Thematic Guide to British Poetry

By Ruth Glancy | Go to book overview

Pride and Vanity

Pride has always been considered the most serious of human failings. For the ancient Greek dramatists, pride, or hubris, was the flaw that defeated all the tragic heroes because in their heroic desire to do good (bolstered by the admiration of their people) they overstepped human bounds and began to think themselves gods. Often the tragic fall came about because the hero in his pride thought he could avoid his destiny. Oedipus was such a blinded man. Told by the oracle that he would grow up to murder his father and marry his mother, he fled his home and traveled to Thebes, not knowing that the parents from whom he was running had adopted him. Oedipus's predicament evokes pity and fear in us, as Aristotle said all good tragedies must, because he cannot be faulted for trying to evade such a cruel fate. His error was in taking his destiny into his own hands, challenging the gods and thinking he could outwit them.

In the Judeo-Christian tradition, pride is the most serious of the seven deadly sins because all others stem from it. Here, too, pride is setting oneself against God, and the consequences of such pride are the subject of many stories in English. The legend of Dr. Faust (as told in Christopher Marlowe's play Doctor Faustus [c. 1588]), for example, is the story of a man who sells his soul to the devil in exchange for superhuman powers. In Milton's Paradise Lost (1667), pride is the devil's sin that results in his expulsion from heaven. Pride is the tragic flaw of many of Shakespeare's heroes, and as in Oedipus Rex (c. 430 B.C.) it is often associated with blindness (Oedipus blinds himself at the end, when at last he sees the truth) because pride is a mental blindness to one's place in creation.

Vanity is less serious than pride. The preacher in Ecclesiastes warns us that the earthly life is all vanity: our petty desires, worries, and con

-205-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Thematic Guide to British Poetry
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 306

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.