Is Anouilh’s Antigone a Tragedy? Discuss.
tragedy is defined as “the downfall of a noble hero or heroine usually through some combination of hubris, fate and the will of the gods. ” In this play, Antigone is has already been fated to die at a young age, and one of Antigone’s many themes is Freewill vs. Fate. According to the definition of tragedy in Greek Theatre, Antigone would be defined as a tragedy. Antigone knew that if she buries her brother, the consequence would be death, as said by Creon. Ismene also tried to persuade Antigone. Regardless she goes and buries her brother. When she realizes that she has made a wrong decision at the end of the play.
Antigone was not able to change what had happen which makes her a tragic heroine. In the play, it seems to the fate of the heroine overpowers her freewill; she was fated by the gods that she is going to die young, her freewill to bury her brother leads to her tragic ending. Creon is also be considered as a tragic hero, in my opinion, because his tyranny lead to Antigone, Haemon and Eurydice’s deaths. The decisions Creon makes as the king of Thebes leads him to his tragic ending. He doesn’t let Haemon marry Antigone, after he has found that she was the one who buried Polynices, which lead to Haemon’s death.
Also when Antigone is being arrested, the Chorus tells Creon that Thebes will carry the scar of her death for centuries, but Creon does not listen. Creon uses political judgement for his decision, and he does not consider the consequences which cause the deaths of three people. His decision for Antigone, decided the lives of three people. If he had considered the after math of the execution of Antigone, Haemon may have lived, and Eurydice wouldn’t have cut her throat after hearing of Haemon’s death. I find that Creon is conceited as he does not listen or care about other people’s opinion.
Haemon did suggest an option to cover up for Antigone, but Creon did not accept it, and Haemon said he will not live without Antigone. After their deaths Creon realizes that it was his decisions that caused the death of three people. Though we can sympathize with Creon because he is the king of Thebes and has to act accordingly to laws, it was the Creon’s method of political judgement that resulted in this ending. I consider Creon to be a tragic hero as well because at the end of the play he realizes what he has done wrong, and that fits the definition of tragedy in literature.