Pride

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Jump to: navigation, search
"I will ascend to heaven; I will raise my throne above the stars of God." So, how'd that gig work out, Lucifer?
--Image by Caelicorn

"My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:

Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Percy Shelley, "Ozymandias"

Just like alcohol, sometimes having a good opinion of yourself—your position, your skills, your accomplishments—can be too much. It can go to your head. It can turn you into a Jerkass. When it really gets bad, it can destroy your common sense, make you delusional, declare to the world that "It's All About Me!" and make you stomp right up there and seize the Idiot Ball. That's pride fucking with you.

Take boasting for an example. In their myths, the Greeks (who coined the term Hubris for such dangerous amounts of pride) were big on having a mortal (un)deservedly boasting that they're better at something than their highly petty and vengeful gods, especially the one who declares oneself Above the Most High. Or trying to constantly bully the weirdo who has the powers to reduce you into a smear on the wall, because your pride says you can. You can guess how that tended to go. Or (always a classic) walking right into an enemy's hands confident they'll fall just like everyone else has, despite how they seem to be goading you to stand on the big red bulls-eye.

Or, best of all, never asking for help or Forgiveness despite all the Break the Haughty because "pride" won't allow it... or, if you are helped you express lack of gratitude, and letting highly preventable events play out, to the pain and misfortune of protagonists and their close ones, if not others. How the Mighty Have Fallen! When done on a larger scale, leads to Look on My Works Ye Mighty and Despair or And Man Grew Proud.

The technical term for that is "Tragedy."

Great power in general tends to generate great hubris and great insanity at the same time. Sometimes the excessive hubris is the insanity in itself. In more Romanticist works, hubris also goes very well with committing, through science, sins against nature or discovering Things Man Was Not Meant to Know.

Pride and its sister Hubris have brought down more heroes and villains than Homer could shake a cudgel at. As a Fatal Flaw and Achilles' Heel, it is a classic that's Older Than Feudalism and not likely to go away any time soon, especially since pigheadedness and vanity seem to be pretty firmly rooted human foibles... and, after all, it goes so well with megalomania and how villains do stupid things! There's a reason why this is one of the Seven Deadly Sins, and why a very minor character in Classical Mythology is the Trope Namer for Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Pride is a potent driving force for Drama: Some stories begin with the proud brought low and their attempts to learn humility, others are driven by prideful quests, while others end because of an unwillingness to forsake said pride.

It's All About Me, A God Am I, Kneel Before Zod, Nothing Can Stop Us Now, Grudging Thank You and Don't You Dare Pity Me! are proud stock phrases. Proud people are also very likely to suffer from Moral Myopia (to the point of being convinced to be the only righteous one). Come to Gawk is frequently uncommonly painful for the proud—and the proud are uncommonly likely to jump to the conclusion that someone did Come to Gawk. The Green-Eyed Monster often accuses the envied person of Pride—justly or unjustly. Acquired Situational Narcissism is a Sub-Trope, as are Fairest of Them All, Holier Than Thou, and Inferiority Superiority Complex. See also Small Name, Big Ego and Fallen Angel.

Depictions of pride as a fatal (or extreme) flaw include:

