The antagonistic King Creon delivers this speech at the plays end. He has tried to maintain control of his defiant niece Antigone. When she refuses to follow his laws he sentences her to death. Unfortunately, that decision starts a chain-reaction, leading to the demise of his son, wife, and everything else he holds dear.
In this scene, Creon realizes that his excessive pride ultimately led to his downfall. (A favorite theme of Greek tragedy!)
I am the guilty cause. I did the deed,
Thy murderer. Yea, I guilty plead.
My henchmen, lead me hence, away, away,
A cipher, less than nothing; no delay!
Come, Fate, a friend at need,
Come with all speed!
Come, my best friend,
And speed my end!
Let me not look upon another day!
Away with me, a worthless wretch who slew
Unwitting thee, my son, thy mother too.
Whither to turn I know now; every way
Leads but astray,
And on my head I feel the heavy weight
Of crushing Fate.
When one considers each play in the Oedipus Trilogy, Creon undergoes an incredibly transformation. In Oedipus the King, Creon is thoughtful and moral. In Oedipus at Colonus, he becomes more manipulative as he tries to take advantage of the now blind and aged Oedipus. In Antigone, he begins the play as arrogant and power-hungry. He ends the play in a state of sheer wretchedness, much like Oedipus felt in the first play. Translated by F. Storr (Published in 1912).