Monday, March 1, 2010

Creon, the Tragic hero

The tragic hero in Antigone is Creon because his hubris leads to his downfall, but he is still able to learn from it. He considers the death of his family members not only be his fault, but also be his fate. His fate wasn’t that all of his loved ones would die, rather it was that something would happen that would end his pride, or his hubris. Creon’s last line is that his “Fate has brought all of [his] pride to a though of dust.” He now has complete respect for the Gods and their laws, realizing that his power is not equal to theirs.

Creons downfall rids him of this pride, and as Choragos says in the end, “proud men in old age learn to be wise.” This suggests that while Creon’s entire family has died, these events are a part of his growth as a person, to the wise man he will ultimately become. This growth is characteristic of a tragic hero, because while all may seem destroyed for them at the end, they eventually In Creon’s case, his pride is replaced with wisdom.

Although the drama Antigone is primarily about respecting the dead and following a higher order, that of the gods, the drama also deals with the nature of governing a State and hubris. Creon begins to believe that he is the State because he says the “The State is the King” and that his “voice is the one voice giving orders in” Thebes. Creon’s belief in his power shows his hubris, since he believes his power and law is equal to that of the Gods.

During Haimon and Creon’s argument, Haimon says, “In the flood time you can see how some trees bend and because they bend, even their twigs are safe, while stubborn trees are torn up, roots and all.” Creon’s stubborn decision and complete confidence in his power causes his tree, or life, to be “torn up.” If he had only listened to. This power and hubris has turned the people against Creon, as Haimon noted that Thebes “is no City if it takes orders from one voice.” However, Creon’s pride has turned him blind to the grievances of his own people, making him an unpopular ruler. Antigone tried to explain this to Creon when she told him that everyone fears him, and are therefore unable to voice their true opinions. Creon ignores all of the warnings, highlighting his pride, but by the end of the drama, Creon realizes his mistakes and changes.

Anitgone is not a tragic figure in the drama because she does not change during the drama. She was always in the right from the beginning of the drama because she respected the gods. However, she does have other flaws, such as her headstrong personality. For someone so concerned for her dead brother, Antigone shows little loyalty or love to her living family members. By giving her sister the ultimatum to either be with her or forget her, she shows the worst part of her stubbornness. Her stubbornness can also been seen as pride, as she refuses her sisters wish to die by saying that she will not allow Ismene to “lessen her death by sharing it.”

While Creon and Antigone both share this family trait of pride, it is only Creon who is rid of it at the end of the drama, making him the true tragic hero because he is fully able to realize his downfall.


  1. Asmit,
    I agree with your argument that Creon is the most tragic character in the play. (You should read Zach's blog because he makes a very similar argument). In comparing Antigone and Creon, I like how you show that, in the end, Creon realizes his hubris (like Oedipus did) and, although completely devastated and full of grief, he is enlightened, unlike Antigone. I do think, however, that Antigone is still a tragic figure--just not in the sense that Creon is.

    You did a really good job of developing your argument. Nice work!

  2. Ahh growth. I wish I could grow. Like maybe 3 inches, so I could be 5'8''. It's really awkward when I tell people I want to be 5'11", but hey that's me. Anyways, back to your blog.

    I personally didn't like Creon... until I read your blog. Good job convincing me that Creon is somewhat the tragic hero, if you could give him a term. But yeah, Creon learns that he has hubris, and Antigone goes and kills herself. Clearly, somebody wasn't thinking too highly of themselves. Like in my class, Pery said that if everyone just waited 5 more minutes, they wouldn't be acting all irrational. I'm going to give a guess and say that you just sort of described that, only in essay-smart-english speaking terms.

  3. Hey Asmit,
    I really liked this blog. I never really considered the possibility that Creon was a hero! Very original. I'm not entirely convinced though. Had all of the other characters survived, I would wholeheartedly agree with you, but as it is... oh! I don't know! Ha, I'm not sure. I guess there might not be a right answer. But good job! You've certainly got me thinking here.

  4. First of all, great job on your essay! I found it very interesting that you labeled Creon as a tragic hero and completely agree with you. As a tragic hero, Creon does eventually learn from his own mistakes, or as you said “gain wisdom”, after his tragic downfall. Creon’s pride certainly went too far because, as you mentioned, he felt he was almost as powerful as the Gods.
    During class we compared both Creon’s and Antigone’s actions and mentioned that though Creon did commit various flaws, Antigone was not the best character either because of her stubbornness and harsh interaction with her sister. You mention that both characters “share the family trait of pride” but as we discovered in class, it’s a bit debatable whether or not Antigone expressed this trait.

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