Antigone as a Tragic Hero Argumentative Essay

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Sophocles’ play Antigone is a tragedy of conflicts premised on Creon and Antigone who are both tragic characters. In the play of Antigone, Creon is the uncle to the two sisters Ismene and Antigone. Aristotle defined a tragedy as a drama about someone noble who makes a judgment error that leads to their downfall. Therefore, the tragic hero fall implicates the entire family or society. Creon is the king of Thebes making him a person from a noble lineage and whose flawed choices hurts both the city of Thebes and his family. Creon flaws and judgment errors satisfy the description of a tragic hero and are defensible by the literary texts from the play.

Creon Characteristics

Creon is decisive. Creon decisiveness is articulated in his persistence not to bury the son of Oedipus despite Teiresias warning him that the city is sick from the rotting carcasses in the open fields. He further laments that this will bring misfortune in the house of Creon. Creon rejects the advice of Teiresias claiming that nothing can make him change his mind.
Creon: you can be sure you won’t change my mind to make yourself more rich. (1190)

Creon is flawed and persists with his flawed decisions. He is arrogant and has a poor judgment about the ruler and his responsibility to the city and his family.
Creon: According to our laws, does not the ruler own the city? (840)
The poor choice leads him to lose his son. Haemon commits suicide when Creon sticks by the choice to kill Antigone for burying her brother.
Messenger: Haemon has been killed.
No stranger shed his blood.
Messenger: by his own hand-
Angry at his father for the murder

Creon humanity is shown when he regrets his flawed choice and is willing to reconsider his choice. Teiresias having given his prophecies exits the palace and the chorus leader urge Creon to change his mind about killing Antigone and burying her brother. He further warns that Teiresias prophecies have all come to pass. He urges Creon to prepare the tomb for Antigone brother and set Antigone free from the cave as the cruel prophecy will hit his family.
Creon: alas-it’s difficult. I’ll give up
I’ll not do what I’d set my heart upon. (1230)

Creon tries to undo the misfortunes by expressing his change of mind about his policy to bury the body and set Antigone free. But he realizes that the fate is already sealed by the forces beyond his control.

Creon: I’ll not do what I set my heart upon.
It’s not right to fight against necessity. (1230)
Creon choice to kill Antigone and to proclaim death on anyone who buries her brother comes to ruin him latterly. He expresses sorrow when he learns of double sorrow that hits his family. He expresses his sadness through his regrets that he did not intend to kill his son and wife.
Creon: Then take this foolish man away from here
I killed you, my son, without intending to,
And you, as well, my wife. How useless I am now.
I don’t know where to look or find support (1340)

Creon is a tragic hero because of his prior poor judgments and bad choices ruin his family later. Creon son commits suicide when he kills Antigone. Subsequently, Creon wife Eurydice commits suicide as she is overwhelmed by the grief about the death of Haemon. Creon family is swept out by the tragic choices and this hurts him even more. Creon tragic experiences, though from his flaws, deserves sympathy from the audience. He is further willing to change his mind. This shows the trait admirable in his decisiveness.
CREON: come, you servants, each and every one of you
Come on. Bring axes with you. Go there quickly-
Up to the higher ground. I’ve changed my mind.
Since I’m the one who tied her up, I’ll go
and set her free myself (1110)

Aristotle stated that a tragic hero downfall results from his tragic flaw (Kennedy and Gioia 1999:1295). This further refers to his weaknesses which leads him to make tragic mistakes. Creon suffers a double tragedy when his wife and son die. The tragedy results from his choice against burying the son of Oedipus and proclamation of death on Antigone for trying to bury her brother. Therefore Creon satisfies the elements of a tragic hero.


In conclusion, I did not pick Antigone as a tragic hero as she is used as a tragic victim to articulate Creon characters of a tragic hero. She does not have the influence over her death when she chooses to bury her brother. When Antigone dies, she does not evoke the sympathy of the audience, unlike Creon who experiences pain due to his human weakness. Also, the family of Creon suffers his flawed mistakes. His son commits suicide due to his choice to kill Antigone. The writer also shows the effects Creon choices on the city of Thebes when Teiresias warns him about misfortunes that shall befall Thebes if he does not bury the son of Oedipus.


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Antigone as a Tragic Hero Argumentative Essay. (2020, Sep 18). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/antigone-as-a-tragic-hero/



How is Antigone a tragic hero essay?
Antigone is a tragic hero because she possesses a tragic flaw, hubris, which leads to her downfall. Additionally, her actions are driven by a strong sense of duty and loyalty to her family, making her a sympathetic character.
What makes Antigone a tragedy?
The tragedy of Antigone is that she is caught between her loyalty to her family and her loyalty to the state. She ultimately chooses her family, which leads to her death.
What traits of a tragic hero does Antigone exhibit?
Antigone is a tragic hero because she is a noble person who has a tragic flaw, which leads to her downfall.
Why Antigone is not a tragic hero?
Antigone is a tragic heroine who stands up for what she believes in, despite the consequences. She is a strong and determined character who is not afraid to defy authority.
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