Depiction Of Sophocle’s Antigone
Antigone as a Tragic Hero
In Sophocle’s Antigone, the characters show a variety of traits. However, Antigone’s life of aspiration, family of noble rank, and display of good mentality portray her as the tragic hero of the story. A tragic hero must include three main traits. The hero must have a tragic flaw, a family of high class or rank, and must be a fundamentally good person. Antigone fulfills all three traits painstakingly in the mythic story of Antigone. A tragic flaw plays a very imperative part of a tragic hero. Tragic flaw simply means a “character weakness.” The most common types of tragic flaws are unwarranted pride, ambition, and jealousy.
Usually the hero causes his own downfall and ultimately recognizes his own error and accepts the consequences. In Antigone, Antigone displays the tragic flaw of disproportionate ambition. At the beginning of the story, Antigone and her sister, Ismene, are discussing the death of their brother, Polyneices. Creon, the king of Thebes, has issued a diktat that no one shall bury him, and that his body must lay in the fields as carrion for birds. The penalty for burying him is stoning in the public square. However, Antigone is objective on burying him. She remarks, “Ismene, dear sister, you would think that we had already suffered enough for the curse of Oedipus.
I cannot imagine any grief that you and I have not gone through.” Antigone goes on, speaking with confidence of her plans to bury her brother. She asks for help from Ismene, but Ismene is aghast. Ismene reminds her of the danger of what Creon will do and refuses to take part in burying Polyneices. The scene ends with Antigone’s retorting that she will not want Ismene’s help, even if she asks to come. Antigone leaves the scene with her mind made up, disregarding Ismene’s arguments. Antigone’s raging ambition in the Prologue is her tragic flaw, which is an important characteristic of a tragic hero. A tragic hero must also have family of noble rank or high class. Antigone and Ismene are the daughters of Oedipus and Jocasta, the former King and Queen of Thebes. At birth, Oedipus was sent off and left to die. However, a shepherd gave Oedipus to the King and Queen of Corinth, and as a young man, Oedipus traveled to Thebes, where he married Jocasta, his mother.
Jocasta and Oedipus married and had four children: two sons, Polyneices and Eteocles, and two daughters, Antigone and Ismene. Antigone is also the niece of Creon, Jocasta’s brother and now the king of Thebes. Until now, Antigone has always been loyal to Creon, but his decree to keep Polyneices unburied disturbs Antigone. Having a family of noble rank is a large part of being a tragic hero, and Antigone clearly meets these credentials. Ultimately, Antigone also fits the description of a tragic hero because of her display of good mentality.
In order to become a tragic hero, the person has to be notorious for living a good life and not participating in vile acts. If a person has been a murderer or unswerving crimes, then he would not be deemed as a tragic hero to begin with. In Antigone’s plans to bury her brother, she uses her heart and aptitude well. She plans the burial of Polyneices well and listens closely to her sister. Although she does not agree with Ismene, she does listen closely to her arguments and contradictions.
Trivial details like listening and understanding are very important to judge someone as a good person. Antigone also proves to be very thoughtful. She regards her brother, Polyneices, highly, and knows that he deserves a burial. She also compliments herself and her own opinions by completing her goal to bury Polyneices. Consideration and respect are especially important traits of being a fundamentally good person. Antigone’s display of good mentality demonstrates her as a tragic hero. Sophocle’s Antigone contains much thought and opinion. Sophocles stresses the arguments and feelings of the entire characters well. However, Antigone’s life of aspiration, family of noble rank, and display of good mentality depict her as the tragic hero of the story.
The Powerful Message of the Creon as the Tragic Hero in Antigone
A.P. – Antigone Argumentative Essay
Creon is the Tragic Hero in the story because he is taken down by fate and will not listen to anybody. The significance is Creon and his significance takes place when he is the ruler of the city. Creon is a powerful guy and he never listens to anyone and only goes by his rules. The major ideas inside the story that makes Creon a tragic hero is that he is very annoying and does not like to listen to other people that he commands. The major claim in this argument is that Creon is the Tragic Hero in the story. He has so much pride that he is unable to listen to others because he thinks he knows everything. When people tell him something that maybe be important, he always fights back even though they may be right in the near future. He is a very rude person and likes to tell others what to do. When Tiresias tells Creon that he is treating the city badly, he starts to get into an argument with Tiresias and Creon starts to talk bad about Tiresias, “Old man, you pot away at me like all the rest as if I were a bull’s-eye, And now you aim your seer craft at me. Well, I’m sick of being bought and sold by all your soothsaying tribe. Bargain away! All the silver of Sardis, all the gold of India is not enough to buy this man a grave; Not even if Zeus’s eagles come, and fly away with carrion morsels to their master’s throne.” (Sophocles 237). The quote shows that Creon is now mad at Tiresias because Tiresias told him that Creon was standing on the “razor’s edge”. Creon is a hubris and a very rude person. His hamartia is he will refuse to listen to others and doesn’t listen to anyone giving him advice. In the story, he will not listen to any advice that is given to him, “Creon! Creon! Is no one left who takes to heart that… That prudence is the best of all our wealth. As folly is the worst of our woes? Yes, infectious folly! And you are sick with it.” (Sophocles 238). The quote shows that Creon disagrees with Tiresias and starts to get mad at Tiresias for telling him that he is on the bad side.
