Allen Yun Ms. Chen English 1 Honors 16 April 2013 Oedipus Rex and Antigone Essay Prompt What would happen if one were to witness a wealthy, powerful leader who could wish for nothing more in his life? Sounds like everything a man could dream of, right? What if this mighty leader had flaws that brought him to commit a grave mistake that led him to a road of misery? How would that same witness feel towards him now? In Sophocles’ Greek tragedy, Antigone, the antagonist, King Creon, undergoes this exact scenario.
Another word for a character that experiences the following events is known as a tragic hero. Creon is the tragic hero of this play because of his flaw of hubris, his hamartia, and because of his rapid transition from being a great king to a miserable king that should be pitied. The single characteristic of hubris is one of the main reasons that make Creon a tragic hero. This is first expressed when Creon’s pride refuses to show mercy to Antigone even if they are related.
He says, “This girl is guilty of double insolence, breaking the given laws and boasting of it. Who is the man here, she or I, if this crime goes unpunished? ” (Sophocles 209). One would say Creon’s arrogant pride will stop at nothing in order to obtain the authority he desperately wants to rule by. Creon is most likely the type of person to always believe his actions are just and is higher than any other because of his pride. Hubris is also expressed when Creon attempts to contradict Teiresias, who was believed to be the smartest man of his time.
Creon tells Teiresias, “Teiresias, it is a sorry thing when a wise man sells his wisdom, lets out his words for hire! ” (232). This is evidence to prove that Creon’s pride has blinded himself because of his outrageous attempt to go contradict a man who has never been wrong. This event also hints Creon inviting catastrophe to occur when he keeps refusing to believe what Teiresias claimed. Ergo, hubris was one of the main reasons that made Creon the tragic hero of the play. Creon issuing his edict, which is his hamartia, was the sole reason why this hole dilemma happened. It was because of his hamartia that made Creon the tragic hero as well. Creon’s hamartia is shown when Antigone tells Creon the right thing that he should have done. She states, “Nevertheless, there are honors due all the dead. ” (211). The quarrel between the two main characters shows that Creon knew that his edict contradicts divine will and Theban traditions of below ground burials of all Thebans. Creon’s response to Antigone’s statement also shows that he persists in enforcing the edict, which puts him in a collision course with the gods.