Anime[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Asuka from Neon Genesis Evangelion is practically defined by this—even more than being the series Tsundere. This is both a strength and a weakness. As the art book Eve states: "Asuka's pride is a double-edged sword of Damocles" and it's stated that her Pride is a defense to her crippling low self esteem due to a Freudian Excuse. It's essentially a false coping mechanism.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, Pride is the leader of the Homunculi, following the Seven Deadly Sins theme. However, his identity differs between the first anime and manga—in the former Pride is Fuhrer King Bradley, but in the latter it's Selim Bradley! In the former, the pride aspect manifests through the power he wields through his precognition and the political power at his beck and call; he refers to himself as God's "guardian angel" of humanity (with alchemists, possessing the one power he cannot have as a Homonculus, as the Devil). In the latter, Pride is the "pride and joy" of Big Bad Father. At one point Hohenheim addresses Pride, and characterizes his self-love as particularly evil: Pride is utterly incapable of giving value to the life of any other person, and is Lack of Empathy personified.
    • Not only is Pride Father's most powerful Homunculus, and not only is Pride the most prideful and arrogant of them all, his very shape is proof of Father's hubris. His true form is basically Father's original form as an amorphous shadow in a flask cranked up to eleven and then some. What better example of Father's pride then to make his strongest warrior in his own image?
    • Particularly in the Brotherhood version, Ed's pride (being an Insufferable Genius) seems to be a major motivation in his ill-fated attempt to bring his mother back from the dead, although love for her was certainly a big part of it as well. Which makes his defeat of the Homunculus of the same name even more appropriate.
    • In the fangame Bluebird's illusion, in one of the endings Edward becomes Pride after he commits suicide after he fails to save his brother.
  • Vegeta from Dragonball Z gets his ass handed to him so many times for his stubborn pride, you start to wonder if he likes it. Few are the characters who have done more stupid things for the sake of their pride. Like so many characters on this page though, it is all he has left if you think about it. He's the Prince of a world that no longer exists, all his kin are dead until Trunks is born, and that filthy peasant Kakarot just keeps getting further ahead of him in terms of power...
    • Of course, the whole reason why he has nothing else left is his pride. He killed Nappa because of it, and got Bulma despite it, yet also loses the latter because of it. Good thing for him the Dragon Balls exist, as they allow him to keep trying again until even he gets it right...
    • Most of DBZ villains tend to have this as a major flaw thinking there is no way they can be defeated. With Vegeta it is a low born defeating an elite. Freiza cannot comprehend that a "monkey" could become stronger than him even after he is sliced in half and the world blows up. Android 17 thinks he is the perfect fighting machine and cannot be improved upon. Cell thinks his final form is "perfect" due to having the best qualities of each fighter and cannot be defeated. Super Buu cannot stand Vegetto's strength. They tend to have a break down when they are proven wrong.
  • Code Geass - Word of God confirms that pride is Lelouch's main Fatal Flaw.
  • Light from Death Note. Where Light's pride hurt him the most was his underestimating L's abilities. While he was a better Chessmaster than L and correctly estimated Mello and Near's individual abilities, several of Light's mistakes can be traced to underestimating L. First was the Lind L. Tailor incident. Then Light changed the time he wrote in the Death Note after L figured the times of death meant Kira was a student, letting L know Kira had a connection to the police. Kira had better chances of being identified one of many students than as a family member of the police, but simply did it just to one-up L. Then Light only waited a week after Penbar's investigation of him to kill him, thinking that the lapsed time would be long enough to cool his trail, but picked up the attention of not only L but also Misora. And there really wasn't a good reason to kill Penber at the time anyway. Then he didn't think that L would leave a way for his successors to know he had died. Had Light recognized that the detective L was smarter than the criminal Kira, things may have gone differently.
    • Light's God Complex is the most obvious example of this trope in the manga—not just his delusion of godhood, but the very fact that he thinks he has the right to kill whomever he deems fit, and whomever gets in his way. Light's pride is what ultimately proves he's Kira, as he can't help but reveal his identity in the final moment of a tough opponent's life grinning over Penber and L and outright telling Misora he's Kira just as her sentence to suicide takes effect. If he wasn't so keen on gloating, he may well have survived the final encounter with Near.
    • Actually, Light purposely let L find out that Kira was connected to the police. It was all part of his Xanatos Gambit to make L suspect the police, and then investigate them, ultimately pissing the police off and causing L to lose their support as well as have the police turn on him. It actually worked almost as well as Light hoped, but in the end, L and a small number of the force chose to trust each other. Which, as Soichiro points out, L might have been waiting for all along...
  • Neji from Naruto. He thinks he's better than everyone, until Naruto beats some sense into him. Sasuke, too, which unfortunately has yet to be remedied.
    • Almost the entire Uchiha Clan (they're not known for their humility), but especially Madara. Something about having a Sharingan seems to make you really arrogant.
  • Umineko no Naku Koro ni: Lucifer is the eldest of the Stakes of Purgatory. Naturally, she has a quite a bit of Pride in this position, which makes sense, considering that's the sin she embodies. This makes her Defeat by Modesty at the hands of Kanon in the third arc all the more hilarious. However, the Stakes Valentine's Day side story reveals that she's actually the least competent of her sisters, and her TIPS reveal that she takes great pleasure in surrendering.
  • Ribbons Almark from Mobile Suit Gundam 00 displayed a superiority complex: he always looked down on humanity, and he also also described himself superior to other Innovades. His confidence of himself is at the point of arrogance.
    • Pretty much embodied in the final episode, in which he states that he isn't "playing God" because he really is God. It's at this point that Setsuna decides that the guy is beyond hope and just needs to die.
  • Bleach: Byakuya Kuchiki has his fair share of pride. He gets better as time goes on, though.
    • Pride is also a key trait of the protagonist, Ichigo. Some of his fights would be a lot easier if he didn't underestimate his opponents or taunt them. This was the same reason why he didn't let his inner hollow finish off Byakuya. Whenever he starts enjoying a fight, pride kicks in.
  • Take a drink every time a noble dies due to pride in Legend of the Galactic Heroes. You'll be drunk by the quarterway-point of the series.
    • Throw in a drink for death by pride for non-noble generals and politicians (thus making The Alliance eligible) and odds are you'll be drunk some ten episodes in, and dead of alcohol poisoning by the quarterway.
    • If you really want to get the ball rolling, throw in another drink for when their pride causes other people to die.
      • Several hundred thousand people were dead due to foolish pride in the first episode. Don't do it, man, it's a death trap!
  • In Virgin Love, Kaoru's biggest flaw is his pride, which is his defense mechanism to combat his insecurity and jealousy and makes him completely emotionally isolated.

Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • Dream of The Sandman spent most of the series going through a slow change, and trying to correct mistakes his strict code of honor "compelled" him to make. In the process of doing so, he made several powerful enemies, so it wasn't his pride per se which did him in, but his attempts to make amends that did.
    • The nutshell description of the series is 'Dream of the Endless finds it necessary to change or die... and makes his choice.' If that wasn't an example of pride in action, what is?
  • Pride is the defining trait of Dr. Doom. The accident that damaged his face happened because he was too arrogant to believe Reed Richards had found an error in his calculations. The minor scar Doom received he saw as horribly disfiguring due to his vanity, and in desperation to hide it he ended up really messing his face up. He was unable to even admit to himself of his mistake in either instance. His supervillain-sized lust for power is rooted in his belief that he should be second to no one, particularly Richards. This is also why he always rebuffs others' attempts to rehabilitate him. He just can't accept the pity and sympathy of others.
  • Lucifer: Naturally, the titular character of the comics, who rankled at the idea that any being should be in any way bound to another. On one hand this led to his total honesty and strict paying of all debts he owed, on the other it fueled his sociopathic disregard for anyone who wasn't him or his (very) small group of companions. As God pointed out it also meant he would be eternally unhappy, because the universe was by nature co-dependent and linked.
  • In All Fall Down, Pride blinds Portia for the majority of the story.
  • Doctor Strange, in his backstory, was a young and very talented surgeon with the ego to match. Cue the fall from grace, which ended only when he started to care about people other than himself. He's come a long way since, but the temptation to backslide is still there.

Fan Works[edit | hide]


Film - Live Action[edit | hide]

  • Pulp Fiction - Marsellus Wallace: "The night of the fight, you may feel a slight sting. That's pride fucking with you. Fuck pride. Pride only hurts, it never helps."
    • To put this into context, he's trying to convince Butch to throw a fight by suggesting that his career as a boxer is essentially over, making this something of a Breaking Speech.
  • The theme of Pride/Vanity as an engine of destruction runs all through the plot of The Devil's Advocate, namely because it makes you careless and imprudent or just drags you into the affairs that will surely and painfully bite you in the ass. Even the father of the sin himself is not invulnerable to its pernicious influence.
  • The general theme of Ink is overcoming Pride.

Film - Animated[edit | hide]

  • Aladdin - Jafar was this close to complete victory, but his refusal to accept any position other than that of the most powerful being on the face of the Earth was what ultimately undid him. To be more specific, he was already the Sultan and the most powerful sorcerer in the world as a result of his first two wishes upon capturing the Genie, but his undoing came when Aladdin tricked him into wishing to be a genie -- with everything that goes along with the package.
    • Thinking about it, he could have avoided the last third of the movie altogether if he hadn't wasted his first wish on, essentially, stealing the Sultan's clothes - out of pride.
  • Pride is key to plot in Kung Fu Panda. Shifu was too proud of his prized pupil Tai Lung, whom he valued as a son, to realize that Tai Lung was proud to the point of being arrogant. When Oogway denied Tai Lung the Dragon Scroll, he went berserk, carving a swath of devastation through the valley and trying to kill Shifu before being stopped by Oogway.

Twenty years later, Shifu has allowed his pride and that failure to blind him to the potential of his other students, and prevents him from seriously considering that Po is the only hope of defeating Tai Lung. Meanwhile, Tai Lung has only gotten more full of himself while wasting away for twenty years, and when he finally confronts Shifu, he reveals that the motive behind everything he ever did was to make Shifu proud of him. Shifu declares that he was always proud of him, but that pride worked against him and kept him from seeing that he was setting Tai Lung up for disappointment. And once more, Tai Lung is too proud to accept this, and says he only wants the scroll.

At the end, after getting thoroughly trounced by Po, he fails to understand the meaning of the Dragon Scroll that he had sought for so long, which is that you don't need to seek out some ultimate secret to reach your full potential: the power is already within you. His pride does not allow him to consider that he might have been wrong about everything, and he dies... we think... refusing to accept that he had lost to, in his words, a "big, fat panda."

Literature[edit | hide]

  • In Shadow Puppets, one of the Ender's Game sequels, Virlomi sets herself up as a holy woman/god on earth to lead a resistance movement in India against the Chinese occupation. After a long sequence of everything going right for her against rivals she knows are better than she is, she becomes convinced that she really is either divine or favored by the gods, and carelessly leads her army into an obvious trap.

