Guide to Literary Terms

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What is the definition of hubris?

The definition of hubris is excessive pride or arrogance, a quality depicted as reprehensible in ancient Greek literature.

Hubris

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Last Updated on October 19, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 142

Hubris means excessive confidence or pride in oneself. In ancient Greek tragedies, hubris is seen as a mortal flaw of character, a form of arrogance that causes humans to challenge their place in the divine order. By seeking to become more godlike, hubristic souls incite the wrath of the gods and are inevitably punished. 

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The word hubris derives from the Greek hybris, of the same definition. 

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Several examples of hubris can be found in the play Antigone, Homer’s Odyssey, and the myth of Icarus. In the Icarus myth, the legendary craftsman Daedalus and his son, Icarus, escape from Crete by donning artificial wings and flying over the sea. Despite Daedalus’s warnings not to fly too high or too low, Icarus hubristically soars sunward. The wax that binds his wings melts, and he plummets to a watery grave.

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Latest answer posted August 14, 2011, 12:26 am (UTC)

3 educator answers

see: catharsis, tragedy

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