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.
Characteristic Of Creon in Sophocle’s Antigone
Creon as the Tragic Hero
Antigone and Creon are characters in the Greek tragedy Antigone. The author is a Greek tragedian named Sophocles. In this play, Sophocles illustrates how Antigone, the main character, is in conflict with Creon, her powerful uncle. Antigone’s uncle Creon is an ignorant and oppressive king of Thebes. Antigone and Creon both display the characteristics of a tragic hero in the text. Creon has displayed and demonstrated many of the characteristics of a tragic hero, unlike Antigone who exhibit few characteristics of a tragic hero. Tragedy according to Aristotle is, “is the imitation of an action that is serious and also, as having magnitude, complete in itself; in an appropriate and pleasurable language in a dramatic rather than narrative form; with incidents arousing pity and fear, wherewith to accomplish a catharsis of these emotions.” By this, Aristotle meant that for an action to be tragic, the action must be a serious one and of great importance. After a tragic quarrel between his two nephews, Eteocles and Polyneices Creon took over the throne and became the king of Thebes. Creon cannot be classified as either good or bad based on his character despite his crude and harsh governing style. Creon is, therefore, the tragic hero in the play Antigone.
Creon qualifies as the tragic hero because of the noble position he held in his society. His self-pride, and ambitions make Creon qualify under Aristotle’s doctrine of tragedy as the tragic hero. As the king, his actions were considered to be serious and of great importance.
In Antigone, Creon is considered to be an antagonist king. One of the actions that qualify Creon as an antagonist king is manifested in this quote, “…Polyneices, I say, is to have no burial: no man is to touch him or say the least prayer for him; he shall lie on the plain, unburied; and the birds and the scavenging dogs can do with him whatever they like. ” (Sophocles, 43-46; Ch. 1). This quote clearly illustrates how Creon was ambitious and ruthless because after receiving the news of the death of the defiant Polyneices. He ordered that no one should burry him because he will just bring bad omen to the Thebans. Creon is perceived to be a superior Theban regardless of very many negative things and comments that he made.
Creon is so proud of himself and takes pride in his actions and decisions. From the play, Creon said proudly, “You forget yourself! You are speaking to your King,” (Sophocles, 66; Ch. 5). From this excerpt, Creon clearly displays his superiority hence making him the tragic hero. Creon’s nobility was derived from the fact that he was the brother of the former king of Thebes Oedipus. Quoted by Choragus, “But now, at last, is our new King is coming: Creon of Thebes, Menoikeus’ son,” (Sophocles, 1-2; Ch. 1). It is from this that it is understood that Creon was brought up in a noble family and he belonged to the higher social class if compared to other Thebans. When addressing his servants, Creon said that, “Unfortunately, as you know, his two sons, the princes Eteocles and Polyneices have killed each other in battle; and I, as the next in blood, have succeeded to the full owner of the throne,” (Sophocles, 15-19; Ch. 1) It is from the quote that Creon’s nobility is derived from. The nobility character in the life of Creon makes him the tragic hero even though it made him become a mean and greedy, Fagles, Robert (1986). The character of self-pride is the strongest feature that makes Creon a tragic hero. The way he conducted himself throughout the text reveals that Creon was indeed a tragic hero.
This quote from Creon helps support the reasoning behind the argument: “Good. That is the way to behave: subordinate everything else, my son, to your father’s will,” (Sophocles, 13-14; Ch.3). The tragic of flaw self-pride is a very clear explanation of another instance that portrays Creon as the tragic hero of the Greek tragedy, Antigone. Creon was portrayed by the author, Sophocles as the tragic hero of his Greek Tragedy, Antigone with the aim to pass a point that not all heroes had to please and gain favors to qualify to be a hero, (Rose, J.L., 1952). Towards the end of the play, Creon admits, “…I have been rash and foolish. I have killed my son and my wife,” (Sophocles Exodus. 142-143). From this quote, it is clear how unpleasant Creon was but he doesn’t have the understanding of how unpleasant and imprudent his actions were. This argument, therefore, affirms my position that Creon is the tragic hero of Antigone.
