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.
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.
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.
The Impact of Harmony and Creon Turning into a Tragic Hero in Antigone
A conflicted hero based on the Greek concept of tragedy would be considered a tragic hero. Your words, activities and thoughts could lead to your defeat. Activities have results and your activities could prompt another person’s passing. You are responsible for your very own actions and your behavior could have an affect surrounding the people around you. Creon meets the criteria of being a tragic hero since his choice of murdering Antigone and being difficult has left his family dead which leads to his downfall because in the end he thought of suicide. Haemon is the child of Creon who is the King of Thebes.
The connection among Haemon and Creon had was more without anyone else terms, for example, Creon would expect Haemon to obey him consistently. Creon would not consider anything Haemon orders is because Creon is older, and he was also going to murder Haemon’s wife Antigone. Antigone had buried her sibling Polyneices since he had got into war with Eteocles who is his sibling. The explanation behind Antigone burying Polyneices is that Eteocles had a proper burial while Polyneices then again did not. This leads Antigone getting captured by the Guard who lets Creon know about her activities that is illegal. Because of her getting captured, this causes a major problem that includes everybody around them into the situation. That damaged Haemon when he discovers his bride was dead all due to the results, so it had a domino impact onto everybody in the play due to Haemon who commits suicide as well. Haemon’s activities, words and thoughts from the play Antigone has had a contrast onto his dad, which is Creon’s character.
Haemon’s activities has led to Creon’s character understanding all the wrongs he has done. Creon went from being a respected and powerful king to a broken and weak king, which turns out to be the opposite of what he used to be. Because Haemon was in love with Antigone, he begs his father to not kill her. Before Haemon found out about what would happen to Antigone, he was praising his dad and what he was saying. Creon goes on by praising Haemon back for listening to his dad, ‘…that’s how your heart should always be resolved, to stand on every issue. That is what men pray for– obedient children growing up at home who will pay back their father’s enemies… So, my son, do not ever throw good sense aside for pleasure, for some woman’s sake.” Creon does not only speak about how listening to him is a great idea he then encourages Haemon to ignore Antigone hoping that he would agree yet the conversation takes a turn. Haemon tells Creon, ‘A man who thinks that only he is wise, that he can speak and think like no one else, when such men are exposed, then all can see their emptiness inside. For any man, even if he is wise, there is nothing shameful in learning many things, staying flexible.” He is telling his dad that his thinking is unreasonable and that he should respect his choices. Creon being difficult, he refuses to listen to his son and disregards his opinion.
The words that Creon said to Haemon had an effect on him. First Haemon says that no lady is as significant as his dad what’s more, he will hear him out up until Haemon says that he has found out about the punishment that is being held against Antigone. Haemon says that, ‘So end your anger. Permit yourself to change. For if I, as a younger man, may state my views, I would say it would be for the best if men by all nature understood all things-if not, and that is usually the case, when men speak well, it good to learn from them.” (Sophocles, 280) which is when an argument occurs because Haemon started to side with a woman’s position which his father sees as terrible and that he is a woman’s slave for doing that. Creon thinks this is male controlled society. Creon would not listen to Haemon because he really believes that Antigone should be punished for burying someone even though they are a family member. Also, because Creon is older than Haemon he refuses to hear out to someone who is younger than him especially if he has a higher status because he is king. Creon demands for Antigone to be murdered and Haemon stays against his father saying, ‘No. Do not ever hope for that. She will not die with me just standing there. And as for you- your eyes will never see my face again. So let your rage charge among your friends who want to stand by you in this.” However Creon did not know that Haemon really meant the words he stated. Haemon then committed suicide moments after leading to Creon to never seeing his face again. Creon and the messenger heard a loud noise which sounded like Haemon crying from Antigone’s tomb so they kept running over to see what happened and saw that Antigone has hung herself. By then Haemon snatches a sword trying to stab Creon in any case misses and ends up stabbing himself. Eurydice was devastated and kept running back to the palace while Creon was cradling Haemon’s dead body. The messenger informed Creon about his loved one’s end and shows him the body. He was crying and came to realization that his actions were not right and now he cannot turn back time to fix them.
