In the play, Antigone by Sophocles, at first glance readers assume that Antigone is the tragic hero. However, this is not the case. Although Antigone does display some characteristics of a tragic hero, I believe that Creon is the true tragic hero. For many readers, it may be a challenge to see Creon as the tragic hero; however, when you take a second look at the play, you can see that Creon displays every quality of a tragic hero. Creon’s power and pride as well as going against the gods all lead up to his downfall which in return helps him to become a tragic hero.
In the article, “Common Man as A Tragic Hero: A Study of Author Miller’s Death of a Salesman”, Kritika Nanda states, “… according to Aristotle a tragic hero has to be someone of noble stature. He believed that common men of inferior ranks were unable to create the impact enough for purgation of the pent up emotions. He most audaciously held the view point that men of noble birth and elites were the most appropriate class to carry out catharsis.” As demonstrated through this quote, a tragic hero is an individual of high rank whose flaws lead to a tragedy, but allows the character to have a point of self-realization. Therefore, Creon, not Antigone, is the true tragic hero of the play.
In the beginning, Creon is portrayed as an individual who is quite wealthy and powerful. As a result, everyone follows his orders. This is demonstrated when the people of his kingdom follow his orders regarding Polyneices’s burial. In the play, when Creon states that Polynecies will not have a burial, the leader of the chorus, Choragos, replies by saying, “If that is your will, Creon son of Menoceeus, You have the right to enforce it: we are yours” (Scene 1, 174-175). This indicates that no matter how ridiculous Creon’s rules are, the people of Thebes will not go against him for the simple reason that he is the King. This power that he has over the people of Thebes plays a significant role in what happens later in the story and how he transforms into a tragic hero.
In addition to Creon being powerful, he was also feared by the people of Thebes. For instance, when Antigone asked her sister to help with the burial of Polynecies, Ismene replies to her sister’s proposition by stating, “But think of the danger! Think of what Creon will do!” (Prologue, 34). Ismene then continues by saying, “Think how much more terrible than these, our own death would be if we should go against Creon, and do what he has forbidden!”(Prologue, 44-46). Based off of Ismene’s response to Antigone, one can conclude that she, as well as the majority of the people in Thebes, was afraid of Creon.
Furthermore, Creon going against the gods leads up to the tragic events which later take place and make him a tragic hero. Although Creon was the King of Thebes, he had no power to disobey the gods. However, despite knowing this, Creon defies the gods when stating that Polynecies will have no burial. In the article, “The Wrath of Creon:...