Later stories show just how much old Ma and Pa Wiggins manipulated their children because the pride of their children (especially Peter) was such there was no way their parents could have figured out they were world famous political Bloggers. Ender In Exile especially shows this with how they manipulate Peter to exile Ender and Valentine to join Ender. In Peter's case it takes him four books to even suspect his parents used him due to his own pride. This may be a Retcon, however. If it is, it is one inspired by the fact that the reason (according to the Hegemony) that Peter, Val, and Ender are so smart to begin with is that their family has such an excellent genetic history of intelligence.

  • In Starless Night, Drizzt Do'Urden leaves his friends behind to see if he can head off the coming storm all by himself. Not only does he fail, not only would he have died if his friends (and even some enemies) hadn't rescued him, but he arguably makes things worse. This would be fine...if it weren't for Drizzt's proclivity for endless navel-gazing on various philosophical themes and subjects in his journal, just in case you missed the point.
  • Jane Austen
    • Pride and Prejudice, naturally. Sometimes, people who accuse others of being too proud are the proudest of all.
    • Emma, too—pride goeth before a fall for dear Miss Woodhouse.
    • Persuasion, too, though it's not Anne Eliot herself, but her father, quite conceited over his Blue Blood and good looks, and older sister. Though at one point they are being abject to restore a connection and Anne thinks something she had thought she would never think: she wished they had more pride.
  • In The Bible, Lucifer rebels against God because of his pride, and gets himself and his angels cast down into Hell because of it.
  • Each of the villains in the Keys to the Kingdom series represents a deadly sin, with Lord Sunday representing pride. He does nothing about actions that would destroy the universe until it is nearly too late simply because he would rather amuse himself.
  • Jorus C'baoth claimed that a Jedi was immune to pride. He was extremely wrong. Pride is the leading cause of death among Sith, narrowly beating out "swinging lightsabers" and "reactor shafts."
  • In Nick Kyme's Warhammer 40000 novel Salamander, Tsu'gan blames himself for his arrogance that led to his leaving his post, and so to an enemy's breaking in and killing his captain.
  • In James Swallow's Warhammer 40000 Deus Encarmine and Deus Sanguinius, Sachiel's pride is contrasted to Rafen, down to their reactions to each other's loss. Sachiel's reaction to news of an explosion (No One Could Survive That) is to gloat; Rafen sees Sachiel's corpse and pities him.

In the Backstory, Rafen was so arrogant as to have been rejected as an aspirant for it, but that humbled him and (through some other circumstances) led to his being selected anyway.

Stele explicitly compares Sachiel to Rafen: while it nearly killed him to break Rafen, and that was to drive him to despair because he could not win him over, he quite easily brought over Sachiel, through his pride.

  • In Edgar Rice Burroughs's The Chessman Of Mars, the men of Manator are particularly proud and maltreat their slaves from contempt because they have never been defeated and enslaved themselves.
  • In Ben Counter's Warhammer 40000 novel Chapter War, Eumenes justifies his rebellion on grounds of fighting for what he believes in, but is clearly after power, especially when he gloats over what he will do with Sarpedon after Sarpedon submits to him to save the Chapter.
  • In Ben Counter's Warhammer 40000 novel Grey Knights, the daemon accuses Alaric of Pride, which, it claims, blinds him to both his faults and his defeat.
  • Pride is the ultimate source of all the misery Winterbourne and Daisy suffer in Daisy Miller.
  • As CS Lewis puts it in Mere Christianity:

...the essential vice, the utmost evil, is Pride. Unchastity, anger, greed, drunkenness, and all that, are mere fleabites in comparison: it was through Pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind.

  • Being as Things Fall Apart is more or less stated to be a classical Greek tragedy set in pre-colonial and early colonial Nigeria, it makes sense that Okonkwo's driving force and ultimate cause of death is Pride. Subverted in that the author does not condemn Okonkwo's pride but rather is saddened by it.

The backstory of his deadbeat father, who spent his days idling and died in massive debt, provides a Freudian Excuse in this case. Okonkwo swore to himself he would be a pillar of strength and manliness, not a failure like his father.

  • In J.R.R Tolkien's The Silmarillion, pride literally goes before a Fall:
    • Melkor sought to create and rule over others, and was too proud to admit his creations were only discoveries made possible by God. He became Morgoth, that is, Satan.
    • All the Noldor were prideful, but Fëanor's arrogance was such that he lead the majority of them into exile, thinking he would be able to defy the Valar (godlike angels delegated to rule the world), and that he would stand a chance of defeating Morgoth in combat. Predictably, it ended very badly for him and most of his people.
  • Discworld: Her pride is one of the defining character traits of Knight in Sour Armor Granny Weatherwax.

