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Creon is the Tragic Hero of Antigone
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I am here today to argue the title of tragic hero in the play Antigone by Sophocles. I would like to start off by saying that it will be extremely difficult for me to have the passion that I usually have because of my client. My client's ruthless leadership disgusts me in the worst way. But I will still stand in front of you, the jury, and defend my client. As I said before I am here to argue the title of tragic hero in the play Antigone. I could see that some of you are dazzled by the word "tragic hero". No need to worry for I will enlighten you. The great Aristotle was one of the first men who defined a tragic hero. His definition is not a rule for what tragedy should be, but it is a description of what he believed tragedy was. According to Aristotle a tragic hero must have these qualities to qualify as one. A tragic hero is neither good nor bad. Along with being neutral in his stance, a tragic hero must also be born into royalty. A tragic hero could never be of the common folk. In addition to this a tragic hero must suffer a large fall from good grace. By this he means that a fall that brings him "down to earth". A tragic hero also has some type of flaw. Whether it is a character flaw such as pride and ego or the character must make an error of judgment or a mistake. With the tragic flaw the character must also recognize the flaw that they have made. In other words, they have to be enlightened. The audience is then supposed to feel pity and fear for the tragic hero because of his tumultuous journey. The tragic hero also is supposed to inspire catharsis in the audience.
In some respects Creon is seen as good but with others as bad. The large fall that Creon took was the fall from the good grace of being a respected king. "Your people are beginning to question your judgment and are beginning to side with Antigone.
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A tragic hero is supposed to either have a character flaw or an error of judgment. In the play, Creon has two flaws. He has the character flaw of willful arrogance and his unyielding behavior and he has the flaw of making and error of judgment when he passes the proclamation. He realizes his character flaw when he states, "Oh it is hard to give in! But it is worse to risk everything for stubborn pride." (Scene 5, Lines 93-94) This is the point in the play where Creon realizes his mistake and begins to change as Teiresias has told him to. This is important because he mentions the difficulty he has going against his stubborn pride. The error of judgment is when he passes the proclamation without proper justification. His personal vengeance gets involved with his business affairs which cause him to make this fatal error. After Haimon states, "The wisest man will let himself be swayed by others' wisdom and relaxes in time," (Scene 3, Lines 234-235) Creon begins to feel guilt because he passed the proclamation blindly, without paying attention to the views of others. He passed the proclamation solely on his beliefs.
Along with a character flaw, a tragic hero must realize the fall. Creon truly realizes his fall when he states, "I can't fight against what's destined...I must personally undo what I have done. I shouldn't have tried being unorthodox. I'll stick by the established laws in the future." (Scene 5, Lines 95-99) The mistakes that he made are exemplified when Creon states, "...by my stubbornness, oh my son, so young, to die so young, and all because of me." (Scene 3, Lines 105-107) He is feeling so much regret and disappointment in himself. This is the first part in the play where he realizes his mistake in passing an unjust proclamation and accepts responsibility for all that has happened. It is the first time that he has woken up to the realities of what he has done to his family. He had already taken the first step towards repentance of his wrong doing when he personally sees to it that the body of Polynices received a proper burial. However, he was too late to rescue Haimon, Antigone, or his wife. Teiresias proclaims, "They are dead, and they that live are guilty of the death." Creon was not willing to bow down to his son's demands, and he must now pay the price for being so stubborn. Creon is truly paying the consequences of being inflexible and unreasonable.
As I end my opening statement, I would like to thank all of you for sitting in on this trial. We all know who the tragic hero is. There is no question that by the end of this trial all of you will reach a unanimous decision that Creon is the tragic hero. I have no doubt in my mind for I trust each and every one of you. From this opening statement it will be easy for any juror to clearly see that Creon is the true tragic hero in this play. I ask you to go home and reconcile your differences so when you come back tomorrow you will have an open mind so that you will all reach an agreement that Creon is the tragic hero. I leave you with this paper for you to take a look at. It is a simple table so none of you shall have trouble understanding it. If there are any questions don't hesitate to ask my assistant for he is willing to help anyone. Again, I would like to thank you for your generous time.