Aristotle, an ancient Greek philosopher, defines a tragic figure as one who represents goodness, superiority, a tragic flaw, and a realization of their tragic flaw and inevitability. A tragic figure is normally someone of royalty, or importance, and also experiences a great devastation. A big flaw of a tragic hero is usually their pride. The figure will experience an ironic plot twist, where they realize things are not what they expected, and then are to face the reality of their fate. In, The Theban Plays, by Sophocles (translated by E. F. Watling), the characters Creon and Antigone represent tragic figures. In the play “Antigone,” Sophocles depicts the character Creon as a tragic hero. Creon portrays many characteristics of a tragic figure. His tragic story begins when makes the decision of becoming a hubris. A hubris is one who ignores the gods, and follows their own path. When Creon does this, his decisions greatly affect the fate of his loved ones; his son, wife and Antigone. Along with Creon, Antigone portrays a tragic hero in as well. Antigone’s tragic fate comes from her loyalty to her family and the gods. She chooses to stick to her own beliefs, rather than having obedience towards the king, and this was the cause of her downfall.
In the play Antigone, Creon starts off as the loyal king of Thebes. He is loyal to the gods and loyal to the welfare of Thebes. However, over the course of the play, Creon degenerates into a tyrant. His degeneration is showing his character development. Creon’s pride about the human law also develops throughout the play, creating conflict with the divine law. When Antigone rebels against his law, he becomes stubborn, and makes myopic decisions and grows into his hamartia. Besides his hamartia, Creon’s position as the king makes him a power hungry man. His power madness degenerates him into becoming a ruthless and vindictive man, even to his family. However, over the course of the play, Creon begins to see that because of the laws of men, he was being blinded of what’s
Lastly, Creon was a tragic hero because he realized his flaws too late in time. Referring back to the prophecy of Tiresias, after the prophecy of Thebes was declared and Creon denying it, it soon came to pass. The chorus leader cries “My lord, my lord, such dreadful prophecies- and how he's gone..Since my hair changed colour from black to white, I know here in the city he's never uttered a false prophecy” (Antigone line 1220). Creon then replies to him by acknowledging his wrong and the effect of his wrong in the situation. “Aaii- mistakes made by a foolish mind, cruel mistakes that bring on
Throughout the play, Creon shows many examples of how he is imperfect. One example would be how he believes that the state is primary to his family and relationships, “If this is your pleasure, Creon, treating our city’s enemy and our friend this way … the power is yours, I suppose, to enforce it with the laws, both for the dead and all of us, the living,” this quotation said by the leader of the chorus describes how the elder people of Thebes respect their family more than the state, but they held back on their opinions, knowing of what Creon, the leader, wanted to hear (235-240). Another example of how Creon shows the audience of how he is imperfect is when, Creon meets with Haemon. Creon argues with Haemon about how people should act towards the country which they reside in, “But whoever steps out of line, violates the laws or presumes to hand out orders to his superiors, he’ll win no praise from me. But that man the city places in authority, his orders must be obeyed, large and small, right and wrong,” Creon believes since he has the highest throne in his country, that he should be obeyed whether the circumstance (745-751). Lastly, Creon demonstrates to the audience that he is imperfect by wanting to protect his country too much. This is visible when Creon sentences Antigone to a slow death, because of burying her brother, who was outcasted as a traitor. Creon put the state over his family which will lead to the complete
In the Greek tragedy Antigone, the characters Antigone and Creon can both be thought of as the tragic hero of the play. Though Antigone does show some of these characteristics of a tragic hero, Creon demonstrates the attributes more clearly and concisely. Creon is the King of Thebes, as well as the uncle of Antigone. Creon took the throne after a tragic quarrel between his two nephews, Eteocles and Polyneices. Despite his harsh governing and his crude ideals, he is not good or bad. Creon is the tragic hero of the play Antigone, because of his superiority in his society, his nobility, and his tragic flaw, self-pride.
