Many people can finish a long car ride and think it was the worst trip ever. Maybe the traffic was unbelievable or everyone in the car had to pee every fifteen minutes. However, Odysseus’ journey, in the epic poem The Odyssey, was guaranteed to be one hundred times harder. He spent 20 years fighting to return home to Ithica from after victoriously pillaging Troy in the Trojan War. Homer, who wrote the epic poem, embodies hubris in the main character Odysseus. Hubris can be defined as excessive arrogance or confidence and it is displayed throughout the epic poem and in today’s society.
Odysseus displays many examples of fatal flaws throughout The Odyssey, however, his most prominent is his hubris. Odysseus is favored by the gods, and he appears to have a strength and intelligence that are larger than life. As one may guess, he can be a bit proud. But Odysseus’ confidence can lead to trouble at times, especially when he gets trapped in ...view middle of the document...
Now that Polyphemus knows who has ruined him, he prays to his father Poseidon, the god of the sea, to ensure that Odysseus “never sees home again” (Odyssey 455). When Odysseus does this, revealing his fatal flaw of hubris, he thereby sentences his men to death and sets himself up for a horrible journey home that takes 20 years.
Hubris was a fatal flaw of Odysseus, but can also be a fatal flaw in anyone. It can play a role in many people’s character and attitude in today’s society. In the article, Addiction to Power: Hubris and Leadership by David Peck, he explores what you can do to avoid hubris in your life and telltale signs of someone exhibiting hubris. Some include, “wielding power in an overbearing way, not admitting a problem and not being able to learn from mistakes.” (Peck 14, 17, 18) These characteristics are all displayed very well by Odysseus in The Odyssey. For example, when Odysseus is arguing with a shipmate, Erylochus, he threatens to kill him because he disagrees with his captain (The Odyssey 447-449). This example shows Odysseus’ short temper and overconfidence as the captain. He doesn’t want anyone to disagree with him.
Hubris today has changed a little since the days of ancient Greece, but in the story, Soapbox: An Odyssey, hubris is explored as a flaw in a leader that is acceptable. The narrator wants her students to learn that a hero can be “both powerful and foolish” (Worth-Baker 49) in order for them to be a good leader. In today’s world, this theory makes sense. No one is perfect, and sometimes, the flaws in a person make them a better one. Whether it takes 20 years or just getting through the day, everyone’s journey includes mistakes, but what’s important is that one learns from them.
Hubris is a fatal flaw that cost Odysseus’ his entire crew and a turned a quick trip home into a 20 year battle for survival. In today’s world, hubris is a flaw that can be controlled and at times is an acceptable trait in a leader. Homer’s hero shows a reader that one doesn't have to be perfect to be a leader but have flaws as well as strengths.