The Painful Cost of Pride

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The Bible warns humanity that since God hates the sin of pride, and He will discipline those who are prideful. It goes to explain in various verses that God detests pride, since it wreaks destruction upon those whom He loves. This idea about arrogance and hubris is also seen in Greek mythology. People that disrupt the natural or social order of the Greek world with excessive pride suffer severe and devastating consequences. This case often occurs in Heroes, God and Monsters of the Greek Myths by Bernard Evslin. In the collection of myths, hubris, or excessive pride, is punished severely.

Unwillingness to admit defeat leads to mortals’ suffering. This theme is frequently conveyed in a rivalry between a god and a mortal. Arachne’s pride and arrogance concludes in her committing suicide and suffering eternally. After Athene wins the weaving contest against the arrogant and boastful Arachne, she finds Arachne has hung herself and condemns the girl into the fate of a spider that “knew that now it was meant to spin without rivalry until the end of time” (14). Arachne’s transformation sets a clear example of how pride and arrogance ultimately end in dreadful consequences, such as eternal suffering with the knowledge that Athene would always be better at weaving than she.

Another example of how pride results in suffering is when Apollo’s fear of losing his reputation results in Marsyas’s loss and unfair death. After Apollo, unwilling to admit a mere mortal possessed the same level of talent as he had, takes an unfair advantage by playing his lyre upside down to win a contest of musical talent, “Marsyas was declared the loser. Apollo collected his price. He flayed Marsyas alive and nailed his skin to a tree” (38). Marsyas’s unjust death demonstrates that unintentionally threatening a god’s reputation eventually leads to mortals’ deaths. Thus, reluctance to accept defeat leads to mortals’ suffering.

Excessive pride results in an untimely demise. These endings are common for overconfident and heedless mortals. For example, Phaethon’s reckless behavior and pride at driving his father’s chariot leads to his death and the earth’s destruction. As Phaethon drives the chariot, he feels the task is ridiculously easy and foolishly takes a joyride to show off, resulting in “the dead and the dying, the burning forests, the floods, the weird frost” (75). This story teaches how making rash decisions fueled by selfish intentions ensues in a chaotic disaster with consequences that extend beyond death.

Further illustrating pride’s outcomes is Icarus’s story. Icarus’s sense of achievement at being able to fly like a bird results in his devastating death. After being warned by his father, Daedalus, to not fly too close to the sun, Icarus accidentally melts off his wings because he wants to “get a really good look at the sun and be able to tell my father something he doesn’t know” (145). Unaware of the precarious situation Icarus has landed himself in, he wants to prove his superiority to his father, but instead plunges to his end, proving that prideful and heedless actions often end in disaster. Hence, excessive pride leads to unfortunate deaths.

Hubris in Heroes, God and Monsters of the Greek Myths threatens prideful individuals with mortals’ suffering and death. Gods’ pride and arrogance kill Arachne and Marsyas. Excessive arrogance and confidence also murder both Phaethon and Icarus. This theme is similar to one message of the Bible, which states pride brings destruction to those who God loves. Consequently, it is crucial to take to heart to not be overly confident and prideful in order to avoid disastrous death and suffering.


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The Painful Cost of Pride. (2021, Mar 21). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/the-painful-cost-of-pride/

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