Ms. Dawn B. Caplinger
6 October 2011
Antigone: A Tragic Hero
What characteristics generate a tragic hero? Must a tragic hero possess superhuman abilities? Should he be immense in size and strength such as Hercules? According to the Greek philosopher, Aristotle, a tragic hero is a good, moral, upstanding person that does not fit into society’s mold, invokes catharsis to the audience, and exhibits flaws that leads to their tragic downfall. These are the traits that a character must uphold in order to be considered as a tragic hero. In Sophocles’ Antigone, Antigone contains all of these traits required for her to be a tragic hero.
According to Aristotle, the character of a tragic play must be a good, moral, and upstanding person. Antigone is the daughter of Oedipus, sisters of Ismene, Eteocles, and Polynices, fiancé of Haemon, and soon to be niece of King Creon. There is no doubt that Antigone is royalty and of great importance to Thebes. Up until her decision to give Polynices a proper burial, Antigone commits no crime and is indeed a good-hearted person. Because of her good heart, Antigone is loyal and honorable. Her conscience will not allow her to leave her beloved brother, Polynices, to be scavenged by animals while Eteocles rests with honor. As Antigone defies King Creon’s law and is charged for burying Polynices, Antigone upholds her undying gratitude for her deceased brother; for she states, “I’ll still bury him. It would be fine to die while doing that with a man I love, pure, and innocent, for all my crime” (89-92). Antigone’s love and loyalty for her family is upheld her morals and good nature. During ancient Greek times, woman had limitations. In Sophocles’ Antigone, Antigone rebels from the typical “role of a woman” by going against the beliefs of society. Ismene points out to Antigone that, “We must remember by birth that we’re women and, as such, we shouldn’t fight with men” (78-79). Antigone’s...