During the time of Ancient Greece, tragic plays were commonly used to deliver a moral message to their audience. Sophocles’ “Antigone” demonstrates the dangers of hubris and the disaster it can cause using the conflict between the two central characters, Antigone and Creon, as the basis of the tragedy. Although they are honourable in their own different ways, Antigone and Creon’s excessive pride contributes as a major factor to the tragedy of the play. This, as well as other factors like the impact of religious and moral beliefs and state laws, and fate, are to blame for the tragic end of the play, with the demise of Creon and the deaths of Antigone, Haemon and Eurydices.
Antigone’s extreme pride in her actions proves to be a significant contributor of the tragic end of the play, as she wishes to be perceived as a heroic figure. Initially, Antigone is distinguished as a person who is burying her brother, Polynices, out of respect and loyalty. Consequentially, she breaks a law that Creon has created and is to be punished by death. As the play progresses, Sophocles suggests that Antigone has other intentions for her actions. She holds great pride in her action and sees herself as a martyr. During her argument with her sister, Antigone tells Ismene to tell “all the world” of her deed, to “publish it”. This demonstrates Antigone’s pride in her actions and that she wants everyone to see her challenging the King’s authority. She practically boasts about her actions and shows no fear of death. When Creon interrogates her about the burial of Polynices, Antigone shows great confidence as she speaks. Upon hearing her words, Creon feels like Antigone is “gloat[ing] over her deed” and that she is adding “insult to her injury”. This suggests that Antigone has worsened the consequences of her actions by displaying an unregretful composure. This causes Creon to feel more aggravated and to proceed in punishing Antigone. Through Antigone’s boastful attitude and satisfaction in her actions, Sophocles implies that Antigone’s pride is partly responsible for the tragedy of the play. (How does Sophocles position us to see her pride through Chorus’ attitude/ comments? Quote- inference- author’s intention)
Secondly, the basis of Creon’s demise is extensively due to his arrogance and pride, which is also responsible for the deaths of his house. Creon obtains the authority of being king of Thebes and as a result, he gains a considerable amount of arrogance. He feels that his authority overrules those of any other being, and that he is “responsible to only [himself]”. This establishes that Creon does not and will not consider the opinions and desires of anyone other than himself. Throughout the play, Creon shows that he is too proud to take the advice of others. He dismisses the opinions and suggestions of the Sentry, the Chorus and Haemon. To highlight the extent of Creon’s pride and stubborn, Sophocles introduces Teiresias, a blind prophet who would have been well respected in Ancient Greek society. When Teiresias openly