Creon the Tragic Hero

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Sophocles Tragic Hero: Creon
The play Antigone written by Sophocles (496 B.C -406 B.C.) was first performed around 441 B.C. Sophocles though it was important for this play to be performed during the time as he was witnessing society move away from the gods and toward a anthropocentric view, thinking that man and his abilities were more important. This all took place during what was called the Golden Age (480-430B.C.) in Greece during which Pericles ruled (461-439B.C.). The Olympics first took place in the Golden Age and was a contest to show man’s strength and abilities. Also, the New Science was being to take shape. Protagoras was a part of the New Science and stated that “Man is the measure of all things.” The Atomic Theorists also stated that “The physical universe is made up of small particles called atoms that have come together in random order to form the world.” Hippocrates also began using the method of diagnosing, one man looking and judging another man’s health to see was ails him. Herodotus was also a part of the New Science and defined history as the actions of great men. These all are examples of denial of the gods during the Golden Age. Sophocles observed this happening and wrote the Theban plays in response. He presents Creon, in the play Antigone, as a representation of the man centered world. Sophocles, by presenting Creon as a tragic hero, describing hubris, hamartia, arête, ate, and nemesis, shows he audience that gods are greater than man.

Arête, or excellence, is an element of a classic tragic hero, which is a characteristic Creon displays many places throughout the story. Even before the Creon speaks we are shown his excellence and kingship through the Chorus’s lines 173-178. “Creon, the new man for the new day, Why this sudden call to the old men summoned at one command?” These lines show his leadership as a new king as he summons the elders. Another good example is when is addresses the elders, specifically lines 198-202. “As I see...
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