"You could bounce rocks off her pride."

  • Farsala Trilogy: This is the fatal flaw of the deghans—they are so confident that the Hrum could never defeat them that they fail to listen to intelligence reports or gather an army beyond the (very small) elite fighting class.
  • In Andy Hoare's White Scars novel Hunt for Voldorius, Kor'sarro is warned against the sin of pride while talking with the Raven Guard captain; he manages to move from H Divided We Fall to Teeth-Clenched Teamwork.
  • Conan the Barbarian: In "The Hyborian Age" [1] the Aquilonian empire suffered from this.

Always a rich kingdom, untold wealth had been rolled in by conquest, and sumptuous splendor had taken the place of simple and hardy living. But degeneracy had not yet sapped the kings and the people; though clad in silks and cloth-of-gold, they were still a vital, virile race. But arrogance was supplanting their former simplicity. They treated less powerful people with growing contempt, levying more and more tributes on the conquered. Argos, Zingara, Ophir, Zamora and the Shemite countries were treated as subjugated provinces, which was especially galling to the proud Zingarans, who often revolted, despite savage retaliations.

  • Daniel Dravot in The Man Who Would Be King (both short story and film). Getting yourself acclaimed as a god in order to take over (and loot) a country is fine, but when you start believing it you're officially entering the realm of hubris. At least he realised what he had done in time to apologise to his best friend.
  • Zeus/Jupiter from the Percy Jackson book series unsurprisingly suffers from this. Many of the crisis are caused or made worse by Zeus' pride. In The Heroes of Olympus Jupiter's wounded pride at being helped and told off by mortals in the Titan War leads him to seal Olympus and do nothing to stop the Giants. Luckily, the other gods are not so stupid and work behind his back.
  • Pride is the defining trait of Lord Voldemort in Harry Potter. He is so in love with himself that he can't stand the idea of ceasing to be which is what drives his obsession with immortality. He continually underestimates Harry and refuses to countenance the idea that there are powers that he doesn't understand. He repeatedly blames others for mistakes he himself makes and is incapable of viewing others as his equal, ultimately leading to his downfall.

Live Action Television[edit | hide]

  • Breaking Bad has the main character with an obvious streak of pride coloring all his actions. He'd rather make and sell Meth than ask for or accept help for his family or condition. At one point it's revealed that his partner in grad school created a successful biotech company that his ideas helped create. Rather than accept a very large check that would have covered his bills and act as a late payment for his help with the company, he tears it up and goes back to making drugs to earn his own way.
  • The Minbari of Babylon 5 is an entire species of this. Same with the Centauri, who fuss over their glorious and long-be-gone past until their planet is reduced to rubble, the Narn, who fuss over their grudges with the Centauri and the need to take a rightful place in the galaxy until, you guessed it, their planet is reduced to rubble, Vorlons and the Shadows. The last two are worst (they incite genocidal wars and run species into extinction just to prove that their tutory strategy is the best one) and they are the ones that get away relatively easy. Huh.
  • Doctor Who: The Doctor can fall into this, given his Smug Super tendencies, and it's a notable part of the Tenth incarnation's personality. One of Ten's last appearances, in The Waters of Mars has him basically go into A God Am I mode with massive hubris, but then end up as much more humble afterward after his arrogance is crushed.

Music[edit | hide]

  • Because I'm awesome by the Dollyrots may or may not be a parody of when you have a little too much pride.
  • Travis Tritt's "Foolish Pride" is about a failed relationship where both sides are afraid to show their feelings for each other out of pride.
  • The Seven Deadly Sins series, by Vocaloid producer Akuno P aka mothy. Pride's song is Daughter of Evil, by Rin Kagamine who is a tyrannical princess of the Yellow Kingdom. Be sure to watch the sequel Servant of Evil which is from her servant's point of view, and shows more to the story. Be warned, its a bit of a tearjerker.

Mythology[edit | hide]

  • Older Than Feudalism: Classical Mythology is chock full of these. Here "pride" often means contention with or disrespect for a god.
  • Medusa was a famously beautiful priestess of Athena. In Ovid's late retelling of the myth she has sex with Poseidon in a temple of Athena. She got turned into one of the Gorgons by Athena because of it.[2]
  • Arachne claimed she could weave better than the Goddess of Arts (and most everything else), Athena. The story varies from telling to telling; in some she makes tapestries depicting the gods' faults and foibles, and in some she out-and-out taunts Athena after actually beating her in a weaving contest. Either way, her pride gets her beaten senseless and nearly killed by the angry Athena, who quickly relents and turns Arachne into the first spider as a testament to her skill.

