Sophocles' Antigone


The debate over who is the tragic hero in Antigone 
continue on to this day. The belief that Antigone is the 
hero is a strong one. There are many critics who believe, 
however, that Creon, the Ruler of Thebes, is the true 
protagonist. I have made my own judgments also, based on 

what I have researched of this work by Sophocles.
 Antigone is widely thought of as the tragic hero of 
the play bearing her name. She would seem to fit the part 
in light of the fact that she dies in doing what is right. 
She buries her brother without worrying what might happen to 
her. She "Takes into consideration death and the reality 
that may be beyond death" (Hathorn 59). Those who do 
believe that Antigone was meant to be the true tragic hero 
argue against others who believe that Creon deserves that 
honor. They say that the Gods were against Creon, and that 
he did not truly love his country. "His patriotism is to 
narrow and negative and his conception of justice is too 
exclusive... to be dignified by the name of love for the 
state" (Hathorn 59). These arguments, and many others, make 
many people believe the Antigone is the rightful 
 Many critics argue that Creon is the tragic hero of 
Antigone. They say that his noble quality is his caring for 
Antigone and Ismene when thier father was persecuted. Those 
who stand behind Creon also argue that Antigone never had a 
true epiphany, a key element in being a tragic hero. Creon, 
on the other hand, realized his mistake when Teiresias made 
his prophecy. He is forced to live, knowing that three 
people are dead because of his ignorance, which is a 
punishment worse than death.
 My opinion on this debate is that Antigone is the 
tragic hero. She tries to help her brother without worrying 
about what will happen to her. She says, "I intend to give 
my brother burial. I'll be glad to die in the attempt, -if 
it's a crime, then it's a crime that God commands" 
(Sophocles 4). She was also punished for doing what was 
right. Her epiphany came, hidden from the audience, before 
she hung herself. Creon's "nobleness" of taking in young 
Antigone and Ismene is overshadowed by his egotistical 
nature. He will not allow justice to come about simply 
because he wants to protect his image. He says, "If she 
gets away with this behavior, call me a woman and call her a 
man" (Sophocles 13). These elements prove that Antigone is 
the tragic hero.
 Creon, understanding his ignorance may lead one to 
believe that he is the true protagonist. But, if you 
define the word protagonist you would find that a 
protagonist is one who is a leader or supporter of a cause. 
 Antigone is in support of her own actions in the burial of 
her brother Polyneices. She entrusts that she is doing 
what the Gods want, contrary to the belief of Creon. Many 
readers and critics may say Creon suffered greator 
hardships. Some may say Antigone never had an epiphany. Who 
would understand it if their own brother were left to the 
birds and dogs. There would be no rational thinking 
involved in a act like this. These are arguments envolved 
in deciding who is the tragic hero of Antigone.
 Critics, to this day, still argue about who is the 
tragic hero of Antigone. Many say that Antigone is the 
heroin. Others say that it is Creon. My research favors 
Antigone as the perfect protagonist. No matter who the 
reader sides with, it is agreed by most that there is a 
valid argument either way, in light of the fact that they 
both endure great hardships.

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