King Creon: The Tragic Hero

When we define the phrase a ‘tragic hero’, we get the definition of a literary character who makes a judgment error that leads to their destruction, or downfall, and in this essay I have chosen King Creon as my tragic hero because he fortifies and defines Aristotle’s definition of a tragic hero. In the story of Antigone, King Creon is the ruler of Thebes who was handed the honor of kingship by Laius. In Creon’s kingdom of Thebes, Creon is very inflexible and shows strict order. He is also an absolute tyrant because he believe that if he is to show any soft spots in his kingship, he could lose his title, because anybody could be after his position. He is basically a good person that did the best for all his people.

He is a worthwhile person, because with his strict rule and fearless attitude the people of Thebe, were always under his constant protection and watch.Because of Creon’s position, we can testify that after reading Antigone that Creon’s words have far reaching effects. For example when King Creon’s made up his mind that Polyneices would be left unburied to scavenges and wild beasts. The order was followed by everybody except Antigone of course, but nobody dared defy thewords of Creon that even when Antigone tried to get her sister Ismene to help her bury their fallen brother, she disagreed, for she knew that if she aided her sister in burying their brother she would be killed. King Creon also possessed the character trait of being very strict and inflexible, even though his character may have brought protection, or a sense of safety among the Thebian people, even when his own son asked him to have his wife released, he replied asking him if he was a slave of a woman, but the reason for his inflexibility was he would not let Antigone go because she had defied his decree, that even when his own son begged him to have his own wife released, it enraged him to the point that he called out for Antigone to be murdered right in front of her groom, and it was right there that Hameon exclaims to his father that he will see him no longer. We also see that from Creon’s one decision to not bury Polyneices, he further continues to make furthers errors in his judgement for example in the scene where he was discriminating and demeaning his son, over his love for someone who had disobeyed him.

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But the weird thing is Creon often had a twisted and distorted perception of reality, he somehow always believed that he was on the hot sea ,and that everybody wanted his position and title as the king of Thebes. Outwardly we could tell that at the end of Antigone, Creon really regretted his actions, but inwardly I believe that Creon suffered even more, but just could not display much because of his high position and strong ego. From the audience’s standpoint King Creon also conjured a sense of fear in his people, for example, in the story when the sentry entered with a message for Creon about Polyneices burial, he hesitated telling the king fearing his reaction, but the audience also felt pity for Creon when at the end of the drama he loses everything that gave his life meaning, he lost his wife, son and what would have been his son’s future wife. In response, the audience is moved to pity because of Creon’s willingness to realize his wrong and mistakes at the end. Physically King Creon may have not died but internally within him, I believe he died inside, as his love for power, and joy as well as his family was all removed from him at once.

Truly there’s no other character that fits the term of a tragic hero better than King Creon in the drama that is Antigone, his mysterious and inflexible character made him very powerful as well as untouchable, but at the end when he thought he was doing everything right he ended up taking the lives of all those closest to him , That he even lost the respect of everyone left around him, as he lived the rest of his life in shame, a tragic hero.