Aeneas Compared To The Tragic Heroes

1013 words - 5 pages

Who is the tragic hero in Antigone? In order to determine the tragic hero, it is important to first have a workable definition. The traditional definition, according to Aristotle, consists of several qualities. A tragic hero will be of high estate and power, neither morally perfect nor superior through virtue and justice. He also does not fall from prosperity to hardships due to a lack of virtue or justice, but from a tragic flaw. This tragic flaw, or hamartia, inevitably leads to an error in judgment. Unlike Antigone, Creon fits Aristotle’s definition of a tragic hero completely. Creon and Antigone both share the quality of prosperity and ...view middle of the document...

Creon stands apart from Antigone as she did not have a tragic flaw. Antigone’s actions were never due to a flaw or poor judgment, but through virtue and honor of the gods. Creon does have a tragic flaw, pride, and consequently he falls from his previous prosperity. This tragic flaw sets Creon apart as the tragic hero in Antigone.
Though Creon is a just man, his pride gravely affects his judgment and leads to tremendous stubbornness and rash decisions. Creon was so arrogant, that he would not stop to actually consider rethinking his law. As the definition of a tragic hero requires, Creon is not all evil, as his actions were not purely malicious; he did not want to kill Antigone. His arrogance blinded him to the immoral and unjust action he was committing. This arrogance is seen consistently in Creon’s actions in Antigone. When Antigone is first brought to Creon, he is furious at her, shocked that she would dare disobey his law, and Antigone tells him that his laws are not greater than those of the gods:
It was not Zeus who published this decree, nor have the Powers who rule among the dead. Imposed such laws as this upon mankind; Nor could I think that a decree of yours- A man—could override the laws of Heaven Unwritten and unchanging.[1]

Creon is offended by Antigone’s words, as he only wishes to hear praise of himself. He silences and rebukes Antigone, threatening her, “those that are most obstinate suffer the greatest fall; the hardest iron.”(473) This dramatic irony foreshadows the fate of Creon himself, as he later suffers due to his obstinacy. Creon’s pride destroys the love he had for his family and insists that she be punished regardless. “But though she be my niece or closer still than all our family, she shall not escape the direst penalty;”(486-488) Not only does Creon attack Antigone, but he also blames her sister, Ismene,...

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