Essay PreviewMore ↓
A good working definition of a tragic figure, in the Greek mythological sense, would be a person who, through a character flaw, is brought lower than that flaw would merit. The person with the flaw is usually royal, or at least noble. Greek tragedies were not written about common people.
Antigone may be a tragic figure in the modern, common sense of the word; that is, she was someone who has something bad happen to her. "Oh," someone might say when they discover Antigone's fate, "how tragic." Nevertheless, they do not mean that Antigone is tragic in the classical Greek sense; rather they just mean that Antigone got a bad lot that she didn't deserve. Antigone cannot be a tragic figure in the classical Greek sense because she didn't have any character faults. She was brought low for other reasons -- in this case, she died because she was obedient to the will of the gods. That isn't a fault, it's a virtue. Throughout the play she shows herself to be kind, generous, and giving. Again, those are hardly vices.
This leaves Creon as the only possible tragic figure in Antigone. And he does make an ideal tragic figure in the classical sense! His flaw that brings him low is a sense of narrow-minded pride. Although in some sense he may be justified in what he is doing through his claim that he is doing it for the good of the state, this does not completely excuse or ameliorate his actions in the eyes of the gods.
The fact that Creon persists in his actions despite the warnings of others (Tiresias, Antigone, Haemon, etc.) is part of what makes the tragedy so tragic -- he had chance after chance to back out. Antigone tries her best to persuade him, saying, "Surely, to think yours the only wisdom, / And yours the only word, the only will, / Betrays a shallow spirit, an empty heart," but Creon dismisses this because she is a woman. Haemon tries to tell his father that the people are not in agreement with him, but his father accuses him of being a weakling and arguing only to protect his fiancee. Finally, Tiresias the seer tries to warn Creon that what he is doing is not in accordance with the will of the gods, but Creon accuses him of lying for profit, saying, "Money! Money's the curse of man, none greater.
How to Cite this Page
"The Tragic Figures in Sophocles' Antigone." 123HelpMe.com. 21 Sep 2019
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Before Aristotle’s tragic hero model, tragic figures were open to interpretation. The play Antigone by Sophokles, written in 441 BC, existed during this period of ambiguity of what a tragic figure exactly meant. Antigone involves two principal characters that could potentially be the tragic figure, Kreon and Antigone. Kreon is the arrogant king who declares it illegal to give Polyneices, a soldier who had betrayed Thebes during war, a proper burial. Antigone is the sister of Polyneices who is determined to give him the proper burial that she, as his family, is obliged to carry out.... [tags: Tragic hero, Tragedy, Sophocles, Oedipus]
1082 words (3.1 pages)
- Politicians are undoubtedly imperfect and essentially flawed like the rest of us. When we begin to put them high up on pedestals is when they begin to fall and disappoint the public. Luckily, for the country, they aren't tragically flawed, because they aren't tragic heros. Even the president makes mistakes. It is not, however, fair to ask all that we do of these figures cast into the public eye. Sophocles knew that humans were imperfect creatures, and therefore governments and rulers would be flawed by this accordingly.... [tags: Sophocles Antigone Greek Play]
1015 words (2.9 pages)
- Antigone – Strong and Powerful or Spoiled and Stubborn. Of the tragic figures in Antigone, Creon is the most obviously evil because his motives are self-serving and his fate the worst. As the play begins, we learn that Antigone has defied Creon's royal decree by performing sacred burial rites for her exiled brother, Polyneices. Polyneices has been declared an enemy of the state by Creon. The sentence for anyone attempting to bury him is death by stoning. Creon has become King of Thebes by default, as a result of Oedipus' fate as previously predicted by the Oracle at Delphi: Oedipus murders his father and unknowingly marries his mother.... [tags: Antigone Essays]
1160 words (3.3 pages)
