The Consequences of Pride:
Analyzing the Effects of Stubbornness
On Tragic Heroes
Willfulness, although often considered an admirable quality, can sometimes be the downfall of the those with even the best intentions. In the story of Antigone by Sophocles, we find two tragic heroes, alike in their loyalty to what they believed in, but trapped in a conflict amongst eachother for what they perceived as power. They stuck with the ideas that they believed to be right and ran with them, until it was too late to change. By the end of the play, their obstinate positions had gotten them nowhere except dead or in utter ruin- which proves that one’s pride can sometimes cause more damage than it’s worth.
In the case of Antigone, we see a young heroine driven by pride, torn by her loyalty to family and the gods and being punished for defying the state. In her quest to honor her brother, Polynieces, Antigone disregards all laws against burying him to give him a proper burial. This shows her unwillingness to budge when faced with a challenge. And even though this makes Antigone a strong character, her refusal to abide by any laws caused her her freedom, and finally her life. In lines such as, “No, he [Creon] has no right to keep me from my own (Sophocles, 59)” and “I’ll suffer nothing as great as death without glory (112-113)” Antigone conveys her defiance of the laws of man to obey what she believes are the laws of the gods, and that she could endure nothing worse than dying without honor. Even when no one will stand with her, Antigone does not back down, and is eventually left to die alone. In her pursuit of justice Antigone becomes blinded by her pride, and ultimately pays with her life. Her untimely end could have been avoided if she had simply swallowed her pride.
Creon the king of Thebes was also resistant to persuasion. He viewed changing his mind as womanish, or as he viewed it, a weakness. Hence, when faced w...