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Hubris The Curse In Ancient Greece

1226 words - 5 pages

Early Greece, a period that began 1000 B.C.E was a transition into one of the most successful periods in human civilization. The Greeks transformed art, sculptures, theater and wars. They established the stepping-stones for the future civilizations of the world. The first known “writer” for the Greeks introduced the Heroic Age with the “Iliad and the Odyssey”. During this time period Homer displayed the great tragic flaw in heroes, which was hubris. Hubris is defined during the time period as excessive pride toward or defiance of the gods, leading to nemesis (Collins). In most Greek tragedies hubris causes the disastrous ending for many of the main characters.
During the birth of early Greece each city-state had a distinctive style a rather religious, social, and political viewpoint. Homer is considered the earliest example of a writer, whether or not he composed the Iliad and the Odyssey, as a whole remains a question to many scholars. Honor and glory remained as the most prevalent ideas during the time period. It was a moment in history in which honor defined a man and glory allowed for success. A glorious man was one like “Hector” heir to throne of the city of Troy. He was a man that fought his opponent with every inch of strength and willingness to protect his city. Hector is a true hero, and when he dies fighting for his city against the mighty Achilles; he sets the standards of what defines a hero.
It was of extreme importance to a man during this time period to die in war and leave a memorable name in society. In the Spartan society even a mother was accustomed to the idea that her son had to die to be a “hero” or perhaps be remembered as one. In the Iliad and the Odyssey, Achilles mother Thetis is a great example of the “type” of glory that was expected from men:
"My mother Thetis tells me that there are two ways in which I may meet my end. If I stay here and fight, I shall lose my safe homecoming but I will have a glory that is unwitting: whereas if I go home my glory will die, but it will be a long time before the outcome of death shall take me." (Gutchess, Iliad 9.410)
The quest for honor makes characters such as Achilles and Hector choose living a short life rather than returning with the people they love. The Iliad tells the story of the fall of the city of Troy, and how hubris rules the misfortunes of some characters. The plot of Troy begins with the apple discord which Eris goddess of discord initiates for not being invited to the wedding of Thetis and Peleus, her pride is so severely affected that she brought a golden “to the fairest one” that began the judgment of Paris. The three goddesses Hera, Hermes, and Aphrodite competed to be chosen; and Paris chose Aphrodite after she granted him the love of any woman he wanted and he selected; Helen.
The extreme hubris in Achilles marked his downfall; his desire for remembrance and eternal cognizance ensured his destiny as a...

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