Haemon’s and his father both had different perspectives on life. Since Creon and Haemon both have alternate points of view it starts conflict between them. Creon’s viewpoints were more towards following the rules so he does not fail Thebes while Haemon is considering on disobeying the laws to save Antigone. Creon thinks that Eteocles does not deserve a nice burial since he considers him to be a traitor. Eteocles attacked his own sibling Polyneices so he can turn into the leader of Thebes which did not go as plan since the two of them both died. Creon says that ‘For me, a man who rules the entire state and does not take the best advice there is, but through fear keeps his mouth forever shut, such a man is the very worst of men- and always will be.” A powerful ruler to Creon is somebody who listens to the people and for him to go against with his people would seem to be not right. Creon believes that Haemon is crazy for trying to save Antigone, and he says that, ‘You will regret parading what you think like this-you-a person with an empty brain!”. Creon thinks Haemon is a fool for going against his own dad about his choices. He did not want Haemon and Antigone to marry each other also so he threatens to murder her and once he does, her death lead to another which he is suggesting that he would go after Haemon next for protecting her. Haemon is angry by saying, ‘If you were not my father, I might say you were not thinking straight.” Their own way of thinking are in two different ways and in the end they were both wrong. Haemon was trying his best to take his dad into consideration but since he thought his choice was unreasonable anyway he needed to express how he felt so as an attempt he tries to save his bride yet that did not change Creon’s perspective.
In the end due to Haemon ending it all it influenced Creon as well as his mom Eurydice. Which had an effect on everyone because of the fact that Haemon killed himself, which made Eurydice kill herself and that left Creon to consider it as well since he lost his family however that leads him to his wisdom. Creon did not understand that him punishing Antigone for burying her sibling for performing out a proper burial was not right until it was too late. Haemon trying to be logical about talking to his dad into not murdering his bride of but talking did not do anything other than leading to an argument and making the situation worse. Haemon’s thoughts being different with his dad’s lead him to believe that he was wrong for killing Antigone for being a respectful family member while Creon was only thinking about pleasing the people. Haemon’s behavior, thoughts and words altogether had a major impact onto Creon turning into a tragic hero.
Analysis of Creon from Sophocles’ Antigone in Terms of Aristotle’s Qualities of a Tragic Hero
Throughout the centuries, history has given society people whom one can call a hero. There are ongoing reasons why these heroes have been given a special title and looked upon: bravery, determination, agility, inspiration, or confidence. However, a tragic hero carries different characteristics and traits. Aristotle argued that tragic heroes meet five standards. In Sophocles’ Antigone, King Creon exemplifies all five qualities of a tragic hero. Although many might believe there are different tragic heroes seen in the Greek drama, Creon flawed in judgment, was blinded by hubris, experienced a reversal of fortune and discovered it was his fault, and lived through a fate that was more awful than deserved.
Putting the State as his priority and trying not to show weakness, Creon errored in judgment and let excessive pride get in his way. One can see this in many events throughout the play. For example, Creon’s decision about the burial of Polyneices was evident to everyone except himself. Polyneices, going against Thebes, was seen as a traitor in Creon’s perspective. Therefore, Creon denied the right to show honor to him and forbade any burial service. Furthermore, Creon also flawed in his decision to listen when Teiresias presented advice to him. Teiresias suggested that Creon let Antigone free, however, he abandoned Teiresias’ thoughts, and this led to a series of unfortunate events. Creon, through most of the play, was mentally held in captivity and made unpopular decisions because of his hubris. Many signal him that he is wrong about the denial of Polyneices’ burial, but Creon believes that, ‘Whoever is chosen to govern should be obeyed-must be obeyed, in all things, great and small, just and unjust!’ Creon’s excessive pride keeps him from listening to others. Misjudgment and arrogance are two factors that contribute to the fact that Creon is a tragic hero.
Creon also experiences a reversal of fortune due to his own error in judgment, and he later discovered that the reversal was brought about because of his own actions. In the beginning Creon had a pillar of pride but that suddenly turned into a bundle of humility. His pillar of pride included his family: Haimon, his son, Antigone, his daughter-in-law to be, and his wife, Eurydice. But, because of his flawed decision, they all died, and he was left with nothing. Creon later recognized that this ill-fated tragedy was his fault. Prior to this, he believes that everybody should obey him and not the higher moral law; later, he concludes that ‘The laws of the gods are mighty, and a man must serve them to the last day for this life!’ King Creon’s reversal of fortune and recognition that the reversal was his failing adds to his role as a tragic hero.
