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“Antigone”: Character Role Analysis

antigone essay sampleA famous tragedy “Antigone”, completed by Sophocles, is one of the three Theban plays. A piece of Greek mythology was created in 441 BC. Talking about the characters of the play, the foremost attention should be paid to protagonist and antagonist of the “Antigone”.


The protagonist: Antigone

The most likely candidate to be the protagonist of the “Antigone” is … Antigone. To my mind, there is a lot to discuss when it comes to Antigone. Of course, Creon is the one who spends more time on the stage, which makes you think he’s the protagonist. The brightest situation for the King as protagonist is the fact that he’s the one, who is faced with the concepts of anagnorisis and peripeteia created by Aristotle. These very elements were an integral part of a tragic hero’s destiny.

What is peripeteia? Usually known as a fortune reversal, peripeteia is the part of Creon’s lifelines. Because of the tragic events that are described by the author, Creon (from the brightest example of pride) turns into a puddle of humility. Creon’s downfall leads him to anagnorisis – The King of Thebes regrets his pride. On the other hand, Antigone is fully aware of her destiny from the very beginning of the story and she never lets herself regret anything in her life.

In other words, there are many points to support Creon as protagonist, but nonetheless, Antigone is there too. Creon’s niece is the one who keeps the action of the story. Antigone sets the tragedy of Sophocles into motion. Despite Creon’s edict, Antigone is the one, who buries Polyneices. And finally it is her suicide that makes her beloved one, Haemon, to commit suicide. This, in turn, is the cause behind the Creon’s wife death. Besides, it is obvious that we are most likely to sympathize Antigone till the last page of the play, not the King. Of course, there is a platform for friendly debates over the protagonist of the play, but everyone should agree that Antigone is the cause of the storm.


The antagonist: Creon

Taking into consideration the fact that Antigone is the protagonist of the play, Creon is claimed to play the antagonist role. He represents the force Antigone is in opposition to. As it was said before, there are some facts that put him into the protagonist shoes. There’s a range of good supportive points for this fact, but the best one is that the King of Thebes is the one, who can boast of having the moments of both – anagnorisis and peripeteia.

However, I would like to point out that it is Antigone (not Creon!), who shakes the whole nation by breaking the law set by the King. She is the character, who drives an action while the Kind of Thebes is there just to react. Creon is exerting every effort in order to rebuff his niece’s forward motion, but he never tried to create his own. To my personal opinion, this is what actually puts him to the antagonist shelf. But once again – there’s certainly an open room for the discussion.

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