Hubris Literary Definition And Examples In The Odyssey

Hubris Literary Definition And Examples In The Odyssey

Thesis Statement: The essay consists of the definition and explanation of the concept of Hubris in literature. It also shows the examples of its use in The Odyssey and its significance and consequences in the poem.

Table Of Material

  • Introduction: Description of the Principle of Hubris
  • Examples Of Hubris In The Odyssey Shown by Odysseus
  • How Hubris is Shown by Polyphemus In The Odyssey
  • Examples Of Hubris In The Odyssey Shown by the Suitors
  • Conclusion: The Significance of Hubris as Shown in Odyssey and in Everyday Life

“There is no safety in limitless hubris” (McGeorge Bundy). The dictionary defines hubris as overbearing pride or presumption; arrogance. In The Odyssey, Homer embodies hubris into the characters of Odysseus, the Suitors, and the Cyclopes. Odysseus reveals hubris when he is battling the Cyclopes, the Cyclopes show hubris when handling Odysseus, and the Suitors reveal it when Odysseus faces them at his house. To start, within the course of The Odyssey, Odysseus shows hubris through many of his actions.

Examples Of Hubris In The Odyssey Shown by Odysseus

The most prominent instance in which Odysseus reveals hubris is while he and his males are attempting to escape from the Cyclops Polyphemus. They drug the monster until it loses consciousness, and then stab him with a wood in his single eye. Polyphemus, now blinded, removes the massive stone obstructing Odysseus’ escape, and waits for the guys to move, so he can kill them. The men escape from the cavern to their boat by connecting themselves under flocks of rams, so they can easily slip by. Odysseus, now proud after beating the giant, starts to yell at Polyphemus, rather of making a silent escape.

Odysseus’ men ask him to stop prior to Polyphemus would “get the variety and lob a stone” (436 ). However Odysseus shows hubris by saying that if they were to reunite, Odysseus would “take your life” and “hurl you down to hell!” (462; 463). Polyphemus, now very upset with Odysseus, prays to his dad, Poseidon, to make Odysseus “never ever see his home” once again, and after which, throws a mountain towards the noise of Odysseus’ voice. (470 ). Because of Odysseus’ hubris after blinding Polyphemus, Poseidon grants the prayer, and it takes Odysseus 20 years to return home, at the cost of the lives of all his men.

How Hubris is Shown by Polyphemus In The Odyssey

Next, Polyphemus shows hubris by believing that since he is a giant, he is unsurpassable by anybody, even a god. This is revealed when Odysseus fulfills Polyphemus and welcomes him with presents, as it is a customized to show courtesy to hosts and guests alike, (unforeseen or not). Failure to give gifts can result in revenge from the gods. Odysseus informs Polyphemus this, however Polyphemus “would not let you go for fear of Zeus” because the Cyclopes “have more force without a doubt “.

Polyphemus then outrages the gods even more by kidnapping and eating Odysseus’ men, both of which are considered extremely uncivil in Greek society. Polyphemus is so confident in his invulnerability he lets the men wander complimentary inside the cavern, an error that results in his downfall. Odysseus and his men acquire a lumber, which they cut and burn to a fine point, and strategy to assault the Cyclops with it. Odysseus then gets Polyphemus intoxicated, and when he loses consciousness, takes the timber and drills it into the eye of Polyphemus, completely blinding him permanently.

Polyphemus’ hubris in thinking he is invulnerable and his overall absence of the regard for the gods triggered him to be blinded permanently.

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Examples Of Hubris In The Odyssey Demonstrated by the Suitors

Lastly, the Suitors display hubris by having no regard for typical decency and lack of respect towards others when they take over Odysseus’ home and household, because they think that, as royalty, they have a right to do it. Odysseus disguises himself as a beggar and goes to his home to beg for his own food, where he satisfies, and has an encounter with “the most big-headed and outspoken of the suitors” Antinous (pg 638).

When Odysseus asks for his own food he is attacked with a stool thrown by Antinous. Odysseus then points out the selfishness of the suitors when they eat another person’s food but will not share some of it with other individuals. When Odysseus removes the disguise, and exposes himself, the suitors provide restution for their actions and habits towards Odysseus’ family, at which, Odysseus declines and, and together with Telemachus, proceeds to damage the staying suitors.

Since of their hubris in believing they had the right to another’s dynasty, the suitors paid the supreme price.; br;; br; In summary, Odysseus, the Suitors, and Cyclops all display hubris throughout The Odyssey. Homer shows his characters in The Odyssey to show hubris through their thoughts, words, and actions. Hubris is everywhere within literature and everyday life, however it is particularly popular within The Odyssey.