Creon: A Tragic Hero Essay

Creon: A Tragic Hero Essay

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Over time, history has given society many to whom we call true heroes. There are many reasons these heroes have been looked up to such as: bravery, dedication, confidence, and inspiration. However, a tragic hero requires a few different qualities. Aristotle describes a tragic hero as a “member of royalty,” someone who “must fall from tremendous good fortune,” and someone who creates pity for him or herself (“Connections: A Theory” 2000). In Greek drama, Sophocles’ Antigone and Euripides’ Medea both contain several possible tragic heroes including Medea, Jason, and Creon. More specifically, in Antigone Creon exemplifies the qualities of a tragic hero best due to his prominent power as king of Thebes, the way he holds strong to his stubborn pride, and the sympathy felt for him in his tragic downfall.
In both Antigone and Medea, three leading characters—Creon of Thebes, Medea, and Jason—hold dominant authority in their own way. Jason, married to Megareus—daughter of another King Creon, receives a small recognition of power because of this marriage. He “is lying on a royal wedding bed.” (Medea 24). However, Creon of Thebes holds greater power as king. Born in Colchis, a “country of barbarians,” Medea’s power in no way compares to the power in a reigning, royal sense of King Creon (Medea 637). Her power lies in her wicked actions of selfishly doing whatever she wants, deceivingly poisoning Megareus and Creon, and angrily murdering her own children. Creon, newly reigning king of Thebes, immediately demonstrates his position of authority in his address to the people of his country. His opening speech to the people sets the tone for Creon’s character—powerful, pleasing to his people, and full of confidence. These qualities are...


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...on because he is only human. All human beings make mistakes and rash decisions, and in knowing this, one understands the desperate calling to give compassion and understanding towards Creon. However, with Jason and Medea, their mistakes harm not only themselves, but also the feelings of others. Creon best embodies Aristotle’s definition of a tragic hero through his reign of power, his tragic flaw, and his tragic downfall.



Works Cited

“Connections: A Theory”. Elements of Literature, Fourth Course with Readings in World
Literature. Ed. Richard Sime and Bill Wahlgreen. Dallas: Holt, Rinehart, and Winston, 2000. Page 739. Print.

Euripides. Medea. Trans Ian Johnston. Johnsonia. N.p. Web. 20 March 2011.

Sophocles. Antigone. Trans. Dudley Fitts and Robert Fitzgerald. McDougall Little: Literature.
Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2011. Pages 968-1006. Print.

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