pride

Hubris

I am a huge reader of Greek mythology. I love how the characters are all flawed and how each story has a hidden meaning that can be related to life. One of the common themes in Greek mythology is hubris or pride. For instance, one of my favorite stories that I’ve read was Oedipus Rex. If you took a psychology class, you may have heard of the term Oedipus Complex derived from the well known psychologist Sigmund Freud. It’s the idea that a child is competing for love and affection against the same sex parent or in other words, a daughter might be jealous of their mother because of the attention her father gives to his wife. Crazy right! Well that theory comes from the Greek mythology Oedipus Rex.

 The story is based off of a prophecy told to a king and queen that their son will kill his father and marry his mother. The king and queen wanted to make sure that this prophecy did not come true, so they told their servant to take their son to the mountains to be killed by wild animals. The servant took the child, but could not go through with the act. He instead gave it to another village where the child grew up. Once the child became a man, he heard that a kingdom was cursed by a sphinx and the only way to release the curse was to solve the sphinx’s riddle. Oedipus was smart and knew he could solve the riddle. He also heard that if the riddle was solved, he would be married to the queen there and become king. While on the way to the kingdom, a man ran Oedipus off the road. He was so filled with anger that he ended up killing the man. Once Oedipus got to the kingdom, he solved the riddle immediately and became king. He had two children right away and became a successful ruler.

 To make this story less long, one day Oedipus asked his queen what happened to the king. She told him that once the sphinx came to town, he left. Oedipus then asked why they didn’t have any children. The queen told him of the prophecy and Oedipus laughed it off. The queen then became curious of Oedipus’s background. He requested for the servant that took care of him when he was young. The queen saw the servant and became ill, she realized that the prophecy had come true. She urged Oedipus not to ask questions, but he persisted. The queen ended up committing suicide. He also found out that the man on the road that he killed was his father. Oedipus was so distraught that he banished himself from the kingdom and ended up plucking his eyes out.

The story is tragic, but its meaning is simply, don’t let pride get in the way. Oedipus’s parents didn’t believe in the prophecy and tried to circumvent it by killing their child. Unfortunately, they ended fulfilling the prophecy due to their pride. The apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree as Oedipus pride got the best of him as well.

We can learn from this story that too much pride can have dire consequences. Pride can drive people away, especially those that are close to you. I have been guilty of pride and it has cost me a friendship. There is nothing wrong with taking the high road at times. Check your pride before you end up making terrible mistakes.

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