• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Who is the Tragic Hero and Why? (Antigone)

Extracts from this document...


Jonathan Ng March 5, 2004 Period 6: English Essay Who is the Tragic Hero and Why? In various literary works, the conflict between the antagonist and protagonist holds great significance towards the literary works' main idea. In Sophocles' Greek tragedy, Antigone, both roles greatly impact the base, moral, idea, and conflict of the play. It is crucial to place a consideration of the time this Greek play was written because of the style of the context. During this period of time called the golden age, the style of writing for great playwrights such as Sophocles was of or related to tragedy. In every tragedy, a tragic hero is found. According to one of the most significant scholars of the golden age, Aristotle, the definition of a tragic hero relies on five events and traits which the character must experience. These five traits, events, and experiences consist of: being well known in their community, expressing either fame or infamy, can not be completely good or bad, must have a flaw in character and recognize this flaw, experience a reversal of fortune, and experience a downfall of some sort. Surprisingly, the tragic hero of the play may not necessarily be the protagonist, but possibly the antagonist. In the play Antigone, the great playwright Sophocles exhibits the perfect example of a tragic hero, the antagonist Creon in contrast to Antigone herself, the protagonist. ...read more.


Creon as king receives much recognition from the country as a person of prominence. With his distinguished power, Creon is enabled to enforce strict actions. His strict actions of law and government, allows his name to live in infamy. Although ruthless in decisions, and unjustly strict in law and government, Creon is still fair. "[N]o Ruler can expect complete loyalty from his subjects until he has been tested in office... I have nothing but contempt for the kind of Governor who is afraid... as for the man who puts private friendship above the public welfare - I have no use for him, either" (Scene 1 24 - 34). This quotation explains that Creon expects persistence from governors and has no faith in governors whom are weak and fearful for reforms. His principles show that he holds character, and is in fact not completely bad or completely good. Creon wills to preserve law and order, and values this more than what is right. His unscrupulous views leads him to punish even family if necessary. "No one values friendship more highly than I; but we must remember that friends made at the risk of wrecking our ship are not real friends at all. These are my principles, at any rate, and that is why I have made the following decision concerning the sons of Oedipus: Eteocles, who died as a man should die, fighting for his country, is to be buried with full military ...read more.


In relation to Creon's unyielding pride, he is forewarned by his son, Haimon, as he states, "Then she must die - but her death will lead to another" (Scene 3, Line 124). Little did Creon know, after Antigen's death, would lead to his son's death, as well as his wife's death. "The Queen is dead" (Exodus, Line 102). After all unfortunate incidents occur; Creon finally reaches the final trait of being a tragic hero, taking responsibility to his flaws which led to his faults. "It is right that is should be. I alone am guilty. I know it, and I say it. Lead me in...Lead me away. I have been rash and foolish. I have killed my son and my wife" (Exodus, Line 121). At this point, the King of Thebes, Creon, finally realizes and accepts the fact that his pride caused his unfortunate downfall, the death of his family, and loved ones. Due to the recognition of his flaw, Creon then fulfils the role of tragic hero in Aristotle's definition. The tragic hero holds a great significance in works of literature. The tragic hero suffers from problems, which brings pain, as well as an unfortunate downfall. The tragic hero often depicted as the perfect character, is truly more earthly, with flaws. Creon is portrayed as the tragic hero in this work of literature. Behavior, pride, decisions, ruling, traits, downfall, flaws, and acceptance of mistakes, are all key factors which allow Creon in Sophocles' Antigone, to fit perfectly in the category of tragic hero. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Classics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Classics essays

  1. Alexander The Great - Analysis of the Film

    They would be split into three , one group led by Alexander would go one way while another division led by a general would go another way . The final third were the Royal Troops who had fought for Alexander's father , they were told to wait until the other

  2. Throughout the play 'Antigone' there is a constant emphasis on the use and abuse ...

    all the tragedies surrounding him, mainly because he believes that even though they did not die directly by his own hand that they died at his hands because of his wrong doings towards the dead and "the unwritten, unalterable laws of heaven.".

  1. The position of masculinity and femininity in A Doll's House and Antigone.

    Don't you realise that this is the first time that we... have had a serious talk together?"12 and her need to liberate herself and make a life for her self. Her eventual emancipation comes at a cost to her though.

  2. Choose such a scene from 'Antigone' and explain what makes it dramatic.

    This speech focuses on tragedy and inevitably, both of which are the main focuses of the play. It is making you wait, and as you feel anxious, the tension builds up. The imagery used to talk about all the clues that lead to a tragedy all relate to what has already happened in 'Antigone´┐Ż.

  1. To what extent would you agree with the idea that Chinua Achebe presents Okonkwo ...

    'He could return to the clan after seven years.' For Okonkwo, who had worked so hard, this was a great setback. The exploding of Okonkwo's rifle leads to another of Aristotle's points of a tragic hero. This is the idea that the punishment exceeds the crime, that even if the hero committed a crime, the punishment they receive is unjust.

  2. Who made the greatest contribution to the Athenian Constitution?

    I offered financial assistance to impoverished farmers, which I also encouraged the great poets of the Greek world to visit Athens, and established two of the city's most important festivals - The City Dionysia and the Great Panathenaia. These occasions were cause for great jubilance within the city...

  1. Form and Structure - Antigone

    This means that the audience do not sympathise, which was Aristotle's goal * Aristotle believed that a great Tragedy should show the downfall of man. It was believed in Ancient Greece arrogant people would fail in life. This downfall as a result of arrogance was known as Hubris.

  2. Describe Agrippina's rise to prominence

    This showed Agrippina?s political involvement and that she is actively in opposition, this outlined her rise to prominence. In marrying Claudius Agrippina significantly increased her role in Roman politics; she was now the emperor?s wife and in a perfect position to use her relationship with Claudius to influence his decisions and fulfilled her prominence.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work