Pre-AP English 6 February /2013 Aristotle’s Tragic Hero In order to fulfill the requirements of a tragic hero, a hero or a heroine must have certain characteristics. For example, they are required to be a member of royalty, be neither completely good nor completely bad, they have to be responsible for their own downfall due to a hamartia and lastly they need to realize their mistakes and accept their consequences. In Antigone, there are two main characters that fit the criteria of a tragic hero, but only the protagonist, Antigone meets all of the conditions.
Antigone meets the second requirement of a tragic heroine, by fulfilling the criteria of being neither entirely good nor completely bad. In the opening of the play, Antigone asks her sister, Ismene to help her give Polynieces a proper burial but Ismene disagrees because she believes that she is breaking the laws Creon enforced. Angry at Ismene’s decision she responds, “That must be your excuse, I suppose. But as for me, I will bury the brother I love” (Prol, 64). Antigone at this point is neither good nor bad because she is honoring her families values by doing what Gods laws command.
On the other hand, by her burying the the brother, Polynieces, she is also going against Creon’s laws and disobeying him. Ismene on the contrary of what Antigone had said, retorts, “ they mean a great deal to me; but I have no strength to break the laws that were made for the public good” (Prol, 62). By Ismene using this Quote, she is not only explaining to Antigone that she respects the laws of the Gods but, she is also warning her about the dangers of going against Creon’s law. In addition to Ismene’s response, Antigone flabbergasted replies, “ It is the dead not the living, who make the longest demands: we die forever.
You may do as you like, since apparently the laws of Gods mean nothing to you” (Prol, 59-61). This quotation fulfills Antigone’s requirements of being neither good nor bad; because she is trying to honor the dead who she believes make the strongest demands but, she is also disagreeing with her sister who she thinks is on Creon’s side. Ultimately the choices Antigone makes proves that she meets the criteria of being neither good nor bad. Antigone fulfills her third requirement of being responsible for her own downfall due to her human flaw of hubris.
After she had confronted her sister, she decides that she will bury her brother, Polynieces alone. In conclusion, she gets caught in the act, and when she is asked why she had done what she did she responds, “ Creon is not strong enough to stand in my way”( Prol, 34). Antigone shows her pride by using this quote because she acts like Creon’s law is the least of her worries. Even though she recognizes the consequences, she still commits the act through too much pride. Furthermore, she asserts, “ I should have praise and honor for what I have done.
All these men here would praise me were their lips not frozen shut with fear of you”( ii, 98-100). This quotation, proves Antigone has too much pride because she is confident that if it weren’t for the fear that the community has for Creon, everyone would be praising her act. In addition to Antigone being caught, Creon orders for Ismene to be brought to the palace because he believes that she is equally guilty. Ismene, scared that she would be left alone once Antigone is gone, agrees to Burying Polynieces. However, Antigone’s pride get’s in the way and she refutes, “ You shall not lessen my death by sharing it” (ii, 139).
This quote supports the topic sentence because Antigone’s pride is yet again shown by her response to Ismene’s confession. She presumes that Ismene is trying to have pity on her, therefore bringing her pride out. All in All, Antigone’s pride is seen throughout the play because of her pass judgment that she is always doing the right thing. Only Antigone meets her last criteria of recognizing her fault and accepting the consequences for it. While at the palace, Antigone acknowledges that her mistake was all due too the venom his father, Oedipus created after he fulfilled his fate of killing his father and marrying his mother.
She believes that her, “blasphemy of my birth has followed me”( iv, 44). By her using this quote, she reveals that if it weren’t for her being born into incest, her family wouldn’t be cursed as they are. Furthermore, she argues, “ No more, Ismene. You are alive, but I belong to death” (ii, 146). This Quotation reveals Antigone accepting her consequences that she has to die due to her act. Furthermore, realizing that his judgment was unwise Creon changes his mind from the harsh punishment of public stoning to her being locked in a cave with a limited amount of food.
Antigone shows she is accepting her consequence by responding, “ Then let me go, since all your words are bitter, and the very light of the sun is cold to me. Lead me to my vigil, where I must have neither love nor lamentation; no song, but silence” (iv, 282). This quote reveals that Antigone no matter what she did took her consequences and realized that burying Polynieces was all worth it. Overall, we see Antigone fulfilling her requirements of accepting her consequences of what she did.
From the time she was caught to the time she was given her sentence, she never denied nor took back what she had done. Although both Creon and Antigone fulfill the requirements of being a member of royalty, being neither completely good nor bad, being responsible for their own downfall due to hubris and lastly recognizing their own hamartia and accepting the consequences for it, only Antigone meets the requirements of her mistake and accepts her consequences. It is Antigone for whom the most piety falls on. Ultimately it is Antigone, the protagonist who meets all the conditions.