Books and Movies Reviews

Defining the Tragic Hero: Antigone and Creon

Aristotle once said that a tragic hero is neither completely innocent nor completely evil. He goes on to say that this person is usually born high in the ranks of society and possesses a tragic flaw, which usually comes from within him/herself and ends up showing itself through arrogance or poor judgment. This tragic flaw also inevitably brings the hero to his/her ruin (par. 4).This statement in itself reveals that the true tragic hero in Antigone is Creon, and not Antigone herself, as some analysts have debated about ever since this play has been read.
First, let’s start at the beginning of Aristotle’s definition, which states that a tragic hero is neither completely innocent or completely evil. Despite being king, Creon is immortal and possesses the weaknesses of all humans, considering he isn’t related to any gods or anyone of higher power than royalty. This means he can make serious mistakes, as humans do. But he also possesses talents which allow him to be a king of great power and excel whether it be for good or evil. These talents include being able to gain loyalty from the people that he rules over, and being able to show his power and assert it. The fact that he ordered that no one bury Polyneices’ body may have come off as if he had evil intentions of personal vengeance like a normal human would, but if it is looked at closer, there is some justified good that comes from Creon’s motives. He states that “his brother Polyneices, who broke his exile to come back with fire and sword against his native city” (141). This points out the goodness in what he does about Polyneices. He defends his city by punishing the person that went against it. There is no wrong in doing that; no evil whatsoever with defending the city in which you rule. Antigone, on the other hand, buries her brother for no evil alterior motives. She does it out of love and respect for her brother and the gods. Being that there is no evil motive in her actions,…

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