How and why King Creon might be considered the tragic character in Antigone?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One primary reason why Creon might be considered the tragic character is because he lived.  The level of pathos felt by the audience is very high for Creon because he is left to see the result of his stubbornness.  Essentially, Creon acts with a sense of conviction and belief in what he is doing.  He genuinely believes that the law translates into justice.  To break it is to engage in the act of injustice.  His faith in the law and the word of the legal system is what causes him to not see Antigone's point of view, disown his son, and brings on both of their deaths.  At the same time, Eurydice kills herself given the death of her son.  Creon is left broken and humbled, completely cut adrift of that which he loved.  He can be seen as a tragic hero because he pursued an end that he thought was right.  He gained little in terms of compensation for following the word of his law, as he sought to be a just and wise ruler.  He simply followed his own convictions, the authenticity of his own beliefs.  From this, a brutal and intestinal pain- ridden end results.  This could constitute as tragic because of the level and force of character evolution he endures as a result.