Antigone: Tragic Hero Analytical Essay

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Antigone is a hero. A tragic hero is a character who makes an error of judgment or has a fatal flaw, which combined with fate, results in a tragedy. A tragic hero falls from good luck and well being to misery and misfortune. The tragic hero causes a sense of pity through the tragic downfall that weakens the character. The qualities of a tragic hero are the noble birth, being a good person, and to be doomed by destiny. In Antigone by Sophocles, Antigone has all three of these qualities. Antigone took care of her recently blinded and banished father with the help of her sister Ismene. By being devoted to her father she reveals one aspect of her kindness and devotion.

Her brothers died fighting each other, and Eteocles, who fought on the side of Creon, was to be buried with honors while Polyneices is left “unwept, unburied, a dainty treasure for the birds that see him, for their feast’s delight.”Creon, now being king ordered that Polyneices would be left unburied and if anyone is found trying to bury the body, they will be put to “death by public stoning.” Antigone follows her own beliefs by giving her brother a proper burial, even if she has to break the law of King Creon. Because of her innocent actions, Antigone is punished unjustly and unfairly. Through her risky and unselfish actions, ability to follow her own beliefs, and perseverance Antigone is the tragic hero of this play.

The social status of Antigone is almost one of a princess. Though she doesn’t hold any power, Creon still treated her as one. Antigone has a lot to lose. Creon is the superior one, but Antigone is a very important person in Thebes, no matter if she has the official title or not. Creon was sometimes cruel even though he was generally a good king. His refusal to bury Polyneices meant much more for the ancient Greeks who considered a proper funeral a must, even for the enemies. In the meantime, he behaves very noble and courteous towards Antigone, clearly showing her his respect and affection. Antigone is no saint because she was involved in a relationship with her brother, but she is faithful to the traditions and has mercy over anyone. Antigone claimed that human judgment is only for the body and that once the body is dead the soul should be free and have peace in the afterlife.

Antigone’s faith and beliefs lead her to not only her heroicness but her tragic death. She believes in following traditions and shows that power when she says, “I will bury him, and if I must die, I say that the crime is holy: I shall lie down With him in death, and I shall be as dear To him as he to me”(694). Regardless of what Creon said to her, Antigone refuses to give up her beliefs and thinks her own way. Antigone states “ Think Death less than a friend? This death of mine Is of no importance, but if I had left my brother Lying in death unburied, I should have suffered. Now I do not. You smile at me. Ah, Creon, Think me a fool, if you like, but it may well be That a fool convicts me of folly” (709). Antigone believes what she is doing is correct and proves that to Creon.

Antigone has a few tragic flaws going for her or rather against her. Her loyalty to the gods and her brother’s memory means that she will have to be disloyal to King Creon. Antigone is also really stubborn, which is kind of a good trait in a heroic way. Unfortunately, her stubbornness gets herself in trouble but also puts other characters as well as Ismene and Haemon at risk. Antigone’s modus operandi seems to be a reverence for all things dead, like Polyneices, rather than people who are alive and she cares about, even herself. Antigone’s choice to bury her brother is what the play mainly revolves around. Her driven persona and love drive her to ignore King Creon. The consequences from Anigone’s were fatal, not only to her but also to Creon’s son, Haemon. Antigone was going to marry Haemon but when he found out about Antigone’s death, he decided to kill himself.

In conclusion, the tragic hero has to be Antigone because she has all the characteristics of a tragic hero. Having a high social position, not being overly good or bad, being persistent in their actions, arousing pity in the audience, a revelatory manifestation, and having perseverance, arousal of pity from characters and audience and a single flaw that brings about their own death and the death of those around them. Although Creon resembles what a tragic hero could be, it is clear that Antigone is the tragic hero in Sophocles Antigone


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

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