A Tragic Hero in Sophocles' Antigone

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About this sample


Words: 611 |

Page: 1|

4 min read

Published: Jun 14, 2024

Words: 611|Page: 1|4 min read

Published: Jun 14, 2024

Table of contents

  1. Body
  2. Conclusion
  3. Bibliography

Antigone, one of the most well-known plays by the ancient Greek playwright Sophocles, tells the story of a young woman who defies the king's edict and buries her brother, who died in battle against their own city. Antigone's actions ultimately lead to her tragic downfall, making her a classic example of a tragic hero. In this essay, we will explore the concept of a tragic hero and how it applies to Antigone. By examining Antigone's fatal flaw, her unwavering loyalty to her family, we will uncover the tragic elements of her character that ultimately lead to her demise.

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Antigone's loyalty to her family is her fatal flaw, the trait that leads to her tragic downfall. Throughout the play, she remains steadfast in her commitment to burying her brother, even in the face of death. This unwavering loyalty is evident in her dialogue with her sister Ismene, where she states, "I will bury him myself. And even if I die in the act, that death will be a glory" (Sophocles 55). This quote highlights Antigone's determination to honor her brother and her willingness to accept the consequences, even if it means her own death.

Furthermore, Antigone's loyalty to her family is contrasted with the loyalty of other characters in the play, such as Creon, the king of Thebes. Creon's loyalty lies with the state and its laws, which he believes must be upheld at all costs. He sees Antigone's actions as a threat to the stability of the city and therefore orders her execution. This clash between Antigone's loyalty to her family and Creon's loyalty to the state sets the stage for the tragic conflict that unfolds throughout the play.

Antigone's fatal flaw is not only evident in her loyalty to her family but also in her refusal to compromise her principles. She believes that divine law, or the laws of the gods, take precedence over human law. This is evident in her conversation with Creon, where she states, "Nor did I think your edict had such force that you, a mere mortal, could override the gods, the great unwritten, unshakable traditions" (Sophocles 78). Antigone's unwavering belief in divine law leads her to defy Creon's edict and bury her brother, despite the consequences.

Antigone's refusal to compromise her principles ultimately leads to her tragic downfall. She is captured and brought before Creon, who gives her an opportunity to save herself by renouncing her actions. However, Antigone remains steadfast in her beliefs and states, "But if I had allowed my own brother to rot, an unburied corpse, that would have been an offense" (Sophocles 92). This refusal to back down ultimately leads to her death as she is sentenced to be buried alive.

It is through Antigone's fatal flaw, her unwavering loyalty to her family and refusal to compromise her principles, that we see the tragic elements of her character. Her actions bring about her own downfall and the destruction of those around her. The play serves as a cautionary tale, highlighting the dangers of unchecked loyalty and the consequences of defying the state.


In conclusion, Antigone's character in Sophocles' play Antigone embodies the tragic hero archetype. Her fatal flaw, her unwavering loyalty to her family and refusal to compromise her principles, ultimately leads to her tragic downfall. Through her actions, we see the tragic consequences of unchecked loyalty and the clash between divine law and human law. Antigone's story serves as a timeless reminder of the dangers of unwavering devotion and the tragic consequences that can result. As readers, we are left to reflect on the broader implications of the play and consider the balance between loyalty and the greater good.

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Sophocles. Antigone. Translated by Robert Fagles, Penguin, 1982.

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

Cite this Essay

A Tragic Hero in Sophocles’ Antigone. (2024, Jun 14). GradesFixer. Retrieved July 23, 2024, from
“A Tragic Hero in Sophocles’ Antigone.” GradesFixer, 14 Jun. 2024,
A Tragic Hero in Sophocles’ Antigone. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 23 Jul. 2024].
A Tragic Hero in Sophocles’ Antigone [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2024 Jun 14 [cited 2024 Jul 23]. Available from:
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