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The Tragic Hero Of Antigone Essay

930 words - 4 pages

The play Antigone by Sophocles is a classic Greek tragedy in every aspect but one. One question remains, who is the tragic hero? First, we should give meaning to what makes up a tragic hero. A tragic hero is a character, usually of high birth, who is neither totally good nor totally evil. Some weakness, error in judgment, or circumstances beyond their control, brings about their own downfall. Antigone is widely thought of as the tragic hero of the play which has her name, but the character that best fits this description in Antigone is Creon.The first component of being a tragic hero, is of being of high birth. This is easily fulfilled by Creon. He is the son of Menoeceus. He is also the brother in law of Oedipus, and he becomes king of Thebes.The next thing required is to be neither totally good nor totally evil. Creon meets this requirement perfectly. At first Creon could be viewed as an evil and cruel ruler, but his intentions are not that of a villain. They are those of a man who is concerned with the well-being of his citizens and of the state. Creon sent Antigone to death, for doing what was right, so we know he isn't completely good. He constantly looks for conspiracies against his ruling (Daniels 101). But he isn't completely evil because he tries to save Antigone later when he discovers the true nature of the situation, and he realizes that he was wrong. However, his admission of guilt doesn't promise of a new beginning (O'Brien 117). He spends a large amount of time trying to talk Antigone out of burying her brother so he wouldn't have to kill her. However, Antigone intended to give her brother a burial, and was glad to die in the attempt. She tells Creon that she feels that if she dies before her turn, that she feels it will be a gain (Sophocles ln 462).The finial component of being a tragic hero, having their downfall brought about by some weakness or error in judgment Creon's arrogance and pride bring about his pathetic down fall (O'Brien 120 ). Antigone insisted on burying her brother after he was killed in battle because it was the right thing to do by the law of the Gods. Creon would not allow the burial because he felt that it was necessary to prove himself to the citizens of Thebes, since he was the new ruler and had to earn their respect to rule properly. He will not allow justice to come about, simply because he wants to protect his image. He says, " I am no man and she man instead if she can have this conquest without pain" (Sophocles ln 484-485). He believes that mans laws are more important than the gods laws....

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