Break Down of the Tragic Character Thesis: Although both Antigone and Creon experience supreme pride and a sense commitment, only Creon the tragic hero of the play, experiences transfiguration. Creon, the new ruler of Thebes decides that Antigone’s brother Polynices will not be given a proper burial because he betrayed his homeland. Antigone tried to give him a proper burial and is supremely proud of her deeds and herself because she believes them honorable and if she must be punished for them, she will bear it honorably.
While Antigone is being dragged into Creon’s palace by the guards, Creon demands that Antigone beg for mercy, but “She shows her father’s stubborn spirit: foolish/ Not to give way when everything is against her” (396-97). The chorus is predicting in this quote that Antigone’s hubris will be her downfall. She is, the chorus thinks, being “foolish” in sticking to her principles when she might be punished for doing so. But Antigone simply believes that she is right; She is supremely proud. Creon too believes that he is right.
He believes that he is the best king yet, he can lead his kingdom to greatness. Creon’s demonstration of supreme pride allows him to behave in a foolish manner. He also believes that if he sticks to his principles others will eventually bend to his will. In a calm, cool manner, Creon slowly tries to figure out why Antigone does what she does, and states “the over-obstinate spirit/ Is soonest broken” (398-99). Creon is building up his confidence while trying to diminish Antigone’s bravery.
Creon is full of himself, and believes that he and his family are superior to other people. After Antigone is taken away, Creon and the chorus are talking and the chorus asks how Creon can take away his son’s fiance. Creon boldly replies “oh, there are other fields for him to plough”(486). Creon shows here that he believes Haemon is superior to other men because he is the son of a king. Antigone and Creon both show a sense of commitment and have strong hubristic opinions. Antigone believes that she should obey the gods and give her brother a proper burial.
In order to accomplish this she is willing to die. It does not matter to Antigone what Creon says or threatens. While Antigone discusses her deeds with her sister Ismene, Antigone defies Creon’s authority, saying “he has no right to keep me from my own” (42). Antigone has committed to obeying the gods, and she doesn’t care what Creon does to her as a punishment. He angrily discusses the nature of the state and states that “but as I live/ she shall not flout my orders with impunity”. Creon is the head of the kingdom and will not be defied as so.
Antigone is in her quest to bury Polynieces is the most determined character in the entire play. Creon is bent on making Antigone obey him and defy the rule of the gods, but Antigone “did not think [Creon’s] edicts strong enough/ To overrule the unwritten, unalterable laws/ Of God and Heaven” (380-83). Both Antigone and Creon experience everything in the story and although it seems like Antigone does experiences transfiguration she does not she is a static character while Creon is a kinetic character for realizing his hubristic flaws.
Proof of the fact that Antigone didn’t experience transfiguration is that the messenger and Creon “saw her hanging by the neck. The rope/ was made of the woven linen of her dress”(1025-26). Antigone was obviously dead she had committed suicide and they were too late she had not realized her mistakes and tried to correct them therefore not realizing her place in the world. But on a opposite note Creon is the tragic hero because he has an epiphany and a reversal takes place. The messenger claims that “We burned all that was left of him and raised/ Over his ashes a mound of his native earth”(1008-09).
It is here that Creon begins the process of Transfiguration; As Creon learns the hard way it is not a pleasant road. Many people believe that Creon should be dead and when he asks “Insatiable Death, wilt thou destroy me yet? ”(1082). Even Creon in this part believes he should be dead. This is a very emotional part where Creon realizes that he could take the easy road out and end his misery by killing himself. If he did that then nobody would be there to take over and his kingdom would fall there so having to live with the emotional scar of having unwillingly killed all his loved ones.