Creon is the Most Tragic Hero

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Hero is a term derived from an ancient Greek word that depicts a brave character, who faces danger and adversity with strength and courage. However, sometimes a hero faces their own destruction. At which point they are recognized as a tragic hero. A tragic hero is a character who makes an error of judgment or has a lethal imperfection, which joined with destiny, results into a disaster. The tragic hero must tumble from good fortunes and prosperity to wretchedness and hardship. The tragic hero causes a sense of pity through the tragic downfall that debilitates the character.

In the play of Antigone by Sophocles, Creon plays a major role while Antigone also plays an important role, as these two character’s clashing perspectives bring about complete disaster, which highlights Creon as a tragic figure. In the play, Creon, believing it to be his duty as the King, attempted to establish decisions for the benefit of everyone; however, his decisions backfired and brought about tragedy. He is basically a decent man of high position who took pride in his duty as the king but fell victim to the tragic flaws of excessive pride and an oversized ego.

Hamartia, also known as a tragic flaw, is an individual blunder in a hero’s identity, which changes his fortunes and cause his awful destruction in a tragedy. This marks the beginning of anagnorisis, a critical piece of the plot in which the hero recognizes his tragic flaw. In the play Antigone, hamartia occurs at the climax of the play, with Creon prompting his inevitable destruction as he starts to question “Who is the man here, She or I, if this crime goes unpunished?” (lines 382-382) and begins to lose control of his pride and ego. This typical example of hamartia in tragedies is known as hubris, excessive pride and ego in a hero’s character. Hubris ultimately brings about Creon’s tragic downfall. In Greek tragedies, the hubristic actions committed by a hero in position of power bring shame and humiliation.

This play was titled after one of the play’s primary characters, Antigone, who pursues her own convictions to give her dead brother a proper burial, even if it meant breaking the law of King Creon. Her risky and unsafe actions, combined with her persistence to complete her mission, qualifies Antigone as the contender for tragic hero of this play. Furthermore, Antigone is from a royal family and has the power to impose her beliefs. She demonstrates what she truly believes in 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” (lines 55-58).

As much as that is honorable, her hubristic actions to go against the rule of law, mark the hamartia that eventually leads to her tragic death. Further evidence that suggests Antigone to be the tragic hero is the fact that her stubbornness allows her to live out the destiny imposed on her through her fathers actions, unintentionally becoming “like father, like daughter: both headstrong, deaf to reason” (Frank).

Creon highlighted as the tragic figure, initially made decisions for the common welfare and well-being of Thebes as he believed Polynices to be a traitor not deserving of proper burial; however, Antigone, who defied those choices made Creon’s fury cloud his discerning state of mind. Antigone saw his choice as remorseless and egotistical, which defines the clash between these two characters. These small but crucial events of the play depict Creon as a ruler doing what he believes is right; while Antigone’s rebellion was expressed as defiance.

Before long however, Antigone appeared to cause an abhorrent spark inside Creon which made him worsen his punishment towards Antigone, caused a chain of events that eventually led to his tragic demise. Prior to being depicted as a threatening villain all through the play, Creon started out fairly acceptable; overpowering occasions and encounters however, made Creon develop into a monster (Bloom).

Creon and Antigone play a major role in the play of Antigone by Sophocles, as these two character’s clashing perspectives prompted complete disaster, which highlights Creon as a tragic figure. In the play, Creon’s motives were solely based on the rule of law he created as a king. While this may be acceptable to him, it proves no moral superiority in an argument when it comes to the burial of the dead. Which also means Antigone’s morally acceptable motive of wanting to bury her brother disqualifies her from truly challenging Creon for the tragic hero role.

In conclusion, the clearness with which the two characters are presented against one another portrays the true tragic hero of the play to be Creon. He speaks to the obligation of complying with the state’s laws while Antigone is following her obligation by obeying her conscience. It is difficult to contend Antigone motives as an error because her powerful urge to want to bury her sibling was, in itself, a thing which each Greek of that age, as well as any reader of the play, can morally relate to. Creon pushed the limit of his powers and let his ego cause him to infringe on divine law.


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Creon is the Most Tragic Hero. (2021, Apr 21). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/creon-is-the-most-tragic-hero/



Is Antigone or Creon the more tragic character?
Creon is the tragic hero because he tries to restore order in Thebes and is a good ruler but ends up alone due to his excessive pride. Antigone is the tragic hero because she sticks to her beliefs in the Gods and family and dies because of her loyalty to them.
Is Creon a tragic hero and a villain?
Creon is a tragic hero because he is a good person who makes a tragic mistake. He is a villain because his tragic mistake leads to the death of many people.
Is Creon a tragic hero essay?
Yes, Creon is considered a tragic hero because he goes through a tragic downfall. He is a good man with good intentions, but he ultimately meets his demise because of his hubris.
Who is the real tragic hero in Antigone?
In Sophocles' Antigone, translated by Ian Johnston, the overall tragic hero is Creon . Creon becoming king brings new laws that are not accepted by everyone's morals and they do not all follow the laws of the gods.
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