The Tragic Hero in Antigone

Topics: Tragedy, Poetics, Sophocles Pages: 3 (1003 words) Published: December 2, 2012
Aristotle’s theories on tragedy were first established during the fourth century in the Poetics, where he defines what makes a tragic hero. Aristotle suggests that a tragic hero is a character who has a high social standing and embodies great nobility in his/her personality. They are neither a villain nor are they entirely good, but a person somewhat like us, raised to a higher position in society. In addition, the downfall of a tragic hero is caused by fault of their own, often through arrogance or pride, as the result of free will. It is triggered by a weakness in their character or an error of their judgment, which is known as their tragic flaw, or hamartia. The tragic hero’s misfortune also exceeds the mistake they made, which evokes emotions of pity and fear in the audience. Their downfall is not pure loss, however, as the tragic hero experiences self- awareness or knowledge of their wrongdoing. With this being stated, the definition of a tragic hero is best supported by King Creon in Antigone. His downfall is caused by his incredible amount of pride, his tragic flaw, and he arouses our pity and fear because he suffers the most and recognizes his blunder when it is too late.

To begin with, Creon was born into nobility as the king of Thebes. Creon’s tyrannous personality is illustrated through his disregard of family and strong devotion to the law at the beginning of the play. The tragedy begins with Creon’s edict to let the body of Polyneices, his own nephew, to rot and be devoured by animals. Anyone who tried to bury him would be sentenced to death. Creon believed that this was just because he was a traitor to Thebes, and he considered the laws of men to be higher than those of the gods. As the king, the citizens of Thebes looked to him for all the answers, which made him suppose that everything he did was right. The quote, “My voice is the one voice giving orders in this City!” by Creon himself further demonstrates his overconfidence....
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