In Antigone, what is Creon’s tragic flaw?

Updated 21 March, 2023
In the Greek tragedy Antigone, Creon's tragic flaw is his excessive pride and stubbornness. As the king of Thebes, Creon is determined to uphold the law and maintain his authority, even when it means going against the will of the gods and the people. He believes that anyone who disobeys his edict deserves to be punished, even if it means defying divine laws and disrespecting the dead. Creon's tragic flaw ultimately leads to the downfall of himself and his family.
Detailed answer:

In "Antigone," Creon's tragic flaw is his excessive pride, or hubris, which leads him to make disastrous decisions that ultimately lead to his downfall. This flaw is demonstrated in his stubborn refusal to listen to the advice of others and his rigid adherence to the law, even when it conflicts with his own sense of right and wrong.

One example of Creon's hubris is when he condemns Antigone to death for burying her brother, Polynices, against his orders. Despite the pleas of his own son, Haemon, and the warnings of the blind prophet, Teiresias, Creon refuses to relent, insisting that his authority must be respected above all else. This ultimately leads to a tragic chain of events, including the suicides of Haemon and Creon's wife, Eurydice.

As the play unfolds, it becomes clear that Creon's tragic flaw is not just his pride, but also his blindness to the consequences of his actions. He is so consumed by his own authority that he cannot see the human cost of his decisions until it is too late. This is evident in his confrontation with Teiresias, who warns him that "the anger of the gods" will fall upon him if he does not relent. Creon responds by accusing Teiresias of being a false prophet and insulting him, further demonstrating his hubris and inability to see the truth.

In the end, Creon realizes the full extent of his tragic flaw, acknowledging that "wisdom is the supreme part of happiness" and that "pride breeds the tyrant violent and base." This realization comes too late to save him from the consequences of his actions, but it serves as a warning to future generations of the dangers of excessive pride and the importance of humility and wisdom.

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