In conclusion, Creon’s characteristics that make him the tragic hero include his pride and his ambitions. These features make him affirm Aristotle’s definition of tragedy (Rosenfield, K.H., 2010). These paramount features that manifest in the life of Creon make him the major character and Antigone the minor character. Antigone doesn’t take pride and has taken the inferior position based on divine standards and of less significance in the Thebes society. Antigone was considered the princess of the Thebes society but she never took the center stage. Despite the fact that some analysts believe that Antigone is the protagonist and the tragic hero, Creon is the tragic hero in the Greek play, Antigone because of the three characteristics: Pride, ambitions, and jealousy.
Antigone As a Typical Tragic Hero
A tragic hero is a character that makes an error in judgement or has a fatal flaw which in combination with fate results in a tragedy. Tragic hero’s must fall from good luck and the wellbeing to misery and misfortune. They cause a sense of pity through the tragic downfall that weakens the character. In the play Antigone by Sophocles, Antigone goes with her own beliefs by giving her own brother a proper burial even if it means breaking the law set by Creon. Because of Antigone’s innocent actions she is punished unjustly and unfairly. Though her risky and unselfish actions, wanting to follow her own beliefs, and perseverance Antigone is the one true tragic hero of this play.
Antigone makes many important and good decisions through her risky and selfless actions. When she buries her brother, Polyneices, she does it because she wants her brother to be able to live a satisfying after life and so that the gods will not be angry. Through her powerful decision making and strong will she says, “I will bury the brother I love’ (694). She is an strong follower of tradition and does not want to upset the gods or the dead. This means that she will do anything possible to help her brother out even if it means being harmed innocently in the process. When Antigone is caught by Creon for burying her brother she is immediately sentenced to death and cannot be saved by anyone. Before she is sent to be executed by her sister, Antigone states, “Save yourself, I shall not envy you, there are those who will praise you, I shall have honor too” (711). In this statement, Antigone is trying to prevent her sister, Ismene, from getting involved in her being in jail and going to be executed. She doesn’t want Ismene to be punished for something she never did. Through Antigone’s innocent, risky, and selfless act, she is faultlessly killed for no reason.
However, Antigone’s ability to follow her beliefs results into the tragic death of herself. She is from a royal family and has the power and authority to do what she believes in. Antigone believes in the following traditions and exercises that have power when she says, “I will bury him, and if I must die, I say that the crime is holy: I shall lie down with him in death, and I shall be as dear to him as he to me” (694). She follows her beliefs while following tradition and doing what she feels is the best. She does this because she knows that she is doing the right thing and knows that she will be repaid in some way or another. Therefore, Antigone justifies her actions by telling Creon the reasons that motivated her to bury her brother. She refuses to give into the beliefs and continues to think in her own separate way. She takes a stand against the king when she says, “Think death less than a friend? This death of mine is of no importance, but if I had left my brother lying in death unburied, I should have suffered. Now I do not. You smile at me. Ah Creon, think me a fool, if you like, but it may well be that a fool convicts me of folly” (709). She believes what she is doing is the correct thing to do and she proves that to Creon, but he is still not convinced about that. It’s important for Antigone to do what she believes in and that she acts on this because she wants to be satisfied with the outcomes of her actions. Her ability to pursue her own goals and to do what she wants proves her to be the tragic hero of this play.
Antigone’s perseverance and courage allows her to stand up for her beliefs. She has the courage to carry on and to push through her actions, even if everyone she knows is against her. Antigone knows that she will die because of her actions, but she still carries on living through her perseverance. For example, she was going to marry Haimon but she chooses to give up a life of happiness when she admits to her sister, “you are alive, but I belong death” (711). She has a feeling of sadness when she says this but she also has no regrets about what she has done. Antigone is proud about her achievements that occurred through her perseverance and courage. Antigone shows her courage in other ways as well. Her perseverance in meeting death is courageous and purposeful. Antigone knows exactly what she has to do and does what is needed to do. For Antigone “there is no guilt in reverence for the dead” (711). She is fearless and has the courage to face her consequences even if it means it ending up in death. Antigone is not afraid to pay for her consequences because she knows what she has done was the correct thing to do. Through her perseverance and courage, she fits the role of the tragic hero perfectly.
