Sophocles Antigone: The Classic Tragic Hero

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The Classic Tragic Hero There's a certain fascination with fallen heroes. A character who was once considered to be good being brought down by a fatal flaw is something that always has an audience. Antigone, a play written by Sophocles around 441 BC, features a protagonist of the same name that has faced an injustice in their life. Antigone, the princess of Thebes, aims to bring justice to a deceased loved one, but in the end, her fatal flaws bring upon her own downfall, making her a textbook example of a tragic hero. The entire plot of the play is kick-started by Antigone's desire to lay her her deceased brother, Polyneices, to rest after he died in battle. She felt as though an injustice has occurred when Creon, the current king of Thebes,…show more content…
(Antigone. lines 89-94) In the end, Antigone is caught by king's guards and is more-or-less sentenced to death by being locked up in a cave with a limited amount of food. Her downfall was caused by her own actions and belief that she was doing something for the greater good. As the tragic hero of the play, Antigone possess a fatal flaw – stubbornness, a trait that she shares with her uncle, Creon. Even though the king had made the act of putting Polyneices to rest unlawful, and her sister, Ismene, had attempted to coax her from going through with her plans, Antigone still proceeds to bury her brother, saying that she “won't be caught betraying him” (Antigone. line 58). The chance of her being sentenced to death if she was caught in the act was high, yet Antigone refused to back out, remaining headstrong about her actions and beliefs. Her inflexible ways are what eventually lead to her “fall from grace”, with Creon pointing out that the strongest iron tempered in the fire to harden is the kind most often seen shattered (Antigone. lines 538-540). Her unwavering determination to bury her brother, despite the huge consequences of doing so, causes Antigone to eventually be apprehended by Creon. Opting to avoid going through the drawn-out and painful death of starvation, she commits suicide by hanging herself. Her hamartia – her fatal flaw – eventually costed Antigone her…show more content…
Even so, the citizens of Thebes point out that this is mainly her fault, that she should've been aware of the consequences. “You pushed your daring to the limit, my child, and tripped against Justice's high altar,” the citizens say on lines 961 – 962. Antigone soon accepts her death, acknowledging that she only has herself to blame and experiences redemption before her complete downfall. It's just misfortune after misfortune for Antigone, some of them being the work of destiny, the rest of them by her own

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