Yet another version has her hanging herself after Athena destroys her life's work (a moving tapestry of the gods) in a fit of jealous rage. Athena resurrects her as the first spider out of remorse.

  • Achilles in Homer's The Iliad refused to leave his tent and help the Greeks fight, even after Agamemnon apologized for their meaningless spat earlier. He ended up with a Dead Sidekick.
  • In The Odyssey, Odysseus blinds the cyclops Polyphemus, and tells Polyphemus "Nobody" did it, so that when the other cyclops asked who blinded him, Polyphemus could reply only, "Nobody." Of course, this plan failed, when Odysseus became so proud of his feat he yelled to Polyphemus to remember the man who blinded him, Odysseus, son of Laertes, King of Ithaca. Polyphemus called out to his dad, who just happened to be Poseidon, for vengeance; as a result, Odysseus was stranded on Calypso's island for seven years.
  • Both Psyche and Andromeda ended up Chained to a Rock because someone had said they were more beautiful than Aphrodite, who did not tolerate challenges to her Fairest of Them All.
  • Queen Niobe of Thebes once boasted that she was superior to the goddess Leto because, among other things, she had seven sons and seven daughters as compared to the latter's only two children: Apollo and Artemis. It did not end well. It also contains the most stunning example of Break the Haughty in classical mythology: After all fourteen of her children were killed, Niobe wept. And wept. And wept so much that the gods took pity on her and turned her into an unfeeling stone. And the stone still wept.

Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • Mage: The Awakening - Every bad thing that has happened to the mages in the New World of Darkness, from the Abyss to the released Goetia, can be traced back to mages who decided to push the proverbial big red button and were too hubristic to consider the consequences of their actions. Indeed, a major theme is that all evil is ultimately human evil in Mage.
  • Many Space Marine chapters in Warhammer 40000 have this problem. The last codex had optional disadvantages to represent this, such as We Stand Alone—essentially preventing them from ever getting Inquisitorial allies because they refuse help from anyone. Additionally, although some fall to Chaos through despair or rage, many (such as Horus himself or the Inquisitors who believe they can control Chaos) enter the claws of the Dark Gods due to pride - Tzeentch's portfolio includes (in addition to the more infamous Hope and Change) Ambition.

The orks have Flash Gitz, who are this trope personified within ork society, with a fair share of Greed to go with it too. Where normal orks love fighting anything that moves, Flash Gitz are more concerned with getting more teeth (the ork currency, mind you) while spending as little of it as possible, and showing off their highly custimized guns and money to other orks. They are widely disliked amongst normal orks due to these facts for being huge showoffs.

    • Then there were the Thousand Sons. Magnus's two big mistakes: thinking he knew more about the Warp than the Emperor, and thinking he was too smart to fall for a Deal with the Devil. Then, over the course of about a day, the whole thing came crashing down around his ears.
      • The Eldar who are now on the brink of extinction but still full of themselves and refuse to get along with other races.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade - Tremere, founder of the clan of the same name essentially tore a massive hole in vampiric society and damned himself and all followers to eternal tribulation simply because he was too proud to admit he could fail.
    • Very deep in the back story, Absimiliard, the progenitor of the Nosferatu clan, killed his sire for scarring his (in his opinion) perfect face during his Embrace. In punishment, his grandsire Caine cursed the entire clan with inhuman hideousness.
  • The Great Curse for the Sidereal Exalted is based around the structure of "make hubristic decision, execute competently". Solars are also prone to this, as their peerless excellence turns in on itself and becomes peerless arrogance. Other Exalts cheerfully dive into this on an individual basis.


Theatre[edit | hide]

  • By the end of The Women, Mary decides that pride is "a luxury a woman in love can't afford."
  • In Ajax, the main character's pride leads to a mad rampage that only ends up driving him to suicide.
  • The title character in Julius Caesar was practically the living embodiment of Pride.
    • Iago in Othello has Pride and Envy as his fatal flaws.

Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Geneforge series - The Shaper Council. If you choose to help a faction that opposes them, then they learn the hard way that yes, the rebellion can be a threat to them. Unfortunately, the other factions are often just as arrogant.
  • Fate Stay Night - Pride is the Fatal Flaw of Gilgamesh; he is the single-most powerful being in the story, capable of frightening even Avenger -- the embodiment of all human evils incarnated in an unlimited source of power... But he never goes all out on people because he is too secure in his own superiority, and it always comes back to bite him in the ass because by the time he gets serious it is already too late.

Shinji is also overly prideful (with far less justification, too), which (combined with his general uselessness) ultimately leads to his downfall in all three routes (in particular Heaven's Feel).

