Greek Heroes

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March 17, 2002
There are often a number of characteristics that can be used to describe characters through out literature. The classic mythological hero may be described as having the tragic Greek heroic personality. The tragic Greek heroic personality contains characteristics such as excellence (arête), pride (hubris), blind recklessness (ate), and disastrous retribution (nemesis). Though most mythological heroes contain these qualities, Sophocles developed his own heroic personality. The sophoclean tragic hero is "one whose rigid and courageous loyalty to particular principles invites a disastrous fate" (Antigone Pg.14). Creon acting a classical tragic as well as Antigone, a sophoclean tragic heroes, both personify their personalities through their actions.

Creon in the play of Antigone is viewed as a well loved and respected ruler despite his hubris. Creon, in this play, is displayed as a classic tragic hero. Through different actions of his, Creon shows us his arête, hubris, ate, and nemesis. Creon's arête is demonstrated in the way the chorus portrays him as "the king of the realm…the man for the new day" (Antigone 173-174). Creon tragic flaw of hubris is shown by his lack of flexibility when Antigone disobeys his law. Ate is shown in the manner in which Creon quickly decides the deathly fate of Antigone for her crime. All of Creon's actions lead the final characteristic of a tragic hero nemesis. Creon's nemesis comes in the firm of Antigone, his son, and wife dieing because of his actions. "Through blood and tears"(1403) Creon learns the affects of his tragic hero personality.

The combination of both the traditional tragic hero as well as other personality traits results in a Sophoclean tragic hero. In the play of Antigone, Antigone represents the Sophoclean tragic hero. Though both the traditional and sophoclean tragic heroes are similar, the sophoclean heroes are distinguished by their rigid and courageous loyalty, which leads to a disastrous fate....
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