What Does Hubris Mean

What Does Hubris Mean 

In the modern context, hubris refers to the extreme pride and arrogance of a character. These qualities usually bring about the downfall of the said character at the end of the story. In ancient Greek context, hubris refers to violent and excessive behavior which was ultimately punished by the divinity.

Hubris is often a characteristic of a person enjoys a powerful position; he loses touch with reality due to this excessive power and starts to overestimate his power, abilities, and accomplishments. Gradually, this character crosses ordinary limits and violates moral ethics. This behavior ultimately results in his downfall as well. Hubris can be found in some of the major characters in tragedies.

What Does Hubris Mean

The downfall of Icarus is attributed to his hubris.

Examples of Hubris in Literature

The character of Macbeth in Shakespeare’s eponymous tragedy Macbeth is a fine example of hubris. Macbeth, who enjoys a considerable power in Duncan’s court, overestimates his competence and accomplishments when he believes that he can take the place of Duncan. He destroys all around him by trying to realize this ambition.

“The Prince of Cumberland! That is a step
On which I must fall down, or else o’erleap,
For in my way it lies. Stars, hide your fires;
Let not light see my black and deep desires.
The eye wink at the hand; yet let that be
Which the eye fears, when it is done, to see.”

John Milton, in his famous epic poem Paradise Lost, portrays Satan as a character that has excessive pride and arrogance. His attempt to take control of the heaven is motivated by hubris. It is this hubris that ultimately drives him out of the heaven. But this does not put an end to his hubris. His words “Better to reign in Hell, than serve in Heav’n.” is a proof of his hubris.

In Christopher Marlow’s Doctor Faustus, hubris acts as the fatal flow of the protagonist. Faustus’s extreme pride and arrogance leads him to sign a pact with the devil. He sells his soul to the devil in order to be superior to all other men.

In Frankenstein written by Mary Shelly, The protagonist exhibits hubris in his attempt to become a superior and unrivaled scientist by creating a monster. Ultimately, this monster becomes the cause of the protagonist’s death.

Sophocles’s famous tragedy Oedipus is one of the first examples of hubris. It is his belief that he can defy the prophecies of the God that ultimately lead to the fulfillment of prophecies. So his pride and arrogance result in his fall.

“Sirrah, what mak’st thou here? Dost thou presume
To approach my doors, thou brazen-faced rogue,
My murderer and the filcher of my crown?
Come, answer this, didst thou detect in me
Some touch of cowardice or witlessness,
That made thee undertake this enterprise?
I seemed forsooth too simple to perceive
The serpent stealing on me in the dark,
Or else too weak to scotch it when I saw.
This _thou_ art witless seeking to possess
Without a following or friends the crown,
A prize that followers and wealth must win.”

Image Courtesy:

by By Jacob Peter Gowy – (Public Domain) via

About the Author: admin

Related pages

how to compute cpinitrite lewis structuredipole dipole interaction exampleswhat is the difference between ferrous and nonferrousdistinguish between innovation and inventioncaribou vs elkmonoeciousrough endoplasmic reticulum locationheterochromatin euchromatinlabelled diagram of vernier caliperarea of a regular heptagonseries parallel resonancedifferentiate precision and accuracydeuterostomes and protostomesspherical symmetry biologywhat is progressive wavemarginal and absorption costing pdfgraveyard and cemetery differencedifference between brown sugar and raw sugarbuilded meaningasian badgeris a persuasive essay the same as an argumentative essayundamped vibration definitionfunctions of smooth and rough endoplasmic reticulumsimile metaphor differencedifference between cheese and paneerallude vs eludewhat are the primary differences between stars and planetswhat is a smooch kisssodium bicarbonate iupac idis citric acid a vitaminadverbial meaningicterus eyesdifferences between cilia and flagellawhat is difference between adjective and adverbcatabolism and anabolism definitiondefine permittivityis till a prepositionfixtures and fittings meaningthe difference between watts and voltsdifference between ionic and covalent bonddifference between formal and informal conversationdefinition for limerickthermoset materials listexplain the difference between biotic and abiotic factorsgravity and gravitational force differencesdifferent types of trufflesferromagnetic materials pptexamples for protistadifference between superlative and comparativedefinition of thermal diffusivityexamples of homogeneous mixtureswhat is the difference between monocots and dicotscomparison between photosynthesis and cellular respirationwhat is the difference between avenge and revengewhat is an example of enjambmentaffirmative sentences definitionfragment vs sentencekiss and smoochweight of bullmastiffmass is a measure of inertiawhat does acculturation meanpentose formuladifference between pyridine and pyrimidinethylakoid membrane definitiondefinition of an anionwhat is the difference between an invention and innovationwhats a imperative sentencedifference between citation and reference apaabsorbance vs transmittancesomatic cells and gametesdefinition of 3rd person omniscientdefinition of stereotype in literatureproverbs and adagescalculate boiling point from vapor pressuredefine de jurethe denotative meaning of a worddefinition of orientation in hrmdifference between sentence phrase and clause