Essay on The Tragic Hero Creon in Antigone by Sophocles

Essay on The Tragic Hero Creon in Antigone by Sophocles

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In the play, Antigone by Sophocles, at first glance readers assume that Antigone is the tragic hero. However, this is not the case. Although Antigone does display some characteristics of a tragic hero, I believe that Creon is the true tragic hero. For many readers, it may be a challenge to see Creon as the tragic hero; however, when you take a second look at the play, you can see that Creon displays every quality of a tragic hero. Creon’s power and pride as well as going against the gods all lead up to his downfall which in return helps him to become a tragic hero.
In the article, “Common Man as A Tragic Hero: A Study of Author Miller’s Death of a Salesman”, Kritika Nanda states, “… according to Aristotle a tragic hero has to be someone of noble stature. He believed that common men of inferior ranks were unable to create the impact enough for purgation of the pent up emotions. He most audaciously held the view point that men of noble birth and elites were the most appropriate class to carry out catharsis.” As demonstrated through this quote, a tragic hero is an individual of high rank whose flaws lead to a tragedy, but allows the character to have a point of self-realization. Therefore, Creon, not Antigone, is the true tragic hero of the play.
In the beginning, Creon is portrayed as an individual who is quite wealthy and powerful. As a result, everyone follows his orders. This is demonstrated when the people of his kingdom follow his orders regarding Polyneices’s burial. In the play, when Creon states that Polynecies will not have a burial, the leader of the chorus, Choragos, replies by saying, “If that is your will, Creon son of Menoceeus, You have the right to enforce it: we are yours” (Scene 1, 174-175). This indicates that...


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...ttitude and inability to listen allows his life to spiral out of control and lose everything. Even though he made many mistakes, it is shown at the end of the play that Creon realizes what his actions have cost him. Creon is forced to live with his actions, and as a result, is the tragic hero of the play.



Works Cited

Nanda K. “Common Man as A Tragic Hero: A Study of Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman.” Indian Streams Research Journal [serial online]. November 2013; 3(10):1-2. Available from: Academic Search Premier, Ipswich, MA. Accessed December 5, 2013.
Shapiro, H. A. "The Wrath of Creon: Withholding Burial in Homer and Sophocles." Helios 33. (2006): 119-134. Academic Search Premier. Web. 5 Dec. 2013.
Sophocles. “Antigone.” Literature: Reading, Reacting, Writing. Ed. Laurie G. Kirzner and Stephen R. Mandell. 8th ed. Boston: Wadsworth, 2013. 1802-1833. Print.

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