One is the protagonist, the other is the antagonist. The protagonistnormally considered the “good guy” and the antagonist is the “bad guy”. In”Antigone” it is hard to see which is which. In most stories, such asCinderella, the name of the play or story is the protagonist, but in”Antigone”, the supposed antagonist Creon, the King of Thebes, could alsobe considered a protagonist.
According to the definition of protagonist, Antigone would definetlyseem to be the protagonist. Her actions form the plot of the play. Shedecides to bury her dead brother, against Creon’s edict. After thesoldiers of Thebes unbury him, Antigone goes and buries him again. Whenshe is caught, she is taken to Creon and he sentences her to death. Then,to get at Creon even more, she commits suicide while on death row.
She isvery stubborn and stands up for her beliefs, which is very admirable. Creon is a very strict character. His actions can only follow thoseof Antigone’s, so he can’t be a traditional protagonist. However, the wayhis actions flow they also make Creon fit as the protagonist in “Antigone”. After Antigone is captured, the play focuses on Creon.
He boasts abouthis decisions to the chorus. He argues with Tiresias about his leadershipabilities and Tiresias forces him to realize he was in the wrong. Not only does Creon have too much pride, but he is stubborn likeAntigone. He doesn’t want to admit he is wrong, so he makes the samemistakes over again. He could have pardoned Antigone or reversed his edictafter is point was made, but he did not.
Maybe he does not believe itcould be possible for a King to make such mistakes, or maybe he has justbeen King so long that he has developed a large ego and is unaware of hisown mortality. Either way, his pride and stubbornness reflect in almostevery action Creon makes throughout the play. Creon overgoes a full change in the play, unlike Antigone. At thebeginning, Creon does not want Polyneices buried, even though it is againstthe law of the gods that all bodies must have a proper burial for the soulto enter the underworld. After speaking with Tiresias that this withinitself was a mistake, and her sentence to Antigone was also wrong. Therealization of this conflicts with Creon’s stubbornness and pride, but heovercomes his flaws by admitting his mistakes and trying to correct them.
Unfortunately, Antigone’s plan to hinder Creon work all too well, and evenhis good intentions fail to produce the wanted result. In addition,Creon’s wife and son commit suicide. His realization is now complete, andnow he has loss to accompany it. Antigone, on the other hand, never fully realizes her mistakes. Sheis stubborn and to some extent proud, but does not renounce these glitches.
One reason may be that they really are not flaws in this play. Herstubbornness leads to her capture and her death, but if her death is whatbrought Creon to the self-realization, then it is a key element in theplot. This perspective puts Antigone in the spot of antagonist; asaggravator of Creon the protagonist. To conclude, Creon is the protagonist. The debate will stillcontinue as to who is the protagonist in this play. Some could agrue thatboth are protagonists.
Some may argue that neither is the protagonist. Some may argue that Antigone is the protagonist.