Sophocles’s Antigone is Rational Leader

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Result, when Clytemnestra commits murder by killing her husband and king, even though the chorus and audience are horrified by her action there are some sympathetic reasons for the murder to be found. Not only does Clytemnestra have a strong motive in her desire for vengeance, but Agamemnon was also clearly a flawed character with extreme hubris and by no means was he a paragon of virtue.

Agamemnon’s third crucial mistake is the fact that he returned from the ten year Trojan war with Cassandra as his concubine. As a result of his arrogance, he assumed that Clytemnestra would be happy to see him, however when he arrived with Cassandra Clytemnestra reacted to Agamemnon’s new concubine with scorn. Clytemnestra already hated Agamemnon due to the fact that he sacrificed their daughter, but when Agamemnon returned home with a new concubine this just added insult to injury. Furthermore, after Agamemnon returns home Clytemnestra makes a long welcoming speech but Agamemnon immediately puts it down with a snide remark by saying it lasted as long as the Trojan war in lines 914-917.


Daughter of Leda, you who kept my house for me,

there is one way your welcome matched my absence well.

You strained it to great length. Yet properly to praise

me thus belongs by right to other lips, not yours.

As a result, Agamemnon continuously offends Clytemnestra. Agamemnon believes that is his right to have Cassandra as his concubine, as she is a spoil of war. Because of this, he is not conscious of the fact that this is a mistake. Instead, because of his arrogance, he assumes that he has this right because he is a conqueror and king. These continued offenses likely steel Clytemnestra’s resolve to murder Agamemnon. Had Agamemnon returned home looking to reconcile with his wife and regretful because of his daughter’s death, it is possible that his death at Clytemnestra’s hands could have been avoided. Perhaps he may have been able to convince her that the sacrifice of Iphigenia actually was necessary, but the fact that he returned home with a new concubine and treated Clytemnestra like trash clearly did not help his chances in avoiding his imminent doom.

However, unlike the audience, Agamemnon is fully ignorant of the fact that Clytemnestra is planning on murdering him. Had he known this was the case or even considered the possibility, he may not have treated Clytemnestra with such disregard. However, because of his excessive hubris, he assumed he would be welcomed home as a great conqueror and overlooked the feelings of his vengeful wife.

Ultimately, Agamemnon’s hubris and feelings of obligation toward his duties as a ruler are what result in his death. He consciously chooses to sacrifice his daughter so he can go to war, and upon returning home he expects everyone to be happy because he was victorious. However, because of his extreme arrogance, he fails to consider the possibility that his wife hates him for murdering their child. Furthermore, as a result of his hubris, Agamemnon does not consciously believe that his actions are mistakes because he manages to convince himself that his actions are right even if deep down inside he knows that they are wrong. Thus, Agamemnon’s hamartia is the hubris that causes him to rashly conclude that any course of action he chooses is correct rather than carefully consider all possible courses of action and their potential outcomes.

In Sophocles’s Antigone, Sophocles at first portrays Creon as a just and rational leader. However, by the end of the play, Creon’s excessive pride has taken over him and disabled his ability to trust others or think rationally, ultimately leading to his own demise. His desire to be a strong ruler influences his actions because he believes that strong rulers should not be influenced by those below him. However, this arrogance is a classic display of hubris which causes Creon to commit actions that are mistakes even though he thinks he is doing the right thing, much like Agamemnon. Unfortunately for Creon, he does not realize how badly his hubris has interfered with his ability to effectively solve problems until it is far too late.

Creon’s first mistake is his first edict, that Polyneices will be refused burial rites and will remain on the battlefield until it rots. Though this law is understandable from Creon’s point of view, it violates the wishes of the gods and enforcing it is a crucial mistake from Creon. After Polyneices is discovered

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Sophocles’s Antigone Is Rational Leader. (2022, Apr 06). Retrieved June 18, 2024 , from

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