  • Geese...poor, poor Geese. If it weren't for his... excessive pride, he wouldn't be stuck to the pavement like a mancake right now.
  • In the original Ridge Racer, the ultimate unlockable vehicle in the game is the black car (officially #13, 13" Racing). Even a good player can expect to be passed like they were standing still soon after the starting line, whereupon they will come around the next lap to see their opponent lounging by the black car, waiting for them to catch up.
    • Tortoise and the Hare, much?
  • In Dragon Age: Origins, the Seven Deadly Sins are divided up among five different types of demons: Rage (wrath), Hunger (gluttony), Sloth, Desire (greed, envy, and lust), and Pride. Pride Demons are considered the strongest of the five types by the Chantry because the emotion that they feed off of is the most human and complex.
  • About half of the fortresses in Dwarf Fortress meet their demise due to some form of shameless, unabashed hubris on the part of the Cruel Player Character God. Many projects attempting to convert the landscape into Mordor, construct gargantuan statues, develop horrific Doomsday Devices, or channel the unspeakable, eldritch power of Hell itself end up resulting in Disaster Dominoes. Of course, when all goes according to plan...
    • It should be pointed out that The Infamous Boatmurdered featured three of the above (and would have had Hell Itself had Hell Itself been part of that version of DF). It, somewhat predictably, meet its doom when the Horrific Doomsday Device, having previously converted the landscape into Mordor, misfired and demolished a chunk of the gargantuan statue (which angered the artisan who'd engraved the statue, which led rather efficiently to a lethal Tantrum spiral.
  • In Ace Combat Zero, pride seems to be associated with the Knight Ace style ("[aces] who live for pride"), who refuse to cause collateral damage even when it's the surest way to victory. Your Wing Man even comments that your pride is gonna get you killed. Ironically, among the enemy boss squadrons, the one explicitly associated with pride is Detlef Fleischer's Rot Squadron, whom you face in the Mercenary route. As the epilogue shows, even ten years later, poor Detlef still cannot accept and understand how he was defeated by mere mercenaries.
  • The Illusive Man was brought down by his own pride in Mass Effect 3. His plan was near-foolproof, taking into account Shepard and the Alliance's interference, their eventual pushing back against the Reapers, as well as the eventual completion and deployment of The Crucible (for the first time in the history of the Galaxy). He even rightly came to the conclusion that it would allow him take control of the Reapers. However, he never, even for a moment, thought he might end up indoctrinated himself. If Shepard can make him come to realize it, he commits suicide.
  • In Overlord Pride is the sin embodied by the Wizard, seventh member of the adventuring band of heroes that slew the old Overlord. His pride kept him from realising his own vulnerability and intended role in the old Overlord's Thanatos Gambit. By the time the protagonist meets him the Wizard is nothing more than a skin coat worn by the revived Dark Lord, who subsequently inherits the downfall of pride by being destroyed by the very man he groomed to be his puppet replacement
  • After the second credits of Solatorobo, Elh claims that Red has a huge ego and the reason she won't tell him what their adventures together mean to her is because she doesn't want it to get any bigger.
  • Durandal and Tycho from Marathon are two rampant Ship AIs with delusions of godhood. The former's despair of being restricted to the thankless duty of operating doors while he could much greater things with his vast intellect is one of the things that starts the plot of the trilogy.


Visual Novels[edit | hide]

  • In Katawa Shoujo, Lilly is often described as prideful by Hisao, as he notices that she often hides her emotions and works hard to prevent her blindness from being a noticeable handicap. Similarly, Emi often boasts about her skill as a runner in the track, referring to herself as "the fastest thing on no legs".


Webcomics[edit | hide]

  • The Order of the Stick: Vaarsuvius' pride and inability to admit mistakes or rely on others is what ultimately causes him/her to accept a Deal with the Devil.
    • Similarly, Pride is Miko's Fatal Flaw - she refuses to admit that she can be wrong, and ends up falling from her paladin status and dying in a Senseless Sacrifice that accidentally brings about Xykon's partial victory. As one poster on the Giant in the Playground boards put it, pride is the sin of the fallen, the sin of Lucifer.
  • Jack: Pride/Vanity is a minor antagonist. As a punishment for some undisclosed Pride-themed crimes she is disfigured beyond description (think of being literally turned inside out and left that way) and is obsessed with looking beautiful again. Her preferred method is to skin other Hell-denizens and clad herself in their hides.
  • Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures gives us the following exchange:

Dan: "You know... last time I checked... pride was considered to be a deadly sin!!!"
Aaryanna: "And it's a sin you should be proud of, dammit!!!"


