In regards to Into the Wild, what is the "Hubris Factor"?
The Greeks believed that the center of the world was the oracle of Delphi. They actually called it the belly button of the world. This is why the Oracle of Delphi played so prominently in the history of the Greek. If one went the Delphi, one would read two slogans. The first one was, "nothing in excess." The second one was, "know yourself." If we think about these two things, they speak of boundaries to a certain degree. If you don't do anything in excess, then you are keeping within boundaries. And if you know yourself, then you will know that you are a mortal and not a god! From this perspective hubris is transgression, the breaking of boundaries. It is a flaw that leads to tragedy and one that is dangerous to those around.
The word “hubris” is derived from the ancient Greeks. A person who dared to challenge the gods, or to become too full of their own importance, strength, intelligence, or power suffered from “hubris”. In today’s terms, we use hubris to mean arrogance or excessive pride. In literary terms, the word hubris as become synonymous with the term “tragic flaw”. It is the character’s “hubris” that will ultimately lead to his or her downfall. When a character has become too self-important, too arrogant, too confident in his or her own prowess, then they must be reeled back in, or struck down.
check Approved by eNotes Editorial