Antigone vs. Creon
In the tragedy of Antigone by Sophocles, Antigone, the main protagonist, is conflicted whether or not to bury her dead brother and go against Creon’s law or follow Creon’s law. Creon is the main antagonist in this story and punishes Antigone for breaking his law and burying Polynieces. Though they are two different characters, Creon and Antigone could both qualify as the tragic hero because they are both responsible for their own fate, endowed with a tragic flaw and falls from high esteem.
In the story, Antigone and Creon are responsible for their own fate, seeing as it’s their actions that cause them to be a tragic hero. Antigone knows about Creon’s law not bury Polynieces, yet she’d rather go against Creon than the Gods. She did what she thinks is correct but Creon is furious and sends her to a stone grave. Antigone knows what the consequences would be, “[her] death is the doing of [her] own conscious hand” (‘v. 46). She wouldn’t be dead if she didn’t bury Polynieces and follow Creon’s law.
She chooses to go against him and that seals her fate. Creon, on the other hand, hooses to be stubborn and punish Antigone for breaking his crime. He couldn’t bear to seem weak to the citizens of Thebes. It was Antigone’s punishment, “if she lives or dies/That’s her affair” (‘v. 55-56). Even if it means sending his own, soon to be daughter in law, to her death. Creon let his pride control his actions and that causes him to lose his wife and his last son. Both, Antigone and Creon could avoid their tragic endings but their flaws cause their ultimate downfall.
The tragic flaw endowed in both these characters is pride, one refusing to admit what she did was wrong and another refusing to listen to others. Antigone not only goes against Creon’s law but she boasts about it. She refuses to admit she is wrong, saying that Creon’s law “[is] not God’s proclamation. That final Justice/ That rules the world below makes no such laws” 57-58). She stands for what she believes in and that makes Creon angry. Though Antigone did follow the law of the Gods, it did not stop Creon from punishing her for breaking his laws.
Similarly, Creon’s hubris causes him to lose everything too. Haemon had come to him saying that a good king listens to other people’s opinions and “[Doesn’t] believe that [he] alone can be right” (iii. 74) ut he doesn’t listen. Then Teiresias comes and tries to convince Creon to fix everything, for the Gods are angry and it’s his fault. He finally comes to his senses and tries to right his wrongs by mimicking a proper burial for Polynieces and freeing Antigone from her grave, but he is too late.
Creon loses his entire family for Haemon kills himself in grief for Antigone and Eurydice takes her life in grief for the loss of both her sons. Everything was going well in their lives until pride gets in the way and ruins the life they once had. Antigone and Creon had a pretty good life in the beginning, seeing as Antigone is etting married and Creon is ruling as king of Thebes, but all that deteriorates once they are forced to face the consequences of their actions. Antigone is already that Polynieces isn’t going to be buried and Eteocles is, makes it worse.
She chooses to get involved and ends up with her “[making] a noose of her fine linen veil/And [hanging] herself” because she’d rather die for what she believes in than what someone tells her to believe in (Exo. 59-60). She couldVe left it alone and let Polynieces rot in the field and go about her life to marry Haemon, yet she chooses to risk her life and when the time comes, accepts her death with honor. At the same time, Creon has also let his life go to waste because he already lost one son in the war, he saw another take his life in front of him and comes back home to find his wife had taken her life as well.
All Creon wants to do is to die because “[his] comfort lies here dead. mhatever [his] hands have touched has come to nothing” (Exo. 136-137). Creon went from being King of Thebes, with a family at home, to Just Creon, who became a victim of the Gods and fate. Although he didn’t die, he accepts the fact that he was too late to fix everything and asks to be led away, for his entire family is dead because of him. Most readers would immediately argue that Sophocles chose Antigone as the tragic hero since the story is called Tragedy of Antigone.
Although this is true, according to Greek terms of a tragic hero, Creon, to an extent, could also qualify as the tragic hero. Antigone and Creon had two different roles in this story, but in the end they are both the tragic hero because theyre responsible for their own fate, possess a tragic flaw and they fall from high esteem.