Antigone Essay, Research Paper
Heroes come in many forms. Some immense in size and strength as Hercules, some in the form of people that are shunned, such as Harriet Tubman, and some that are only valorous heroes to some, such as Kurt Cobain. These heroes have many characteristics that make people flock to their side and follow them without a moment of hesitation. In Sophocles’ Antigone the hero is a women who believes in her heart far stronger than that of her leader’s rule. Sophecles shows many of Antigone s characteristics that are also seen in many heroes. She is up against an impossible enemy, she does not fit well into society’s mold, and is destroyed by her own pride.
For these characteristics Antigone is given the title of an epic Heroine. Antigone is one of the lucky townsfolk to be born of a royal house. As Antigone defies Creon’s law, she is cast into a pool of danger between what she believes is right and what the state’s law decrees is right. As Antigone is charged with the burying of her brother, an action, which the King has declared unlawful, she holds like stone to her undying gratitude for her deceased brother. She believes that this will help lift the curse plagued on the household. The curse in which Antigone s father tried to hold at bay and failed.
Her sister Ismene warned Antigone by exclaiming, “Sister please, please! Remember how our father dies: hated, in disgrace, wrapped in horror of himself, his own hand stabbing out his sight. And how his mother-wife in one, twisted off her earthly days with a cord. And thirdly how our two brothers in a single day each achieved for each a suicidal Nemesis. This has already given Antigone the mindset that even the Gods are against her will. She is also up against a great foe in fighting that of Creon’s edict. Ismene said this: “The rest, if we defy our sovereign’s edict and his power. Remind ourselves that we are women, and such not made to fight with men. For might unfortunately is right and makes us bow to things like this and worse. Antigone sees herself as not only one who can defy the power of the Gods but the power of the state. Thus she would be up against a force greater than her own.
Second, another characteristics of a tragic hero is that the person does not always fit into society’s mold. The tragic hero is usually one who wants change, yet also needs the peace that goes along with stability. A tragic hero usually thinks that they in their right mind when yet the rest of the society thinks that they are mad. Antigone has said, “Say that I am mad, and madly let me risk the worst that I can suffer and the best. This shows that although Antigone thinks what she is doing is right; she also does not care how the other members of society deem her for the action. Antigone also must believe that she must be different from not only society but also members of her family. Creon notes on this when he is asking her about his proclamation “O, she’s the man, not I, if she can walk away unscathed! I swear I hardly care if she were my sister’s child, or linked to me by blood more closely than any member of my hearth and home. This should also show one that Creon does not care about her nobility and that he will treat her just like one any other member of society.
Lastly, the one thing that is her tragic flaw inherently destroys Antigone: excessive pride. This was also a downfall of her father Oedipus. Antigone not only defies Creon’s edict but also makes a mockery of it when he asks her about it. When asked if she knows the edict her exclamation am “Of course I known? Was it not publicly proclaimed? This line clearly shows that Antigone has known that she broke the edict and also is not ashamed to admit it to the creator of the edict himself. She almost revels in telling Creon about it. Antigone also shows that she chose what to do not based on the law of the state but on the laws of the Gods. Antigone also embellishes her statement by telling Creon that he is a fool to judge her on what she has done. “I feel no twinges of regret. And if you think I am a fool, perhaps it is because a fool is judge . If anything this clearly states that she has excessive pride for what she has done and will make sure that Creon knows this and her unfeigned gratitude for her dead brothers.
The role of a tragic hero is one that Antigone plays extremely well. Although she dies at the end of this play, Antigone feels no regret in what she has done. She also shows that she is proud of the fact that she never denied burying her brother. One would infer that although she died, Antigone died for what she believed. This is the utmost characteristic in the portrait of a tragic hero.