No one is perfect, everyone makes mistakes, some of course more so than others. In the world of literature, some of the biggest mistake-makers are known as tragic heros. Their bad actions lead them from power and make them lose almost everything. One example of such being Creon in the play Antigone, which is the third and final part of The Oedipus Trilogy. After Thebes is invaded, its King, Creon, orders that Eleocles gets a proper burial while Polynices will not. Without proper burial, it was believed that the person who died would suffer for all eternity.
Antigone is the sister of both Eteocles and Polynices and wants to make sure that both of her brothers can make it to the afterlife. She decides that she will do the job of burying Polyneices. When Creon hears about someone trying to bury Polyneices, he wants that person to be stoned to death. Creon is a king, which makes him a very powerful man. Having some sort of power or status is the first of four characteristics of a tragic hero. His son, Haemon asks him to reconsider his decision, “In flood time you can see how some trees bend, / And because they bend, even their twigs are safe, / While stubborn trees are torn up, roots and all. / … Forget you are angry! Let yourself be moved!” (lines 571-577). Creon refuses to do so and this shows his tragic flaw, stubbornness.
Like with most tragic heros, he does his actions with good intentions. In this case, he is just trying to maintain law and order because that is his job as a ruler. Yet, he is unknowingly leading himself towards his own downfall. When Antigone is found guilty of trying to bury Polyneices, Creon decides to sentence her to be put in a cave, have the entrance blocked off with a giant stone, and starve to death. After a confrontation with a blind prophet Tiresias where he tells Creon that not having Polyneices buried will result in the death of his son Haemon, he admits to his mistake of ignoring everyone and only listening to himself, “That is true…
. It troubles me. / Oh it is hard to give in! but it is worse / To risk everything for stubborn pride” (lines 863-865). He has now realized his bad behavior in the situation, but has done so too late. Antigone has hanged herself, leading to Haemon killing himself too. The prophet was correct about Creon and the fate of his son.
At the end of the play, Creon expressed how he feels awful about this whole situation, “And proud men in old age learn to be wise” (line 1040). Creon had a high status as a king, but his tragic flaw of pride led to a massive loss, particularly his of his son. He came to a realization of his errors, but did so too late. All of this, therefore, makes him the tragic hero in Antigone.