Antigone – Greek Tragedy

Antigone – Greek Tragedy

Greek tragedy The play, Antigone, by Sophocles, is full of unexpected twists and family tensions. Antigone is a Greek tragedy because it fits Aristotle’s definition of an ideal tragedy. One of Aristotle’s five points is, to be a tragedy, there must be a tragic hero. Creon, a character in Antigone, best fits the definition of a tragic hero. Creon is an Aristotelean tragic hero because of what others say, Creon says, and Creon’s actions.

Creon fits the first point of Aristotle’s five points of tragedy which states that they must, be of high status in the community, act consistent, and experiences a marked change from good to bad. Creon is the king of Thebes, Choragus, the Chorus leader, introduces him as the king in the beginning of the play (1026, l. 1-2). In addition, Creon acts consistent throughout the whole play. He’s harsh to his family members, and his advisors. Creon is harsh to his nephew, Polynieces, when he stated his law that Polynieces cannot be buried, or the person who does will be put to death (1027, l. 9-42). He also threatened to put his niece Antigone to death because she was caught trying to bury Polynieces body. He put her in a secluded tomb to die(1045, l. 142-143). Creon was harsh to the messenger who told Creon that someone buried Polynieces body. Creon yelled at him because he did not know who had done it. He was also harsh to Choragus when he mentioned that maybe the gods could have buried Polynieces body. Creon got extremely upset and thought he knew what the god’s thought. Creon was even harsh to his son Haemon.

Haemon came to talk to his father about Antigone because he was arranged to marry her. Creon became very offensive because he thought Haemon was not being loyal to him. Further, Creon experiences a marked change in the plot. Teiresias, a blind prophet, tells Creon his fate, and that the gods are punishing Thebes because Polynieces’ body is not buried. Creon tries to undo his fate, but it back fires at him. Creon trying to undo his fate ties into Aristotle’s second point of a tragic hero.

The tragic hero’s change is result of a great error, or hamartia, the tragic hero will also cause his own downfall because he does not have enough information. Creon’s great error was forbidding Polynieces’ body to be buried, and for entombing Antigone alive. Furthermore, his error caused his downfall because the god’s stopped listening to Thebes prayers as a punishment for Creon’s actions. Antigone hung herself in her tomb, and as a result Haemon tried to kill his father, but instead killed himself.

As a result, Creon’s wife killed herself because her son was dead, and it was her husband’s fault. Creon ended up all alone. Creon’s downfall was a result of him not having enough information. Creon did not know that the god’s would punish Thebes for not burying Polynieces’, therefore it caused his downfall. Creon’s downfall ties into Aristotle’s third point of a tragic hero. The protagonist’s shift from good to bad should arouse pity and fear for the character.

The audience should feel pity because the protagonist experiences misfortune, and fear because they can see themselves in the protagonist. The audience experiences pity because Creon loses his whole family, and because of him the gods curses Thebes. Also, the audience feels fear because they can identify themselves with Creon. They worry that maybe their family could turn on them too. Creon is the tragic hero in Antigone because he fits all the points of Aristotle’s definition of tragedy. We know that he fits all these points because of what others say, what Creon says, and by Creon’s actions.