Hubris In Oedipus And Antigone Essay

The idea of hubris is monumental in a plethora of Greek mythological works. In many ways the excessive pride of certain characters fuels their own destruction. This is certainly true with respect to the characters of Pentheus, Antigone, and Oedipus. All three of these characters demonstrate, through their actions, various degrees of arrogance that seem to undercut the traditional role of the Gods, and thus largely contribute to their downfall. However, it should be noted that while each of these characters demonstrate hubris, they way in which their arrogance manifests itself is unique to each character.

Pentheus, the authoritarian newly appointed king of Thebes is immediately troubled with the rising influence and odd rituals that surround Dionysus. He seeks to prove his authority and influence over the kingdom, and crush the leader of these ecstatic rituals, which he perceives as a direct threat to his rule. Early on in the play Pentheus is warned by Tiresias, the old seer of the kingdom not to over stretch his bounds and to respect Dionysus as he would the other gods. "No we dont play at theologians with the gods. We stay close to the hallowed tenets of our fathers, old as time. Nothing can undo them ever. I dont care...

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Pride, the Tragic Flaw of Oedipus the King

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     According to Aristotle, the protagonist in a tragedy must have a tragic flaw that ultimately becomes the cause of his ruin. Oedipus in Oedipus the King by Sophocles tragic flaw that caused his downfall was his pride. Three examples of when Oedipus’ pride got the better of him were: when he left his adopted parents in Cornith, the second is when he goes against Creon, and the third is when Oedipus is demanding that the messenger tell him all he knows about who his real parents are.
     Oedipus shows himself as being very pridefull when he leaves his adopted parents in Corinth. Oedipus leaves after he is told about his destiny from an old prophet. The prophet tells Oedipus that he will one day kill his father and marry his mother. Fearing this, Oedipus decides to leave Cornith. In doing this he is going against the gods, he is saying that he is not going to let this happen to him and he is going to control his own destiny.
     The second example of when Oedipus is shown having a great deal of pride is when he goes against Creon. Oedipus calls Creon a traitor. He says that Creon persuaded him to send for the prophet, Tiresias, to find out who murdered King Laius. He thinks that Creon and Tiresias plotted against him, saying that he was the one who murdered the king. Oedipus believes that Creon did this so he could become king.
     The last example of when Oedipus’ pride gets the better of him was when he is demanding that the messenger tell him all he knows about who his real parents are. Again the messenger is trying to tell him that things would be better left untold, but Oedipus has to keep going on and on and find out. Finally the messenger tells him that Polybus is not his father, already Jocasta has figured out that she is his mother. Oedipus asks the messenger who his real parents are. Jocasta is begging Oedipus to pay no attention to the messenger and tells Oedipus, “Never find out who you are';(1073). Oedipus, of course, goes on ahead anyway and sends for the shepherd who know where Oedipus came from. Once again Oedipus pride got in the way.
     In conclusion, I think that if Oedipus had not had this huge sense of pride things would have turn out a lot better for him.

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Oedipus         Oedipus Rex         Own Destiny         Messenger         Jocasta         Tiresias         Prophet         Leaves         Traitor         Creon        




First of all, if Oedipus had never left Cornith he would have never murdered his father, King Laius. By not murdering the king, he would have never had the opportunity to marry his mother, Jocasta. And not marrying Jocasta meant, she would have never committed suicide. So you see things would have been a lot better different if he did not try to control his future and go against the gods and his prophecy.



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