The hamartia that Creon has is this tragic hero’s downfall. Creon’s nemesis is his true fate that cannot be avoided. He cannot get out of this nemesis and will have to live with it. Creon’s nemesis is that he has too much pride in himself and believes he is higher than the gods. Since Creon thinks he is more powerful than the gods, they do not like him, “The gods, provoked, never wait to mow men down. How it goes against the grain to smother all one’s heart desire! But I cannot fight with destiny.” This quote shows that Leader shows his fate and destiny that he cannot escape. He now knows his fate and must listen now. Creon cannot escape his fate and destiny. Creon has to live with his nemesis, fate, and his hubris self. Even though Creon has to live with his hubris and he still remains in power but the gods are mad at him for being selfish and believes in himself so much, he thinks he is a god himself. Even though he has those traits, he still listens to some people after realizing his weakness,”Leader: Son of Menoeceus, be advised in time. Creon: To do what? Tell me, I shall listen.” This quote shows that Creon is now able to listen to people after he has been exposed by Tiresias. Creon finally realizes his fate and nemesis. Creon is a character with bad meaning but he cannot help it because of fate. Creon is a powerful person that is hubris and cannot avoid his nemesis. His hamartia will be the downfall of this tragic hero. Creon is a man with a hamartia that will not let him listen to people’s advice. Creon does believe that he is higher than the gods and is better than anyone else on the planet. Creon is a person who realizes his fate but it is too late already when he realizes it. His fate is the downfall of this tragic hero.
Creon and Antigone in Sophocles’s Tragedy
Throughout the play, Antigone, Antigone is acknowledged as the saint, or hero of this play. When comparing her character to Creon’s, it offers some fascinating conversation starters about the idea of what establishes a hero and a foe. This play shows very evident cause and effect of how one’s ego can change the entire direction of a story.
At the beginning of the play, Antigone’s siblings, Eteocles, and Polyneices have slaughtered each other in a duel. Lord Creon suggests that Polyneices is a ‘double crosser’ to his city, so he requests that nobody gives him the respect of a proper burial. He suggests that his dead body lay on the ground and be tormented by the city’s people. Antigone suggests that her sibling ought to have “his respect among the dead men”. Despite Creon’s request that states, any individual who has the audacity to stand up Polyneices, should be executed. Antigone is forced to stand up for her brother, as no one else would be willing to do so. All of this angers Antigone as she believes that her sibling must be respected in death, and in doing as such, she should “please those that are dead,” as her time among the dead will not be any longer than her time among the living.
Antigone, be that as it may, is additionally tormented by a hamartia, or disastrous blemish. (This is an ordinary component among literary legends, as it displays expressions of sorrow or grief, which is a common theme in older plays). She is attacked by pride and doesn’t yield to common sense, regardless of her sister Ismene’s refusal to help and Creon’s readiness to pardon her. Antigone is inclined to accept a rather honorable demise compared to an ethically distant life.
A hamartia is an act that leads to the fall of a very dominant character. Creon is portrayed as the leader in Sophocles’ Antigone. At first, he has very good and respectable reasons for some of the laws and regulations he sets. But, over time it is evident that his virtue toward the laws he sets in the city becomes all that he cares about, developing a very self-centered personality. Creon’s unfortunate imperfection, his arrogance, causes his defeat. Creon won’t tune in to anybody. He is so obstinate and his pride is so grand, that he could never force himself to recognize the fact that he would ever steer off-base of what his leadership position holds.
At the point in the play when Creon is conversing with Teiresias, he reveals a lot about his character. At first, he doesn’t accept the fact that he could ever be wrong about his interpretation of Antigone. Creon says, ‘Whatever you state, you won’t change my will’. Time and time again, Creon shows how big of an ego and overbearing personality his character has, always believing that he is better than all. ‘The State is King!’ says Creon, which demonstrates that he would go to the extent of believing that he is as superior as the divine beings. Creon has an excessive amount of pride, and the divine beings don’t care for that. The extent of Creon’s excessive arrogance causes his destruction and downfall in this play.
Creon is considered a “tragic” character. His experiences cause a negative effect on his personality, therefore leading to his hamartia. His hubris doesn’t adequately give him a chance to manage his issues. Teiresias’ prediction is the peripeteia and Creon discovers things won’t go the manner in which he arranged. The blind prophet informs Creon that he has indeed angered the Gods and this will lead to misfortune in his life. At last, Creon has his anagnorisis and truly begins to understand that his arrogance has brought his destruction. Creon is genuinely a sad character in Antigone.
Creon’s hamartia can be set right and he seems to do so towards the end of the play. After speaking with Teiresias, Creon at long last understands that his big ego has not let him adequately resolve his contentions. He has this revelation and states, ‘I have been imprudent and absurd’. He consequently recognizes that he has allowed his pride to take over the decisions he makes, resulting in a turn for the worst. In addition, Creon finally accepts the fact that it was indeed his fault, that Haemon dies. Because he would listen to his son and accept his advice, Creon acknowledges that every bad thing that has happened could have been avoided. Through a series of struggles found between Creon and his son, along with the people of his community and Antigone, he caused irreversible damage to his reputation. His power was too important to him when the people around him were just trying to steer him in a better direction. Creon likewise says, ‘My very own visually impaired heart has carried me from murkiness to definite haziness’. This shows his realization that trying to go about the “problems” in his society, on his own terms, was not the appropriate solution. His heavy heart and loaded brain blinded him of what was right. At that point, he was already headed in a misguided direction and it finally hit him, it was too much for him to handle. Creon’s self-confidence did not let him viably manage his contentions.