Antigone’s ability to follow her own beliefs, to make proper actions, and to follow through on her actions with courage make her the perfect tragic hero. It is important to follow one’s own beliefs and to pursue the right things in life so the outcome will turn out well. With having no courage and perseverance it is very easy to be challenged and stopped from your goals being perused. The tragic hero of any story has all these qualities and has the ability to do what they want when they want. A tragic hero must be someone who follows their beliefs no matter what the outcome may be. Although sometimes the outcome may involve death, a tragic hero can be anyone who wishes to follow their own beliefs, has the ability to learn to preserve, and can do the right thing under any circumstance no matter what it is.
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 Flaw of Pride in Sophocles’s Antigone
‘There are two kinds of pride, good and bad. ‘Good pride’ represents our dignity and self-respect. ‘Bad pride’ is the deadly sin of superiority that reeks of conceit and arrogance. (John C. Maxwell)
Pride is not a bad thing, it can be used to represent our dignity and worthiness but for many people in this world their pride makes them feel superior to others, and in the long run, they become arrogant, narrow-minded people, and begin to yield to reason.
The characteristic of a person with too much pride is shown through Creon’s personality in Antigone where he lets his pride get the best of him unveiling himself as the true tragic hero of the story. After the exile of her father Oedipus, Antigone finds her brothers Polyneices and Eteocles dead after fighting each other for the throne and that her uncle has decided Polyneices does not deserve a proper burial. Antigone buries her brother trying to do the right thing but ends up being sentenced to death by Creon for going against him. Throughout the course of the story, Creon blindly continues to make rash decisions and these decisions tremendously start to affect the people and environment around him eventually revealing his hamartia, excessive pride.
In the play, Antigone, Sophocles uses Creon’s tragic flaw of pride, which results in him defying the divine laws of the gods and inevitably causing the death of his family, to show that having too much pride can only lead to one’s downfall and eventually tragedy. Through Creon’s own mistake of defying the divine laws of the gods, Sophocles shows how excessive pride can blind a person from justice, the truth, and in the long run doom themselves. After Creon finds out Antigone has buried Polyneices he becomes infuriated and continues to criticize Antigone for her actions, Antigone exclaims, “It was not God’s proclamation. That final Justice that rules the world below makes no such laws. Your edict, King, was strong, But all your strength is weakness itself against The immortal unrecorded laws of God. They are not merely now: they were, and shall be, Operative forever, beyond man utterly” (1035).
Antigone wants Creon to understand that no matter how many strong and powerful laws he’s placed or how unjust those laws are they will never come close or even compare to the divine, fair, and moral laws given by the gods. The laws Creon placed and the decisions he made were blinded from the truth and the justice both Polyneices and Antigone deserved by his excessive pride eventually leading to his undoing. Sophocles explains that one should never yield to reason and always be open to different opinions even when they contradict their own. After sentencing Antigone to her death, the blind prophet Tiresias approaches Creon and forces him to rethink his past decisions saying, “Dead, denied the grave. This is your crime: And the Furies and the dark gods of hell Are swift with terrible punishment for you. Do you want to buy me now, Creon? Not many days And your house will be full of men and women weeping, And curses will be hurled at you from far Cities grieving for sons unburied, let to rot before the walls of Thebes” (1054).
Tiresias explains to Creon that refusing to allow Polyneices a proper burial and his unfair sentencing for Antigone upset the gods and that the gods will bring down curses to him and his loved ones. Through Creon’s blatant decisions Sophocles shows that some decisions are too important to not think through, for certain decisions and actions could affect not only your own life but others as well. By defying the divine laws of the gods Creon proves that self-pride can truly blind someone from seeing reason, justice, and the truth. Through the death of Creon’s family, Sophocles displays how pride can make a person become so arrogant and narrow-minded that they allow themselves to place their self-esteem over things like family. When Creon and Haemon are arguing about which side Creon’s son will take Haemon explains, “Nothing is closer to me than your happiness. What could be closer? Must not any son Value his father’s fortune as his father does his? Do not believe that you alone can be right. The man who thinks that The man who maintains that only he has the power To reason correctly, the gift to speak, the soul- A man like that, when you know him, turns out empty. It is not reason never to yield to reason” (1043).
