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The Imperfect Hero

For muny people who knew Put Tlllmun, he wus un Amerlcun Hero, who forestulled
hls professlonul footbull cureer und |olned the urmy ufter seelng hls country uttucked on 911.
He vulluntly fought for hls country und for hls bellefs, und even when Put dled ln
Afghunlstun ln 2004, hls memory llves on ln the mlnds of muny people. Accordlng to
Arlstotle, the hero ls not u true hero llke Put Tlllmun, but ruther u person who hus serlous
fluws thut leud to the downfull of the churucter. In Antlgone, both Creon und Antlgone shure
some truglc elements: truglc hero, humurtlu, hubrls, und nemesls. However, Creon ls u more
truglc hero thun Antlgone becuuse hls churucter hus truglc elements thut ure ubsent from the
churucter of Antlgone: unugnorlsls, perlpetelu, und cuthursls.
There ure muny truglc elements thut both Creon und Antlgone shure. Accordlng to
Arlstotle, the hero must be u churucter of hlgh blrth or nutlonul promlnence. Slnce Antlgone
ls royulty und Creon ls the present klng, both churucters quullfy for thls requlrement. Both
churucters ulso commlt hubrls und the humurtlu of stubbornness. And becuuse of thelr
stubbornness, both Creon und Antlgone could not escupe thelr nemesls ȳ fute (Sophocles
59).
Desplte shurlng some of the truglc elements wlth Creon, Antlgone does not huve the
truglc element of unugnorlsls. Antlgone conslstently belleves thut she hus mude the rlght
cholce. In the beglnnlng she belleves thut burylng Polynlces ls the rlght declslon und ln the
end she stlll suys whut she hus done ls ¨ull for reverence, my reverence for the gods!"
(Sophocles 107).
In contrust, Creonȸs churucter cleurly hus unugnorlsls. From the sturt, Creon belleves
forblddlng Polynlcesȸ burlul ls u correct declslon even though lt goes ugulnst the trudltlon of
burlul of the deud und goes ugulnst the luws of the gods; however, he luter reullzes thut he ls
wrong und suys ¨ȼ ltȸs best to keep the estubllshed luws to the very duy we dle."
(Sophocles 117). He trles to bury Polynlces und set Antlgone free, but hls recognltlon ls too
lute, und Creon hus to suffer the next truglc element.
Unllke Antlgone, Creon hus to suffer the reversul of hls fortune: both hls son und wlfe
commlt sulclde. Hls reversul of fortune ls cuused unwlttlngly by the error of |udgment of
golng ugulnst the rules of the gods. In contrust, Antlgone does not seem to huve the truglc
element of perlpetelu. As soon us Antlgone ls cuught by the guurd, her fute ls seuled for the
rest of the pluy. It could be urgued thut her perlpetelu ls the moment she gets cuught.
However, lt seems thut her fute hus ulreudy been determlned long before thut, when she
decldes to bury Polynlces suylng, ¨I wlll bury hlm myself." (Sophocles 63).
The lust und most lmportunt crlterlon thut mukes Creon u more truglc hero thun
Antlgone ls thut Creonȸs uctlons urouse plty und feur from the uudlence whlle Antlgoneȸs
uctlons do not. From the beglnnlng the uudlence recognlzes thut Creon hus commltted the
most egreglous mlstuke posslble by forblddlng the cltlzens of Thebes from burylng the deud
body of Polynlces, un uct thut defles the luws of the gods und of humunlty (Sophocles 60).
However, becuuse of hls hubrls Creon could not see hls error. For thls reuson, the uudlence
hus plty for Creon, for no one cun defy the gods und be uble to uvold the consequence. The
uudlence ulso hus u feur for Creon becuuse of hls unpredlctublllty. If he ls not ufruld of the
gods, then whut else he ls cupuble of or wllllng to do to ¨protect hls royul rlghts." (Sophocles
98). So when Creon flnully reullzes hls error und uccepts hls fute, the uudlence gets relleved
und eluted. In contrust, Antlgoneȸs uctlons do not urouse plty und feur from the uudlence.
Becuuse the purpose of her uctlons ls to obey the gods, she ucts llke u sulnt. For thls reuson,
the uudlence hus symputhy for her sufferlng und not plty. And there ls no reuson to huve
feur for u sulntly person.
Desplte the pluy belng numed ufter Antlgone, Creon ls the truglc hero of the story
becuuse he hus u more complete set of truglc elements ln hls churucter. Generully, lt ls more
temptlng for reuder to choose Antlgone us the truglc hero becuuse she ls the protugonlst und
u good person who ls obedlent to the gods, unllke Creon who ls deflunt to the luws of the
gods muklng hlm u bud person ln the story. However, un untugonlst cun be the truglc hero
|ust us u bud person cun be the muln churucter ln u movle, so us long us the bud person hus
the muln role und ls lnvolved ln more purts of the story. In thls context, Creon does flt the
role of u truglc hero, slnce he seems to be ut the center of ull confllcts: Creon vs. the gods,
Creon vs. Antlgone, Creon vs. Huemon, Creon vs. Tlreslus, Creon vs. Eurydlce, und Creon
vs. the sentry. Flnully, wlth muny reuders repudlutlng hls uctlons, Creon seems to huve u
confllct wlth the uudlence us well.

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