On Hubris And Tragic Heroes Essay

715 words - 3 pages

The identity of the tragic hero in the play Antigone by Sophocles, one of the most influential works in Western history, is debatable. Both main characters, Kreon and Antigone, fall within the definition of the concept of a tragic hero. Both are neither inherently good or evil, nor do they represent absolutes. Kreon, however, is the true tragic hero of the play, because he has more of the characteristics of a tragic hero.
Death is one of the things most feared by mortal men due to the uncertainty involved. When we die, do we go to Paradise, or do we merely drift in a dreamless sleep? Men still suffer from fear of death, tied into their fear of the unknown. Nevertheless, however terrible the fate of death that Antigone suffers, Kreon's fate is far worse. Not only does he have to endure the deaths of his wife and son (Sophocles 1400-1477), but he must live through his agony, pain, and loss. This is reflected in Koryphaios's remark to Kreon that “Your fate is in the care of those who care for you.” (Sophocles 1521), implying that Kreon no longer possessed control over the choice to live or die. In death, a person escapes from all earthly troubles. In fact, Antigone herself recognizes that she is doomed to die, being mortal. (Sophocles 571-575). In life, however, a person must live through and bear all the suffering associated with experience.
Moreover, Kreon's fall is the direct result of his own actions. Whereas Antigone was a victim of poor fate, being the daughter of Oedipus and Jocasta, Kreon caused his own demise by refusing to listen to the advice of Haimon, his own son, who said “Shouldn't her [Antigone's] fate be golden glory?” (Sophocles 847), or Teiresias, who told Kreon that “The state is sick. You and your principles are to blame.” (Sophocles 1170-1171). Instead Kreon rebuffs them both, informing Haimon that “It's my [Kreon's] job to rule this land. There is no one else.” (Sophocles 885-886), implying that Kreon is letting his pride get in the way of his judgment. Kreon also...

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