This analysis is to determine the character that fits the tragic hero profile. It is completely based on the Aristotelian idea of a tragic hero. It is understood that the hero is neither purely evil nor purely wicked.” The hero must be born into a high social status and possess a tragic flaw that is inherent to their character. This flaw usually manifests in the form of poor judgment and/or arrogance, leading to their own catastrophic demise and ultimately affecting the destiny of other characters (Eschbach 02/17).
Either Antigone or Creon is situated at the highest level of the social hierarchy. Creon became the king of Thebes after his two nephews killed each other over the throne. Antigone, Creon’s niece, was an orphan who happened to be Creon’s future daughter-in-law. Both presented moral values, differing exclusively on the situations in which they were applied. Creon’s actions towards the people reflected honesty and equal treatment upon the laws he made. Antigone’s actions towards the burial of her brother (although he fought against his country, she believed that he deserved to be buried) reflected fidelity and respect for the religious tradition and the gods’ laws. However, both presented hubris, which made either one wrong.
Creon would not accept anybody’s disobedience against his laws, and Antigone, on the other hand, would not give up on her brother’s burial. In this case, Creon is wrong because he does not have the right to choose the person that could be buried; his laws could not intervene with the gods’ laws. Antigone is just as wrong as Creon. By disobeying the men’s laws, she automatically disobeyed the gods’ laws as well. After a profound analysis of the tragedy, I strongly think that Antigone is not able to be a tragic heroine. Although she encounters the high status of the social hierarchy, her hubris, her moral values, and philosophy of living, she is not as adequate as Creon is in Aristotle’s profile.
Antigone possesses all the moral values necessary to be considered somewhat of a heroine, although not a tragic one. She is an eminent example of someone who did what she believed was right, such as burying Polynieces, even when faced with danger, obstacles, and cowardly people like the Chorus. Antigone obeys the laws of the gods and is unconcerned with the mortal law’s penalty, even if it means her own death. She explains to her sister that her reward after death would reflect her nobility and values while she was alive. So, do as you like, Ismene. Whatever suits you best, I will bury him myself. And even if I die in the act, that death will be a glory” (Sophocles 1045). She also admits that her departure from the mortal world would help her escape her miserable life, referring to her family’s loss. Antigone is just too perfect to be a tragic hero; she only does what is right, and her death is not seen as a tragedy but rather a benefit.
What is left on my mind is the reason that makes Creon more tragic than Antigone. Is it relevant to analyze which character suffered more to realize right from wrong? Which one lost almost everyone in the family due to arrogance, stubbornness, and pride? Creon is the only one considered the tragic hero because he comes from the highest level of social status. He is neither perfect nor ultimate evil.” (http://www.md-1.com/ib/tragichero)
Creon, the king of Thebes, is a stubborn and prideful person. He holds a position of great power, nobility, responsibility, and influence. He upholds a strong sense of morality and defends and protects his city above all else. He clearly states his principles, saying These are my principles. Never at my hands will the traitor be honored above the patriot” (Sophocles 1048). Creon is a fair and just ruler who punishes wrongdoers and rewards those who do good.
But whoever proves his loyalty to the state, I’ll prize that man in death as well as life” (Sophocles 1048). On the other hand, the character is not perfect. His choice of punishment, refusing and demanding that nobody is allowed to bury Polynieces body, does not achieve his moral values, and yet he dishonors the gods’ laws. These actions are how hubris and self-indulgence are manifested, and consequently what turns Creon imperfect (tragic flaw). He emphasizes his power and equates himself with the gods by stating that he can take lives.