Folly of Hubris in Mythology

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Elle Burbank Ms. Gilman En I Honors, period B November 4, 2011 The Folly of Hubris in Mythology In the book Mythology, by Edith Hamilton a common theme is the folly of hubris. The folly of hubris is when a mortal thinks they are just as good as, or better than, a deity. To prevent committing this unforgivable crime, the Greeks must be careful about what they say and do concerning the gods. The goddess, Minerva challenges a mortal named Arachne to a weaving contest, and Arachne accepts. Arachne does this because she thinks she is better than Minerva. Salmoneus, another mortal claims he is Zeus and wants to bring rain to the land. Phaethon, who is the son of the Sun-god, feels equal to him and wishes to drive the sun. These are prime examples of being guilty of hubris, and all these mortals are punished by losing their human lives. Committing hubris was the worst act one might commit in ancient Greece. The first way of committing the folly of hubris is comparing one’s skills as equal to or greater than that of the gods. Arachne is a beautiful young maiden who made a mistake that ruins her life. Minerva, “was the weaver among the Olympians” (426). When Minerva hears that Arachne, a mortal, “declared her own work to be superior” (426), Minerva challenges her to a weaving competition. As wonderful works of threads are laying in a heap, it is obvious that Minerva has won. Minerva then tears the work of Arachne to shreds and beats the girl severely. Arachne, out of shame hanged herself. Minerva starts to feel bad for Arachne, so she sprinkles Arachne’s body with magic and Arachne is changed into a spider. Because of Arachne’s arrogance

she brings the wrath of Minerva upon herself. If she had been humble and careful, she could have avoided the whole scenario and would have lived a longer life. Greeks knew not to compare their talents to the gods, or they would somehow die. Comparing ones self to a deity is insane, but so is thinking you can perform the task of a god....
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