Although being confident can be a very praiseful trait, there becomes a clear distinction between confidence and being too assertive. In Sophocles’ Antigone, Creon’s true personality is revealed by the selfless acts of Antigone. She helps recognize the many unfortunate characteristics of Creon, causing his hamartia to become disclosed by the end of the play.
The Image of Antigone in Greek Tragedies
Jean Anouilh’s Antigone is arguably the most famous tragedy ever performed, as it greatly satisfies Aristotle’s ideas of the nature of tragedy. Aristotle’s theory of a tragedy is to bring catharsis of the audience, to make them feel the sensations of fear and pity, and to cleanse them of these sensations so that they would leave the theater with an understanding of the ways of men and gods. This catharsis of relief is brought up by witnessing disaster and change in the fortunes of the drama’s protagonist.
Antigone is a tragedy because it follows Aristotle’s five rules of tragedy. It has a tragic hero, being Creon, a change in fortune within a character occurs, it is poetic, and happens in one location, Thebes, on the same day. Consequently, this essay will explore the ways in which Antigone conforms to the conventions of tragedy. The first convention of a tragedy from Aristotle’s theory is the peripeteia, which is the reversal of fortune. We see peripeteia in Antigone when Creon tries to find another punishment for Antigone instead of putting her to death for her attempt to bury polyneices. “They’d just put Antigone in the cave”. Instead of killing her, which was the punishment for whoever disobeys the king, Creon put Antigone in a cave so that he would not feel the guilt of killing his own niece, and his son’s fiance. Creon tries to save his niece from her doomed ending by hiding the truth from the citizens of Thebes and putting her in a cave for the rest of her life. Another peripeteia that happens in the play is when Antigone’s fortune has been reversed from dying on her uncle’s hand to her hands. “Antigone was in the depths of the cave, hanged with her own girdle”. Not only did Antigone die on her own hands but she escapes both of her uncle’s punishments; the first killing her on the guard’s hands and the second is burying her in a cave underneath the ground where she is left with just enough food and water to survive. Antigone’s fate changes from being the princess of Thebes to a “fallen princess” because she is dead as a result of her own beliefs, and her own hubris.
The second greek tragedy that is conveyed in Antigone is Hamartia which causes fall to bad fortune, and the fatal flaw leading to the downfall of a tragic hero. Antigone’s hamartia is caused by her stubborn loyalty to her family and the gods, as well as her moral convictions. Her loyalty to her brother Polyneices is what dooms her “They have uncovered my brother’s body. I Must go bury him”. Even though Antigone knows the punishment of whoever tries to bury Polyneices. She believes that it is her moral duty to bury him so that he would find peace. Her duty and loyalty to her family and God go beyond her and her life. She is willing to sacrifice her own life, both her sister and her fiance’s happiness to bury her brother and to fulfill her moral duty.
Creon is the anagnorisis. In the end, he realizes that due to his hubris that lead to his demise, he lost everything when he sentenced his niece to death. His son killed himself when he saw Antigone hanging and Creon’s wife killed herself as well after finding her son dead, and that his hubris leads to his demise.
The third Greek tragedy that is in Antigone is Anagnorisis which is the recognition of one’s actions and consequences. Antigone has stood by her choice of dying through the entire play and her through her discussion with Creon. She is obsessed with death as though its a prize to earn. Even when her uncle tries to stop her from burying her brother by exposing her brother’s dark past, she still refuses. Her hubris and her family especially burying Polyneices was above all. No matter what was said to her by Creon she did not want to change her mind. Before her doomed ending, Antigone writes a letter to Haemon, her fiance explaining to him her situation. While waiting for her sentence to pass Antigone finally admits her error “I have chosen, to die… Creon was right: it’s awful, but, here, with this man beside me, I don’t know anymore what I’m dying for.. I’m afraid, oh, Haemon! It’s only now I realize how easy it was for me to live.”..
Finally, after her long conversation with Creon and her unfolded discovery of her brother’s past does Antigone admits her fear of death. Everything she was standing by, burying her brother is lost. Her excessive pride was clouding her judgment of what is rational. She was consumed and in love with the idea of death and when the time came she realized how lonely death can be. Antigone is selfish she does not regard her fiance, Haemon’s feelings nor her sister’s. They both love her deeply but her hubris came in the way and she was focused in one thought and one belief: burying her brother. Once this belief was lost she lost everything and everyone with it”. They have uncovered my brother’s body. I must go bury him”. Antigone shows strong civil-disobedience. She goes against her uncle, the king’s laws, and does what she wants, no matter what the consequences will be. Another character in Antigone, who shares Antigone’s selfishness, pride, and hubris is Creon; due to his characteristics, he caused the tragic downfall of his family. He leads his niece to death. And even though he admits that he needs to bury Polyneices, he rejects the idea to prove to the people that he is the king of Thebes and that his ‘job’ is above all. ‘Don’t you think I am revolted as you are by the flesh rotting in the sun … the whole business is not only horrible but stupid… I myself would have preferred your brother’s body buried,, just for reasons of hygiene” (37-8) The reasons for both characters to bury Polyneices are different but in the end, they agree at the same point; burying Polyneices. If the Creon swallowed his pride and just buried him for his family’s sake, The tragic hero’s ending may differ.