Haemon tries to explain to his father that as his son he will always stand by him and his decisions but that doesn’t always mean he thinks Creon is correct and believes that he can sometimes be narrow-minded. One should never let their pride cause themselves to make reckless decisions that can affect their family members and loved ones. As Creon recognizes the mistakes and rash judgments he has made he also realizes it’s too late to change his fate and says, “Lead me away. I have been rash and foolish. I have killed my son and my wife. I look for comfort; my comfort lies here dead. Whatever my hands have touched has come to nothing. Fate has brought all my pride to a thought of dust” (1060). After Creon has seen his fate and what his mistakes have brought him to he realizes that after losing everything, his wife and son, pride no longer means as much as it did to him before. One should try and keep an open mind and not allow their pride to get in the way of those that matter as its unwise to risk the things that matter most. After realizing that he has lost everything Creon proves how pride can make one become so arrogant and narrow-minded that they put their self-esteem superior to everything risking significant things like family.
Creon defied the god’s laws and inevitably caused the death of his family through many of his decisions proving that having too much pride can lead to one’s downfall and in the end catastrophe for not only them but others as well. Sophocles not only showed that pride can lead to destruction but he also points out an important lesson of allowing yourself to be open-minded and never to yield to reason as it can lead you to break laws of government and religion or betray your family. For this reason one should only have good pride as a character as it can help lift our self-esteem, praise our accomplishments, and represent our dignity rather than having bad pride which can only make one more arrogant and egoistic.
The Tragedy of Antigone in Greek Playwright Works
Imagine if your beloved brother was refused a fundamental right by the king after he died and if you tried to fight it, you would die too? Antigone is an ancient Greek play, written by Greek playwright Sophocles that was was believed to be published around 441 BC. It is about a girl named Antigone who goes against King Creon’s wishes and buries her brother Polyneices. Polyneices was not buried because he and his twin brother Eteocles were not able to share the throne in Thebes due to pride and greed, and they killed each other. The difference, however, is that Creon allowed Eteocles to be buried, but the punishment for even mourning Polyneices is punishable by death. This is wrong and unfair. If Creon was a king truly focused on justice and equality, he would have buried both of them. Creon should have buried Polyneices because he would gain more trust with his people, it is the Gods state that all people must be buried in order to gain entry into the afterlife and that he perfectly fits Aristotle’s definition of a tragic hero.
One of Creon’s strongest character traits is self-infatuation. He believes that his word goes and nobody else’s, which is how he gets into trouble. With this attitude, he carries himself in a very pretentious way, and the people of Thebes pick up on that, which creates a disconnect and eventually a disdain between The King and his people. In “Ode To Man,” which is a very famous speech made by the chorus, they state: “Shatters too the cheeks of birds and traps them in his forest headlights, salty silvers roll into his net, he weaves it just for that, this terribly quiet customer. He dooms animals and mountains technically, by yoke he makes the bull bend, the horse to its knees”. (Antigone lines 377-416). The entirety of the speech is about death and how it is unpreventable. In this passage more specifically, they speak about how Creon has the capability to entrap animals, in this case, and manipulate them. This is a metaphor for how he manipulated the two brothers, but then only serving one in the right manner.
A large part of Greek Mythology is that there is a long and rigorous journey to get to the underworld including paying to go across a river and passing a series of tests to gain access. However, to even get down there in the first place, you must be buried. In the legitimate laws of the Ancient Greek Gods, they state that everyone must have had at least a chance to gain entry into the underworld, therefore everyone must be buried. To break this rule was very frowned upon and therefore, nobody broke this rule. The fact that Polyneices was not buried is an extreme deal because this practically never happened. Creon thinks that he is more powerful than the gods and his decisions override God’s orders, and he even states that he thinks that the Gods will not even honor Polyneices because he did a bad thing. “The gods favor this corpse? Why? How had he served them? Tried to loot their temples, burn their images, Yes, and the whole State, and its laws with it! Is it your senile opinion that the gods love to honor bad men? A pious thought!” (Antigone 240-243) Creon is not authorized to make decisions of this scale and should have left it in the lap of the Gods.
