AntigoneAnd KreonIn Antigone, both Antigone and Kreon could be considered the tragic heroof the play. A tragic hero, defined by A Dictionary of Literary, Dramatic andCinematic Terms, is someone who suffers due to a tragic flaw, or hamartia. ThisGreek word is variously translated as “tragic flaw” or “error” or”weakness”. Kreon’s hamartia, like in many plays, is hybris ? Greek foroverweening pride, arrogance, or excessive confidence. Kreon’s hybris causeshim to attempt to violate the laws of order or human rights, another main partof a tragic hero. Also, like all tragic heroes, Kreon suffers because of hishamartia and then realizes his flaw.Order now
The belief that Antigone is the hero is astrong one, but there is a stronger belief that Kreon, the Ruler of Thebes, isthe true protagonist. Kreon’s main and foremost hamartia was his hybris, orhis extreme pride. Kreon was a new king, and he would never let anyone prove himwrong or let anyone change his mind once it was made. One main event that showedKreon’s hamartia and also caused the catastrophe was when he asked his sonHaimon, who was engaged to marry Antigone, if he still loves his father.
Haimonsays he respects Kreon’s ruling, but he feels, in this case, that Kreon waswrong. Haimon asks his father to take his advice and not have Antigone executed,but, because of Kreon’s hybris, Kreon gets furious and makes the situationworse then it already was. He was way too proud to take advice from someoneyounger, and in his anger he decided to kill Antigone right away in front ofHaimon’s eyes. “‘Just understand: You don’t insult me and go offlaughing.
Bring her here! Let him see her. Kill her here, beside herbridegroom'” (Sophocles 919-921). This was too much for Haimon to take, andhe runs out of the room, yelling, “‘. .
. her death will destroy others'” (Sophocles908). Blinded by his pride and arrogance, Kreon takes that remark as a threat tohimself, unknowing that it wasn’t directed to himself, but was a suicidethreat by his own son. Another example of Kreon’s tragic pride is when theprophet, Teiresias, travels all the way to Thebes to tell Kreon very importantnews, but Kreon pride makes him ignore it and he accuses Teiresias of beingbribed. Teiresias tells Kreon that the gods are angered by Kreon’s disregardfor their laws, and that Kreon should release Antigone and bury Polyneices. After Teiresias tells Kreon that he, the King of Thebes, has made a wrongdecision, Kreon’s tragic pride is shown again.
Teiresias: ?Doesn’t anyoneknow, won’t anyone consider. . ‘ Kreon: ?Consider what? What universaltruths are you going to proclaim?’ Teiresias: ?. . . how much more valuablethan money good advice is?’ Kreon: ?Or how much worse losing your judgementis?’ (Sophocles 1210-1214) Teiresias, a blind prophet from Delphi whom hasnever been proven wrong, tells Kreon, “‘All mankind is subject to error.
Once a mistake is made. . . it is wise of him to make amends and not be unbending.
Stubbornness is stupidity'” (Sophocles 1180-1184), but Kreon remainsstubborn. “Teiresias: ?And tyrants love to have their own way regardless ofright and wrong. ‘ Kreon: ?Do you know who you’re talking to? We’re yourrulers'” (Sophocles 1225-1228). Like all tragic heroes, Kreon must sufferbecause of his hamartia.
After his anagnorisis, Greek for recognition, herealizes that he was filled with too much pride and that the prophet’sprediction must be true. Kreon attempts to set things right, but unfortunately,does not in time. In a very ironic peripereia, Greek for reversal, his soncommits suicide, as does his wife. This is all because of Kreon’s tragic flaw:Pride. Kreon realizes this, and suffers, like all tragic heroes. Suffering isone of the main parts a tragic hero: realizing his or her tragic flaw whenit’s too late and suffering because of it.
Kreon’s realization of his flawis very obviously shown when he says “‘. . . I was wrong, not you'” (Sophocles1464), and “‘I have learned, I am ruined. It was a god.
Then, right then!Hit me, held me, heaped heavy on my head. . . ‘” (Sophocles 1468-1469). Hissuffering is also obviously shown.
“‘Has someone a sword? I and grief areblended. I am grief'” (Sophocles 1502), “‘Hurry, take me out of the way,I’m nobody. I’m nothing'” (Sophocles 1510-1511). Kreon is tragic herobecause his actions follow the typical “tragic hero” outline.
He had ahamartia, a tragic flaw, which was his pride and stubbornness, or hybris. Herealized his hamartia, but unfortunately just too late, and suffered because ofit. Now, “Suffering is his teacher”. He has learned the hard way, but likeall tragic heroes, he has learned. Kreon’s character followed the basicoutline of a tragic hero.
Critics to this day still argue about who is thetragic hero of Antigone, Antigone herself, or Kreon. From what I have found,Kreon seems like the perfect “Tragic Hero” because he fits all therequirements of a tragic hero. Antigone, on the other hand, does not. She doesnot realize her hamartia, and while Kreon must live with what he has done,Antigone is dead. Death, which ceases her suffering, letting her rest forinfinity.