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Antigone/ All My Sons Essay, Research Paper

According to Aristotle, a tragedy is a form of theater that replicates a solemn action with the intention of stirring dread and sympathy in the viewer. Sophocles? Antigone and Arthur Miller?s All My Sons both fit into this category. Both stories consist of a tragic hero, Creon and Joe Keller in this instance. According to Aristotle?s Poetics, a tragic hero is someone not all good or all bad, and whose downfall is caused by a tragic flaw or ?hamartia?. Later the hero comes to a realization of their flaw, which usually comes too late for them to redeem themselves. Creon and Keller are both tragic heroes that fit into Aristotle?s model, whose downfall is caused by greed, excessive pride and a belated recognition of their flaws. The misfortunes that Creon and Keller bring upon themselves teach us to avoid their mistakes, which is the purpose of all tragedies.

Selfish greed for material wealth and power is what causes Creon and Keller to make the serious mistake that ultimately ruins their lives. Keller ships out the cracked engine heads because his factory would bankrupt otherwise. He wanted money, a house, and a good, wealthy life for his family. His intentions are good, but he is wrong putting others at risk for his own prosperity. ?Chris, I did it for you, it was a chance and I took it for you. (59).? This shows Keller?s selfishness in sacrificing other people?s lives for his son?s career. Likewise, Creon decides to kill Antigone because he wants to appear as the all-powerful ruler of Thebes. He feared that any pardoning of Antigone would detract from his power as king. These examples show us that as common people, we should always put others into concern when making decisions. Don?t do things out of selfishness that may hurt others, because it will eventually get back at you, whether it?s just remorse or some kind of physical punishment. Don?t let greed eat away at your heart, and be humane and respectful to all. After the initial mistake, Creon and Keller?s attitude toward what they had done brings out one of their most significant characteristics.

Pride is the major flaw of both Creon and Keller, robbing them of the chance to make up for their bad deed. Keller ships out cracked plane and refuses to admit to his mistake because he is too conceited to do it in front of his family. Since he?s the father, he felt he had more wisdom because of his age. As for Creon, he cannot not put his pride down and pardon Antigone because if he the king issues an edict, then it must be obeyed. This shows that Creon wishes to appear as the supreme ruler of Thebes. Furthermore, he would not consider anyone else?s suggestions toward the matter. ?Men that we are, must we be sent to school to learn discretion of a boy like this. (27).? He also rejected Antigone?s beliefs towards what she had done. This demonstrates that Creon is too proud to listen to anyone that he considered inferior to him, like his son and his son?s fianc?e. We learn from the heroes not to let arrogance possess your soul, because excessive pride can cause people to lose good opportunities to better themselves. Anyone can teach a good lesson, no matter of their age or gender. In the case of making a mistake, you should try your best to make up for your deed. It takes the heavy lead off the conscience. Because Keller and Creon give themselves reasons for not admitting to their mistakes, they are strongly convinced that they are correct until the recognition.

Keller and Creon both refuse to face their mistakes until someone points out something that makes them feel like they can no longer go on with their old beliefs, which is too late. This is what eventually causes the recognition. Keller believes that he is right in shipping out the cracked engine-heads, because he did it for the well being of his family. When he has the argument with Chris, he believes that Larry would be on his side. ?Goddamn, if Larry was alive he wouldn?t act like this. He understood the way the world was made. He listened to me. (63).? This example shows that Keller is still trying to prove his righteousness. However, when he reads the letter Larry sends to Ann, he realizes he had been wrong the whole time, as well as the fact that Larry doesn?t approve of him either. This is Keller?s recognition. However, he is still too proud to face the truth, and the fact that he?s unable to fix his deed now, so he commits suicide. This is similar with Creon. Creon decides to free Antigone because Teiresias convinces him that the gods are angry at what he?s doing. In this case, Creon admits to his mistake due to fear of the gods. However, it is too late, because Antigone kills herself prior to Creon?s decision. Creon actually realizes his mistakes only after the deaths of his entire family. The recognition doesn?t prevent the final tragedy, because the flaws have taken away the chance for the heroes to redeem themselves. The heroes? downfall is caused by their inability to view the world as it is until it?s too late. We learn from them not to wait until the last minute to make up for a bad deed or sin, because usually when you realize it by that time, it is too late. In the cases of Creon and Keller, their error has caused the deaths of many people, thus ruining their lives. For us the situation usually doesn?t become as severe. Nevertheless, you will have to live with this burden on your conscience, which will unquestionably affect your life in the future.

Tragedies all consist of a hero with one or more inescapable flaws, often several of the seven deadly sins. These flaws cause the hero to make a serious error that eventually causes his/her life to crumble. Tragic heroes are all similar to the common man, who is anything but perfect. They are also alike amongst themselves, because they are created to teach us the same lesson. Now and then, we learn from tragedies as common people to avoid making the same errors the tragic heroes make. By doing this, we can perhaps live a better, happier life.

Antigone by Sophocles

All My Sons, by Arthur Miller


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