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HUBRIS

DEFINITION

Insolent, proud, tyrannical, domineering, inconsiderate, and lacking restraint.

Hubris or hybris referred in Ancient Greece to a reckless disregard for the rights of another person resulting in some kind of social degradation for the victim. According to its popular modern definition hubris is exaggerated pride or self-confidence often resulting in fatal retribution.

Hubris in ancient times

Hubris is a common theme in Greek tragedies and mythology, whose stories often featured characters displaying hubris and subsequently being punished for it. In Greek law, it most often refers to violent outrage wreaked by the powerful upon the weak.

The original "hubristic" characters in Greek literature are Penelope's suitors in Homer's Odyssey. They are eventually made to pay for their presumptuous encroachments on the household of Odysseus.

Hubris has in the past been cited as the "hamártia" ("error") of characters in Greek tragedy. The "nemesis" (némesis), or destruction, which befalls these characters, however, generally comes from the gods, whereas hubris, for the most part, refers to infractions by mortals against other mortals.

Hubris in modern times

Modern negative consequences of actions stemming from hubris appear to be associated with a lack of knowledge, interest in, or exploration of history, combined with overconfidence and a lack of humility. The common reference is 'The false pride that comes before the fall'.

Hubris as a pejorative term is often applied in the political realm. As hubris is associated with power, it is often used by persons associated with political parties that are out of power against those who are in power, specifically with regard to a perceived abuse of power.


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