Many people try to warn him and beg him to reconsider. First, Haemon tries to appeal to his father’s sense of reason when he says, “The gods have given men the gift of reason, greatest of all things that we call our own…do not feel your word, and yours alone, must be correct” (line 625). Creon, because of his pride, becomes furious with his young son for trying to teach him wisdom, and says, “One thing is certain: You are going to pay for taunting and insulting me” (line 709). Next, Tiresias comes to warn him that he “stands upon the brink of ruin” (line 918). But Creon refuses to heed his warning and accuses Tiresias of profiteering. Finally, after Tiresias’s doomful prophecy, the Chorus tries to change the King’s mind. At first Creon resists the advisement of the chorus by stating “To yield is bitter. But to resist and bring a curse on my pride is no less bitter” (line
Since the play’s inception, there has always existed a contention concerning the true hero of Sophocles’ Antigone. It is a widely held belief that Antigone must be the main character simply because she and the drama share name. This is, of course, a very logical assumption. Certainly Sophocles must have at least meant her to be viewed as the protagonist, else he would not have given her the play’s title. Analytically speaking, however, Creon does seem to more categorically fit the appellation of “Tragic Hero.” There is no doubt as to the nature of the work, that being tragedy. Along with this genre comes certain established prerequisites, and Creon is the only character that satisfactorily
Creon blatantly refuses to listen to other’s advice or criticism of his rule. His son, Haemon, argues for Antigone’s life, for she had committed an act of love and the people are in her favor. He tries to persuade his father by saying, “Those sailors who keep their sails stretched tight, never easing off, make their ship capsize—and from that point on sail with their rowing benches all submerged” (Lines
Finally, Creon is a dynamic character. He undergoes changes in emotion throughout the work. He realizes his mistakes when Tiresias forecasts the future. Thus, Creon attempts to correct himself by releasing Antigone. But he is too late. He is forced to live, knowing that three people are dead as a result of his actions. This punishment is worse than death. Although Creon’s self-righteousness and inflexibility did not change until the end of the play, his motivations traveled from patriotic ones to personal ones. This created a major portion of the
Even if he believes he is right and his son should obey him, he doesn’t show an ounce of sympathy for Haemon, who loves Antigone. Creon details his thoughts on the importance of the rule of law over other loyalties, and his belief that to allow any anarchy or, seemingly, freedom would threaten the state. Creon’s method of executing Antigone is interesting. By entombing a living person, Antigone, and denying burial to a dead person, Polynices, Creon’s laws seem to go against common sense, tradition, and nature itself. Creon does not keep a cool head, as a wise leader should, or look for a way to compromise. He is as stubborn as Antigone, as if this were a street fight, he feels he could never back down.
There has always been a great debate over who is the true tragic hero in Sophocles' Antigone. Many scholars would stake claim to Antigone possessing all the necessary characteristics of a true tragic hero, but many others would argue that Creon holds many qualities as well. It is hard to discount Antigone as a tragic hero, because in fact, the play bears her name, but from careful reading, Creon meets Aristotle's criteria exactly and fits perfectly into the role. In order to determine whether or not Creon is the true tragic hero, one must answer the question: 'What is a Tragic Hero?' In Aristotle's Poetics, he discusses the basic criteria regarding a tragic hero. Aristotle
Secondly, Aristotle suggests that to be a tragic hero, one must not be perfect although his character is pre-eminently great. This is certainly true of Creon’s case. For example, in the above paragraph, we proved that Creon is essentially good because he chose to punish Polyneices. However, his choice of punishment—not burying Polyneices—does not rank as high on the moral spectrum. In fact, Antigone believes that Creon "dishonors" Polyneices by not burying him, by not "honoring what the gods have honored" (line 89). By going against his people’s centuries of beliefs, Creon’s character finds its imperfection.
Creon’s bad decision leads to his eventual downfall and demise. Creon realizes his hubris and his wrong decision a little too late. Antigone is already dead, and he cannot correct his wrong-doing. This makes the audience feel pity for him, for he
Creon has no toleration for people who place personal beliefs over the common good. He believes that government and law is the supreme authority, and civil disobedience is worst form of sin. The problem with Creon’s argument is he approaches He approaches every dilemma that requires judgement through descriptive generalizations. In contrast to the morality defined by Aristotle in his Nicomachaean Ethics, Creon shows that he is deaf to the knowledge of particulars--of place, time, manner, and persons, which is essential for moral reasoning. In short, he does not effectively bring together general principles and specific situations Creon does not acknowledge that emotion, and perception are as critical to proper moral consideration as reason. This explains why he does not respond accordingly with the reasoning of the guard, Tiresias the prophet, Antigone, her sister Ismene, or even his own son Haemon. Throughout the whole play, Creon emphasizes the importance of practical judgement over a sick, illogical mind, when in fact it is him who has the sick, illogical mind. He too exhibits pride in his argument. To Antigone and most of the Athenians, possessing a wise and logical mind means acknowledging human limitations and behaving piously towards the gods. Humans must take a humble attitude towards fate and the power of the gods, yet Creon mocks death throughout the play. He doest not learn his lesson until the end of the play when he speaks respectfully of
Creon orders the guards to take Antigone away not caring for his son's feelings, since she is his fiancée. Creon feels the law should stand despite the fact that Antigone was his niece or how moral her act was. "Bring her [Antigone] out! Let her die before his eyes..." (Scene 3, 130). This quotes shows that Creon took his position as king seriously to the point where in he was willing to sacrifice the feelings of his own son. He was willing to be the cause of son's destruction just to prove that he is the king and always right. "I will go... I buried her, I will set her free" (scene 5, 102,104). Not only does this quote show leadership but also stubbornness he was risking his relationship with his son to prove that he was the leader of Thebes. Creon says another quote which shows his loyalty to his kingdom, "I call to God to witness that if I saw my country headed for ruin, I should not be afraid to speak out plainly," (Sophocles, scene 1,24-26). It shows his strong sense of leadership which catches up with him in the end causing destruction.