Antigone, which was written by Sophocles, is possibly the first written playthat still exists today (www.
imagi. . . 1).
There is much controversy between whothe ?tragic hero’ is in the play. Some people say Antigone, some say Creon,others even say Heamon. I believe Creon displays all of the characteristics of a?tragic hero’. He receives compassion through the audience, yet recognizeshis weaknesses, and his downfalls from his own self-pride, stubbornness, andcontrolling demands.Order now
He is the true protagonist. Though the audience notices howvillainous Creon is, they still express sympathy towards him. They realize thathe has brought all of his problems on himself and should have been moreopen-minded, but think no one should have to go through what he has. Theyunderstand how the warrior king Creon felt when he notices his son is lovestruck. The audience also expresses pity towards him because Antigone is amurderer and understands why he is upset. Creon’s noble quality is his caringfor Antigone and Ismene when their father was persecuted.
Creon is a veryauthoritative person and demands control of others. When talking to the Chorus,Creon does not ask them to agree with the decree but demands that they followit. Creon expects loyalty from others. It is apparent that Creon is verydominating and wants to be in control. “The man the city sets up in authoritymust be obeyed in small things and in just but also in theiropposites”(717-719). Through this quote the reader realizes that Creon wantsobedience in everything he decides even if he is at fault.
“There is nothingworse than disobedience to authority” (723-724). Further supporting Creon’sbelief that everyone shall remain faithful to him even if he rules unfairly. This is proved true when Creon says, “Should the city tell me how I am to rulethem?” (790). Creon has forgotten that the ruler is supposed to do what isbest for the city and its citizens.
Creon is under the impression that he isalways correct in his judgments and his beliefs. Before the sentry even explainsthe event that has occurred, the sentry states that he is only a messenger andhas not committed the crime. Yet Creon still accuses the sentry of receivingmoney to do the crime and threatens to punish him. “That will teach you in thedays to come from what you may draw profit [. .
. ], ill-gotten gains ruin morethan they save” (342-346). Consequently, the Chorus suggests that the Gods mayhave committed the act. Creon stops this “nonsense” conversation immediatelyand remarks that Zeus and the Gods would not honor criminals.
Creon seems tobelieve he knows everything and stubbornly refuses to listen to others. He doesnot even believe Haemon his son. Haemon informs his father of the reputation hehas created for himself. Creon thinks, “It seems this boy (Haemon) is on thewoman’s side (Antigone)” (798). Creon refuses to believe what Haemon saysand gets into an argument with him for siding with Antigone.
Creon presumes thathe is the one and only perfect ruler for Thebes. He believes that he can createa better city with his presence: “I would not be silent if I saw ruin . Iwould not count any enemy of my country as a friend [.
. . ],”(202-206). Creonfurther continues by stating “I will make her greater still” (210). In thisquote Creon declares that he will improve the city (she) by his rulings.
Creondescribes how his qualities make him a good ruler. Furthermore, Creon viewshimself as a good leader because he believes he has the best attributes and noone can compare to him. He feels he has no time for ordinary people because heis of higher standards. When Creon says “I will not comfort you with hope thatthe sentence will not be accomplished” (982-983), this shows his absolute lackof compassion when he is talking with Antigone. King Creon noticed that he had aweakness in which he tries to correct but is too late.
His weakness is impulsivewith his decision-making. He never really sits down and thinks about things;instead he just says what comes to mind. Creon says “you will never marry herwhile she lives”(807), right after his first discussion about Antigone. Creonsummarizes his plans for Antigone, which comes to his mind after talking withHaemon (833-841).
These two decisions decided the lives of two young people, butthe impulsive Creon never thought about that. Creon’s stubbornness bringsabout his own downfall when he chooses not to believe Teiresias, the blindprophet. Instead, Creon falsely accuses Teiresias of making “profit fromsilver-gold” (1088). Insulted by the false remark of trying to make money,Teiresias tells Creon of his dangerous future ahead of him. Creon tries tocorrect his impulsiveness with, “I will go, just as I am.
Come, servants, allof you; take axes in your hands; away with you to place you see, there. For mypart, since my intention is so changed, as I bound her myself, myself will freeher”(1175-1180). These lines show how he changed his impulsive decision, butunfortunately was too late. He is forced to live, knowing that three people aredead because of his ignorance. Self-pride is the tragic flaw that Creon faces inthis story.
Creon is stubborn and does not want to compromise. Due to hisoverwhelming power of pride, he makes destruction fall upon him. His downfallcomes from attempting to be just and right by enforcing the law. Since he actedthe way he thought was right, he ultimately suffered a tragedy. Creon displaysthe image of a ?tragic hero’ on account of the errors he has made. Accordingto Aristotle, quoted in McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of World Drama, Creon fits theimage of a ?tragic hero’ “A man who is not eminently good and just, yetwhose misfortune is brought about not by purpose, but by some error or frailty.
He must be one who is highly renowned and prosperous” (Hochman v4 1274). Creon’s tragic flaw causes the deaths of both his wife and son. This isbecause he shows so much ignorance in every decision he makes. Even if hisdecisions are wrong he will not correct them, because he is the king, and theking is never wrong. By Creon’s self-pride deciding to never let his son marryAntigone, ends up killing his son also. In closing Creon is not entirely good,he does make mistakes, however the mistakes he made are simply and error ofjudgment, and completely understandable.
His greatest error was that he trulybelieved that Polynices was a traitor, which consequently forced him to issue adecree, forbidding Polynices a proper burial. Polynices “sought to taste theblood he shared with us, and lead the rest of us to slavery; [. . .
] shall no onehonor with a grave and none shall mourn”(220-224). Creon loses all that helives for “I do not know where to turn my eyes to look to, for support. Everything in my hands is crossed. A most unwelcome fate has leaped upon me”(1405-1408). After the death of his wife he acknowledges his great mistakes inbeing prideful and realizes how his pride has caused suffering.
“Lead me away,a vain silly man who killed you, son, and you, too, lady”(1402-1403). Heblunders and pays drastically for his frailty, but in the end he realizes whathe has done wrong accepting the guilt and responsibilities for his actions. Asthe editor in chief Stanley Hochman stated in McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of WorldDrama “a ?tragic hero’ learns, although too late, from their experiences,as when Creon cries in the end of the play: Yes, I have learned it to mybitterness. At this moment God has sprung on my head with a vast weight andstruck me down. He shook me in my savage ways; he has overturned my joy, hastrampled it, underfoot. The pains men suffer are pains indeed” (1337-1342).
Tobe a good leader you must have the rock solid principals to fall back on intimes of stress. Creon lost grasp of these, and that contributed to his failureas a leader. By tragically losing all, one is forced to feel sympathy towardhim, by doing what he always thought was right, and what he thought wouldfurther protect his kingdom, he is regarded as a hero. These elements combinehis stubbornness, controlling demands, and self-pride made Creon a true ancientGreek ‘tragic hero’.