Hybris In Greek Tragedy Analysis

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Discuss how the concept of hybris is treated in Greek tragedy, with reference to at least two plays from different authors. Hybris is commonly known as ‘pride’ and ‘arrogance’. In Greek Tragedy the concept of hybris is treated most often as a flaw in a character’s personality, often leading to failure. R.P Winnington-Ingram says “Hubris is a mode of behaviour, but arises out of a state of mind.” This is evident in Sophocles’ Ajax and Aeschylus’ Oresteia. This view of the concept is agreed upon by many scholars however it is increasingly being challenged. It is considered that in some cases it could be justified and not only is it ‘pride and arrogance’ but according to Douglas MacDowell, the Greeks had other uses for the term which I will …show more content…
MacDowell explores the concept of hybris as not being solely defined as a human quality, but also that of an animalistic trait. “In Euripides angry bulls show hybris, and so in Pindar do the snakes attacking the infant Herakles. Hybris in an animal is an aggressive spirit as well as the noise that goes with it.” This is just another way which the concept of hybris is treated in Greek Tragedy. MacDowell also explains that in humans hybris is most commonly found in youths and younger men. He describes it as being ‘indulgent and misusing power. N.R.E Fisher challenges McDowell's interpretation of hybris by saying her first account about hybris “was more precise than the account offered by D. M. MacDowell, who had defined hybris as self-indulgent misuse of energy or power.” As we can see from these conflicting views, in Greek Tragedy there are a number of ways of how hybris was treated. This is seen through how different tragedians used hybris and how modern interpretations of the concept differ from contemporary

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