Lastly, Creon’s fate was more appalling than deserved. Alternative consequences before his family’s death would have been more suitable, such as rebuke from the gods or loss of power. In addition, Creon, along with his men, were on their way to free Antigone before knowing she had taken her own life. Creon wanted to fix his mistakes and release Antigone before the harsh consequences were apparent. Creon claims that “Fate has brought all my pride to a thought of dust.” His fate has taken everything that was important to him just because of one known error. Now Creon believes that he has nothing; he must live with the guilt of killing his family and Antigone. King Creon’s devastating fate is the last piece of criteria for considering him to be a tragic hero.
In summation, Greek tragedy portrays a story of a tragic hero. In Antigone, Creon meets all five of Aristotle’s criteria to be a tragic hero: his blindness in judgment, pride, fate, reversal of fortune and realization of the outcome that it was his fault. At the end of this Greek tragedy, once can clearly see that Creon is the tragic hero.
Creon – The Tragic Hero In Sophocles’ Antigone
Sophocles’ play, Antigone, expresses a journey of tragedy, nobility, and virtue through the actions of the tragic hero. A tragic hero, as defined by Aristotle, depicts one of high nobility, who experiences a tragic downfall due to their ignorance and blinding of their pride. However, the tragic hero also gains self-knowledge from their unacceptable actions. Creon’s tragic flaws of being stubborn and displaying hubris make him fit well into the role of a tragic hero, especially since he eventually realizes his wrongdoings. Although many tragic heroes suffer from death, Creon’s downfall includes the death of his wife and son, leaving him with culpability and regret. The tragic hero in Antigone is one of the most prominent characters, Creon, the egotistical ruler of the city Thebes.
With Creon’s stubbornness and hubris as the leading factors of the stirred up conflict in Antigone, he unknowingly was leading himself to his downfall along with others. Creon expresses his stubbornness in his retort to Haemon, who questions his father’s judgment, by stating, “Am I to rule this land after some will other than mine?”. Creon utilizes rhetorical questions to emphasize his point on how foolish and idiotic it is to doubt or disagree with his judgment, therefore, highlighting his arrogance. He labels himself as the sole ruler of Thebes, promoting his desire in having power over others. His stubborn character is revealed through his one-sided, defensive reply, indicating his inability to consider others’ opinions.
Consequentially, these personality traits of his lead to his deterioration and the collapse of others as well. Along with his stubbornness, Creon expresses his pride in his noble stature throughout the play and while speaking to Tiresias, “Know’ st thou of whom thou speak’ st? I am thy lord”. Creon uses this direct and straightforward statement to illuminate the strong value of his nobility and how it cannot be tarnished. He uses diction such as “lord,” expressing his arrogance and how it will be difficult for one to belittle and defame his noble title. By referring to his kingly rule in that manner, Creon accentuates his superiority over others. He becomes overly-prideful in his title and actions, causing him to be selfish and concerned more about the wellbeing of his reputation rather than the commemoration of a deceased person.
By receiving Tiresias’ prophetic advice, “Furies, from Death and Heaven, lay wait for thee, to take thee in the evil of thine own hands…For as to that, with no great wear of time, Men’s, women’s wails to thine own house shall answer”. After becoming fully aware of his deeds, everything around him begins to decline which is another factor that makes him a tragic hero. As Creon rushed to the tomb to release Antigone of her decree, he had come to see her cold, dead body hanging on fabric as a result of her doing. Haemon is there weeping for the death of his wife, and after an attempt to stab Creon for revenge and failing, he stabs himself, taking his own life to end his misery. Creon notices that almost all hope is lost and he confirms this by saying, “Ah, ah, thou art dead, thou art sped, for a fault that was mine, not thine!”. Continuing with the appalling events Creon has been put through, a messenger delivers the news that his wife, Eurydice, summoned evil to fall on Creon for being a child slayer as she took a knife and stabbed it to her heart, taking her own life as well. Creon is filled with dread from all these sudden deaths that came as a result of his prideful actions. His head, filled with grief, decides that he did not deserve to live, and he exclaims, “Come, thou most welcome Fate, appear, O come; bring my days; final date, Fill up their sum! Come quick, I pray; let me not look upon another day!”. Following the elements of a tragic hero, Creon eventually came to his senses about his stubborn and conceited actions, but unfortunately, it was too late as it led to the consequence of the death of his family.
