The Tragic Hero or Heroine
Creon from The Theban Trilogy by Sophocles is an example of a tragic hero because he is neither competely virtuous nor utterly villainous. Near the ending of Oedipus the King, Creon displays good intentions when he states he will care for Antigone and Ismene when Oedipus is persecuted. Creon can be considered a righteous man when he issues the edict concerning the burial of Polyneicies in Antigone. He believes that Polyneices had betrayed Thebes by raising arms against the city, and that traitors should not be honored; they should not be given a proper burial. Creon is villainous in some ways because he is a controlling king and demands for the citizens of Thebes to follow his decrees without asking if the people agree if they are lawful. When Haimon asks Creon to rule with consideration of the population's opinion, Creon becomes competely out of control and ...view middle of the document...
Though Creon eventually finds his fault in following his own laws over the gods' and attempts to free Antigone from her tomb, he does not arrive in time to prevent her suicide.
A tragic hero is "highly renowned or prosperous", meaning he must be of high birth or extremely successful. Creon's royalty is stated at the beginning of Scene I of Antigone, when he says to the Chorus, " Unfortunately, as you know, his two sons, the princes Eteocles and Polyneices, have killed each other in battle; and I, as the next in blood, have succeeded to the full power of the throne.” Creon suits the requirement of a tragic hero because he is also rich in authority when he becomes the king of Thebes. Creon's downfall is his hubris. He believes that he can make his own edicts and rules, despite the fact that they contradict gods' laws. Though Creon has power as king at the beginning, he ends up losing his rule of the city in his great downfall, becoming a disgraced exile at the end of Antigone.
Creon could have saved himself from his tragic downfall during Scene III of Antigone, when Haimon tries to persuade Creon to take back his final judgement on Antigone. Haimon states that many Theban citizens believe that Antigone was doing the right thing when she gave her brother a burial, but they fear to speak out to the king because of his terrifying temper. The king could have avoided his tragic downfall if he had listened to Thebes' citizens and based his judgement of Antigone on their reasoning as well as his own. Creon had the opportunity to save himself from his ruin when Antigone stated that she defied his given edict because gods' laws were more important than man's. Antigone stated to Creon, "But all your strength is weakness itself against the immortal uncrecorded laws of God. They are not merely now: they were, and shall be, operative forever, beyond man utterly." If Creon had understood and agreed with Antigone's reason for burying Polyneicies, he would not have his hubris and the gods would not have punished him for carrying out his own rules over their laws.