Pride And Selfishness in Sophocles’ Antigone
In society, pride and selfishness are one of man’s most compelling yet detrimental qualities. It can nurture leadership and most importantly success; however, pride can also exhibit a negative universal connotation which is clearly manifested in the characters’ actions and intentions throughout the novel. In Sophocles’ Antigone, the prominent recurrence of a type of egoistic nature is evidently a key source which resulted in Creon’s as well as Antigone’s ultimate downfall. One who argues that Antigone only advocated for trueness, justice, and righteousness, is ultimately blind and neglectful of the claims at hand.
The audience most oftentimes views Antigone’s sacrifice for her brother as heroistic and simply due to her good nature, but this is not necessarily the pure case. A vast amount of times throughout, Antigone affirms the fact that she did not solely act out of virtue and goodness when considering to rebel against Creon. Although Antigone truly displays a fierce and brave mentality to seek what she believes, she reveals a selfish intent to only die with her own glory and recognition and not with anyone else including Ismene as she says “no, you may not die along with me. Don’t say you did it!”.
The significance of this claim is that all Antigone truly desires is the fame from the public as well as from the gods themselves that only she had the courage to confront the King’s authority. Antigone assumes that if she acted alone, the spotlight would be on her and the gods would eventually reward her for such brave actions. Therefore, this evidently illustrates Antigone’s true nature as well as gives the audience the idea that her intentions are more self-seeking than out of humility. However, this “boastful” behavior ultimately led to Antigone’s own demise specifically when she was being confronted by Creon. When criticizing Creon’s actions, Antigone displayed great confidence as well as pride when speaking and this caused Creon to feel as if Antigone was a “deadly, crazed revolutionary!”.
This type of unregretful pose aggravated Creon and encouraged him to punish Antigone. Although it was irrational of Creon to act out of rage and anger alone, Sophocles ultimately unveiled Antigone’s actions as evidently being largely responsible for her own unprecedented outcome. Sophocles’ representation of the different forms of pride not only correspond to Antigone, but also to other characters such as Creon. Much like Antigone, Creon’s demise is procured through his very own overbearing nature as King of Thebes. But the author also exhibits differences compared to Antigone such as expressing Creon’s actions in a more clearer representation in order to express to the audience the constant effects of change in pride on society. And this haughtiness is clearly depicted when Creon states the question, “so I should rule this country for someone other than myself?”. What this means is that Creon feels as if his authority overrules anyone else’s desires or even opinions; he never wants to acknowledge that his actions could ever be wrong. Therefore, the audience comes to an understanding that Creon is almost living in his own reality. This question expressed by Creon demonstrates his intent to only rule Thebes for himself which distinctly manifests his selfish behavior which he does not realize would lead him towards a destructive end.
In contrast to Antigone’s “moment” which led to her demise, Creon’s downfall was gradual and expected. It all began ever since he decided to sentence Antigone to death. What this caused was controversy not only from the city, but from his own family. Haemon, his son, even gives his father fair advice, yet all Creon does is lash out and says that he “is fighting for the woman’s cause” (740). We can specifically see in this instance, the excessive ego that Creon has conjured up from having authority. He is evidently blinded from the reality and unable to understand that he will eventually come to regret his actions. This instance is one of many that builds upon the evidence that Creon is in the end accountable for his own ruin.
Another example of Creon’s fatal actions were when he was conversing with the blind prophet Tiresias. With the intention to only help Creon, Tiresias warns him that he will place bad luck upon Thebes due to refusing to bury Polyneices. But of course, Creon’s inability to overcome his prideful mentality undoubtedly serves as a barrier to the advice Tiresias has to say. Without any hesitation, Creon expresses his opinion by proclaiming to Tiresias that he needs to “remember, you are speaking about your commander-in-chief”. This is a clear representation of how Creon has gradually become “Intoxicated by the loftiness of his position” and “fails to recognize his human fallibility and the limits of his authority”. By demanding Tiresias to not forget that he is the ruler, Creon places emphasis that he is wiser and basically condemning Tiresias for even confronting him. What soon comes after is the death of his loved ones which is all due to the result of his excessive amount of stubbornness as well as his pride.
In conclusion, Sophocles’ Antigone demonstrates the dangers of pridefulness and selfishness by using conflict between two significant characters. Although noble in their own specific ways, the author truly depicts how destructive pride can realistically be and showcases how it could lead down a road of sadness and regret. Much like in this play, society is faced with this compelling problem and for Sophocles to demonstrate its harm, the audience can ultimately begin to acknowledge its overall damage as well.
Analysis Of “Antigone” By Sophocles
Sophocles’ Antigone (c.441 B.C. E) is a play from the time when power was the truth. It was the time when people’s voices were either bought by wealth or suppressed by power. Although government nowadays are completely different, it is still hard to change what has been engraved in genes. Creon, the king thought his pride was law, while Antigone thought her pride was above the law. Here, both characters are more a dictator than a president. Both characters are stubborn and too prideful to listen to others opinion. But, if I have to choose one among them to rule, I would put my stake on Creon. Creon should make a great president out of him because he is fair-minded, think on his feet, and charismatic. The first thing I would want from my leader is justice, whether he can give me or not. Is he fair? Or is he biased for something? Am I being punished for something while others are not?
Even among the kings, Creon can be considered fairly good. He does not let his personal feelings guide his judgment. From the fact that he punished Antigone, Polyneices and even denied Haimon request to not punish Antigone shows how fair and emotionally stable he is. Creon stayed unmoved by family affection while making the decision and stayed rigid even with all family pressure for the law he made. It is really hard to find such a leader even in today’s time. There are many countries with dictatorship (China, North Korea) and autocracy (Saudi Arab) where leader family and friends go unpunished for any crime they commit. While if the same crime has been committed by another person, they would be sent to the grave. Thus, it could be said that he would be a fair president if he gets elected. Another thing that made him a good leader as he was bold and quick with the decision. He punished Polyneices as soon as he was announced as a king. Just as saying goes, “killing one to scare a thousand.”
