Creon as Tragic Hero of Sophocles' Antigone
There has always been a bit of confusion as to the tragic hero of the Greek Drama Antigone. Many assume that simply because the play is named for Antigone, that she is the tragic hero. However, evidence supports that Creon, and not Antigone, is the tragic hero of the play. Examining the factors that create a Greek Tragedy, and a tragic character, it is clear that the tragic hero is in fact Creon.
First, take into account the timeframe in which Antigone was written. During the time of Sophocles, women were considered second-class citizens. They would not even be permitted to act in the drama Antigone. It seems unlikely that Sophocles would choose a woman as the tragic hero of the play. There are certain qualities that a character must posses in order to qualify as a tragic hero. Ideally, the tragic hero is a person of some status, usually king. Although the fact that Antigone was part of the royal lineage, being a descendent of Oedipus, Creon's position of King of Thebes suits a tragic character much more effectively. Also, at the end of the play it is customary for the tragic hero to have lost everything, to be reduced to nothing. At the end of Antigone, Creon had lost his kingdom, his son, his wife, and his will to live, but is doomed to live on in his pain. Antigone loses her life, but it was not a loss in vain, for she did accomplish what she set out to do. It is questionable as to whether Antigone was seeking martyrdom, but she certainly did become one, dying for her beliefs.
The most important characteristic of the tragic hero is the tragic flaw, the one attribute that causes the inevitable downfall of the character....