Many may argue that Antigone is the true tragic hero in the play since the play is named Antigone after all. But on the contrary, Creon is more qualified to be the tragic hero because unlike Antigone, he recognizes and admits to his wrongdoings. During her heated argument with Creon, she pays tribute to her brother, Polyneices, stating, “To honour thee to the end, in Creon’s sight appear in that I did so to offend”. Antigone emits a sarcastic tone, highlighting how she thinks it is wrong and unlawful for her to be punished for burying Polyneices. She does not accept the fact that she was punished because she went against the law and committed treason, but blames her punishment solely on Creon’s unsympathetic character. She is blinded by her will to do right with the gods, and she ends up meeting her end, without the realization of her faults. Creon is not ashamed to admit he was wrong and he says, “Woe is me! To none else can they lay I, this guilt, but to me!”. In contrast to his actions at the beginning of the play when Creon was too arrogant to admit to his faults, he eventually accepts and regrets his wrongdoings, following the path of a tragic hero. This shows his growth as a character, as he now can accept some of his most prominent tragic flaws of being stubborn and overly prideful. He embodies his faults and pays a solemn apology to those whom he has harmed. Although he was not the one to face death, he still had to pay the consequences of regret and deep grief.
Creon takes the role of a tragic hero in Antigone because he displays characteristics, such as hubris and stubbornness, that take over his mindset of what is truly the correct thing to do. Stubbornness oftentimes evokes defensiveness and causes one to focus on their opinion, and their opinion only. This leads to one’s lack of judgment which serves as a dangerous factor when making important decisions, unaware if their judgment is correct or not. Although he understood his mistakes near the end, he still brought others to their end as well as his downfall of grief. Had Creon not realized his immoral actions and tragic flaw, he would not have been the tragic hero in this play.
Analysis Of The Factors Making Creon The Tragic Hero Of The Play Antigone
The tragic hero of the drama Antigone is Creon, the king of Thebes. This is proven throughout many points of the drama. First of which is when he denies Polyneices a proper burial. The second is when he believes that everyone is conspiring against him. And he reacts too late to fix his mistakes. Due to his blunders and faults he loses all the things close to him and greatly changes his character stance, making Creon the tragic hero of the play Antigone.
When Creon denied Polyneices a proper burial but gave his brother full military honors there was bound to be backlash. As with any decision, there will always be people who don’t agree with your stance or actions. Those people may act rashly due to not liking or following your action, but Creon blaming anarchist and conspirators was too far of a leap for him to make after disgracing the former king’s son and heir to the throne, not to mention disobeying the gods’ laws by not burying the dead, which Polyneices’ sister Antigone had said to justify her actions of burying her brother
But Creon didn’t just blame the people for conspiring against him, he wouldn’t even listen to those who tried to reason with him, and instead convicted them of taking bribes to speak against him. This lead him to not trust anyone, even the prophet Tiresias, who had never been wrong before, told him there would be consequences for what he had done. But being as obstinate as Creon was, he did not listen to Tiresias and instead told him “it is a sorry thing when a wise man sells his wisdom, lets out his words for hire,” meaning Creon believes Tiresias had taken money from the conspirators and anarchists to tell Creon what he did not want to hear.
Even when Creon finally came around to believing that what he had done was wrong, he was too late to fix his errors. He rushed to bury the body of Polyneices, and consequently hurried to the cave where he had sent Antigone to die, but arrived too late as she had taken her own life in her anguish. Haemon, Creon’s son, was grieving the loss of his fiance, and lunged at his father, sword in hand, in his furor. He missed his cut, and in turn killed himself. When Creon went back to his home, his wife, Eurydice, comitted suicide as well, thus killing all the people closest to Creon.
All of these actions and consequences, along with Creon’s personal character growth point to him being the drama’s tragic hero. Creon wrongfully punished Antigone, didn’t listen to those who tried to reason with him, and acted too late when he realized that what he had done was wrong. His oversight and disbelief he had missed what was true and instead believed that everyone was out to get his throne. This lead to him disregarding all help from others and coming to terms with what he had done too late to change anything. The changes in his character brought on by his belief and the death of his family makes Creon the tragic hero of the play Antigone.