Creon wisely punished Polyneices to show nation enemy that no one who harms the country goes unpunished. As a leader on have to think about their action and what effect that it could lead to. His act of punishing Polyneices even after his death can be looked as a bold move. His action resembles a lot to the current president of United States, Donald Trump as he issued a lot of shocking order as soon as he entered the office. Although the decision he issued created ruckus at first but president Trump seem to be doing pretty good till now. While Creon was strict with countries enemies, he would honor and love all the good citizens. Fanny Soderback believes that “Creon rules over Thebes as a father rules over his family.” He gave Eteocles the burial he deserved as he died serving the nation. Creon said that “no traitor is going to be honored with the loyal man” (Lns 38). Just like in our country where are the soldier and their family is honored, even after their death. That makes Creon policy much like today’s united states governments policy. Creon was a strong politician as he had set rules and regulation that should be followed by his fellow citizens. Whereas at the same time, he did not tolerate any betrayal to the nation and did not hesitate to give punishment. Kalliopi Nikolopoulou believed that “Antigone is the source and giver of her own law, or one could say, law comes to show itself through her being and her act.”
According to Keri Walsh, this lead Creon to punish Antigone as she was “a spoiled brat whose misbehavior and stubbornness necessitate her execution in the eyes of the law”. Creon is calm, sensible and tough-minded. After the fall of Oedipus and Eteocles, Thebes was in complete chaos. No king to rule the land and no father to take care of children’s. At the time like that Creon showed himself as a father figure, he lifted Thebes from the chaos proving himself calm and tough leader. Even Francoise Meltzer believes that Creon is, “politically expedient and allows him a guiltless self-righteousness.” That will be the very kind of leader that I would like to lead our country. He will be the leader who will be calm even if internal or external war broke out. He will handle things wisely that will be beneficial for both citizen and land. Creon can even be compared with Adolf Hitler as he the leadership quality to lift a country that has fallen apart after the war broke out. His sensible way of gathering all people and telling them that they are out of the storm makes him a very calm, sensible and tough leader.
Another quality that separates him apart from typical kings and dictators is the freedom of speech he gave to others. He let Antigone, Teiresias, Haimon, Sentry and other characters to speak their mind and even though their words brought displeasure to him, he didn’t punish them for that. Most of the autocrats wouldn’t want other to bad mouth the throne, which is true even today. Countries like Saudi Arab, North Korea where dictator have absolute power, anyone who speak ill about the throne gets punished. If Creon was from the modern world, he would have been a very flexible president. He would have provided his citizen with all the rights and protect his people with all his might.
Despite all his qualities, Creon would still fail to live up to people expectation because of the fact that he was too proud. His only fault, while he was in the throne, was that he let pride to cover his eyes. That one mistake led his enemies to make the move on him and was divested by that. That would be his biggest flaw even in today’s world as people tend to keep enemies even closer than their friends. But he would have covered his flaws eventually and be a better captain of the ship than Antigone.
The Role of Women in Antigone by Sophocles
Greek society as a whole was incredibly male-dominant. With a focus on patrilineal and patriarchal ideals, women were viewed as inferior in nearly all aspects of life. During the reign of the Ancient Greek empire, women were confined to their homes (mans’ attempt to keep them from being raped and abused by the poor); they were ordered to bear children and work on the home; they were, as well, dissuaded from speaking out against their male counterparts. Women, in all, were oppressed in Ancient Greece during which Sophocles’ Antigone was produced.
Although it is uncertain the exact date in which the play was written, with these distinctions of Greek societal values, the title character is depicted as an example of women: one that risked her life to betray society’s rules and lay her brother, Polyneikes, to rest after his death. This event calls on the ethics of Kreon, the ruler of Thebes (and uncle to Antigone), whose ego shrouds his ability to determine what is truly just within his refusal to honor Polyneikes’ death as well as the punishment of Antigone’s actions.
Following the death of Polyneikes and Eteokles, Kreon declares the former of the two brothers to be left on the battleground to be subject to the hungry animals and elements. This refusal of burial is Kreon’s denial to recognize the brother whom fought against his home, Thebes. During this time, fighting against your native land was an act of treason. Betrayal of one’s country, specifically in this case one that honors its warriors abundantly, was seen as one the highest forms of crime. At the beginning of the play, two sisters – Antigone and Ismene – bicker over the burial of Polyneikes; Antigone wishing for a proper burial, ignoring the rules set by Kreon that nobody shall honor the traitor and Ismene begging her sister to follow the impacted rule. The rule was placed by Kreon in order to let Polyneikes lay in unrest for the rest of eternity. In the Greek belief system, those who have died and are not honored with a burial or funeral service will forever remain on Earth as a haunted soul.
