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Comparing Hubris Pride to Antigone’s and Oedipus’
Pentheus, the authoritarian newly appointed king of Thebes is quickly troubled with the increasing influence and odd rituals that surround Dionysus. He seeks to prove his authority and influence more than 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 keep close to the hallowed tenets of our fathers, old as time. Practically nothing can undo them ever. I don¹t care how brilliant or abstruse the factors are” (Euripides 404). This passage is significant since it offers Pentheus with a direct warning not let his own pompous notions of earthly and temporal energy go against the divine will of the gods. Pentheus disregards the warning and goes ahead in a direct act of sacrilege by destroying the sylvan alter and detains Dionysus. As Pentheus interrogates Dionysus he once again is issued a direct warning not to go against the will of the gods by persecuting a single whom the gods favor. As Dionysus calmly states, “Very properly, I¹ll go along with this wrongful undestined destiny, but don't forget this: Dionysus, who you say does not exist, will wreak revenge on you for this” (Euripides 417). The story culminates in Dionysus playing on Pentheus¹ curiosity and voyeurism with regards to the intoxicated hordes of Thebian women, by tricking him to go out to see them in action. Pentheus is brutally ripped apart by the possessed females, yet in impact it was his personal actions that triggered his destruction. As Dionysus directly addresses the hubris of Pentheus, “The sins of jealousy and anger created this Pentheus deal unjustly with 1 bringing blessings, whom he disgracefully imprisoned and insulted and so he met his end at the hands of his personal kin an unnatural finish and but a just one” (Euripides 453).
Antigone also over methods her bounds, but in a drastically different way. Rather than embracing the authoritarian ideals and decrees of Creon, the Stalinist new leader of Thebes, Antigone¹s dual sense of pride and stubbornness fuels her individual reactions. Her belief that her brother deserves a proper burial appears to transcend logic and directly counter both temporal and divine authority. Antigone herself, by burying her brother, has taken on the role of the gods. Therefore, she contributes to her own downfall. Although Antigone believes that her actions are defending a moral very good, it is the way in which she goes about her actions that propel her personal hubris. She makes the burial rights a public question, rather than making use of tact and diplomacy to strategy Creon as Haemon demonstrates. Each Antigone and Creon are wrapped up in a private struggle that is fairly stubborn. Her actions, like that of Creon¹s, are acts of hubris. The fact that Creon is wrong doesn¹t justify the actions of Antigone. In this respect each characters are fairly similar despite their protagonist nature. As the chorus states, “Surpassing belief, the device and cunning that man has attained, and it bringeth him now to evil, now to good” (Sophocles 14).
Oedipus maybe demonstrates the most direct and painfully apparent acts of hubris of the 3 characters. His temper plays a vital function all through the play, along with his arrogance. He possesses a precipitous rage in his blind quest to uncover his past. Again, his grandiose sense of pride and impulse ignites his destined downfall. From the onset, the vanity of Oedipus is latent when he travels, against warnings, to the oracle of Delphi. His inflated notions of his stature as ruler straight query the authority of the gods, and lead to his eventual decay. Oedipus represents common notions inherent in tragedies of the precarious sense of human prosperity. Oedipus, in an really short time, has extreme highs and lows, which demonstrate the classic patterns of the god¹s rough justice. This sudden and consistently altering nature of fate leads Oedipus to glory, however his stubborn and arrogant quest to see¹ eventually blinds him, as he is lowered to nothing in an instant. Oedipus¹ story exemplifies how destiny is inescapable. His quest to outwit fate, in impact, perpetuates his own destruction. This notion of tragic irony attempting to run away from destiny but perpetuating it alternatively, illustrates the hubris of Oedipus. By disregarding the expertise and warnings of Teiresias, and thus the gods, Oedipus¹s stubborn sense of pride goes straight against the will of the gods. Ironically it is Oedipus who states, “True but to force the gods against their will that is a issue beyond all power” (Sophocles 57). Just put, Oedipus can not see that his actions are doing just that, and only when his hubris is punished and he losses his literal eyesight, can he finally see the truth.
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