Despite tradition, Sophocles chose a woman to lead his story. Strong willed and quick witted, Antigone proves to be a loyal sister and pure wife. Antigone is noble of birth. Her hamartia is she shows hubris, a classic tragic hero trait, when telling Creon, “And I, whom no man’s frown can frighten, Am far from risking heaven’s frown by flouting these, I need no trumpeter from you to tell me I must die, we all die anyway.” (210) She takes on the role of her better, a man. When she buries he brother, she realizes that her life is worth nothing compared to the tortured soul of her relative in the afterlife. Knowing that Antigone’s death is looming in the near future causes the audience to sympathize. Antigone has all of the hero traits, and she binds them together to complete her tragic character.
Family is important to Antigone. She is never falters when talking about pride or values. She clearly states, “And if you judge me fool, perhaps it is because a fool is judge”(211) she has no regrets in her actions, even though she eventually comes to the realization that she is only causing more pain. She believes that redemption is worth death, and dies has confidence that what she did was right. Instead of backing down and accepting the role of a woman as she is expected, she holds her ground.
Sympathy is important for tragic heroes because it connects the reader on an emotional level. Every person can relate to feeling tragic sadness at the death of a relative. Irrational emotional pain could drive a person to avenge the death of their relatives, whether they betrayed the country or not. Despite the encroaching possibility of death, Antigone speaks her mind, “How beautiful to die in such pursuit!” (194), making her the admirable savior in an otherwise depressing story. Because she is such a strong character, she is very relatable.
Every tragic hero has a flaw. Antigone believes that she is allowed to speak, exclaiming, “Not a tongue here would say the opposite, were his tongue not tied in fear.”(212). Classic Greek heroes were men. Antigone proves that women are up to par as well. She edits the stereotype to fit the form of a resilient and relentless woman. Despite losing everything at the time, Antigone gained respect from that point on. Antigone is both head and heart strong.
“I feel no twinges of regret.” (210). The heroine knows she was correct when she took action against the king. She is a heroine because the audience can relate to her emotions. Her heart wins even when everyone tells her she is wrong. She has a strong royal blood line, and she has an immense flaw, when she dies, it becomes a stubborn character trait rather than an issue. She is tough and heroic, but relatable in a way that Creon cannot be.