Eventually, Antigone decides to recommence burying her brother stating, “It’s not for him [Kreon] to keep me from my own” (l. 60). This is the first time Antigone is shown to be a force of revolutionary ideals against her patriarchal surroundings. As a matter of fact, being so early on in the play, it sets the scene for what is yet to come. Her forceful initiative proves her to be an anomaly during this time. Women were seen as a passive people; one that had lived with immense restraints that they had learned to live with and accept. However, this is not the case for Antigone. If she were to simply follow her uncle’s orders, she would escape punishment and be free to live her life as any other. However, unhappy with Kreon’s rule, she doesn’t. She knows the risk of what she is doing, even telling Ismene, “For me it’s noble to do / This thing, then die … I will commit a holy crime” (ll. 87-90). A woman during this time may have recognized what the right thing to do was, but would refuse to perform the deed; afraid of the repercussions which were often death, as Ismene does.
Ismene in a sense is the balancing act between Antigone and her actions. Antigone is punished for what she did, her actions rarely seen by a woman during this time and Ismene steps back and watches from the sidelines for much of the play. She is a personification of the female population in Greece. It is until Antigone is tried for her crimes that Ismene renounces her silence. Ismene for a large duration of the play recognizes and respects the male authority present within the Greek system. Kreon’s rule, in her eyes, is meant to be followed without question despite any personal objection. Then, once Antigone and she are captured, she steps up and offers her own life as well, “But now you’re in trouble / …let me respect the dead and die with you” (ll. 618-622). This change of moral conduct may perhaps be a comment, and even a challenge, on the male-chauvinist society. However, it seems more fitting that this dynamic evolution of Ismene’s character criticizes the uselessness of her courageousness. She may have stepped in, but Kreon’s ultimate power and dictatorial style of leadership proves too influential.
Later in the play, a low-ranking guard rushes into the home of Kreon and proclaims “sight” of Polyneikes’s burial despite not seeing it with his own eyes. Kreon, displeased with the news, announces the manhunt for the culprit, warning the guard “if / You don’t reveal who did this, you’ll confess / That dirty profits make for suffering!” (ll. 369-371). This also speaks on the idea of justice during the time as if the Guard is to not provide proof of his accusation, he will suffer major consequences — perhaps death. As the Guard enters Kreon’s commons, Kreon is immediately displeased with his presence. He acts disinterested and berates him to get on with the accusation. It is almost as though Kreon is set to charge the Guard with the crime if he does not find the wrongdoer simply for bothering. The power he has been dealt seems to go to Kreon’s head. Previously, Antigone’s father Oedipus had ruled over Thebes until his discovery that his wife was coincidentally his mother. This led him to willfully blind himself and be led outside of Thebes to die. Power was handed to Kreon unexpectedly and the reader is able to see that power hungriness throughout the entirety of the play.
As stated prior, Antigone stands as a symbol of, not exigently equal treatment, but the recognition of women; during her trials, she owns up to her actions, “I admit I did it; I do not deny it” (l. 443). She is proud of what she has done and does not regret it. This can also be interpreted as Antigone standing as a symbol for women whom were often portrayed as mischievous troublemakers in myths and literature such as this one (Women in Ancient Greece). Later, Kreon calls for the punishment of Ismene as well as Antigone. Although Ismene did not physically participate in Polyneikes’s burial, the denial to report it is equitable to that of burying the apostate.
During a debate with her uncle, Antigone proclaims that what she has done, as she stated at the very beginning of the play during her talk with Ismene, should not be immediately declared as punishable. She places Kreon’s beliefs into question by asking: “Who knows if down there that [Polyneikes’s burial] is not considered holy?” (l. 573). This question angers Kreon and he exclaims that “a woman will not rule” as long as he is alive (l. 578). Kreon’s reasoning for his decision is justified as he sees it, simply because he is a man. Essentially, by proclaiming this, Kreon insinuates that women are unfit to make decisions for a kingdom; a women is not fit to make wise decisions and all Antigone has to say to defend herself are heresy. His only evidence for this is Antigone’s “foolish” burial of her brother.
During Antigone’s trial, Kreon sentences Antigone to death. Before her death, Antigone grieves over her lack of opportunity to perform her expected, womanly duties: “And now by force of hands he’s leading me / Away, without a nuptial bed, without / A wedding ceremony, and receiving / No share of marriage not of rearing children” (ll. 980-983). This speaks on the women of the time as well. Although Antigone stands as a woman who is unafraid to betray her uncle’s rule, she still feels her connection to Greece’s expectations of her. Once a woman is married, she is meant to bear children, tend to the home and her husband’s needs, and cook. Antigone wants that, relying on her gender’s expectations in order to receive some sort of ease of punishment; essentially absolving the feministic tendencies she had built prior.
Centrally, during the first half of the play – and arguably its entirety – justice is called on by Kreon and Kreon alone; justice to him is what a man in power declares and a man alone. Despite Antigone being his niece, he bears no mercy on her and puts her to death much like her brother she cared so much for to break a law. Men in Greek society were seen as superior; the only ones who had the capacity to make wise decisions enough to decide what compromised justice. This viewpoint of men is clearly seen within Kreon’s dictator-like character: “And to the common citizen, when you / Dislike some word he says, your eye becomes / a terror” (ll. 670-673).
Men during this time were also the main attendees of plays like Antigone. “Respectable” women were expected to remain home and care for their home and children as per the usual. With men’s freedom within the society, they were also expected to attend these theatrical performances as a civic duty. Thus, by being a civic responsibility, this guarantees high male viewership. In the beginning of the play, Antigone states
“I would not welcome such a fellowship. / Go thine own way; myself will bury him. / How seet to die in such employ, to rest,– / Sister and brother linked in loves’ embrace– / A sinless sinner, banned awhile on earth, / But by the dead commended and with them / I shall abide for ever. As for thee, / Scorn, if thou wilt, the eternal laws of Heaven” (ll. 69-76).
