Antigone Versus the Odyssey

Topics: Oedipus, Tragic hero, Sophocles Pages: 5 (1825 words) Published: September 26, 2005
The True Tragic Hero of Antigone

This analysis is to determine the character that fits the tragic hero profile; it was completely based according to the Aristotelian idea of tragic hero and it is understood that hero is: "…neither purely evil or purely wicked; the hero must born in the high social status, and he/she must possess a tragic flaw which is proper from the inner side of the character; it usually manifests in the form of poor judgment and or arrogance, condemning him/herself into a catastrophic finality and in the meanwhile, establishes other character's destiny". Either Antigone or Creon is situated in the highest level of the social hierarchy. Creon became the king of Thebes, after his two nephews killed each other over the throne; Antigone was an orphan who happened to be Creon's future daughter in law. Both presented moral values, differing exclusively on the situation they were applied. Creon's actions towards the people reflected honesty and equal treatment upon the laws he made. Antigone's actions towards the burial of her brother (although he fought against his country, she taught that he deserved to be buried), reflected fidelity and respect upon the religious tradition and the gods' laws.

However, both presented some form of overbearing pride, which made either one wrong; Creon would not accept anybody's disobedience against his laws, and Antigone, on the other hand, would not give up on her brother's burial. In this case, Creon is wrong because he does not have the right to choose the person that could be buried; his laws could not intervene the gods' laws. Antigone is just as wrong as Creon. By disobeying the men's laws, she automatically disobeyed the gods' laws as well. After a profound analysis of the tragedy, I strongly think that Antigone is not able to be a tragic heroine. Although she encounters the high status of the social hierarchy, her hubris, her moral values and philosophy of living, she is not as adequate as Creon is in Aristotle's profile. Antigone possesses all moral values to be, somewhat, a heroine (not a tragic one); she is an eminent example of someone who did what she thought it was right to do (Polynieces' burial), and while she was among danger, obstacles and people who were cowards (Chorus), she obeys the laws of the gods and is careless about the mortal law's penalty, her own death. She explains to her sister that her reward after death would reflect on her nobility and values while she was alive. "So, do as you [Ismene] like, whatever suits you best I will bury him myself. And even if I die in the act, that death will be a glory". She also admits that her departure from the mortals' world would help her escape her miserable life (referring to her family loss).

She is just too perfect to be a tragic hero; she only does what is right, and her death is not seen as a tragedy and yet, a benefit. What are left on my thoughts are the reasons that make Creon more tragic than Antigone. Is it relevant to analyze which of the characters suffered more to realize right from wrong? Which one basically lost almost everyone in the family due to arrogance, stubbornness and pride? Creon is the only one considered the tragic hero because he comes from the highest level of the social status; he is "neither perfect or ultimate evil", he is stubborn, and he also reflects a personality full of pride. By being the king of Thebes, he is in a position of great power, nobility, responsibility, and influence. He occupies some sense of morality and also states nobility by defending and protecting his city over everything he encounters opposing his rules. He is very clear when he says, "These are my principles. Never at my hands will the traitor be honored above the patriot".

Creon is a very fair and excellent ruler; he punishes the wrong and rewards the good. "But whoever proves his loyalty to the state I'll prize that man in death as well as life". On the other hand, the...
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