The Influence of Pride on an Example Lance Armstrong

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The Olympic Games bring more than 11,000 elite athletes together every summer and winter, creating excitement in fans worldwide. With competitive individuals striving for excellence, comes many others who choose to find success in other ways, such as taking drugs to enhance their performance or causing others harm. For example, Lance Armstrong, an American professional cyclist, secretly doped throughout a significant part of his career in order to maintain his top status. However, his scandals stripped him of seven “Tour de France” titles and damaged his cancer foundation. Armstrong’s pride permanently ruined his reputation and led him to his destruction. Such is the case in Bernard Evslin’s book Heroes, Gods and Monsters of the Greek Myths.

According to Greek mythology, hubris is the most egregious moral failure. Vanity paves the way to an inevitable downfall. Mortals who choose to be prideful ultimately regret their actions and ruin their life. For example, Arachne boasts about her weaving skills and pride becomes the culprit of her death. After Athena hears the praises of Arachne ‘rising above her own, she rebukes her the foolish girl saying, “Poor child. You are being destroyed by your own worth. Your talent has poisoned you with pride like the sting of a scorpion”. Arachne’s audacious remarks cause her distress as a consequence of slandering the goddess of women’s crafts. Similarly, Icarus, who recently acquired the power of flight, becomes caught up in his success. Intoxicated by the feeling of superiority, Icarus crosses the line of moderation and plummets to his destruction. When he witnesses a great swan flying high and proudly in the sky above him, “Ha…” he thought to himself. “Those things have been flying all their lives. Wait till I get a little practice. I’ll outfly them all”. Icarus’ attempts to exceed nature’s boundaries ends up surpassing the life-supporting limits of the human body. Conceit gets the best of Arachne and Icarus and causes them to experience their lack of humility.

Overall, their pride reveals the ultimate consequence that leads them to becoming an eternal slave of their actions. Mortals that are arrogant inflict destruction on not only themselves but others as well. The myth of Queen Cassiopeia displays the damage that pride exerts on people around her. As a consequence of Queen Cassiopeia’s narcissism, the kingdom of Jobba must sacrifice Princess Andromeda and suffer an economic collapse. When Perseus questions the crowds of people huddling together at the edge of a cliff, King Jobba explains, “My wife, foolish, boastful woman was vain of her beauty and that of our daughter-not without reason, as you see; but she took it into her head to praise herself among the people, saying that she and Andromeda were more beautiful than any Nereid”. Invoked by the jealous demands of his Nereids, Poseidon brings misfortunes into the queen’s life and kingdom. Similar to Queen Cassiopeia's impact on her people, Phaethon tricks Apollo into allowing him to control the sun’s pathway, a serious job that requires an immense amount of discipline.

Provoked by Epaphus’ bragging, Phaethon drives his father’s sun chariot which leads to disaster and his death. While he steers the fire-breathing horses above a series of villages, “Just imagine,” Phaethon thought, “how many people now are looking up at the sky, praising the sun, hoping the weather stays fair. How many people are watching me, me , me…?”...”I won’t stay too long-just dip down toward our own village and circle his roof three times-which is the signal we agreed upon. After he recognizes me, I’ll whip up the horses and resume the path of the day”. Phaethon’s quarrel with Epaphus misplaces pride above all other human qualities. As a result, the crave for recognition ultimately leads to disobedience and recklessness.

Overall, Queen Cassiopeia and Phaethon's arrogance displays the disasters it can have on humanity. The stories and themes shown in Greek mythology depict the arising consequences of prideful mortals. Vanity influences Arachne and Icarus’ actions, eventually leading to their deaths. Then it ruins the lives of other people through Queen Cassiopeia and Phaethon’s narcissism. This overpowering emotion’s effects unveiled in Evslin’s novel is similar to Lance Armstrong’s outcome except that in the novel, the mortals are doomed. In comparison to vanity, hubris is a tragic flaw that inevitably leads to nemesis.

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The Influence of Pride on an Example Lance Armstrong. (2022, Oct 04). Retrieved June 15, 2024 , from
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