This longing (particularly this longing for death) in terms of her actions suggests she, being a woman, knows she will not be handed mercy. In this context, it can be assumed that by performing this play in front of a pantheon of men, women are portrayed as serpentine and almost animalistic: “From now on they must be / Women – not to be let run loose, for even / Bold men will try to make their escape when they / See Death begin to come too near their lives” (ll. 629-633). By writing a play heavily comprised of female objections to government and male-oppression, Sophocles may have intended the theatrics to be comedic, to influence men to both demonize women and insinuate lack of sympathy for a suffering woman and one who stands up for herself.
So, in summation, what is justice? In terms of Antigone, justice is a man’s decision, his opinion. A man can do whatever he pleases to whomever he pleases with the only justification being that he is a man and his decision is ultimate. What Antigone did, however morally correct or incorrect it was, was unlawful in the eyes of Kreon. Along with that, her being a woman in a male-chauvinistic society did not aid in her case as well. This distaste for outspoken women led to Antigone’s death, which Kreon eventually regrets after his son, along with his wife, commit suicide after hearing news of Antigone’s death. He mourns over his actions and must live with what he decreed.
This realization may also have been intentional on Sophocles’ part as he may have also wanted to push a comment on this toxic masculinity present in Ancient Greece. When Kreon exclaims “it was I …/ in my useless misery” (ll.1407-1409), he proclaims the idiocrasy in his harshness, although only after his son’s death, not after Antigone’s. But many may say that that is the true form of justice overall; living with the actions he caused, despite never truly realizing justice was nevermore found.
Tragic Hero Pattern In Antigone
Creon out of his pride kills his own wife and son out of selfishness which make him a true tragic hero. Creon is a character who so caught up with what others think. Creon is isolated character who keeps to himself his plans and acts. He is very misleading character tries to lead others to crime. Creon faces dishonesty from others and sees the true character of people he thought he could trust. Creon as the protagonist with his stubborn personality makes him a true tragic hero.
Aristotle made Creon the tragic hero in the book Antigone. His definition of, “A tragic hero is the protagonist of the story”. “A tragic hero is a character in the book that takes action. A tragic hero is the core principal of inconsistency in some one very important. A tragic hero is a character that has plenty of flaws”. “A tragic hero is a character with a urge to be a part of action. A tragic hero is A character that makes plenty of mistakes. A tragic hero is the murderer that takes away someone life”. A tragic hero is a character who is independent and likes to think of their next move. Aristotle uses Creon in the book to show his to define A tragic hero.
Sophocles the author of The Oedipus Trilogy made multiple books to describe Creon and Antigones conflict. The character, “Creon is manipulative and declares that anyone attempting to bury Polynices be buried”. Creon is very cringe character and uses his power to destroy others. All the characters in The Oedipus Trilogy go behind Creon’s back to disrespect his orders. “Antigone goes off alone to bury Ismene brother Polynices without Creon’s notice”. Sophocles uses Creon in the book to show his cruelty use of power that he calls a tragic hero.
Sophocles describes Creon as a ruthless leader of Thebes. Creon set his order on the body of Polynices telling the people of Thebes not to touch his body. Creon out of anger questions Antigone of the crime. Antigone denies the crime and Ismene feeling sorry for his sister admits to the crime falsely. Antigone refuses and admits to the crime. Creon with the power he has is eager to put Antigone to death for what he has done. Haemon asked Creon to let Antigone go and he does just that. Creon changes his mind and puts Polynices to death. Sophocles claims Creon was a tragic hero using Creon to affiliate in unlawful acts killing Polynices and causing others to commit suicide.
Sophocles informs that Creon is a character of fault. Haemon angrily storms out, vowing never to see Creon again. The blind prophet Tiresias warns Creon that the god’s side with Antigone, and that Creon will lose a child for his crimes of leaving Polynices unburied and for punishing Antigone so harshly”. Creon is vindictive to his son Haemon and Antigone. Creon changes his mind about putting Antigone to death. Creon listens to his son and agrees to bury his brother Polynices “Creon now blames himself for everything that has happened and he staggers away, a broken man. “The order and rule of law he values so much has been protected, but he has acted against the gods and has lost his child and his wife as a result”. Sophocles ends the book with Creon in shock to express that a tragic hero is not a perfect character and makes regretful decisions.
Sophocles claims Creon is a tragic hero, how he changes dramatically in the book showing his true character. “He tells his people he will grow into a better role as the king of Thebes”. Creon’s change of heart comes too late to save anyone, but just in time to have “confrontation with his son”. Creon’s flaw is his heart, he is a good person that just made bad choices. Creon suffers not only a loss of self-esteem, but a loss of identity itself, as he cries: “I don’t even exist — I’m no one”. Sophocles informs his audience by showing Creon’s characteristics of a tragic hero in the book of Antigone that he can overcome self-doubt and become a confident king.
