Creon Tragic Hero In Antigone Essay Topics

Creon is the Tragic Hero of in Sophocles' Antigone

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Creon is the Tragic Hero of Antigone



Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I am here today to argue the title of tragic hero in the play Antigone by Sophocles. I would like to start off by saying that it will be extremely difficult for me to have the passion that I usually have because of my client. My client's ruthless leadership disgusts me in the worst way. But I will still stand in front of you, the jury, and defend my client. As I said before I am here to argue the title of tragic hero in the play Antigone. I could see that some of you are dazzled by the word "tragic hero". No need to worry for I will enlighten you. The great Aristotle was one of the first men who defined a tragic hero. His definition is not a rule for what tragedy should be, but it is a description of what he believed tragedy was. According to Aristotle a tragic hero must have these qualities to qualify as one. A tragic hero is neither good nor bad. Along with being neutral in his stance, a tragic hero must also be born into royalty. A tragic hero could never be of the common folk. In addition to this a tragic hero must suffer a large fall from good grace. By this he means that a fall that brings him "down to earth". A tragic hero also has some type of flaw. Whether it is a character flaw such as pride and ego or the character must make an error of judgment or a mistake. With the tragic flaw the character must also recognize the flaw that they have made. In other words, they have to be enlightened. The audience is then supposed to feel pity and fear for the tragic hero because of his tumultuous journey. The tragic hero also is supposed to inspire catharsis in the audience.


In some respects Creon is seen as good but with others as bad. The large fall that Creon took was the fall from the good grace of being a respected king. "Your people are beginning to question your judgment and are beginning to side with Antigone.

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" (Scene 2, Lines 256-257) This is the preliminary stage of Creon's dawdling fall from authority. His family may see him as a fine leader, but the people who are under his authority see him as an unfit ruler to lead them. He is beginning to be questioned by his own people which foreshadows unrest and calamity within his own family. The idea of him loosing control of him own dynastic rule, sets the stage for the large fall that this tragic hero is supposed to encounter.


A tragic hero is supposed to either have a character flaw or an error of judgment. In the play, Creon has two flaws. He has the character flaw of willful arrogance and his unyielding behavior and he has the flaw of making and error of judgment when he passes the proclamation. He realizes his character flaw when he states, "Oh it is hard to give in! But it is worse to risk everything for stubborn pride." (Scene 5, Lines 93-94) This is the point in the play where Creon realizes his mistake and begins to change as Teiresias has told him to. This is important because he mentions the difficulty he has going against his stubborn pride. The error of judgment is when he passes the proclamation without proper justification. His personal vengeance gets involved with his business affairs which cause him to make this fatal error. After Haimon states, "The wisest man will let himself be swayed by others' wisdom and relaxes in time," (Scene 3, Lines 234-235) Creon begins to feel guilt because he passed the proclamation blindly, without paying attention to the views of others. He passed the proclamation solely on his beliefs.


Along with a character flaw, a tragic hero must realize the fall. Creon truly realizes his fall when he states, "I can't fight against what's destined...I must personally undo what I have done. I shouldn't have tried being unorthodox. I'll stick by the established laws in the future." (Scene 5, Lines 95-99) The mistakes that he made are exemplified when Creon states, " my stubbornness, oh my son, so young, to die so young, and all because of me." (Scene 3, Lines 105-107) He is feeling so much regret and disappointment in himself. This is the first part in the play where he realizes his mistake in passing an unjust proclamation and accepts responsibility for all that has happened. It is the first time that he has woken up to the realities of what he has done to his family. He had already taken the first step towards repentance of his wrong doing when he personally sees to it that the body of Polynices received a proper burial. However, he was too late to rescue Haimon, Antigone, or his wife. Teiresias proclaims, "They are dead, and they that live are guilty of the death." Creon was not willing to bow down to his son's demands, and he must now pay the price for being so stubborn. Creon is truly paying the consequences of being inflexible and unreasonable.


As I end my opening statement, I would like to thank all of you for sitting in on this trial. We all know who the tragic hero is. There is no question that by the end of this trial all of you will reach a unanimous decision that Creon is the tragic hero. I have no doubt in my mind for I trust each and every one of you. From this opening statement it will be easy for any juror to clearly see that Creon is the true tragic hero in this play. I ask you to go home and reconcile your differences so when you come back tomorrow you will have an open mind so that you will all reach an agreement that Creon is the tragic hero. I leave you with this paper for you to take a look at. It is a simple table so none of you shall have trouble understanding it. If there are any questions don't hesitate to ask my assistant for he is willing to help anyone. Again, I would like to thank you for your generous time.



The work of Sophocles “Antigone” contains in itself a deep meaning. Tragedy of Sophocles “Antigone” was written by Sophocles basing on mythological plot of Theban cycle about king Oedipus. Conflict of two main literary heroes of Antigone and Creon is traceable in this work. While reading this tragedy only one time, reader may get wrong impression about whose fate was tragic. In this Creon tragic hero essay, I will try to explain from my opinion and answer the question “Who is really the tragic hero in this masterpiece of Greek playwright Sophocles?” If you need help in writing of essays, you can contact our best essay writing service. More detailed information you can find here. At first, I has decided to puzzle out with the meaning of word “tragedy” and this genre, especially with Greek tragedies.

