Tragic heroes have certain requirements they need to fulfill in order to be considered a tragic hero. For example, they need to have stature or greatness, but also have a tragic flaw that leads to a tragic mistake. In the tragedy Antigone, by Sophocles, Creon does not want people to bury a traitor named Polyneices, and when he is buried by Antigone, Creon sentences her to death. In the story Antigone, there is some debate about whether Creon or Antigone is the real tragic hero of the play.
Creon is the true tragic hero of Antigone because he shows the tragic hero traits better than Antigone does.
One reason Creon is the tragic hero is because he has stature and greatness. “But now at last our new King is coming: Creon of Thebes, Menoikeus’ son” (Episode 1, line 1-3). This quote is describing Creon coming out of the palace to say what he has decided as King to do about Polyneices, the anarchist that rebelled against Creon.
The quote shows that Creon is important because the person saying the quote, the Choragos, addresses him as King of Thebes. Creon being the king also shows he has more stature than Antigone because he is a king, whereas Antigone is only a princess.
Creon’s high stature as King also contributes to his personality of being very prideful. Creon is also a better tragic hero than Antigone because of his tragic flaw, which is that he’s very hubristic, or has an excessive amount of pride. “My voice is the one giving orders in this city! ” (Episode 3, line 104-105). Creon is arguing with Haimon about Antigone’s sentence, and Creon believes that he shouldn’t have to take orders from his own son, and that he is the one making the rules in Thebes, not Haimon. The quote is important because Creon believes that he is right, even when Haimon is telling him that the gods believe otherwise.
Creon is putting himself above the gods’ law because the information is coming from a boy who is younger than him, which is very prideful and arrogant of him. Antigone’s tragic hero trait, which is also hubris, also not is not as problematic as Creon’s hubris, because her stature as a princess is not as influential as Creon’s stature of king, therefore, even if she wants to go against Creon, Creon has the power to eliminate her, and he exercises this exact power in the story. The hubris Creon displays here also causes problems for him later on in the story.
Creon also makes a tragic choice due to his tragic flaw, which is hubris. “This girl is guilty of double insolence, Breaking the given laws and boasting of it” (Episode 2, line 81-82). In the quote, Creon is speaking of Antione and how she is guilty of breaking the law by buring Creon and then “boasting of it” by going back to see him again, after he’d been buried, because going back again wasn’t really necessary. Creon’s tragic flaw creating his tragic mistake is shown here because he’s locking Antigone away for something he thinks is wrong.
Later on Creon realizes it was the right thing to do after being told so by Haimon and Tieresias. Creon’s tragic flaw causes many more problems than Antigone’s, because his hubris is the cause of the whole ordeal. He is the one that decides that no one can bury Polyneices, and this happens because he believes he is correct, even though the gods say otherwise. Tieresias is the one that finally allows Creon to see the light. Unlike Antigone, Creon realizes he’s made a tragic mistake. “My own blind heart has brought me From darkness to final darkness. Here you see The father murdering, the murdered son.
I was the fool, not [Haimon]; and [Haimon] died for me” (Exodus, line 87-92). The quote describes Creon realizing that Haimon was correct when he said not to kill Antigone after Haimon has committed suicide because Antigone had killed herself as well. The quote illustrates Creon realizing his mistake in trying to kill Antigone, resulting in the death of Haimon, Creon’s son, and Eurydice, Creon’s wife. As opposed to Antigone, Creon realizes he made a tragic mistake. Creon, after having his family die, now wants to accept his death with honor. Creon accepts his death with honor as well. Let death come quickly, and be kind to me. I would not ever see the sun again” (Exodus, line 128-129). Creon is explaining that he wants his death to be swift, and as punishment to himself, he would not allow himself to see the sun rise again. This indicates that Creon does indeed die soon after because he doesn’t want to see the sun again as punishment for himself. Creon is accepting his unseen death with honor by not allowing himself to see the sun again. Antigone does accept her death, but instead of letting it come to her, she brings it upon herself.
Creon wants the gods to hurt him to make up for his sins, but Antigone just went and committed suicide. The fact that Creon does accept his death with honor also indicates he is redeemed in the end. While it may seem as though Creon does not die, one could argue that he does, and that his death is redeeming for him. “I look for comfort; my comfort lies here dead” (Exodus, line 136). Creon is saying that he no longer has a reason to stay in this world, because the people he loves most, his wife and son, have been taken away.
This is redeeming for Creon because he’s leaving the world with nothing left to lose there. Antigone’s death couldn’t be redeeming like Creon’s supposed death because she never even realized she was wrong. He knows that he’s made a mistake, and wants to make up for his sin by dying and not seeing the sun again. Clearly, Creon is the tragic hero, not Antigone, because he has all the tragic hero traits and shows them better than Antigone. Creon goes through all the steps of becoming a tragic hero. Creon is most certainly the tragic hero of Antigone.
Cite this Tragic Heroes
Tragic Heroes. (2016, Nov 24). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/tragic-heroes/