The Tragic Hero In Sophocles Antigone

1244 Words 5 Pages
The Greek tragedy, Antigone, written by Sophocles around 441 BC, follows the consequences of Antigone’s decision to bury her dishonored brother against the orders of her uncle, King Creon. Certain consequences included the death of her fiance Haemon, Creon’s wife Eurydice, and Antigone’s tragic death. However, Sophocles’s tragic hero is not the titular character, Antigone. Instead, the defining traits of a tragic hero, which, according to Aristotle, include the inability to achieve his desired goal due to the limits of human frailty, realization about his own fate, and overwhelming hubris, build Creon up as the tragic hero. Creon displays his pride in the refusal of advice and in his failure of keeping his word to Thebes, which ultimately leads …show more content…
For example, in Episode 5, when Creon responds to the oracle Tiresias’s warning of dire happenings if he refuses to repent and bury his nephew, he declares his pride by replying that “[n]ot even if Zeus’s eagles come, and fly away with carrion morsels to their master’s throne. Even such a threat of such a taint will not win this body burial” (376). As an oracle, Tiresias speaks the words of Apollo, god of prophecy, which makes it distinct that Creon is putting his own mortal edict above the words of the gods. Also, by adding the allusion to Zeus with his heated tone, Creon demonstrates extreme irreverence to the gods, because it suggests that he believes that the gods would definitely take his side and dismisses the possibility that they would disapprove. Creon demonstrates his downfall when lamenting that death will not take him to join his family, crying, “Oh, Death, pitiless receiver! Kill me? Will you kill me? Your mercy dwindles, does it? Must you bring me words That crush me utterly? I was dead, and still you kill me. Slaughter was piled high, Ah, then, do not tell me you come to pile it higher: A son dead, then a wife” (385). The personification of Death indicates that Creon is being judged by unstoppable forces and the fact that Death has taken all those he loves but not Creon himself reveals that his punishment is to spend the rest of his …show more content…
The perspective that Creon takes regarding the affair of Polynices’s burial is one of detached judgement. He breaks Greek customs in order to maintain impartiality and to insure justice for all. In this interpretation, Antigone becomes antagonist instead of Creon, because her actions force him to behave irrationally as to insure the equality of his edict. Likewise, the argument that Creon does not accept his consequences relies on the interpretation of the meaning of acceptance. Accepting the consequences does not mean that he must feel that he deserves the loss of his family as a punishment, rather, it means that he has become aware that his actions are the cause of his sorrow, and that he accepts responsibility for his actions, as clearly demonstrated in the quotation, “ I killed her I can own no alibi: The guilt is wholly mine” (386). The use of “I” indicates the his personal acceptance of his role in the outcome. Delving deeper into the diction, by analyzing the meaning of alibi, it becomes clear that Creon has realized that he hid behind excuses to hide his guilt, signifying that he has at last come forth and accepted his actions. Furthermore, the death of Creon’s immediate family also signals the downfall his tragic flaw induced, as he admits in Antistrophe II of the

Related Documents

Related Topics