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Essay on The Tragic Hero of Antigone

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Everyone agrees that Oedipus is the quintessential Greek tragic hero. In fact, Aristotle had Oedipus specifically in mind when he first set down the requirements for tragedy in his Poetics. However, in other Greek tragedies, the tragic hero isn’t always so easy to identify. For example, in the play Antigone, the reader may have some difficulty deciding who the tragic hero is. Nevertheless, a careful examination of the facts reveals that Antigone is the true tragic heroine because she’s brave, flawed, and noble.

Antigone is a tragic hero because she is brave. One instance where Antigone shows bravery is when she is talking to Antigone about attempting to give her brother, Polynices, a proper burial, “When I have tried and failed, I shall have failed,”(129). This quote demonstrates that Antigone is brave because she is determined to at least try to give Polynices, a proper burial. She can’t fail unless she tries. A second example where Antigone demonstrates bravery is also when she is talking to Ismene about burying Polynices, “There is no punishment / Can rob me of my honourable death,” (129). This quote displays Antigone’s bravery because she knows that she will probably get caught giving her brother a proper burial. She also knows that if she is discovered, she will be sentenced to death. A third example that shows Antigone is brave is when Antigone has already been caught, and is being questioned by Creon, “I knew that I should have to die, of course. With or without your order,” (138). This quote exhibits Antigone’s bravery because she understands the fact that she is going to die from getting caught giving Polynices a proper burial. She’s going to die sometime, so she thought that she should feel that she should make life ...


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...g to Antigone after she had been discovered in the process of burying Polynices, “Justice, / that dwells with the gods below, knows such law,”(138). Antigone is saying this to Creon after she had been caught trying to bury Polynices. She is saying that Creon would not be doing justice if he punished her for doing something noble like burying her brother when no one else would. Antigone is a tragic hero because she is noble.

Bravery, nobility, and possessing a flaw are three characteristics of a tragic hero, and Antigone exhibits them. Antigone is a brave person to do something that might cause her death. Her flaw of having too much pride eventually does cause Antigone to kill herself. Being the daughter of a former king also helps to prove that Antigone is a tragic hero. Even though it is hard to determine, Antigone is the true tragic hero in the play Antigone.


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