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Truth In Humor Essay

1658 words - 7 pages

Would you die to save your brother's soul or leave him to forever wander the earth, never able to achieve peace? Antigone faces this very question and must choose between breaking the law, for which the penalty is death, or burying her brother to allow his soul to move on. Antigone's heroic decision to save her brother's soul often brings great debate as to whether she is an epic hero or a tragic hero. However, In Antigone, the final work in a trilogy written by Sophocles, we see Antigone, the daughter of King Oedipus, as an example of a character who meets several characteristics of both types of heroes.

Antigone unquestionably shows several characteristics of an epic hero. A significant ...view middle of the document...

For although she knows all too well that breaking the law would bring her death, she still, all too willingly, stands up for what is right. The most compelling argument is Antigone's example of a major characteristic of epic heroes, saving their world. Antigone's death has brought the death of Creon's son and wife. Both of which took their own lives blaming Creon and his harsh actions. "I have been rash and foolish. I have killed my son and my wife" (Sophocles 35). Here the quote shows Creon realizing the error of his ways, and that because of his foolish actions, his son and wife are dead. The death of his son and wife have changed Creon, and have made him realize that he has been foolish. Creon, now with only Thebes left, commits to becoming a better king. This change in Creon will most certainly come with the change of Thebes, for the better. Antigone and her death can be traced back to this very change. Antigone's death, that caused the death of both Creon's son and wife, which in turn, caused Creon to change, changed Thebes. It is also likely that had it not been for Antigone, Creon would not have changed and nor would Thebes; therefore, there would be no improvement in their world. It is safe to say that Antigone definitely has several characteristics that classify her as an epic hero, but there is also evidence to suggest another type of character.

Evidence of tragic hero characteristics are also seen in Antigone's character. One key component to the success of a tragic hero is hamartia. With a close meaning to "mistake" or an "error," hamartia can often be defined as a hero's failing. This failing leads to the ruins of their own life. It is not inherent in the character, otherwise the hero would lose pity; however, the hero's failing can not be accidental or involuntary either, otherwise the audience would develop no sense of pity. The audience sees this component of a tragic hero in Antigone. "You would not help me, and I will not have you help me" (Sophocles 14).This quote shows Antigone's hamartia. After her sister refused to help, the hybritic Antigone no longer accepts help from her or anyone else for that matter. She went on believing she, and she alone, with no help from others, could go on and save her brothers soul without any assistance. This very arrogance consumed her to the point where she convinced herself that death was an acceptable fate. This very hamartia causes the audience to fear for Antigone, whose actions and words suggest her coming death. An even more compelling argument that Antigone has tragic characteristics is the sense of piety she create over the audience. Before the first line is even read, the audience identifies Antigone as the girl whose father is her brother and whose mother is her grandmother. Right off the bat pity is felt for the girl whose name, because of her father's blunder, has been forever tarnished. Even more compelling is how the reader goes on to feel even more pity for the girl who...

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