living on the border
The Effects of Unyielding JusticeA tragic hero is a character who, unknowingly, does something that leads to their downfall. The tragic hero is someone who possesses great nobility and virtue; someone who has the qualities of a good person; someone who does not mean to, but in the end, makes the literary work a tragedy. In Antigone, by Sophacles, Creon is the tragic hero.
Creon is one of the main characters in Antigone. When Polynices kills his brother, Eteocles, Creon feels that Polynices does not deserve the honor of being buried. Creon feels that Polynices was wrong to kill Eteocles, even though Eteocles wasn’t honoring the agreement to give up the throne. It is Creons belief that Polynice’s fratricide was not justified. That Polynices murdering Eteocles was a larger crime then Eteocles refusing to keep his end of the bargain. Creon’s beliefs cause him to make a law saying that Polynices to decay in the streets instead of going through the proper burial rights. This law leads to the main plot of the play: Antigone’s decision to break the law and bury Polynices and the problem that arises because of it.
The punishment for burying Polynices is death, so when Creon hears that someone did this he is astonished and upset. He dares to punish the guard is the perpetrator is not found saying, "Quibble now about judgments; but if you don’t show me who did this you will affirm that foul profits reap terrible rewards" (Sophocles 340). Creon is showing that this law was extremely important to him; that what Polynices did is more than a petty crime. For someone to have buried Polynices, hurts and angers Creon for he was trying to ease himself and make a statement to the citizens by not doing so.
Antigone is brought before Creon, as she is the person who buried Polynices. She glady accepts the punishment of the crime. Antigones feeling towards the situation is as strong as Creon’s. Creon is vowing to follow through with his punishment and kill Antigone. "Then go below, and if you must be loved, love them! No woman will rule where I live" (Sophacles 540), he yells when she tries to defend herself and her bother. Creon’s beliefs cause him to lash out in this way. His and Antigone’s ideas about what is right and wrong, about what is just and unjust, differs to the point where Creon feels that his law should be upheld to the strongest degree regardless of what Antigone feels, and regardless of what the gods feel is the moral thing to do.
When Creon tells Haemon that he is going to kill Antigone he is almost sure that Haemon will agree with this plan. Haemon, though, thinks differently. When Creon accuses Haemon of doing wrong by not agreeing with his decision he says, "Worst of all men, at odds with your own father!" (Sophocles 753) Creon is completely head strong in his decision. Like any father would, he expects his son to do right by him. The conflict is that Haemon feels that it would be going against the law of the gods to kill Antigone. He threatens Creon with, "Then she will die and, dying, destroy another" (Sophocles 764). This is the first threat that is made towards Creon. This is the first threat that begins the thought that, although Creon is unyielding and determined to do what he thinks is just, brings thought that the play will be a tragedy.
Lastly, Tiresias, the blind prophet, comes to warn Creon. "…You will give one from your loins, a corpse for corpses, in exchange for those you have sent above from above the earth to below it" (Sophocles 1073). At this point Creon has decided to lock Antigone in a tomb instead of killing her. He thinks that this is the closest he can get to punishing her with out going against what the gods command. He thinks about what Tiresias is saying but still says "to yield is a terrible thing, but it is just as terrible to give up my anger" (Sophocles 1105). At first Creon does not go back on his word but he eventually decides that it is best to release Antigone, calling his servants to release her only to find out that she has committed suicide. Creon’s actions and strong feelings have caused this and he now must reap the consequences that come from them.
The prophecies Tiresias come true when the messenger comes to tell the audience that Haemon has killed him self. "One from [his] loins" is gone. Haemon expressed that he someone else would die if Antigone was killed, by someone else, he meant himself. When Eurydice finds out what has happened to her son she feels great and terrible pain that any mother would feel from losing a child. This is an unbearable pain for Eurydice. She follows suit with Antigone and Haemon, and also commits suicide.
In conclusion, Creon’s decisions were not meant to hurt anyone. He is a hero for sticking to his beliefs; for doing what he felt was just. When a king sets a law he intends for it to be followed and Creon was trying to uphold that standard. When someone his so head strong in their beliefs they are often immalleable to them. Creon was not purposely a villain. In all meanings, Creon is the tragic hero of the story because he possesses the nobility and virtue that all tragic heroes must have and he never meant for his actions to have tragic repercussions.
aaah, I just realized that I need to do a lot of editing so please do not comment on that, just content