PROMPT: Explain who is the tragic hero of the play, as well as that particular character's tragic flaw that leads to his/her end.
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The world does not contain an ideal individual for every man is flawed in some aspect. The imperfection of man and the problems resulting from them are the very basis of which Greek tragedies are written. The protagonist of a tragedy is called the tragic hero and the tragic hero has to possess a tragic flaw that eventually leads to his demise at the end. In "Antigone" by Sophocles, the tragic hero is Creon and the tragic flaw that he possesses is his arrogance.
Creon's character has all the requirements needed for him to be considered the tragic hero of "Antigone." His character is regarded as the protagonist because he is the principal character that supports a righteous cause. The play is based on King Creon's rule of the city of Thebes and therefore he is one of he main characters. Creon strongly believes that Polyneices, the brother of the former king, should not be allowed any form of burial since he fought his own brother for the throne and caused a battle in which they both perished. As a result of his righteous beliefs, Creon establishes a decree forbidding anyone to bury Polyneices, the traitor. Moreover, Creon possesses a tragic flaw that ultimately led him to his downfall. His flaw, which was his arrogance, left him "alone...[and] guilty"(Exodus:121) and directly "killed...[his] son and wife"(Exodus: 135). Creon's arrogance can be shown in his interactions with Antigone, Haimon, and Teirasias.
Antigone, the sister of Polyneices, decides to bury her brother despite the death penalty for doing so established by Creon. When Antigone is caught in the act, Creon sentences her to death by surrounding her "in a vault of stone... in the wilderness" (3:143-4) despite the fact that Antigone is his niece and his son, Haimon's, fiancé. Creon thinks so highly of himself and his law that he doesn't take into account who has committed the crime or for what reasons and punishes Antigone according to his law. In the eyes of Creon, he can only see that an anarchist has defied him and therefore is punishable by death. When Haimon goes to reason with his father about Antigone's unreasonable sentence, Creon tells him that "a man of ...[his] years and experience [should not] ...go to school to a boy"(3:94-96). From this statement it's clear that Creon has excessive pride because he sees his son as an immature boy while he's a grown, intelligent man when he's the one being unreasonable. Further into the play, the blind prophet, Teirasias, deliberately goes to the king to warn him of the severe consequences of his actions after seeing a sign from heaven that the gods were angry. In response, Creon disregards him and even accuses Teirasias of telling false predictions for money when he says that "the generation of prophets have always loved gold" (5:61). The warning was obvious that Creon was going receive punishment for his actions but his pride overpowered him. As a result of his arrogance, Creon paid no attention to reason or warnings and caused him to live in a world outside of reality.
At the end, Creon attempted to mend his mistakes by burying Polyneices and freeing Antigone from her vault of stone but all was too late. Antigone had committed suicide and not long after that so did Haimon. When news spread to the queen, she also committed suicide to reunite with her son. All that happened could have been prevented if Creon learned to put aside his pride and listen to reason as well as warnings. If he did so, Creon would have found that Antigone didn't deserve a death sentence for burying her own brother even if he was a traitor for "there is no guilt in reverence for the dead" (2:106). Both Haimon and Teirasias tried to warn Creon of his perverse behavior without success, but if Creon wasn't blinded by his pride, only one would have been enough to alter the tragic ending. Arrogance has brought Creon nothing but pain and suffering when it directly caused the destruction of his family.
Creon failed to heed obvious warnings and failed to see clear reason when arrogance corrupted his judgment. He was truly the tragic hero with a tragic end all due to his arrogance. Mankind has many flaws but arrogance is one that can bring about much destruction and can lead to one's downfall.