Tragic Hero: AntigoneHow could her life have been different if she had behaved in a less prideful manner? Aristotle identifies the tragic hero as a character who falls from a lofty postion...
How could her life have been different if she had behaved in a less prideful manner? Aristotle identifies the tragic hero as a character who falls from a lofty postion because of a tragic flaw, normally that flaw is pride.
Which scenes displays pride and what are the effects that the pride has on the characters life?
Although Antigone contends that she chooses to support the law of the gods by burying her brother instead of following Creon's decree, her motives seem tainted by her desire for glory. She declares that even if she dies for her effort, "that death will be a glory." Later when Ismene attempts to assume some of the punishment, Antigone will not allow her to do so, telling Ismene: "Never lessen my death by sharing it." Once entombed, Antigone hangs herself to insure her quick death. All of these actions suggest that she not only seeks to provide her brother proper burial, which was essential to ancient Greeks, but also to achieve martyrdom herself. Her pride versus Creon's insecurity as a new king and his refusal to change his mind lead to the tragic deaths of Haemon and Eurydice, and Creon is left to deal with the consequences of his actions.
I know the play is called Antigone, and she is clearly the main character (protagonist). I've always thought a case could be made that it's Creon who is the tragic hero. He suffers from excessive pride/stubbornness, a flaw which costs him literally everything. He brings on much of his own grief and tragedy. His punishment probably outweighs his crime. His fall is bigger than anyone else's. While he clearly took good care of the two girls, and even allowed one of his sons to marry one of the daughters of Oedipus, he did not do a good job with the sons of Oedipus. He is, I contend, responsible in part for the deaths of both boys. He is a flawed tragic hero by all the standards.
In addition to Antigone, Creon may also be seen as being guilty of excessive pride. He is convinced that he cannot waiver in his decision to stone Antigone to death because he fears that the people of Thebes may regard him as a weak king. However, even after Haimon tells him that the people are sympathetic towards Antigone, Creon does not bend. He is too proud to go back on his word. Only after Teiresias visits him does he realize that he is guilty of “stubborn pride” and attempts to mend his ways. This realization comes too late, and by the time he reaches the vault, Antigone has already killed herself, and Haimon commits suicide soon after.