The Tragic Hero Of Sophocles ' Antigone Essay

1145 Words Mar 4th, 2016 null Page
According to Aristotle, a characteristic of a tragic hero is anagnorisis. The hero realizes too late that his actions are unjust and that the misfortune was brought by himself. In Sophocles’ Antigone, both Antigone and Creon meet a tragic end as the result of their actions. However, the tragic hero of this play is Creon because he does not know that his actions will bring him such fate until the end, while Antigone is fully aware of the consequence of her action from the very beginning.
Creon is not aware that his decree forbidding the burial of Polyneices is unjust and that it will cost him the loss of his family while Antigone knows from the beginning that by burying her brother and breaking the state law, she will be punished by death. Creon, when Antigone tells him that people honor her for her burial for Polyneice but cannot express it from fear, denies it (505-7). His denial shows that he believes his law is justified and accepted by the citizens. However, after speaking with Haimon, his son, he seems to realize that he might be at fault. He decides not to punish Ismene and lock Antigone in the cave with food “to clear the city of the guilt of death” (767-74). His change in decision regarding the punishment for Ismene and his effort to not directly kill Antigone indicate his recognition of the fault in his order. For if he was just, he need not fear for the “guilt of [Antigone’s] death” because it is right to punish one who has broken the state law. Finally, when…

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