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Activity Overview

Antigone is full of important literary elements for students to explore. One of these elements is the tragic hero, a protagonist who seems to be ill-fated, and destined for doom. In this play, Antigone is one tragic hero as she blindly pursues justice. Creon is another, as his struggle with Antigone leads himself and many others to their ruin and deaths.

The Greek philosopher, Aristotle, first articulated the specific attributes or principles of a tragic hero. For the storyboard above, students can use a template to storyboard the qualities that make Antigone, a tragic hero. The finished product outlines each of Aristotle's principles with a detailed explanation of the specific attributes.

Antigone - Tragic Heroine

HamartiaHero's Flaw that Causes Downfall Antigone believes she can know the will of the gods, and acts in direct contradiction of Creon’s decree. She wants to be a martyr.
HubrisExcessive Pride Antigone sets herself above the laws of her king, unapologetically defying Creon.
PeripeteiaReversal of Fortune Tiresias convinces Creon to free Antigone.
AnagnorisisMoment of Critical Discovery The audience knows what Antigone does not: Creon is on his way to pardon her.
NemesisFate that Cannot be Avoided Antigone hangs herself before Creon can arrive.
CatharsisAudience's Feeling of Pity or Fear After the Hero's Fall The audience is sad that Antigone died for burying her brother, and for her pride. They recognize the same temptations to righteously defy authority in their own lives.

Lesson Plan Reference

Grade Level 9-12

Difficulty Level 4 (Difficult / Complex)

Type of Assignment Individual or Group

Type of Activity: Tragic Hero

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/2] Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details; provide an objective summary of the text
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/9-10/3] Analyze how complex characters (e.g., those with multiple or conflicting motivations) develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme
  • [ELA-Literacy/W/9-10/1] Write arguments to support claims in an analysis of substantive topics or texts, using valid reasoning and relevant and sufficient evidence

Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Use This Assignment With My Students", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)

Student Instructions

Create a storyboard that shows how Antigone can be considered a tragic hero.

  1. Identify events of the play or characteristics of Antigone that fit into Aristotelian attributes of a tragic hero.
  2. Illustrate examples for Hamartia, Hubris, Peripeteia, Anagnorisis, Nemesis, and Catharsis.
  3. Write a short description below each cell that specifically relates Antigone as a tragic hero.
  4. Save and submit the assignment.


(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)

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