- Creon as the Main Character of Antigone Throughout the Greek play Antigone by Sophocles, there exists a dispute as to who should receive the designation of main character. Antigone, the daughter of the cursed King Oedipus, as well as Creon, stately king of Thebes, both appear as the key figures in this historic play. I believe that Creon, king of Thebes, should be considered the main character in this work of Greek theater. Three points can be used to make this argument: Creon suffers greatly, he learns a lesson, and is a tragic hero.... [tags: Antigone essays]
1226 words (3.5 pages)
- Sophocles play titled Antigone, embellishes the opposing conflicts between Antigone who stands for the values of family, and Creon who stands for the values of state. Sophocles explores the depths of Antigone’s morality and the duty based on consequence throughout the play, as well as the practical consequences of Creon who is passionate and close-minded. Although Antigone’s moral decisions appear to be more logical and favorable than Creon’s, a personal argument would be that both characters’ decisions in society can be equally justified.... [tags: Theatre]
1299 words (3.7 pages)
- 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.... [tags: Tragic hero, Sophocles, Tragedy, Oedipus]
1824 words (5.2 pages)
- Wiz Khalifa once said, “Never make permanent decisions on temporary feelings.” Some students may believe that Antigone was the tragic hero in the story, but the real tragic hero is actually Creon for many reasons. Some describe a tragic hero by whether they are heroic or born into nobility, but in the story he is portrayed as the antagonist. In the novel, “Antigone” written by Sophocles, Creon becomes the tragic hero by forbidding the burial of Polyneices, imprisoning Antigone for his own good and believing that he is the only one that can control the law.... [tags: Oedipus, Sophocles, Creon, Antigone]
1194 words (3.4 pages)
- In the Greek play Antigone by Sophocles is very different from traditional plays or tragedies. Not only does the play have two prominent characters, Antigone and King Creon, the two characters also function as a tragic hero. However, which of the two character is the real tragic hero. Antigone’s tragedy is from conflict and passion. To really understand which of the two character is the ‘real’ tragic hero, one must understand the definition of a tragic hero. According to Aristotle’s definition of a tragic hero, a tragic hero must be born from a high social class and his or her downfall must be caused by a fatal flaw of that character.... [tags: Tragedy, Sophocles, Poetics, Tragic hero]
826 words (2.4 pages)
- A tragic hero, in the classic Aristotelian sense, is a virtuous character whose error of judgment leads to their fall from grace. Their demise evokes in the audience a sense of pity for their terrible misfortune, and fear of experiencing the same fate. Both feelings are magnified by the hero’s belated recognition of his mistake. In Sophocles’ Antigone, the audience is immediately drawn to the titular character’s virtue and passion for social justice. It is more difficult to sympathize with Creon, who represents the oppressive factions--the government, the patriarchy, and elder generations--that abuse power.... [tags: Sophocles, Oedipus, Antigone, Oedipus at Colonus]
1296 words (3.7 pages)
- A person once said, “The Antigone [is] one of the most sublime and in every respect most excellent works of art of all time” (Hegel). The play Antigone [is] written in the 6th century by the writer Sophocles (Willocks). Sophocles is a play writer and he made tragedies more complex. A tragedy always ends in defeat or death, has a hero who is confronted by hostile forces and has a tragic hero who has to make a choice difficult moral choice. The main character is usually the tragic heroine. A tragic hero is a person who has a dramatic change in fortune, morally good, heroic in stature or social position, true to life and consistent (Willocks).... [tags: Tragedy, Tragic hero, Sophocles, Suicide]
958 words (2.7 pages)
Antigone could not be a tragedy without Creon; Antigone herself doesn't make much of a tragic figure. She is a heroine and a martyr, but not a tragic figure. In contrast, Creon provides many facets of pride, his one glaring character flaw -- selfishness, narrow-mindedness, misogyny, and suspicion -- for the reader (or watcher) to consider. Creon is the necessary figure that not only makes Antigone a tragedy, but makes it worth reading (or watching).
Works Cited and Consulted:
Abrams, M. H. A Glossary of Literary Terms, 7th ed. New York: Harcourt Brace College Publishers, 1999.
"Antigone." In The Encyclopedia Americana, edited by Dudley, Lavinia P. et alii. New York: Americana Corporation, 1957. vol. 2.
Sophocles. Antigone. Translated by R. C. Jebb. The Internet Classic Archive. no pag.