Creon and Antigone as Tragic Heroes in Sophocles' Antigone


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Creon and Antigone as Tragic Heroes

 

 

Creon and Antigone, main characters in the Greek tragedy Antigone by Sophocles share some of the same characteristics that make up a tragic hero, but to varying degrees. Antigone, daughter of her mother/grandmother, Jocasta, and father, Oedipus is head strong, proud, and stubborn. She had three siblings, Ismene her sister, and two brothers Eteocles and Polyneices who found there deaths at the end of each others sword in battle over which would become king of Thebes. Antigone's pride fullness and loyalty is revealed when Polyneices is denied proper burial by her uncle and king Creon. The two buttheads in the political for Creon and personal for Antigone situation and bring about the downfall of the royal family.

 

Aristotle's view on a tragic hero is someone that would have to be held in high standards (royalty) in order to evoke compassion and anxiety in the audience. Creon and Antigone are royalty and share the most important aspect of a tragic hero, each have a tragic flaw. Both of the two characters have an inability to compromise or even reason with. Antigone's tragic flaw was amplified by her loyalty for her brother; she acted irrational, in not taking preparation or thoroughness into consideration when burying her brother. Further more when confronted by Creon, himself she disrespected and basically told him to silence himself because his words were "distasteful" to her. So then sealing her death by becoming an immediate martyr for the wrong cause... anything against Creon's will.

 

Creon, in his paranoia was plagued with the feeling of incompetence and need to establish dominance. His decree that no one would bury Polyneices only provoked the people of Thebes into thinking of him as insensitive to their culture. When his ruling was disobeyed, only led him to him to believe that conspiracy was about and that no matter, family or not, he would punish Antigone, causing a chain reaction of events causing the loss of his entire family, except Ismene. Leaving the audience experiencing pity and fear for both characters.

 

Neither Creon nor Antigone, were either all bad or all good. Creon while tyrant like only wanted Thebes to flourish, Antigone while showing honor to her brother never stopped to really consider the effect that her actions would have on others.

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