By tragically losing all, one is forced to feel sympathy toward him, by doing what he always thought was right, and what he thought would further protect his kingdom, he is regarded as a hero.
As the editor in chief Stanley Hochman stated in McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of World Drama "a 'tragic hero' learns, although too late, from their experiences, as when Creon cries in the end of the play: Yes, I have learned it to my bitterness.
Some would argue that Antigone is indeed the main tragic character, as her fate is unarguably tragic. She at first, celebrates a victory when she is caught by the sentry and put to trial before Creon. However, there is no moment of ‘Oh, it’s going to be alright now’ as there is in Oedipus Rex when Oedipus finds that Polybus is dead of natural causes and thinks that half the prophecy about him marrying his mother and murdering his father is unfulfilled. Aristotle used Oedipus Rex as the example of a perfect representation of a tragic play in the Poetics, However, Antigone, although she does experience a tragic end due to her own actions and harmatia, or flaw, she does not experience that lifting up. Indeed, it is obvious from the beginning that she is heading towards death.
I ask you to go home and reconcile your differences so when you come back tomorrow you will have an open mind so that you will all reach an agreement that Creon is the tragic hero.
Aristotle defined a tragic hero as someone “between two extremes... not eminently good and just, yet whose misfortune is not brought about by some error or frailty” (Aristotle, Poetics). Tragedy is meant to produce catharsis by making the audience empathise with the protagonist. The purpose of a tragic character, therefore, is to produce these emotions by being raised to a great height and then sent plummeting down. An effective tragedy causes the audience’s emotions to mirror this rise and fall.
Creon on the other hand, is seen as a very strong and fair minded leader at first. His fatal flaw is his stubbornness and reluctance to see anyone else’s view. He begins, like Oedipus, as a character that is easily admired and portrayed as an open, caring king “I have always held the view that a king whose lips are sealed by fear, unwilling to seek advice, is damned. And no less damned is he who puts a friend above his country”. These patriotic words would have appealed to the Ancient Greek audience, who were proud of their democracy and way of life. However, there is typical Sophoclean irony in that these words are also a foreshadowing of his tragedy – he puts the State too far before his family, and as a result, he loses his wife and son.
Antigone’s tragedy comes because of her unswerving loyalty to her brother, Polynices, and her determination to give him burial honours despite the personal danger. Her defiance and disregard of Creon leads to him imprisoning her alive in a tomb, where she commits suicide.
I've been looking for this all over the place: what is Antigone's tragic
flaw?!? The way I see it, Oedipus's is his pride. He seems totally bent on
finding out the truth and refuses to listen to other people's advise to let
it rest. Creon's is also pride (am I right here?). He's so convinced that
he's right that he stops listening to anybody opposing him. I think that
Antigone's is maybe pride, but I'm not sure. I'd really appreciate if you
would help me out, give me a hint, anything! Thanks a lot!!People always think that because Aristotle said a tragic hero's downfall should be due to a "tragic flaw" (hamartia), and Aristotle admired King Oedipus above all tragedies, therefore Oedipus must have a "flaw". [This is a false premise under Aristotle's very own logic.]
And so they have struggled to find one!
Could it have been his bad temper? (No, he was quite justified in his rage at Creon and Tiresias, having good reasons to suspect them of plotting against him)
Could it have been his murderous temperament, in killing an old man in a chariot? (No, he had good reason once more, and any Greek would have criticised him for NOT killing the irritating old boy)
Could Laius have been under divine protection as he was going to Delphi? The hamartia would then be killing a divinely protected person (Nothing in the text to indicate this)
Could it have been his carelessness - surely anyone told about killing his father and sleeping with his mother would have avoided killing ANY man and sleeping with ANY woman? (No - Oedipus knew who his parents were - as he thought, and took all reasonable precautions to avoid "accidentally" doing deeds which no sane person could imagine himself doing anyway)
Could it have been his pride and arrogance - fuelled by his success with the Sphinx? (no - he includes himself in the curse he made, and is more than anxious to find the truth)
Could it have been his fatal curiosity, inquiring into matters best left unexplored? (Surely not - neither Greeks of 5th century BC nor ourselves would have seen this as a fault - "the truth is out there". The truth may be unpalatable or dangerous, but it is better than ignorance).
Concusion? Forget Aristotle - a scientist trying to find a scientific analysis for the unanalysable. How many plays actually conform to his rules? Only King Oedipus comes near - and not even that has a tragic hero with a tragic flaw!
I wrote this a while ago to someone asking about Oedipus' flaw: the same applies to Creon and Antigone. The whole business of "tragic flaws" is something that English and Drama teachers have got hold of from some book they read when they were students - no one these days who has actually studied Greek tragedy believes there is any such thing. Do you worry about tragic flaws when you see a movie? Of course not - there are more important things (which Aristotle correctly identified) - plot and character. Each character in tragedy is unique, and the reasons for their suffering are unique to them. Read Antigone again trying to find her uniqueness, and you'll start to understand the reasons why we feel for her.
Well done for not being able to find the flaw in Antigone, then - the reason is there is none!
PS No Greek would understand "pride" as a flaw! Just as in Black Pride or Gay Pride - the Greeks saw pride as a positive thing. The nearest is hybris - which means believing you are free to abuse those weaker than yourself (ie behaving like a god!).
Creon’s tragedy is his dilemma over how he deals with his headstrong niece, Antigone. He upholds the law of the polis, or city, and as king, upholds his edicts. When Antigone rebels against his law, he becomes stubborn, close minded and begins to commit hubris. He insults Hades by dishonouring death, Aphrodite by breaking up the marriage of Haemon and Antigone, Earth by imprisoning Antigone in her alive and Zeus, saying to “Let the eagles carry his carcass up to the throne of Zeus”. He refuses to listen to Antigone’s case and ignores his son’s pleas for reason and mercy. This leads to him being brought down by the gods, his wife and son committing suicide, one life in payment for the death he caused and one for the dishonour he dealt to Polynices, left lying above the ground.
This is where the story of Antigone picks up. Creon, Oedipus’s brother in law and uncle (Oedipus married his mother) is now King of Thebes. He issues a decree to give funeral honours to one, but not the other. He honours Eteocles for defending the city, but leaves Polynices out to be eaten by dogs. However, as part of his family, it is Antigone’s right and obligation to bury both of her brothers, and she does so. Under Creon’s edict, this incurs the death penalty for the headstrong young woman. Creon becomes increasingly stubborn, eventually showing hubris, which the gods could not ignore for any longer. He imprisons her alive in a tomb, not knowing that his son Haemon, who is bethrothed to her, follows. The prophet Teiresias comes to Creon and after initial resistance, Creon repents and decides to go to free Antigone. He finds that he is too late, however, and rather tragically, Antigone has hung herself, Haemon falls on his sword before Creon’s eyes and the body of Creon’s wife is found shortly after, leaving Creon a broken man.