Based on the Greek play, Antigone.
If you have no pride than life is not worth living, but too much of a good thing will kill you. Excessive pride, also known as hubris, is often used in tragedies like Antigone. Most often, this will lead to a change in fortune due to this tragic flaw. This can be portrayed through the characters Antigone and Creon.It is important to take into consideration of the fact that pride is like a dark evil in this play. Not only is it evil, but also sets an ironic confrontation between Creon and Antigone. It is of great importance to the reader to comprehend this because it plays a major role in foreshadowing the tragedies to come. In the play Antigone, Creon and Antigone are both guilty of excessive pride, which in turn leads to foreshadowing, irrational thinking, and irony.
When someone shows an abundance of pride it is usually to cover his or her own insecurities. As is the case of King Creon in this play. He is a new leader who is unsure
of his ability to rule the city, so he will do anything to win the hearts of his people. After prematurely boasting about his first law in command he sets himself up for a great fall in the long run when Antigone breaks this law. Now faced with sentencing his own niece to death, he chooses this over bending the law just to save his pride so he will have respect as a ruler. This is one of the earliest signs of Creons pride getting the better of him.
CREON: She has much to learn.
The inflexible heart breaks first, the toughest iron
Cracks first, and the wildest horses bend their necks
At the pull of the smallest curb. (1,2,77-79)
Creon tells this to Antigone due to her stubborn behavior, but his hypocrisy in the matter is overwhelming due to his own inflexible heart. It is also ironic that Creon is telling Antigone that inflexible hearts will break. A good ruler knows when to be strong and also knows when he has made a mistake. A good ruler also knows how to correct his mistakes to better the situation. Sadly, Creon chooses a more selfish path only thinking of himself and not ones that are dear to him. Another sign of Creons obscene amount of pride is when his only son tries to tell him of his poor judgment.
CREON. You consider it right for a man of my years and experience
To go to school to a boy. (1,3,95-96)
This portrays how quickly Creon takes the defensive side when even his own son tries to show him a different way of handling the situation. Due to the insecurities that Creon has he even fights with his own son over the matter just to keep his pride afloat. Meanwhile, it is costing him his entire family or what is left it and portraying how foolish he really is. With all that is happening it is not difficult to predict the Creons future and the ones around him.
Like Creon, Anitgone, of the same blood, also has an abundant amount of pride that inevitably causes her to lose her life. Although Antigone is as foolish as Creon, her decisions had a holy side to it where Creons was selfish. Dying for your brother is a full measure of devotion, but dying to bury a dead brother, which in turn will ultimately lead to your death as well, is stupidity.
But I will bury him; and if I must die,
I say that the crime is holy: I shall lie down
With him death, and I shall be as dear
To him as he to me.(1,155-58)Although Antigones actions are more justifiable than Creons actions, her actions are still a result of a pride so large its blinds rational thought. One cant help, but to think how ironic the outcome of conflicting pride even when its under the same roof. This is obvious foreshadowing of the tragic events that will follow.
I must say that to maintain pride is somewhat of an admirable thing, but not if it costs a life. I too am guilty of excessive pride as portrayed in the story and it only gets you burned and looking quite foolish. We all must learn to bend the rules sometimes because justice is not a book, but an order of the gods.
Sophocles. Antigone. Exploring Literature. Ed. Frank Madden.
New York: Longman, 2001. 123-154.