Skip to content

Essay On Sophocles Antigone

Summary: In Sophocles' classic play "Antigone," Antigone meets the criteria of a tragic hero in a number of ways. She is at once virtuous in the eyes of others and guilty in the eyes of the law; she is willing to face the dire consequences of what she considered to be an honorable act; and she elicits great pity in others because she stands alone in her actions.


Antigone - Tragic Hero

In Sophoclease's well-respected play Antigone, it is easy to see the ways that the main character, Antigone, fits the criteria for a tragic hero. First, like the tragic heros in in Otto Reinert's work, Antigone is virtuous in the eyes of others, yet she is guilty in the eyes of the law. Although the people strongly believe "she should have all the honor [they] can give her," Creon believes that Antigone is "guilty of a double insolence," and will not let her get away with breaking the law. She heard Creon's decree concerning her brother's burial, "and yet [she] dared defy the law," but citizens agree with her actions; if Creon follows through with his sentence for Antigone, the people of Thebes believe that it would be "so shameful a death for a generous act." Antigone also fits Reinert's description because she is vulnerable to law under penalty of death, yet she is great for overcoming the obstacle. Knowing she could die, she still would rather die for burying Polyneices than die a "death without honor," for she believes "that this crime is holy." Full of courage, she is "not afraid of the danger," and even though it means death she demands that "[she] will bring him." Also, like many tragic heros, Antigone arouses great pity because she stands alone in her actions. When she asks Ismene to accompany her in burying Polyneices, her sister replies that she "[has] no strength to break laws" and she "must yield to those in authority." Then, where Antigone criticizes Creon's laws that were made for the public good, "saying they were corrupt and of no sense, he replies, "You are alone in that opinion." These things relate Antigone to the theme of the tragic hero in this play of tragic events and great loss.

This section contains 307 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)

Sophocles' Antigone Essay

1702 Words7 Pages

Sophocles’ play “Antigone” illustrates the conflict between obeying human and divine law. The play opens after Oedipus’ two sons Eteocles and Polyneices have killed each other in a civil war for the throne of Thebes. Oedipus’ brother in law Creon then assumes the throne. He dictates that Eteocles shall receive a state funeral and honors, while Polyneices shall be left in the streets to rot away. Creon believes that Polyneices’ body shall be condemned to this because of his civil disobedience and treachery against the city. Polyneices’ sister, Antigone, upon hearing this exclaims that an improper burial for Polyneices would be an insult to the Gods. She vows that Polyneices’ body will be buried, and Creon declares that anyone who…show more content…

Creon has no toleration for people who place personal beliefs over the common good. He believes that government and law is the supreme authority, and civil disobedience is worst form of sin. The problem with Creon’s argument is he approaches He approaches every dilemma that requires judgement through descriptive generalizations. In contrast to the morality defined by Aristotle in his Nicomachaean Ethics, Creon shows that he is deaf to the knowledge of particulars--of place, time, manner, and persons, which is essential for moral reasoning. In short, he does not effectively bring together general principles and specific situations Creon does not acknowledge that emotion, and perception are as critical to proper moral consideration as reason. This explains why he does not respond accordingly with the reasoning of the guard, Tiresias the prophet, Antigone, her sister Ismene, or even his own son Haemon. Throughout the whole play, Creon emphasizes the importance of practical judgement over a sick, illogical mind, when in fact it is him who has the sick, illogical mind. He too exhibits pride in his argument. To Antigone and most of the Athenians, possessing a wise and logical mind means acknowledging human limitations and behaving piously towards the gods. Humans must take a humble attitude towards fate and the power of the gods, yet Creon mocks death throughout the play. He doest not learn his lesson until the end of the play when he speaks respectfully of

Show More