In Antigone, by Sophocles, Antigone is the tragic hero of the play, rather than Creon. In one way Creon is the main character of the play. He has more stage time than anyone else. He is on stage from start to end. And, one could even argue, he is the "protagonist" of the conflict. In fact, this particular play wrecks havoc on traditional definitions of "protagonist" and "antagonist," as well as "tragic hero." But he is not the tragic hero. The definition of "tragic hero" has to do with more than being on stage or having a large number of lines. Antigone is indeed the tragic hero of this play, not Creon, because Creon did not die a martyr, he simply suffered. .
To suggest that Creon is a tragic hero is to totally misread Antigone, and to totally miss the point of the play. Sophocles named the play after Antigone, which is no small thing. Sophocles wants us to see Antigone as the tragic figure. Creon is not tragic; he is pitiful. There is a difference, Antigone is a sympathetic character whereas Creon may be only looked at in sympathy towards the end of the play, only because of his severe mistakes. After Creon's dreadful downfall, (Antigone and Eurydice's deaths, Creon's realization of the wrong done.) Creon breaks down and says in regard to Eurydice: "I killed her, I own no alibi: The guilt is wholly mine. Take me quickly, servants, take me quickly hence. Let this nothing be forgotten." (251). Tragedy always boils down to this point: the tragic character has to make a decision between two options, neither of which is good for him/her. (S)He chooses the one that best maintains his dignity. Both Creon and Antigone have two options . but with a difference. One of Creon's options is just, the other unjust and plain absurd. He chooses poorly. As a result, he ruins himself. But we don't view him tragically. We view him only with pity, for being a fool. We never see a true tragic character as a fool, but rather as a hero.