The Hero Archetype: Antigone and Lysistrata
Through the many tales of heroic deeds that have been told over the centuries, a picture has been painted as to the appearance and interpretation of the archetypical character of the hero. This character has been portrayed as a masculine figure who conquers all monsters and challenges in his path through strength, will, and determination, usually having to call upon a super-human ability, be it physical or intellectual, to defeat an oppressor. However, this typical view of the hero does not suit all characters who still can be classified under this archetype. In fact, through many ancient Greek plays, women have taken on the roles of the hero, having a much different quality and approach to their problem-solving than their male counterparts. Two such women who show great heroic qualities through their respective plays are Antigone and Lysistrata, who serve as the heroines of their tales. Through an analysis and comparison of the actions of the characters of Antigone and Lysistrata in the plays Antigone by Sophocles and Lysistrata by Aristophanes, respectively, clear conclusions can be drawn as to the stature of these female protagonists as heroic female characters.
Antigone follows the Oedipus trilogy, wherein Oedipus has already found out the seeds of his sins, and has put out his eyes and renounced his rule of Thebes. Jocasta, Oedipus’ mother and wife, is dead, and her brother Creon claims the throne as his own. After the bloody mess that Oedipus left in his wake, his daughter Antigone is left to weigh the horrific aftermath, including preparing for the burial of her brother Polynices. However, in light of the conflict that emerges even after the death of Oedipus, Antigone by law is not allowed to bury her family member, thus starting her heroic quest for a proper humane burial for her brother: “I will As for me, I’ will bury him; and if I die for that, I am content. I shall rest like; a loved one with him whom I have loved, innocent in my guilt” (Sophocles 160-162). This statement by Antigone is truly what gives the heroic nature to her quest, for she wishes only to complete that which is right by humanitarian law, not by rule of the king, even if doing so means self-sacrifice.
Lysistrata has a much more straightforward battle to fight than Antigone did. Rather than having to battle against injustice emanating from her own family, Lysistrata is faced with injustice against her entire gender, wherein the women of Athens have become nothing more than meat-sacks for their men as they return from battle and leave and leave again as they please. Lysistrata sees this for what it is, the abuse of women through the patriarchal society in which she lives, and she addresses this with the other woman in Athens. Lysistrata is convinced that should she and the other women band together in a strike against sex, then they can gain control over the males in society, in an essential reversal of power. To accomplish her heroic goal, of improving the lives of women across Athens, she has them take Oath to her purpose, “I have nothing to do with husband or lover; Even when he approaches me upright and ready” (Aristophanes). Through this mantra, Lysistrata is able to rally the women of Athens to her cause as she pursues a better societal status for her gender.
Although the burial of a family member, or the beginning of a civil movement, may not seem like a heroic deed, the characters of Antigone and Lysistrata further their status through their inherent devotion to their cause. The mark of a truly devoted person, or a hero, is a willingness to sacrifice personal comfort to accomplish greater goals. This quality is shared by both of these female characters, and indeed perhaps is their most heroic quality. In Antigone this is seen in in two simple lines, after being lectured by the King as to the illegality of her actions, “I am ready; for there is no better way I could prepare for death than by giving burial to my brother” (Sophocles 402-403). These lines and indeed the entire speech from Antigone truly show her devotion to her brother, and thereby solidify her position as a hero; she is doing no wrong, but instead seeking to accomplish a moral and just act, to which ends she is willing to die to complete. Similarly Lysistrata is forced to take this same aggressive stance in front of the rule of Athens: “LYSISTRATA You would kill me here in Athens—birthplace of discourse and reason? MAGISTRATE Athens is a city of laws. LYSISTRATA –The laws of a barbarian. MAGISTRATE Submit to me now or I use this. LYSISTRATA kneels” (Aristophanes). In the same way that Antigone is willing to sacrifice her life to be allowed to bury her brother, Lysistrata is willing to sacrifice her status to show that women should no longer be used as objects of sex. Although death for a cause such as Antigone’s classifies as textbook martyrdom, in these cases the possibility is much more.
To be a martyr is to die willingly for your cause; however, the cause which is being fought over becomes the defining principle. Martyrs can be of any faith, religion, or purpose; however, a hero will always fight for and advocate that which is just, moral, and right. In this way, a hero is more noble than a martyr, as a hero is both a leader and an example of how others should act, and how others should aspire to respond to social and civil injustices. Although Antigone was not successful in completing her goal, and Lysistrata more so was, their results do not change their classification or level of heroics; it is not the result that matters, but the purposes and means through which goals are accomplished that create and classify heroes.