“All men make mistakes, but a good man yields when he knows his course is
wrong, and repairs the evil. The only crime is pride,” said Teirisias to Creon in the play Antigone. These wise words of Teirisias are used to influence Creon’s decision with Antigone’s death sentence. Creon’s excessive pride in himself makes him overlook his poor decision and, later, makes him feel remorseful for his actions. Hubris is a bad quality that alters many people’s decision making. Adolf Hitler, Kim Jong-II, and numerous Ku Klux Klan members were all tainted with hubris.
Hitler’s hubristic behavior is the reason he made poor decisions as the leader of the Nazi Party. Unfortunately, many people followed his false propaganda giving him more power as a dictator. Hitler’s excessive pride as a leader for his country made him feel safe to believe that every rule he enforced was correct. Hitler and Creon were both feared by the people that they led, making it easier for them to make decisions whether they were right or not. “No, they are with me. But they keep their tongues in leash” (Scene II 210). Antigone says this to Creon as she explains that her burial for Polyneices was honorable, and everyone would agree with her if they were not frightened by Creon. Hitler’s methods were simple, exterminate anyone who thought otherwise of his rules during World War II. Both leaders enforced everything they said no matter how arrogant they seemed in the eyes of their followers.
Another leader corrupted by hubris was Kim Jong-II, dictator of North Korea. Although he was not as brutal as Hitler, Kim Jong-II restricted his followers from Internet access, simple household appliances, and television shows that did not contain his propaganda. The power he gained from his leadership gave him control over everything he did, giving him excessive pride for all his actions. If anyone rebelled against Kim Jong-II’s rulings, they would be sentenced to death. The rebelling victim would face a firing squad as a fatal punishment. This rarely occurred because as children, the North Korean population was indoctrinated to view Kim Jong-II as a “god-like” figure making it a great dishonor to disobey. In Antigone, if anyone disobeyed Creon’s laws they would get a punishment that is also fatal like Kim Jong-II’s, “…Or closer yet in blood—she and her sister win better death for this” (Scene II 209). Both leaders do not want to look bad from anyone trying to degrade who they are, so their hubris takes over turning it into a dangerous situation for the disobedient victim.
The Ku Klux Klan is notorious for racist crimes across America. Members of this clan are proud of their beliefs that a white society is necessary. Many of these members feel as if they are part of a family filling them with pride for who they are. The goals of fulfilling their beliefs are cruel, so the hubris they have built up over the years cause them to capitalize on them. Over the duration of time Creon was kind, he gained more pride in himself making him feel comfortable with his decisions that some thought were unfair such as not allowing proper burial for Eteocles.
Some believe hubris is a good characteristic. The opposition would state that hubris makes people more confident with their actions and not have any leniency with difficult decisions that some would disagree with. Although having a high confidence level seems like a good quality for anyone to have, having too much confidence can lead to poor decision making. In Antigone when Creon sends Antigone to her death, his confidence in his decision forces him to regret his punishment since the aftermath led to his son and wife killing themselves, “Lead me away. I have been rash and foolish. I have killed my son and wife” (Exodos 244).
Those given too much power tend to fill themselves with their own pride. People who have gained a large ego take advantage of it for badness. Excessive pride contributes to many people making poor decisions that are regretted, stubbornness that disrupts the understanding of right and wrong, and gives people the image that they are better than everyone else.