“A tragic hero is a literary character who makes a judgment error that inevitably leads to his/her own destruction”. (Aristotle). Creon is defined as a tragic hero because, at the beginning of Antigone, he was a fair and just king who did not give anyone a reason to hate him. However, he gains an inflated ego that prevents him from making rational decisions and ends up with his whole family dead. Also, most tragic heroes have some hamartia, which is a fatal flaw. In Creon’s case, his fatal flaw is pride. Creon’s thinking that he is more powerful than the Gods gets him in trouble.
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.
Antigone’s Tragedy Described by Sophocles
Antigone is one of the most popular examples of Greek tragedy that survives today. It was written by the Greek playwright Sophocles who was born near Athens in 496 BC. He was one of the most celebrated plays writes in Athens and one of his most celebrated works was the tragic play Antigone.
According to Aristotle the main aim of Greek tragedy is to bring a ‘catharsis’ out of the spectators in order to make them feel pity and fear so that they could leave the theatre feeling both cleansed and uplifted emotionally, with a heightened understanding of Gods and men. This catharsis is brought about by witnessing some disastrous and moving change in the fortunes of drama. This is clearly evident in the play Antigone which is a great Greek tragedy by Sophocles.
The story is about a young woman who has buried her brother by breaking the king’s decree, and now she is punished for obeying God’s law. There are many arguments about who is the tragic hero in Sophocles’ Antigone. Some believe that it is Creon because he also has the characteristics of a tragic hero. Others believe that it is Antigone because she has the good and pure intention of burying her brother. Creon is the king of Thebes and is a complete autocrat. He is a leader who identifies the power and destiny of the state entirely with himself. This is proven when Creon states ‘the city is the kings and that is the law’. This quote reflects Creon’s tyrannical attitude to kingship and his narrow-minded nature to not realize what the people want, as at the time Greece was a democratic country. I believe that Creon being in power leads to the assumption that everything is within his power.
In Creon’s case, he states that ‘never if I can help it shall evil triumph over good’.Perhaps Creon’s position as king skewed his perception of what is just. This is evident on several occasions during the course of the play. This is first evident in the contention between Creon and his son Haemon. Initially when Creon questions him about his loyaltiesHaemon replies that no woman is as important as his father. Pleased Creon praises his son’s wisdom. However, he then angers his father when he mentions that he overheard people saying Antigone doesn’t deserve such a punishment for her righteous seeming dead. He then implores his father to reconsider his edict. Creon, however, cannot take advice from his son. He replies to this by saying ‘accept your father’s words as law in all things’. This is proof of Creon’s tragic flaw hubris which is the origin of his downfall. Creon refuses to listen to what his son has to say, to the point where you could argue that Creon cannot bring himself to acknowledge that he could ever be wrong. Additionally, this points out Creon’s tyrannical attitude to kingship as he is unable to head what the people and goes against the democracy of Thebes. Sophocles may have implemented this scene for the audience to agree with Haemon’s argument against Creon’s tyranny as this would have appealed to the democratic audience of Athens.
However, Tiresias eventually helps Creon realize how bad his dealing with his problems, this is evident when Creon says’It is hard giving up the hearts desires… But I will do it no more fighting a losing battle. ‘This is Creon’s moment of anagnorisis in which Creon finally heeds Tiresia’s prophecy and sets of to free Antigone. However, Creon then faces a moment of peripeteia in which he finds Antigone already dead in the cave. This angers Haemon and he blames the death of Antigone on his father, at which point he to take a wild swing at his father Creon and then decides to kill himself. This triggers Creon to realize how badly his hubris has interfered with dealing with his problems and says ‘so senseless, so insane… my crimes’.Not long after he finds out Eurydice has also died. In which Creon confesses and says ‘I admit it all!’ Sophocles intends for the audience to feel a sense of catharsis towards Creon in order to present him as a tragic character since the aim is to arouse pity throughout the altercation in the status of a character.
