Perhaps more than any other figure in the Oedipus Trilogy, Creon, Oedipus' brother-in-law, seems to be a very different character in each of the plays.
In Oedipus the King, Creon embodies the voice of reason. As Oedipus storms, Creon maintains his calm; when Oedipus cries out to be banished, Creon protects him with gentle firmness. By the end of the tragedy, Creon proves himself sensible and responsible, a good leader for the now kingless Thebes.
In Oedipus at Colonus, in contrast, Creon emerges as wily and manipulative, willing to do anything to gain his ends. When Creon sees that flattering words will not move Oedipus, he has no compunction in holding Antigone and Ismene hostage and threatening Theseus with war. Angry and intent on his will, Creon appears the epitome of the bad, ruthless leader, impervious to the laws of the gods or humanity.
As the king of Thebes in Antigone, Creon is a complete autocrat, a leader who identifies the power and dignity of the state entirely with himself. Instead of accepting kingship as a duty — as Creon was prepared to do at the end of Oedipus the King — the Creon of Antigone maintains the throne as his unquestioned right and rules Thebes by his own will, rather than for the good of the people. Creon's power madness makes him unyielding and vindictive, even to his own son, who speaks as reasonably to him as the Creon of Oedipus the King spoke to Oedipus. Full of pride and ambition at the start, by the play's conclusion Creon suffers the wrath of the gods, and ends, in his own words, as "no one. Nothing" (Antigone 1446).