Protagonist Misconceptions

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Tragic hero: a literary character, usually of a high stature, who makes an error in judgment or has a fatal flaw that, combined with fate and external forces, brings on tragedy and enlightenment. Creon could not fit the definition any better. Not only does he commit errors in judgment, but the blind prophet Teiresias predicts his fate. Creon’s unwillingness to change his way of thinking in a timely manner, combined with his god like complex, become his fatal flaws that eventually lead to his tragic downfall. Antigone is simply the catalyst that launches Creon down his catastrophic path. It is not Antigone who is the tragic protagonist of Antigone, but rather, Creon, the ruler of Thebes.
In Antigone, a civil war breaks out and Eteocles and Polyneices, brothers on opposite sides, both die. Creon, ruler of Thebes and their uncle, releases an edict saying that Polyneices cannot be buried causing his soul eternal unrest. This goes against the Greek’s holy laws. Making himself superior to the holy laws becomes Creon’s first mistake. The ruler soon commits his second fault. “This girl is guilty of a double insolence,/ Breaking the given laws and boasting of it./ Who is the man here,/ She or I, if this crime goes unpunished?/ Sister’s child, or more than sister’s child,/ Or closer yet in blood-she and her sister/ Win better death for this!” (Scene 2, Lines 80-86) Creon sentences Antigone and Ismene to death after he discovers they buried Polyneices. Worried he will appear weak if he doesn’t punish them, he continues on in his defiance of the gods. Creon’s errors in judgment in conjunction with his superiority complex contribute to his downfall.
Antigone continues to challenge Creon’s view. “Which of us can say what the gods hold wicked?...

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...t.” (Exodus, Lines 121-122) It took the deaths of his dearly beloveds, but he did come to understand that his own actions brought upon his fate. The Choragus states, “And proud men in old age learn to be wise.” (Exodus, Line 142) Despite his initial stubbornness and bad choices leading to the turmoil that is now his life, Creon did learn from his experience just as a tragic protagonist does.
Creon relents upon hearing his destiny, yet far too late for him to escape it. The ruler of Thebes learns from his mistakes, but it costs him everyone that matters most to him. Creon demonstrates the characteristics of a tragic hero; nobility, errors in judgment, excessive pride and stubbornness, enlightenment, and a tragic ending brought upon by his own actions. His unyielding, inaccurate views and a predetermined fate led to the tragic state of his life by the end of Antigone.
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