Hubris is a concept found in literature that refers to excessive pride and arrogance that lead to a tragic downfall. It often serves as an underlying theme in many stories, providing insight into the consequences of human ambition and overconfidence. The idea of hubris has been explored by writers throughout history, from ancient Greek plays such as Sophocles' Oedipus Rex to more modern works like Fyodor Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment.
In Ancient Greece, hubris was seen as one of the greatest sins one could commit; it was thought to be an offense against both men and gods alike. In his play Oedipus Rex, Sophocles tells the story of King Oedipus, who believes he can outwit fate only to discover that his own actions have led him towards tragedy despite all his attempts at avoiding it. This narrative teaches us about the helplessness that people experience when attempting to change their fate or change what higher powers beyond our control have already decided, as doing so will result in severe penalties for our foolishness.
This same lesson can also be found in Fyodor Dostoevsky's novel Crime and Punishment, where protagonist Raskolnikov struggles with guilt after committing murder due to feelings of superiority over those around him who he views as inferior beings, undeserving of life itself. His sense of entitlement results in disastrous events that eventually lead him down a path full of sorrowful realization—another example of how unchecked pride can bring about ruinous outcomes for even those seemingly most powerful among us if they fail to heed cautionary tales regarding its dangers beforehand.
Though each work featuring hubris may present different characters facing unique situations, there remains a commonality between them: arrogance almost always brings destruction upon anyone foolish enough to believe themselves above rules set forth by either divine or natural law, regardless of the circumstances. This truth holds true today, just as it did so long ago.