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Antigone Essay, Research Paper


Throughout the play, Antigone, both Creon and Antigone suffer from tragic flaws which eventually lead to their downfall. Creon and Antigone cannot control their tragic excessiveness; this leads to the public s negative opinion of him, while Antigone commits suicide due to her tragic excessiveness. The tragic flaw that ruins Creon s life is his inability to see that he could be wrong; he is too narrow minded to accept the views of others, even though they are the correct ones. Antigone s tragic flaw is that she has too much pride; Antigone is set out on a mission to carry out her brother s wishes, no matter what the consequences may be for her. Both characters suffer from not realizing that no matter their social position there are boundaries set for them that help keep them in line; they both fail to stay within these boundaries.

Creon acts on behalf of his patriotic views, but is far too stubborn to accept any other theory on what to do with Polynices burial. In a way he shares Antigone s tragic flaw of pride as he is too full of himself to accept any criticism about his choice to not give Polynices a proper burial. At the end of the play Creon accepts his guilt, but it is too late as Antigone has already killed herself. At first Creon s motives are sincere and patriotic as he sees Polynices as an enemy of the state: I here proclaim to the city that this man shall no one honor with a grave and none shall mourn. You shall leave him without burial; you shall watch him chewed up by birds and dogs violated. Such is my mind in the matter; never by me shall the wicked man have precedence over the just (222-226). It is Creon s tragic flaw which leads to his downfall concerning this matter: Is she not tainted by the disease of wickedness? The entire people of Thebes say no to that. Should the city tell me how I am to rule them (791-793). Everyone of Thebes disagrees with Creon s decision to execute Antigone, but still he cannot be persuaded. His excessive stubbornness leads to his downfall as ruler of Thebes.

Like Creon, Antigone s tragic flaw also leads to her own downfall. Her flaw is that she refuses to let her pride take a back seat to what will keep her alive. Just as Creon s motives started out being good, so did Antigone s; she simply wanted to carry out her brother s request of a proper burial: But the unhappy corpse of Polynices he has proclaimed to all the citizens, they say, no man may hide in a grave nor mourn in a funeral, but leave unwept, unburied, a dainty treasure for the birds that see him, for their feast s delight (30-35). It is Antigone s tragic flaw of being too headstrong that eventually leads to her downfall. Full knowing that she could be executed for disobeying Creon, Antigone goes ahead with her original plan of burying her brother. Antigone s actions are so rash, that it could be said that she is destined to become a martyr: I myself will bury him. It will be good to die, so doing. I shall lie by his side, loving him as he loved me; I shall be a criminal but a religious one (81-84). Antigone s motives are a mix of her wanting to die a martyr and her stubborn wishes to defy Creon, and obey the gods as she gives her brother a proper burial.

Both Creon and Antigone find themselves going past certain boundaries which leave them very susceptible to tragedy. In Creon s case, he tries to show his power by not taking the views of the public into consideration while he follows his own beliefs by deciding not to bury Polynices. Although he is a king, he oversteps his boundaries by engaging in a power trip, as he does not listen to the advice of anyone. Antigone goes outside her boundaries as she forgets her duties as a citizen. She disobeys the king, Creon, for the reason of carrying out her own desires; this eventually brings forth Antigone s downfall. The boundaries that exist provide structure in the society that Creon and Antigone live in, when they go outside these boundaries the structure is broken and resulting in tragedy for both characters.

In conclusion, both Creon and Antigone make the mistake of veering outside boundaries as they succumb to their tragic flaws. For Creon, he is too stubborn to take the advice or criticism of others while Antigone is far too headstrong for her own good. Both characters fail to control these flaws and eventually ruin their own lives. Whether Antigone or Creon is correct in the decision to bury Polynices, both can be blamed for the tragic ending of the play. Due to both of their stubborn beliefs in their own self-righteousness, Creon and Antigone experience the tragic aftermath of their attitudes.

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