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By matthew-scully Nov 05, 2013 1258 Words
Antigone Tragic Hero? By Matthew Scully
Does Antigone earn the title of tragic hero in Sophocles’ play Antigone? In most Greek tragedies ,the title of the play is the name of the tragic hero. I strongly believe that Antigone is the tragic hero of the play because she has a tragic flaw, the play focuses on mostly her actions, and her story best describes what a Greek tragedy is. The play, Antigone takes place in the Greek city of Argive. It is the story of a queen-to-be, Antigone, and her losing her two brothers in a war against each other. Antigone’s uncle, Creon, takes the throne ,and because Polynices was a traitor in his opinion, he did not deserve to be buried. Creon says that whoever buries Polynices would be stoned to death. The Greeks believed that if you didn’t bury the dead, their soul would never go to heaven. Antigone did not want this to happen to her brother. Antigone’s sister, Ismene, does not want to break Creons law nor did she want to be stoned to death. Ismene cannot convince Antigone to not bury their brother Polynices. Later in the play, Ismene does realize that what Antigone did was the right thing. In Greek tragedies, tragic flaw is defined as a characteristic that leads the main character to his or her own downfall. Tragedies tell the story of a reversal of fortune, from good to bad, experienced by a man or woman of noble birth. In all Greek tragedies, and other tragedies the main character ends up dying. There are three characters that could qualify as the tragic hero in Antigone, but I believe that one of the three characters is more worthy of the title. The three characters that I believe could be the tragic hero in the play Antigone are Antigone, Polynices, or Creon. Creon could be the tragic hero in Antigone because just like Antigone he also has a tragic flaw. Creon’s tragic flaw is that he is arrogant, and does not like to listen to other people’s opinion. Creon is also quick to judge others. Creon is born of noble birth just like Antigone. Creon is the king of Argive and the kingdom is not doing so well. Things don’t go exactly Creon’s and Antigones’ way. Creon should not be the tragic hero because he does not die in the end of the story.. Creon does not lose any of his fortune at the end of the play; however, he does lose all his family members. In Antigone Creon is the only major character that does not die. At the beginning of the play, Creon finds out that someone has buried Polynices and his servant tells him that Creon accuses the servant of committing the crime. Creon believes that the servant’s motivation was influenced by money. Creon believes that money influences people to do bad things. Another example of Creon not using his head is when he accuses Antigone and Ismene of rebelling against him. Creon’s decisions cost him his only son, Haimon. Haimon tells Creon “Not here, no; she will not die here king.” (Page 844, Scene 3, line 141). Haimon tells Creon that he is the only one who believes that killing Antigone is the wrong thing to do. Creon says “My voice is the one voice giving orders in this city!( Scene 3, page 843, line 111- 112) .Haimon also says that Creon should listen to what other people think about his decision Creon replies “And the city proposes to teach me how to rule?’(Scene 3, page 842, line 107-108). Haimon threatens Creon that he will leave unless Antigone is spared. Haimon says “And you will never see my face again. Go on on raving as long as you have a friend to endure you”. (Page 844, Scene 3, line 142-143). Creon does not want to appear as a weak leader, so he does not take any advice given to him by his family or servants. Creon is willing to lose his son in order to show what a strong leader he is. Creon’s tragic flaw does not cause his death, so this eliminates him from being title character. Polynices could be the tragic hero of the play because he dies and was born of noble birth. Polynices also loses everything because he gets banished from the kingdom by his younger brother Eteocles. Polynices doesn’t do anything except revolt against his brother because he is standing up for what he believes in. Polynices was the oldest son of Oedipus and the oldest child would get the kingdom after their parents die. This was not the case for Polynices, causing him to revolt against his brother Eteocles. Polynices flaw was his jealousy of his brother. I think that Polynices could have avoided going to war with his brother Eteocles. This would not have gotten both brothers killed and allowing Creon to take control. I also believe that Polynices role in the play Antigone was not as significant as Creon or Antigone. Because of his lack of significance in the play, I feel polynices does not qualify as the title character. My fixed opinion is that Antigone is the tragic hero of the play for multiple reasons and it is because of these reasons that I believe she is the tragic hero. Antigones tragic flaw gets her killed at the end of the play just like Polynices tragic flaw gets himself killed. Antigone’s tragic flaw is that she will not deny burying her brother. I strongly believe that this tragic flaw only applies to the play Antigone and not in real life. Creon does not believe that Antigone would have buried Polynices. Creon even asks her “Did you not here me declare my new law about burying the traitor Polynices?” .Than Antigone replies “I heard your new law loud and clear Creon”. Antigone was born into the ruling family of the city of Argive. Antigone loses everything and all her loved ones. Also I think that Antigone had to deal with more pain and lose than anyone else in the play. These reasons are what drove me to believe that Antigone is the tragic hero of the play. I mulishly believe that the play is properly titled Antigone. Creon, Polynices, and Antigone were all noble birth. Polynices and Antigone both lose their loved ones. They also both die in the play and Creon is only one in the family left to rule. I think the major difference between Creon and Antigone is that Creon does not care if his family dies until everyone he loves does die. While Antigone does care about all of her loses throughout the entire play. Creon does not realize that he loses everything he loves by the end of the play and Antigone does. Creon even loses his son Haimon who is next in line to rule Argive. Haimon is going to marry Antigone but can not if she is dead. Lastly, in all of Sophocles plays all of his protagonists display “unshakable willpower”. Also I indomitably believe that Creon is the antagonist in the play, so he cannot be the protagonist as well. This would make Antigone the only other major character qualified to be the protagonist. Creon and Antigone both express unshakable willpower, but Creon loses his willpower at the end of the play. For it is these reason that I greatly believe Antigone is the tragic hero of the play Antigone, and makes her stand out above all other characters.

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