Definition of word “tragedy” and plot of Greek tragedies

First of all, let us look on definition of word “tragedy”. There are many definitions of this word. It means exciting event, serious cark. The second definition is dramatic works, which depicts a tense struggle, personal or public disaster and usually ends with the death of the hero. The conflicts of reality are transferred to the tragedy in a very intense way. This is a special method of influence on spectators in order to wake the strength of their feelings and beget the spiritual rise. The tragedy occurred in ancient Greece, thanks to the religious and ceremonial worship to the god of winemaking and growing of grapes Dionysus. Solemn songs (praises) were sung by choir in honor of the god, accompanied by games and dances. People also sacrificed goats to the God. They dressed up in goatskins, tied up the hooves, horns and tails, depicting Dionysus satellites – goat legged satyrs. At the same time special singer stood out, who portrayed Dionysus or some mythological personality, and the choir or this special singer performed singing alternately. That is how word “tragedy” appears (“tragedy” in Greek means “song of the goats”). Initially, only the choir and the author himself as the sole actor attended it. The first tragedy stated the myths about Dionysus: his suffering, death, resurrection, struggle and victory over the enemies. Then poets began to draw content for their works and other legends. In this regard, the choir began to represent not satyrs, and other mythical creatures or people, depending on the content of the play. Tragedy reached its highest peak in the fifth century B.C.  Athenian poets, such as Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides wrote many works of this genre. The tragedy arose from the solemn chants. It has kept its grandeur and seriousness, its heroes were strong personalities, endowed with a strong-willed character and great passion. Greek tragedy always portrayed some very difficult moments in the life of a state or an individual, a terrible crime, misery and profound moral suffering. It was no place for jokes and laughter. Required condition of the tragedy is the magnitude of the events. It is always a question of high matters, such as justice, love, principles, moral duty etc.  That is why, the heroes of tragedy are often the characters, which occupy a high status – monarchs, generals, and so on. Their actions and fates have a decisive influence on the historical development of the society. Heroes of the tragedy decide fundamental questions of existence. The main theme of ancient Greek tragedies were myths (though, there were also tragedies, written on modern plots of that time, such as work “Persians”, written by Aeschylus). In this essay, I will touch the work of Sophocles “Antigone”.

What is the price of tyranny? Tragic fate of King Creon

The idea of ​​this tragedy by Sophocles, obviously, is that the person should perform his duty in all circumstances. In this way, the heroes of Sophocles come: they firmly follow its principles, and if they choose the right way, then their death brings him posthumous fame. In another tragedy of Sophocles 'Antigone', set in 442 century B.C., two principles come into conflict with each other in the name of the daughter of Oedipus Antigone and Theban king, Creon. More about the definition of conflict, you can find in essay on conflict.  Violating the prohibition of Creon, Antigone made funeral rites over the body of his brother, whom the king considered a traitor. From the point of view of Creon, the king's word should be sacred to the citizens, and violation of the king's decree cannot be justified. However, for Antigone all moral, unwritten, time-honored and prescribed by the gods laws are above all in the world, these laws commanded her to perform related duties and pay homage to his brother due to the dead. Each of the two heroes of the tragedy of its own truth; betraying penalty Antigone, Creon follows his conviction. Not so easy to decide who is right. Condemning Antigone to death by starvation, Creon takes no cruelty. He takes the foresight of the ruler who is afraid of incurring the city trouble, betraying her execution of a different kind. Because the direct free man murder entailed, by the notion of the Greeks, the bitterness shade of killed person: this shadow would have roamed the the city with the aim of revenge to his killer, and could bring the filth to the city. Sophocles shows the complexity of solving the problem of correct choice of human norms of behavior in society. Moral victory of Antigone seems indisputable, because Creon's position is complicated by the abuse of power: he ignored the opinions of people around him. Creon decides the fate of Antigone not only ask advice from anybody, but also refuse all tries to intervene in his decision. The features of tyrant are shown in Creon’s behavior and thoughts. He see as slaves not only his servants, but also his relatives. In the interpretation of Sophocles, Creon, like every tyrant, he is suspicious. He believes that Ismene, is not guilty of disobedience, was an accomplice of Antigone. He does not listen to the arguments of his son Haemon, who warns the father of the act, which is not approved by the inhabitants of the city. He is stunned by his anger. There are no other reasons for him, other than the fact that people dare to contradict him. That is why, the tragic guilt of Creon is abuse of power, violation of moral principles.  Because of that, he is punished with the death of his loved ones. If Antigone dies with the consciousness of duty, then Creon has to live with the consciousness of an irreparable fault against the gods, the citizens and his wife and son. Creon’s tragedy is the tragedy of power, which Creon misunderstands.


Genre of tragedy always portrays strong and difficult story of literary heroes. In work “Antigone” we can see, that tyranny of king Creon, his anger and blindness leads only to pain and suffering. Despite of terrible fate of Antigone, she is not the main tragic hero here. Actually, King Creon, who loses the most valuable in his life (wife and son), is the main tragic hero.

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