Antigone Tragic Hero

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A tragic hero is defined to be a hero who, despite being virtuous and great, also possesses qualities that lead to their downfall. This downfall is often predestined and is a common theme in Greek literature. Antigone is the tragic hero in Antigone because of her bravery, but also because of the dangerous loyalty and stubbornness that lead to her downfall. Antigone is a tragic hero because of her headstrong loyalty to her brother and the morals of the gods, which leads to Creon’s retaliation and her downfall. Early in the play, Ismene asks her sister, “Do you mean to bury him? Against the city’s ordinance?” (44), to which Antigone replies, “But he is mine. And yours. Like it or not, he’s our brother. They’ll never catch me betraying him” (45-46).…show more content…
From the beginning of the story, Antigone expresses her desire to avenge her brother, Polynices’, death. Unlike her sister, Ismene, Antigone displays bravery in the face of consequences she could be subject to if she dared to bury her brother. Ismene repeats the law that she has been taught despite the disrespect her brother faces after his death, proclaiming “[…] we must obey this order […]” (64) and “[…] it’s the highest wrong to chase what’s impossible” (92). In contrast, Antigone is inspired to stand up for what is right. When she is caught by Creon for violating the law, she states her reasoning for her actions. When Creon says “[…] you are the only one, in all Thebes, who thinks that way” (508) she replies “No. They all see it the same. You’ve silenced them” (509), bringing to light his dictatorship over his people and suppression of their voices. When Ismene tries to take the blame for Antigone’s actions, Antigone also displays courage by denying her sister’s claims. Antigone does not take the opportunity to use her sister as a scapegoat and avoid punishment, but instead she takes it all on herself and puts her love for her sister above her own life, saying “I will not permit this penalty to fall on you. No. I never wanted to give you a share” (538-539). Bravery is an important and common quality for a hero, as it takes boldness and emotional strength to conquer enemies and face challenges, and because Antigone possesses bravery she is a

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