Why Creon Is Considered A Tragic Hero In Antigone
In Sophocles’ play Antigone I believe that Creon is the tragic hero because he is brought down by a tragic flaw and faces consequences greater than deserved. Throughout the play Creon was creating problems which led to what he had to face at the end. Creon shows characteristics as a tragic hero because he is blind to the truth, shows pride and arrogance, and was the cause of the whole plague. Creon, as we all know, is in charge in Thebes and he does all of the decision making, but he makes rules only upon his judgement. Antigone did something that disobeyed the law and she was sentenced to death for it. The thing is, Creon was going against the gods because in their eyes she did nothing wrong. In scene 1, lines 1 and 2, Creon says “An enemy is an enemy, even dead. Go join them then; if you must have your love find it in hell!” The whole town of Thebes knows that what Antigone did was a noble act, but Creon is so stubborn that he doesn’t even care what others have to think. Even when his own son tries to convince him that he’s making the wrong decision. Creon will not even listen to his own son, Haimon. Which is Antigone’s soon to be husband. Haimon does his best to try to explain to his father that he needs to rethink his final conclusion but Creon seems to be completely oblivious the whole time. He cares more about his pride than his own son’s happiness. Haiman says “You have to right to trample on gods right” and Creon responds with “Fool, adolescent fool! Taken by a woman”. As you can see Creon doesn’t even seem to notice that he’s not following the gods beliefs but he’s so arrogant that he just throws it behind him. Haimen tells his father that he’s running away and Creon still never changes his word. He chooses his stubbornness over his son.
At the end of the story is when you realize how blind to the truth that Creon was. He is the cause for the death of his son and wife and it’s all because of his selfish ways. He should have been more open to people’s thoughts and concerns because this all would not have happened. Creon says “Oh it is hard to give in! But it is worse to risk everything for stubborn pride” He is realizing that he really messed up but he’s too late to fix it. Creon’s only son and wife killed themselves due to something that was all caused by himself. He’s the one that sent Antigone to the vault to die, causing her to kill herself, then causing Haimon to kill himself because of his sorrow. This then led to Eurydice’s death because her son was now dead. Creon should have never been so close minded because none of this would have happened. He’s the cause for this plague.
In conclusion Creon was the cause for all of the ending tragedies in the play Antigone. A character in literature he could be connected to is Peeta Mellark from The Hunger Games because they both have to go through things that could determine that their future was going to be like. Peeta was a little smarter in this case but both of them created problems for themselves because of previous actions. Overall Creon is a tragic hero because of his selfishness, stubbornness, and arrogance.
Analysis of the Tragic Heroes of Antigone by Sophocles: Antigone and Creon
Everyone loves the hero of a story. A hero inspires you and gives you a sense of hope and security. Heroes are characters who are admirable, noble, brave, intelligent, and powerful. They are great examples and positive role models. But what if the hero is not so admirable or courageous? What if the hero is flawed? A tragic hero is such a hero. A tragic hero’s downfall is the result of his flaws or weaknesses. According to Aristotle, “every tragic hero has some fatal weakness that brings him to a bad end”.
In the Greek tragedy “Antigone”, written by Sophocles in 441 B.C., the conflict is between Antigone, a grieving sister desperately trying to give her brother a proper burial, and Creon, the new king forbidding anyone from doing so. Antigone is trying to honor her brother by providing him with a proper burial, however, Creon labeled him a traitor and has “decreed that his body shall be left to the crows”.
The character of Antigone has a strong family bond and sense of loyalty. She also appears to have strong religious convictions. She does not believe that Creon has the authority to dictate her brother’s fate in the afterlife and makes this clear by saying “It is not for him to keep me from my own”. Antigone is strong, fearless, not concerned with the gender gap of society, and never sways from her original stance and beliefs. She is in no way even tempted to give in to the wishes of those around her no matter what the consequences may be. Her love for her brother and her desire to do what she feels is the right thing is enough to overcome any fear one might have. When Creon asked her if she was the one who had buried him, she fearlessly proclaimed “Yes, I confess; I will not deny my deed”. Even in the end, when she was brought to the cave, she took her own life so she could be in control of her death. She was not about to allow her life to be taken by another.
It could be argued that Antigone’s tragic flaw or hamartia was her stubbornness and her inability to let go of the past and move forward. Antigone’s hubris “extreme pride leading to over confidence” was the cause of her downfall. At many points in the story, Antigone could have saved herself, married Haemon, and been there for her sister who had no one upon Antigone’s death. However, she chose to stick to her convictions even though it meant death and abandoning her sister Ismene and her fiancé Haemon. A major theme in this story, the conflict between earthly law and order and divine law was no conflict for Antigone. She had no hesitation in choosing divine law or the law of the land.
Creon, another candidate for tragic hero of this story, has the typical traits of arrogance, over confidence, and errors in judgement as described in “Aristotle’s Concept of Tragedy”. Creon inherited the throne later in life and intentionally limited his interest to that of politics and social order. He abandons his family values, rejects the irrational laws from the gods, and rules only by the logical laws of man. He did not want to see Antigone punished for her crime, but when she had no remorse and made no attempt to deny it, he felt he had no choice. He would not be told what to do by a woman and stated, “When I am alive no woman shall rule”. His chauvinistic nature and insistence of adhering to the laws of man while repudiating those of the gods fueled his hubris and became his hamartia.
Both Antigone and Creon could equally be considered the tragic heroes of this story. Their stubbornness and unwillingness to concede or even compromise to the others predicament ultimately resulted in their demise. Antigone chooses to die rather than succumb to the pressures to abide by earthly law that goes against her divine beliefs, though she had ample opportunity to change course. Creon, although doing what he thought to best for the throne, lost all that was dear to him because he was unwilling to submit to divine law. In the end, Antigone’s character does not evolve from her original position. However, Creon realizes his culpability and takes responsibility for his loss stating, “Everything in my hands is crossed. A most unwelcome fate has leaped upon me”. The battle between man and the divine will always leave a trail of devastation.