How Is Creon A Tragic Hero

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Athenians uses plays and theaters to increase civic engagement and to teach their citizens how to properly act in a democracy. In Sophocles’ tragedy, Antigone, the play starts when Antigone returns to Thebes and finds out that both her brothers, Eteocles and Polynices have died fighting for the throne. The next king in line is Creon and his first decree is to bury Eteocles in honor and leave Polynices unburied in the open fields to decay. Distraught between her values and the law, she risks her life to disobey Creon and gives Polynices a small burial ceremony. Creon discovers her act of disobedience and sends Antigone, his future daughter in law, to prison, but before he can reverse his order, she has already hung herself. While both Creon …show more content…
After sentencing Antigone to prison, his son, Haemon, attempts to reason with Creon. Creon, in return, justifies his decision based on his status as a ruler. He states, “Whoever is chosen to govern should be obeyed- must be obeyed, in all things, great and small, Just and unjust!” (Creon, 527-529). Creon expects obedience from all his citizens, not because he have earned their trust, but simply because he is a ruler. His pride and arrogance makes him unwilling to be challenged for all issues regarding his city-state. This method of ruling a nation is dangerous because he can easily become a tyrant. While Creon aims to be a great leader, his inability to accept criticism on his error of judgement has lead him to a tragic ending that he will come to recognize. Furthermore, Teiresias, the seer, also urges Creon to reverse his order because he has received a prophecy from the gods. Perceiving Teiresias’s prophecy has a challenge to his authority, Creon becomes aggressive and not until Teirseas leaves does he realizes his mistakes. He says, “That is true… It troubles me. Oh it is hard to give in! But it is worse To risk everything for stubborn pride” (Creon, 863-865). Creon also expects obedience from Teriesias and since his prophecy is not in favor of Creon’s rules, he first denies it. Creon realizes that he has made a mistake by being …show more content…
Creon rushes to fix his mistake, only to find that Antigone has hung herself from pride, his son and wife has stabbed themselves from grief. Creon is left alone with only the title of a king. He laments “I have been rash and foolish... Whatever my hands have touched has come to nothing. Fate has brought all my pride to a thought of dust” (Creon, 1034-1038). At the final scene, Creon admits that his pride has lead to make an error of judgement in which he can not reverse. His pride and self-righteousness led to him to expect obedience from his citizens to a point where he denies all criticism. He realizes that by sentencing Antigone to prison for challenging him has ultimately led to his downfall. As a ruler, he is to maintain justice for the people, but instead he mistakes obedience to him as justice for the people. A great ruler will get the justice and cooperation he deserves when the people believes in his decree. Sophocles’ definition of great leader who maintains justice can be applied to America’s current leaders. American leaders today, need to understand that they must take other citizen’s opinion in consideration and do not put their pride above the lives of the people. In the tragedy, Antigone, the audience can learn that by thinking rationally, one can prevent from being the cause of their own

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