Comparing Hubris in Antigone and Oedipus

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Hubris in Antigone and Oedipus

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 don¹t 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 don¹t care how brilliant or abstruse the reasons are" (Euripides 404). This passage is significant because it provides Pentheus with a direct warning not ...

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