Antigone is a very strong and resolute character which would have been very unorthodox at the time for a woman. She juxtaposes her sister Ismene, who is very docile and much more reserved. As in ancient Greek times, women were expected to be conservative and obedient to their husbands. It could be argued that Antigone’s and her high moral ground is her hamartia which leads to her tragic downfall. This is evident in a few key scenes his lead up to her tragic suicide. The first scene in which Sophocles makes evident of Antigone’s single-minded and ambitious nature is when she approaches her sister Ismene who kindly rejects her proposal and warns her of the consequences of defying Creon’s edict, In rejecting Ismene’s passive obedience to the state. Antigone responds ‘he has no right to keep me from my own’.This highlights the fact that like Creo Antigone is unable to head the advice of others, and her audacious and ambitious nature obscures her sense of judgment. This is made further evident when Ismene tells Antigone not to discuss her plan with anyone else. Antigone dismisses this suggestion and states ‘shout it from the rooftops’.This is proof of Antigones disregard for her own life as she glorifies her act and is even willing to openly defy Creon’s edict. The second major scene in which Antigone, displays her moral conviction is in her confrontation with Creon.
In this scene Antigones belief in divine law clashes with Creon’s belief that the state posses all power. Sophocles presents the genuine conflict of duties between the two. Antigone admits right from the start that she wanted to carry out the burial because the action is ‘glorious’. which highlights her hubris and her belief in the fact that the law of the state isn’t absolute, as a result, she genuinely believes she was right to go against Creon’s edict, in this extreme circumstance in order to honor the gods. whilst, Antigones high moral ground argument which calls for obedience to divine law may be true as it ‘wasn’t Zeus,’ who made the edict. However, what Antigone doesn’t realize is the fact that she like Creon has assumed the role to independently interpret the will of the Gods. Her pertinacious nature plays a huge role in her hubris, in this case, she is unable to comprehend the fact that her death may be meaningless as her basis for her reasoning may be flawed. She is unable to acknowledge the fact that she is contradicting herself, as she intends to die for her family and her beloved brother Polynices in order to please her family. When in fact her death will result in Ismene being left alone, causing Antigone in letting her family down. Antigone is undeniably presented as a tragic character in her death scene, wherein she has been found in a cave dead after having committed suicide. As Antigone being lead to the cave to be entombed she tells people she has done nothing wrong. She explicitly states the fact that she is innocent, and all she has done is to uphold the divine law by burying her brother Polynices. She says ‘o look upon me..how savagely impious men use me’. This proves the fact that Antigone is still adamant in the fact that she will die as a martyr and her belief that she has the support of the people of Athens.
The Antigones tragic death is further emphasized by the fact that Creon’s moment of anagnorisis has come too late. This suggests the fact that Antigone may have been right to believe in her moral convictions right to her last breathe, which may have resulted in the audience having a moment of catharsis. Nonetheless-ss its Antigones hubris and audacious nature that leads to her tragic downfall. Undoubtedly, Antigone is a fine tragic genre and the journeys these characters have gone through this play fit the aim of tragedy, which is to arouse pity and fear through the altercation in the status of a character, as he/she must be a figure which the audience can identify and whose fate can trigger these emotions. Both Antigone and Creon fit this description of a tragic character as both have this altercation in status due to their hubris. In Antigones case her defiance and disregard for her own life which causes her ‘glorious death’.Her hubris doesn’t enable her to see the perspective of her sister Ismene, as a result, Antigone delivers the same passionate strident speech throughout the cause of the play, unmoved by either pleadings or threats, which eventually leads to her own downfall. In Creon’s case, his hubris doesn’t allow him to deal with Antigones rebellious act effectively. In particular its Creon’s strong belief in his philosophy that a good king should never lay down his pride that obscures his judgment, as Sophocles highlights this in Creon’s altercation with Haemon where in which he dismisses Haqmons perfectly reasonable and just suggestion to reconsider his edict.
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.