Tragic HeroWhat qualities generate a hero? Must heroes possess superhuman abilities? In the Greek era, heroism was much more practical. According to Aristotle, a tragic hero must be royal. He/she must be a good, moral person.
Yet, every tragic hero must exhibit flaws. His/her flaws must lead to downfall. A hero must be punished or experience suffering. He/she must invoke catharsis into the audience.
A tragic hero must recognize his/her wrongs and accept all consequences. Beyond all doubt, Antigone is a tragic hero. Obviously, Antigone is royal. She is Eteocles, Polyneices and Ismenes sister. Plus, she is Creons niece.
However, a tragic hero must be a good, moral person. Antigone has family pride. She is loyal and honorable. Antigones conscience would not allow her to leave her beloved brother to be scavenged by animals. But I will bury him; and if I must die, I say that this crime is holy: I shall lie down with him in death and shall be as dear to him as he to me.
(Prologue, Line 55). Antigones pride and loyalty for her family uphold her morals and good nature. Being human, Antigone exhibited flaws. Antigone demonstrated impressive loyalty and bravery to bury her brother. Yet, becoming a martyr for the cause was extreme.
Deciding to transgress the Kings law was a significant faux pas. When Antigone decided to bury her brother, not even the Gods ominous whirlwind could defer her. Overpowering pride and loyalty led to Antigones ruin. Importantly, Antigone received punishment.
Creon sentenced Antigone to death by natures hand. Antigone was imprisoned in a stony tomb where starvation would execute her. After suffering without provisions, Antigone performed euthanasia on herself by committing suicide. Therefore, Antigone was a good person with flaws. Antigones imperfections ended her.
Despondently, Antigone invoked catharsis into the audience. The audience felt the combined feelings of pity and fear for Antigone. They felt sympathy and pity for her when she could not bury her brother. They felt fear for her because her death sentence was undeserved. For both of these feelings, the audience could relate to Antigone and could imagine how she was feeling; and it was not something they would like to experience.
The audience felt that Antigones actions were justified and reasonable, because they might commit similar actions. Antigones death was unmerited. Substantially, Antigone recognized her wrongs. You will remember what things I suffer, and at what mens hands, because I would not transgress the laws of heaven. (Scene 4, Line 79). In this quote, Antigone explained that the reason for her death will always be remembered.
She insinuates that burying her brother was not surpassing the laws of the Gods. She may have violated a law set forth by an unrighteous King, but her actions were not erroneous in the Gods eyes. Antigone feels that if death is the cost of a holy action, than she will pay with her life. Rather that recoil in the face of death, Antigone embraced it and ended her own life. On the other hand, Creon failed to exhibit heroic characteristics. True, Creon is the King and he is royal.
However, Creon is entirely evil. Creon is a tyrannical and irreconcilable ruler. He requires absolute power, and when opposed, he lashes out on his people. Creon commits malice on Haimon, his own son, by threatening to kill Antigone before his eyes. Creon displayed errors, but they killed others rather than himself.
Moreover, Creon was not punished for his actions. No person could stand against him, let alone punish him. Creon is never absolved of his sins, and he never faces them. Furthermore, the audience did not feel catharsis when watching Creon. People were not afraid for Creon, they were afraid of him! Therefore, Creon is not a tragic hero. Consequently, Antigone is a tragic heroine.
Antigone is royal. She is not totally good or bad. She played a hand in her own death by demonstrating critical lapses in judgment. Antigone invoked catharsis into the audience. Most importantly, Antigone comprehended her errors.
By meeting Aristotles requirements, Antigone accomplished the desirable title of tragic heroine. Nevertheless, A fortune won is often misfortune. .