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Arrogance In The Elephant Man

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Throughout literature, there are characters, through their own pride and ambition, that eventually cause their own failure. Hubris, first coined by the Ancient Greeks, is defined as, extreme pride and arrogance shown by a character that ultimately brings about his downfall" (Literary). This character flaw can be used to analyze works, and the characters within them. One such example is within The Elephant Man, a character named Treves. Through his own strivings for accomplishments, he not only leads the protagonist Merrick, down a disappointing path, but also harms his place in society and Merrick's as well. Treves is first made aware of Merrick, when he is hired by the London Hospital. Treves, full of confidence, is assigned Merrick, a horribly disfigured man, in hopes of treating him, or helping him integrate into society. This is when Treves' hubris becomes a driving force for his actions. Treves is warned by Gomm, his superior to count his blessing, and offers his apologies for what his task will do to his life. However Treves is filled with hubris, and declares," A scientist in an age of science. In an English Age, an Englishman. A …show more content…
Porter and Snork, two men helping Treves, insult Merrick albeit unintentionally and Treves reacts as his previous boasting would suggest. "Well, it is infuriating. When you are told a thing, you must listen. I won't have you gaping in on my patients. Kindly remember that" (23). Once again, it is Treves' inflated sense of position and importance that cause the two men to get fired, and more importantly, affect Merrick's view of himself. As noted by Doctor Metzger, "John Merrick lived his last four years in the hospital, a man ennobled by his suffering--never bitter, always forgiving" (Overview). Merrick, before Treves entered his life with his ambitions, wanted for little, and was content with what he

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