Antigone

And Kreon
In Antigone, both Antigone and Kreon could be considered the tragic hero
of the play. A tragic hero, defined by A Dictionary of Literary, Dramatic and
Cinematic Terms, is someone who suffers due to a tragic flaw, or hamartia. This
Greek word is variously translated as “tragic flaw” or “error” or”weakness”. Kreons hamartia, like in many plays, is hybris Greek for
overweening pride, arrogance, or excessive confidence. Kreons hybris causes
him to attempt to violate the laws of order or human rights, another main part
of a tragic hero. Also, like all tragic heroes, Kreon suffers because of his
hamartia and then realizes his flaw. The belief that Antigone is the hero is a
strong one, but there is a stronger belief that Kreon, the Ruler of Thebes, is
the true protagonist. Kreons main and foremost hamartia was his hybris, or
his extreme pride. Kreon was a new king, and he would never let anyone prove him
wrong or let anyone change his mind once it was made. One main event that showed
Kreons hamartia and also caused the catastrophe was when he asked his son
Haimon, who was engaged to marry Antigone, if he still loves his father. Haimon
says he respects Kreons ruling, but he feels, in this case, that Kreon was
wrong. Haimon asks his father to take his advice and not have Antigone executed,
but, because of Kreons hybris, Kreon gets furious and makes the situation
worse then it already was. He was way too proud to take advice from someone
younger, and in his anger he decided to kill Antigone right away in front of
Haimons eyes. “Just understand: You dont insult me and go off
laughing. Bring her here! Let him see her. Kill her here, beside her
bridegroom” (Sophocles 919-921). This was too much for Haimon to take, and
he runs out of the room, yelling, “…her death will destroy others” (Sophocles
908). Blinded by his pride and arrogance, Kreon takes that remark as a threat to
himself, unknowing that it wasnt directed to himself, but was a suicide
threat by his own son. Another example of Kreons tragic pride is when the
prophet, Teiresias, travels all the way to Thebes to tell Kreon very important
news, but Kreon pride makes him ignore it and he accuses Teiresias of being
bribed. Teiresias tells Kreon that the gods are angered by Kreons disregard
for their laws, and that Kreon should release Antigone and bury Polyneices.


After Teiresias tells Kreon that he, the King of Thebes, has made a wrong
decision, Kreons tragic pride is shown again. Teiresias: Doesnt anyone
know, wont anyone consider.. Kreon: Consider what? What universal
truths are you going to proclaim? Teiresias: …how much more valuable
than money good advice is? Kreon: Or how much worse losing your judgement
is? (Sophocles 1210-1214) Teiresias, a blind prophet from Delphi whom has
never been proven wrong, tells Kreon, “All mankind is subject to error.

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Once a mistake is made… it is wise of him to make amends and not be unbending.


Stubbornness is stupidity” (Sophocles 1180-1184), but Kreon remains
stubborn. “Teiresias: And tyrants love to have their own way regardless of
right and wrong. Kreon: Do you know who youre talking to? Were your
rulers” (Sophocles 1225-1228). Like all tragic heroes, Kreon must suffer
because of his hamartia. After his anagnorisis, Greek for recognition, he
realizes that he was filled with too much pride and that the prophets
prediction must be true. Kreon attempts to set things right, but unfortunately,
does not in time. In a very ironic peripereia, Greek for reversal, his son
commits suicide, as does his wife. This is all because of Kreons tragic flaw:
Pride. Kreon realizes this, and suffers, like all tragic heroes. Suffering is
one of the main parts a tragic hero: realizing his or her tragic flaw when
its too late and suffering because of it. Kreons realization of his flaw
is very obviously shown when he says “…I was wrong, not you” (Sophocles
1464), and “I have learned, I am ruined. It was a god. Then, right then!
Hit me, held me, heaped heavy on my head…” (Sophocles 1468-1469). His
suffering is also obviously shown. “Has someone a sword? I and grief are
blended. I am grief” (Sophocles 1502), “Hurry, take me out of the way,
Im nobody. Im nothing” (Sophocles 1510-1511). Kreon is tragic hero
because his actions follow the typical “tragic hero” outline. He had a
hamartia, a tragic flaw, which was his pride and stubbornness, or hybris. He
realized his hamartia, but unfortunately just too late, and suffered because of
it. Now, “Suffering is his teacher”. He has learned the hard way, but like
all tragic heroes, he has learned. Kreons character followed the basic
outline of a tragic hero. Critics to this day still argue about who is the
tragic hero of Antigone, Antigone herself, or Kreon. From what I have found,
Kreon seems like the perfect “Tragic Hero” because he fits all the
requirements of a tragic hero. Antigone, on the other hand, does not. She does
not realize her hamartia, and while Kreon must live with what he has done,
Antigone is dead. Death, which ceases her suffering, letting her rest for
infinity.