Essay on The Tragic Hero Of Sophocles ' Antigone

Essay on The Tragic Hero Of Sophocles ' Antigone

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In the tragic play, Antigone, Sophocles warns his audience against defying the will of the gods. As a result of a clash between the laws of the state of Thebes and the unwritten laws of the gods, main characters Antigone and Creon experience downfalls characteristic of the Aristotelian tragic hero. Antigone meets her demise because of her decision to bury her brother and hold herself accountable for her actions. While her defiant actions may be characteristic of an ambitious tragic hero, Creon’s unwavering pride and series of offenses towards the gods lead him to an arguably more tragic downfall of his own. Through careful consideration of his personality, his actions, and the circumstances surrounding his downfall, Creon shows that he is the true tragic protagonist of the play, in that he exhibits many qualities of the Aristotelian tragic hero in a more significant manner than Antigone.
Although both Antigone and Creon experience their own separate downfalls, both characters can be said to have incurred their own demise. In her reaction to Creon’s defamation of Polynices, Antigone says, “I will bury him myself. And even if I die in the act, that death will be a glory. I will lie with the one I love and loved by him – an outrage sacred to the gods!” (63). In this statement, Antigone commits herself to giving her brother a proper burial, even if it means facing death as a result of her actions. It is this commitment to achieving “glory” that makes Antigone willing to die for what she believes is just.
Although Antigone’s ownership of her actions makes her responsible for her death, Creon 's hubris causes him to incur his own demise in a more direct and dramatic manner. In Creon’s argument with Tiresias the blind prophet, Tiresia...


... middle of paper ...


...should be the one to free Antigone show a sense of urgency and sincerity in his desire to reverse what he had done. Obviously it is too late for Creon to undo his actions by the time he experiences this change of heart. Nonetheless, Creon’s gain of “better judgment” serves as a redeeming factor for him, making him less deserving of his punishment and therefore more characteristic of a tragic hero. Creon also seems to submit his prideful mentality to the divine law of the gods when he says he is “afraid” that it is best to uphold “the established laws” at all times. This mental submission also ties into Creon’s gain of wisdom, as he comes to humble himself before the gods he has offended.
Although Antigone bears the title of the play and serves as a major character in the play, Creon’s personality, actions, and downfall make him more characteristic of a tragic hero.

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