Creon Tragic Hero Essay: Personal Tragedy of the Hero Creon


The work of Sophocles “Antigone” contains in itself a deep meaning. Tragedy of Sophocles “Antigone” was written by Sophocles basing on mythological plot of Theban cycle about king Oedipus. Conflict of two main literary heroes of Antigone and Creon is traceable in this work. While reading this tragedy only one time, reader may get wrong impression about whose fate was tragic. In this Creon tragic hero essay, I will try to explain from my opinion and answer the question “Who is really the tragic hero in this masterpiece of Greek playwright Sophocles?” If you need help in writing of essays, you can contact our best essay writing service. More detailed information you can find here. At first, I has decided to puzzle out with the meaning of word “tragedy” and this genre, especially with Greek tragedies.

Definition of word “tragedy” and plot of Greek tragedies

First of all, let us look on definition of word “tragedy”. There are many definitions of this word. It means exciting event, serious cark. The second definition is dramatic works, which depicts a tense struggle, personal or public disaster and usually ends with the death of the hero. The conflicts of reality are transferred to the tragedy in a very intense way. This is a special method of influence on spectators in order to wake the strength of their feelings and beget the spiritual rise. The tragedy occurred in ancient Greece, thanks to the religious and ceremonial worship to the god of winemaking and growing of grapes Dionysus. Solemn songs (praises) were sung by choir in honor of the god, accompanied by games and dances. People also sacrificed goats to the God. They dressed up in goatskins, tied up the hooves, horns and tails, depicting Dionysus satellites – goat legged satyrs. At the same time special singer stood out, who portrayed Dionysus or some mythological personality, and the choir or this special singer performed singing alternately. That is how word “tragedy” appears (“tragedy” in Greek means “song of the goats”). Initially, only the choir and the author himself as the sole actor attended it. The first tragedy stated the myths about Dionysus: his suffering, death, resurrection, struggle and victory over the enemies. Then poets began to draw content for their works and other legends. In this regard, the choir began to represent not satyrs, and other mythical creatures or people, depending on the content of the play. Tragedy reached its highest peak in the fifth century B.C.  Athenian poets, such as Aeschylus, Sophocles and Euripides wrote many works of this genre. The tragedy arose from the solemn chants. It has kept its grandeur and seriousness, its heroes were strong personalities, endowed with a strong-willed character and great passion. Greek tragedy always portrayed some very difficult moments in the life of a state or an individual, a terrible crime, misery and profound moral suffering. It was no place for jokes and laughter. Required condition of the tragedy is the magnitude of the events. It is always a question of high matters, such as justice, love, principles, moral duty etc.  That is why, the heroes of tragedy are often the characters, which occupy a high status – monarchs, generals, and so on. Their actions and fates have a decisive influence on the historical development of the society. Heroes of the tragedy decide fundamental questions of existence. The main theme of ancient Greek tragedies were myths (though, there were also tragedies, written on modern plots of that time, such as work “Persians”, written by Aeschylus). In this essay, I will touch the work of Sophocles “Antigone”.

What is the price of tyranny? Tragic fate of King Creon

The idea of ​​this tragedy by Sophocles, obviously, is that the person should perform his duty in all circumstances. In this way, the heroes of Sophocles come: they firmly follow its principles, and if they choose the right way, then their death brings him posthumous fame. In another tragedy of Sophocles 'Antigone', set in 442 century B.C., two principles come into conflict with each other in the name of the daughter of Oedipus Antigone and Theban king, Creon. More about the definition of conflict, you can find in essay on conflict.  Violating the prohibition of Creon, Antigone made funeral rites over the body of his brother, whom the king considered a traitor. From the point of view of Creon, the king's word should be sacred to the citizens, and violation of the king's decree cannot be justified. However, for Antigone all moral, unwritten, time-honored and prescribed by the gods laws are above all in the world, these laws commanded her to perform related duties and pay homage to his brother due to the dead. Each of the two heroes of the tragedy of its own truth; betraying penalty Antigone, Creon follows his conviction. Not so easy to decide who is right. Condemning Antigone to death by starvation, Creon takes no cruelty. He takes the foresight of the ruler who is afraid of incurring the city trouble, betraying her execution of a different kind. Because the direct free man murder entailed, by the notion of the Greeks, the bitterness shade of killed person: this shadow would have roamed the the city with the aim of revenge to his killer, and could bring the filth to the city. Sophocles shows the complexity of solving the problem of correct choice of human norms of behavior in society. Moral victory of Antigone seems indisputable, because Creon's position is complicated by the abuse of power: he ignored the opinions of people around him. Creon decides the fate of Antigone not only ask advice from anybody, but also refuse all tries to intervene in his decision. The features of tyrant are shown in Creon’s behavior and thoughts. He see as slaves not only his servants, but also his relatives. In the interpretation of Sophocles, Creon, like every tyrant, he is suspicious. He believes that Ismene, is not guilty of disobedience, was an accomplice of Antigone. He does not listen to the arguments of his son Haemon, who warns the father of the act, which is not approved by the inhabitants of the city. He is stunned by his anger. There are no other reasons for him, other than the fact that people dare to contradict him. That is why, the tragic guilt of Creon is abuse of power, violation of moral principles.  Because of that, he is punished with the death of his loved ones. If Antigone dies with the consciousness of duty, then Creon has to live with the consciousness of an irreparable fault against the gods, the citizens and his wife and son. Creon’s tragedy is the tragedy of power, which Creon misunderstands.


Genre of tragedy always portrays strong and difficult story of literary heroes. In work “Antigone” we can see, that tyranny of king Creon, his anger and blindness leads only to pain and suffering. Despite of terrible fate of Antigone, she is not the main tragic hero here. Actually, King Creon, who loses the most valuable in his life (wife and son), is the main tragic hero.