The Analysis of Antigone Tragic Hero Essay Example


“Fate has brought all my pride to a thought of dust” (Sophocles Line 1039). In the tragedy Antigone, written by Sophocles, Creon, the new king of Thebes tries to restore order after a civil war caused by his nephews, Eteocles and Polynices, by demanding respect by his people. Creon decrees a new law which prohibits any citizen from burying Polynices, her brother. Knowing she could get in trouble, Antigone proceeds to break the law. The king’s downfall was due to his stubbornness and inflexibility, which is why Creon is the tragic hero of this play. This represents Sophocles’ message that the undoing of oneself will be one’s pride and stubbornness.

The downfall of Creon originated with his pride and obstinacy. For example, the King’s son, Haimon attempts to persuade Creon to listen to the people and free Antigone but the King will not listen: “You consider it right for a man of my years and experience to go to a school boy?” (Sophocles, Line 586). This quote shows how stubborn Creon is and how he will not even listen to what his own son has to say. Haimon represents democracy in this scene because he tells his father to listen to the voices of the people. The King not listening to Haimon exhibits that democracy is dead which, results in a shift of power from democracy to a monarchy. 

This situation is similar to the government in “Harrison Bergeron” because, before all the handicaps and strict rules, the government used to listen to what the people had to say. However, the government forces its people to follow their harsh laws in the future, resulting in the death of democracy. In addition, another example of King Creon’s excessive pride occurs when he started acting defensive when his son questions the way he rules Thebes, “It is no city if it takes orders from one voice. [Haimon] The State is the King!” [Creon] (Sophocles, Lines 597-598). His comment on the State shows how Creon thinks that his law is above the Gods. In this time period, the people of Greece believed burials were very important for them getting into the Afterlife. Which shows Creon’s ignorance about religion since, the people of Greece highly respected their gods. Therefore, this shows that Creon’s unwillingness to listen to others and ignorant personality ultimately led him to his downfall and his family’s.

As a result of Creon’s actions and speech, Sophocles message about the undoing of oneself will be one’s excessive pride and stubbornness is displayed. Towards the end of play, the King of Thebes learns that his wife and son have both killed themselves because of his own actions, Creon cries out: “Lead me away. I have been rash and foolish. I have killed my son and wife… Whatever my hands touched has come to nothing” (Sophocles, Lines 1034-1037). As a consequence, he learns how his ego blinded him so much that his actions and words led to his family’s deaths. This is similar to Oedipus’s downfall when he literally blinds himself as sign of regret for his ignorance. Additionally, at the very end of the play the choragos talks to the audience; “No wisdom but in submission to the gods. Big words are always punished” (Sophocles, Lines 1040-1041). In this quote, the exodos alludes to Creon and how his downfall was caused by his pride and stubbornness which relates to Sophocloes message. So, the King’s punishment for his ‘big words’ is that his family kills themselves. All in all, Sophocles’ message throughout the play about one’s downfall caused by their tragic flaws is shown through King Creon’s ‘punishment’.

In conclusion, Creon’s downfall is caused by his hamartia, which is excessive pride and stubbornness. Because of these flaws, Creon’s undoing ends in two deaths of his family. As a result, the reader sees the importance of Sophocles' message through his ignorant actions such as not listening to his son because he was just a school boy. King Creon, the tragic hero whose undoing is caused by his tragic flaws teaches readers an important lesson to be humble and open minded to others.

 

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