The Tragic Hero in the Play Antigone
Antigone, which was written by Sophocles, is possibly the first written play that still exists today (www.imagi… 1). There is much controversy between who the ‘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 recognizes his weaknesses, and his downfalls from his own self-pride, stubbornness, and controlling demands. He is the true protagonist.
Though the audience notices how villainous Creon is, they still express sympathy towards him. They realize that he has brought all of his problems on himself and should have been more open-minded, but think no one should have to go through what he has. They understand how the warrior king Creon felt when he notices his son is love struck. The audience also expresses pity towards him because Antigone is a murderer and understands why he is upset.
Creon’s noble quality is his caring for Antigone and Ismene when their father was persecuted.
Creon is a very authoritative 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 follow it. Creon expects loyalty from others. It is apparent that Creon is very dominating and wants to be in control. “The man the city sets up in authority must be obeyed in
small things and in just but also in their opposites”(717-719).
Through this quote the reader realizes that Creon wants obedience in everything he decides even if he is at fault.
“There is nothing worse than disobedience to authority” (723-724). Further supporting Creon’s belief 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 rule them?” (790). Creon has forgotten that the ruler is supposed to do what is best for the city and its citizens.
Creon is under the impression that he is always correct in his judgments and his beliefs.
Before the sentry even explains the event that has occurred, the sentry states that he is only a messenger and has not committed the crime. Yet Creon still accuses the sentry of receiving money to do the crime and threatens to punish him. “That will teach you in the days to come from what you may draw profit …, ill-gotten gains ruin more than they save” (342-346). Consequently, the Chorus suggests that the Gods may have committed the act. Creon stops this “nonsense” conversation immediately and remarks that Zeus and the Gods would not honor criminals. Creon seems to believe he knows everything and stubbornly refuses to listen to others.
He does not even believe Haemon his son. Haemon informs his father of the reputation he has created for himself. Creon thinks, “It seems this boy (Haemon) is on the woman’s side (Antigone)” (798). Creon refuses to believe what Haemon says and gets into an argument with him for siding with Antigone.
Creon presumes that he is the one and only perfect ruler for Thebes. He believes that he can create a better city with his presence: “I would not be silent if I saw ruin ….
I would not count any enemy of my country as a friend …,”(202-206). Creon further continues by stating “I will make her greater still” (210). In this quote Creon declares that he will improve the city (she) by his rulings. Creon describes how his qualities make him a good ruler. Furthermore, Creon views himself as a good leader because he believes he has the best attributes and no one can compare to him. He feels he has no time for ordinary people because he is of higher standards.
When Creon says “I will not comfort you with hope that the sentence will not be accomplished” (982-983), this shows his absolute lack of compassion when he is talking with Antigone.
King Creon noticed that he had a weakness in which he tries to correct but is too late. His weakness is impulsive with his decision-making. He never really sits down .