kill Antigone and tries to change Creon’s mind in an extremely diplomatic way. At the beginning of their conversation, he expresses his respect for Creon and highlights the experience and care with which fathers guide their children: “I am yours, Father. You set me straight, / Give me good advice, and I will follow it. No marriage will weigh more with me, / Than your good opinion.” (Act 3, Scene 8, ll. 635-638). Yet he clarifies that Creon’s advice must be “good” (Act 3, Scene 8, ll. 638).
The conflict between father and son quickly escalates when Creon fiercely defends his position as ruler. According to him, Antigone has defied the king and must be held accountable for it. At first, Haemon raises a reasonable argument: a wise man listens to the opinion of others and considers whether his own view is not too limited. Changing one’s mind according to new insight is not a sign of weakness, but of prudence:
And now, don’t always cling to the same anger,
Don’t keep saying that this, an...