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Comparing Hubris in Antigone and Oedipus Essay

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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
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As Pentheus interrogates Dionysus he again is issued a direct warning not to go against the will of the gods by persecuting one whom the gods favor. As Dionysus calmly states, "Very well, I¹ll go along with this wrongful undestined destiny, but remember 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 regarding 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 women, yet in effect it was his own actions that caused his destruction. As Dionysus directly addresses the hubris of Pentheus, "The sins of jealousy and anger made this Pentheus deal unjustly with one bringing blessings, whom he disgracefully imprisoned and insulted; and so he met his end at the hands of his own kin‹ an unnatural end and yet a just one" (Euripides 453).

Antigone also over steps her bounds, yet 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 personal reactions. Her belief that her brother deserves a proper burial seems to transcend logic and directly counter both temporal and divine authority. Antigone
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