, Research Paper
Sophocles’ Antigone presents a constant struggle between the laws of men versus the laws of the gods. Creon is so swallowed by his own pride that his viewpoint cannot be trusted. The Chorus, whose bias changes with the story, elucidates a more accurate perception of the play. Creon is the tragic hero of Antigone as a result of his irreverence towards the gods, leading to the death of his family. Unlike other Greek tragedies in which the hero has no control over his fate, Creon, although displeasing the gods by condemning Antigone, is defeated by destiny in his attempt to free her. While fate had long before sentenced Creon to his own actions, the play s perception that he almost escapes tragedy, makes him that much more lamentable. The general perception of Creon as villain is shifted as the Chorus elucidates that he is indeed the tragedy.
Along with its shifting opinon in the play, the Chorus comments on proper conduct as viewed by the masses in Ancient Greece. Zeus hates with a vengeance all bravado, / the mighty boasts of men. (lines 140 and 141) The notion that men should be reverent to the gods is the antithesis of what Creon initially embraces. The power is yours, I suppose, to enforce it / with the laws, both for the dead and all of us, / the living. (lines 238 to 240) Creon s accepting the supposed power to enforce both the living and the dead reveals him as accepting a false superiority to the gods and thus angers them.
The Chorus, in foreshadowing the story, relates its current events to those of its past. at last that madman / came to know his god / the power he mocked, the power / he taunted in all his frenzy / trying to stamp out / the woman strong with the god (lines 1058 to 1063) This anecdote is a retelling of a past myth in relation to Creon s present day struggle. The understanding that Creon s mocking and taunting of the gods is highly dissaproved of by the Chorus fortells that he will anger the gods. It is also foretold that the madman who attempts to kill Antigone will come to know his god. The power of this foreshadowing accentuates the common vision that Creon is facing a tragic end.
Creon s tragedy is underscored by the Chorus final words of the play, The mighty words of the proud are paid in full / with mighty blows of fate (lines 1468 and 1469) This integration of the concepts of pride and dismal fate sums up Creon s tragic destiny. With the knowledge that his pride and actions caused the deaths of those he loves, Creon is fated to a life alone, made wise too late, thus making him our tragic hero.