Consequences of Pride: Creon as the Tragic Hero of Sophocles' Antigone

While it is likely that Oedipus Rex is the only character who completely embodies Aristotle's idea of a tragic hero, there are many characters who possess enough of his defined characteristics to qualify as the tragic hero of their respective drama. Creon, the King of Thebes in Sophocles' Antigone, is one such character. A noble and relatively virtuous man who loses everything he has as a result of his excessive pride, Creon experiences a revelatory manifestation moments too late to undo his wrongdoing, thus making him the Aristotelian tragic hero of the drama.

As is required of an Aristotelian tragic hero, Creon is of high social status, for at the beginning of the play it is made known that he is the King of Thebes. In addition, Creon's high moral character, as seen through his love for the state, the just decision to punish Polyneices, and his good leadership, further makes him worthy to possess the label of tragic hero. When speaking to the chorus, Creon states:

. . . if any[one] makes a friend of more account than his fatherland, that man has no place in my regard. For I . . . would not be silent if I saw ruin, instead of safety, coming to the citizens . . . remembering this, that our country is the ship that...

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