Antigen vs.. Croon as Tragic Hero in Sophocles “Antigen”. Quotes taken from Harcourt/ Dudley Fits and Robert Fitzgerald translation. By Assess According to Aristotle, a tragic hero in a Greek drama must meet certain requirements. The tragic hero must be of noble birth, be basically good, must have a tragic flaw, and must have a moment of realization at some point in the work. Although Antigen is the namesake of the Sophocles play and is a hero in her own right, she is not a tragic hero. Croon is the true tragic hero of Antigen in the traditional sense of the term.
Both Antigen and Croon were born of noble blood as they are members of the same family. However, Antigen’s birth is corrupted as she Is the child of a brother and sister. This almost Immediately disqualifies her as the tragic hero. Antigen Is more than basically good; she never waivers from her position because she knows that she is right, whereas Croon stands somewhere In the middle of the road. He Is basically good, but he can easily be lead astray by his own flaws as the reader sees immediately.
Antigen never has a moment of recognition. From the beginning of the lay she knows and accepts her fate for upholding her moral beliefs. This is not a consequence of a flaw, rather it is a virtuous trait. Screen’s unknown fate becomes increasingly apparent throughout the play and is clearly a product of his dynamic character flaws. Antigen is a knowing victim of Screen’s tyranny and mortal law, almost a martyr; Croon suffers because his pride causes him to transgress a higher law, the law of the gods.
Thus, the critical difference between the tragic value of the two characters lies in the nature and cause of their suffering. In the end, Croon coziness his flaws and In doing so reaches an elevated state of understanding. Though Antigen faces a tragic end she does not reveal as much about the human condition as does Croon, thus making Croon the focus of the play. Antigen is established as a representative of the gods’ laws and serves as a reminder to Croon of the will of the gods.
He is the representative of mortal law. As such, he has disregarded the gods’ laws with his edict prohibiting the holy burial of Policies. While Antigen’s fate is an obvious matter of her external end at the hands of Croon, Screen’s fate takes on a divine nature as it begins to develop in his harasser. Directly after Screen’s entrance his nature is introduced through the fear of the Sentry. The Sentry who says: “How dreadful it is when the right Judge Judges wrong! ” (203).
Another voice of truth and reason enters with Hammond, Screen’s son and Antigen’s husband, who at first Ingratiates Croon with filial loyalty and then subtly Introduces the Idea that Croon might be wrong: “… Do not believe that you alone can be right. The man who thinks that, the man who maintains that only he has know him, he turns out empty” (219). Here the reader is introduced to Screen’s tragic flaws: vanity and pride. Hammond goes on to tell his father: “you have no right to trample on God’s right” (221).
Next enters Terrifies who reinforces Antigen and Hansom’s statements about the laws of the gods with his warning of bad omens. Though Croon childishly scorns the prophet’s warnings on the surface, once Terrifies has exited and Croon is left alone with the chorus, he admits that “it is hard to give in! But it is worse to risk everything for stubborn pride” (235). Croon thus finally acknowledges the oncoming tragic fate of his bad Judgment. In the end, Antigen operates as the sorrowful composition of a tragic figure whose offering is the unfortunate result of the tragic flaw of the real tragic hero, Croon.
By focusing the play on the tragic heroism of Croon but having the foil of his character as the protagonist, Antigen, Sophocles creates a vision of tragedy which is as complex as the human condition it explores. Sophocles raises the question of man’s ultimate place in the universe with two characters, each representing different strata of the human spirit, torn between mortal and immortal law, free will and fate. He answers with the tragedy of Croon, who in the end finds wisdom and learns through his own suffering.