Hubris Is A Fatal Flaw Essay

Hubris Is A Fatal Flaw Essay

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The English Dictionary defines hubris as “extreme pride and arrogance shown by a character that ultimately brings about his downfall”. Hubris is a fatal flaw in the personality of a character who enjoys a powerful position; as a result of which, he overestimates his capabilities to such an extent that he loses contact with reality. A character that suffers from hubris tries to cross normal human limits, usually violating moral codes. Examples of hubris are found in major characters of tragic plays. Like hubris, Odysseus’ curiosity leads him to lose sight of reality and causes the downfall of him and all of his men, Homers recall of the incidents with Polyphemus, the Laestrygonians, and Circe in the ‘Odyssey’ reinvent the idea of hubris, no longer defining it as pride, but curiosity.
The curiosity of Odysseus can be shown as hubris in the encounter with the Cyclops, Polyphemus. It is the quest for answers and the need for food and supplies that leads him and his men into the cave, unaware of what they might encounter. With no idea of what might be in store for them, Odysseus’ leads his men into the cave, “Ah, how sound that was! Yet I refused. I wished to see the cave man, what he had to offer- no pretty sight, it turned out, for my friends.” (Book XI, ln 171-174). This example of curiosity is followed by the loss of six men. Homer tells this story in order to reflect on the idea that curiosity comes with consequence. It is important that this trait be given to Odysseus because, like pride, his curious sprit inevitably causes the downfall of his mission. This example is what keeps Odysseus from being able to sail home.

Homer’s main idea is that curiosity, in the absence of good judgment can lead to trouble. When Odysseus won...

... middle of paper ...

...but Odysseus ' inquisitive nature that is his primary flaw.
Odysseus ' curiosity contradicts his heroics, and affects him and the lives of his crew in a negative way. Odysseus has a tendency to be reckless and do things without thinking about what affect it could have on his future. Witnessing a tragic hero suffering due to his inquisitive actions may cause the audience or reader to fear that the same fate may befall them if they indulge in similar kinds of actions. Homer’s telling of the story is an important part of his larger project to revalue Odysseus’ voyage as a symbol of curiosity. The significance of Homer’s redefinition of hubris is that it awakens the reader and sets a new standard on how a hero or leader must act. Overall, Homer’s idea is to reinvent the way one lives their life. Hubris in the traditional sense is no more; it is curiosity kills the cat.

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