In the ancient tragedy, Antigone, the Greek dramatist Sophocles presents a primary conflict that features a desperate struggle for dominance and challenges the blind justification of authorial power. Although the tragedy bears the name of its doomed heroine as its title, it is the character of Creon who provides the reader with a cathartic release through the development of his humanity throughout the course of the play. He is the figure most akin to the classical Aristotelian definition of the traditional tragic hero. In Aristotle's book, Poetics, the philosopher defines a tragic hero as someone of high status, flawed, afflicted with hamartia (tragic flaw) and hubris (arrogance), is punished severely, and in the end gains wisdom. .
The character of Creon is more emotionally developed, and the breadth of his humanity is greatly accessible as he is flawed and as such, true to life. The complexities that transcend the main conflict within the play are numerous and striking, but for the purpose of this essay, the subject of study will be the conflict between the dominant and the subjugated. Specifically, the focus will be on the conflict between father and son. In Sophocles' Antigone, the opposition of Creon and Haemon mirrors the main conflict and is a reflection of the modern dynamics of father-son relationships rendering the subject eternally relevant and accessible to audiences of the present day. The character of Creon is presented in direct opposition with the character of Antigone, but it would be premature to pass immediate judgment on Creon and call him a villain. The singularity of the tragedies of Sophocles is that they are self-contained. It is commonly assumed that the three works that chronicle the curse of Oedipus were intended as a trilogy, but although Antigone follows Oedipus Rex chronologically, it was written earlier. When comparing the character of Creon, as presented in Antigone, with the character as presented in Oedipus Rex, the differences in characterization are remarkably apparent.