Tragic Hero of in Sophocles' Antigone

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Tragic Hero in Antigone The debate over who is the tragic hero in Antigone continues on to this day. The belief that Antigone is the hero is a strong one. There are many critics who believe, however, that Creon, the Ruler of Thebes, is the true protagonist. I have made my own judgments also, based on what I have researched of this work by Sophocles. Antigone is widely thought of as the tragic hero of the play bearing her name. She would seem to fit the part in light of the fact that she dies for doing what she believes is right. She buries her brother without worrying what might happen to her. She "Takes into consideration death and the reality that may be beyond death" (Hathorn 59). Those who do believe that Antigone was meant to be the true tragic hero argue against others who believe that Creon deserves that honor. They say that the Gods were against Creon, and that he did not truly love his country. "His patriotism is to narrow and negative and his conception of justice is too exclusive... to be dignified by the name of love for the state" (Hathorn 59). These arguments, and many others, make many people believe the Antigone is the rightful protagonist. Other critics argue that Creon is the tragic hero of Antigone. They say that his noble quality is his caring for Antigone and Ismene when thier father was persecuted. Those who stand behind Creon also argue that Antigone never had a true epiphany, a key element in being a tragic hero. Creon, on the other hand, realized his mistake when Teiresias made his prophecy. He is forced to live, knowing that three people are dead because of his ignorance, which is a punishment worse than death. My opinion on this debate is that Antigone is the tragic hero. She tries to help her brother without worrying about what will happen to her. She says, "I intend to give my brother burial. I'll be glad to die in the attempt, -if it's a crime, then it's a crime that God commands" (Sophocles 4). She was also punished for doing what was right. Her epiphany came, hidden from the audience, before she hung herself. Creon's "nobleness" of taking in young Antigone and Ismene is overshadowed by his egotistical nature.
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