In order to demonstrate pride, one must display self- respect and dignity towards themselves or to the cause he or she feels strongly towards. To take pride in something means to have diligence and persistence in the task he or she believes in. Although those who seek to live their lives with this sense of pride believe that they are living an honest and just life, others may assume that he or she may be displaying overconfidence and arrogance by living their life with excessive amounts of hubris.
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Expressing confidence and a sense of pride or hubris throughout one’s life can often be seen as being a flaw and may come across as being haughty and stubborn, especially if their pride is excessive. Displaying pride isn’t necessarily a bad attribute, but I can lead others to believe the one displaying hubris is almost asking for attention, whether it be negative or positive attention. This notion of constantly trying to demonstrate excessive pride is consistently demonstrated in the play Antigone written by Sophocles.
Throughout the play, the character Antigone constantly challenges the audience with her overconfident actions that may cause them to wonder if her actions are only to gain attention and seem suicidal or if her excessive pride is just a tragic flaw she must demonstrate in order to resolve an even larger conflict. Her actions may seem extreme and even suicidal, but in the end they are that of a tragic hero and all go towards an even greater cause for the sake of her family. For a character to be a tragic hero, he or she must meet the expectations of s certain criteria that is seen throughout many Greek tragedies.
A tragic hero must be of noble stature. The character must occupy a high status within the play but must also embody nobility as a part of their innate character. They can’t be seen as perfect because the audience must be able to identify with them. A tragic hero cannot be too good or too bad. A very huge aspect in being a tragic hero is that he or she must have a tragic flaw or downfall that is acted upon due to free choice due to a personality flaw or hamartia he or she possesses. Hamartia leads to the fall of someone of noble status caused by some excess or mistake in behavior.
This decision usually leads to the hero’s demise. They are punished for their actions and their punishment usually exceeds their crime. Their fall does not go un- noticed. It usually causes awareness and a gain in self- knowledge and discovery among other characters within the play. All of these aspects can be seen throughout the play Antigone and are demonstrated by the character Antigone herself. Instead of being seen as making rash decisions that may seem suicidal to others, her actions all fall within the criteria of being tragically flawed. She is a tragic hero and has to act on how she feels.
The play, Antigone, is centered on previous characters form other plays written by Sophocles, such as Oedipus the King and Oedipus at Colonus. Immediately, Sophocles makes it know to the audience who the tragic hero is within the play due to a difficult challenge or hurdle he or she has got to face. Antigone takes place in the city and countryside of Thebes. After a civil war both of Antigone’s brothers, Polyneices and Etocles are killed by each other while at war. Creon, the new ruler of Thebes and uncle to both, has declared that Eteocles will be honored and Polyneices disgraced.
The rebel brother’s body will not be sanctified by holy rites, and will lay unburied, which goes against what the gods expect after someone dies. He also forbids others to try and attempt a burial for Polyneices. Creon’s decree sparks defiance within Antigone, who is of high social position within the play. After being informed on what will happened to Polyneices body by her sister Ismene, Antigone immediately expresses her feelings to rebel against Creon’s law. Due to her excessive pride, which may seem stubborn and extreme, she knows she must act against Creon’s wishes and knows that challenging Creon could result in death.
Her sister, Ismene, takes a completely opposing stance within the play. She warns Antigone that she could be terribly punished by saying, “ we are both women” and they should “ not battle against men”. Ismene is warning that not only is she much weaker physically and influentially than a man, but for a woman to challenge a man is looked down upon and should be avoided. Antigone knows that not burying her brother, “ will keep her from dying nobly”, which justifies her actions against Creon. Although she knows full well the consequences of burying her brother, Antigone knows she must act because it’s the right thing to do.
Her reasons are noble and righteous in the eyes of the gods. She knows that she will pay with her life but still chooses to risk it for the proper burial of her brother. Her hubris and pride demonstrate that following her beliefs in the gods is more important n Creon’s decree. Creon soon learns of Antigone’s actions and actually gives her a chance to lie about them, but due to her hubris and tragic flaw, Antigone reveals her actions and willingly accepts her punishment. She does not think that Creon is in any position to surpass the gods.
She does not believe, “ Creon, a mortal, could overstep gods’ written and unshakable traditions. ” Creon is outraged by her defiance and now considers her to be a slave and sentencing her to death by saying, “ she is not allowed to think big. ” He then sentences her to be imprisoned in cave where she will await death. Antigone acts brash for a final time by ending her own life, instead of waiting for her to the by someone else. She is found hanging in the cave. Even though she committed suicide, Antigone’s actions were not suicidal. Throughout the entire play, Antigone acted because she felt strongly towards something.
It was evident from the very beginning that she would face death if she acted but knew that is she didn’t act she would be acting unjustly towards her brother. Her stubbornness and independence not only led to her demise but also as to how she would die. Antigone was aware and in control of her future even at the time of her imprisonment. She knew she would die but decided to die on her own terms and in the way she say fit. Her pride and hubris have led to her downfall. She was torn between loyalties, but knew ultimately that her loyalty lay with the gods and with her brother.
Like most tragic heroes, Antigone’s actions and death brought about a change in awareness and self- knowledge among another character. Creon was if not the same then more arrogant and prideful than Antigone. He believed that his decree could overstep the gods due to his status and because he held such a grudge against Polyneices. Creon is warned that “ stubborn self-will incurs a charge of stupidity” and that he should reconsider his options, but Creon demonstrates the same stubborn, prideful tendencies as Antigone and refuses to listen to anyone else.
After sentencing Antigone to death, Creon learns from a prophet that if he didn’t change his decisions or behavior, he too would die, but even then, it was too late. After trying to release Antigone, Creon soon discovers that she and his son, Haemon who was to marry Antigone, have both taken their lives. Due to Antigone’s actions and defiance, Creon has transformed from a proud ruler of Thebes to a defeated, grief-stricken mortal. Antigone’s story teaches the audience that maintaining balance and a calm manner in our actions I key, no matter the situations.
Her decisions her bold and brash, but in no way make her suicidal. He felt strongly towards something and knew that she must act against it, even if that meant facing death. Her flawed pride and ego may have led to her demise, but in the process she was able to defend her loyalty towards her brother by honoring him and honoring the position of the gods. Antigone is portrayed more as a martyr than as being suicidal. Even though she is given an opportunity to lie about her actions, Antigone knows that it wouldn’t be the right thing to do and dies for a just cause.