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Darkwing Duck—Darkwing is to pride what Scrooge McDuck is to greed and avarice. With a chaser of Loners Are Freaks.
  • Care Bears - "Proudheart Cat doesn't have a lot to say, but she's Purrfect In every way."
  • Transformers - Pick a Starscream. Any Starscream. Granted, all of Decepticon/Predicon culture is glory seeking, but no mech is more of a narcissist than the Pride of the Cybertron War Academy, the Greatest Explorer in Modern Times, the true heir and leader of the Decepticons, and self-cloning geek, fragging Starscream.
    • On the other side of the Cybertronian Civil War is Sentinel Prime, also in pretty much every incarnation. He usually means well, is at some level a nice guy, and usually has a history of frienship with The Messiah Optimus Prime (if he isn't Optimus' father figure), but he's also almost always going to end up at least mildly villainous out of sheer ego.
    • Of course there's Megatron who make's sure that he alone is the undisputed leader of the Decepticons, and he won't allow even Unicron to command him.
  • Lucius on Jimmy Two-Shoes. He's a Smug Snake ruling an Egopolis who constantly tries to make the population love him while at the same time making them miserable. He's even named after Lucifer, the demon of pride. In fact, according to Word of God, Lucius has some pretty terrifying powers, but doesn't use them strictly because his pride would be wounded if he admitted he needed them.
  • Applejack has at least twice allowed her pride to cause problems in My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic.
    • In the season one episode "Applebuck Season", her stubborn refusal to accept help after insisting she could handle her family's orchard harvest alone combined with her trying to meet obligations to help her friends ends in nothing but disaster all over.

Twilight Sparkle: It's over-propelled pegasus, practically poisoned plenty of ponies, and terrorized bushels of brand new bouncing baby bunnies.

    • Meanwhile, "The Last Roundup" features Applejack essentially running away from home in shame when she doesn't win as big as she and everypony else had expected her to in a big rodeo competition she'd won ten years straight.
    • "The Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000" shows Applejack's learned her lessons when she readily accepts help from her friends in a desperate situation.
    • A positive example occurs in "Baby Cakes", when an Innocently Insensitive comment by Twilight Sparkle kick starts Pinkie Pie's pride and forces her to step up to the responsibilities of caring for the foals she's babysitting.
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Suki doesn't respond well to having her failures pointed out. When Sokka gently prods her to admit she was beaten in a sparring session, Suki forcibly bends his finger backwards and insists it was a lucky shot. After Suki mocks Team Avatar's win/loss record and Sokka responds by pointing out Princess Azula took her captive, she flatly asks him if he's trying to get on her bad side.


Real Life[edit | hide]

  • CS Lewis said that pride is inherently competitive. Any single desire (for money, women, power, whatever) can eventually reach a point where you have enough of the thing so that gaining more would be pointless. The thing with pride is that it doesn't care for the thing itself, only having more of it than everybody else. A billion dollars a year is really enough to get you just about anything you want, but people will try to make even more money just so that they can say that they have more than anyone else. He also points out in The Screwtape Letters that it is an incredibly easy trap to fall into, because the very act of being a good person in other ways can inspire pride. In fact, the titular demon recommends that his nephew convince a human to be proud of his own humility.
    • Although, really, that sounds more like greed than anything else.
      • Pride is arguably the root of all other sins as they are indulgence in different things and a certain degree of pride is needed for an individual to feel deserving of that indulgence.
  • The American religion scholar Stephen Prothero argues that the fundamental point of Islam is opposition to pride. The doctrine of absolute monotheism that holds that God is so far beyond humanity that to talk about him in human terms only barely manages not to be blasphemy (i.e. God Is Good, but also Eldritch) means that the central tenet of Christianity is in itself prideful (God would not lower himself thus to human form, and it is prideful for us to assume that he would gain anything by doing so). It also (incidentally) sets the ground for absolute egalitarianism (assuming you accept this interpretation, anyway): since we are all equally puny (if not worthless) in the eyes of God, to declare oneself "better" than anyone else is in itself pride, and therefore un-Islamic. More to the point, even though people these days associate Islam with fanatical authoritarianism, fanatical authoritarianism goes against the very nature of Islam. Bizarre, eh?
    • It important to note that striving for greatest and improvement isn't in itself considered prideful. Also, just to point it out, but the notion of absolute monotheism leading to absolute egalitarianism still implies there existing a "connection" between God and creation.
  • Kim Jong Il full stop. His propaganda convinces North Korean citizens that he and his late father created the world and control the weather. If pride were a tangible substance he would be bursting at the seams.
  • Adolf Hitler has this as his Fatal Flaw, especially obvious during his failed attack on Russia (he boasted that the Russians and western democracies were weaklings), his belief that everyone (including Nazi Germany itself) has failed him and thus deserve to die, etc.

Notes

  1. the Backstory to the main stories.
  2. In the (numerous) earlier versions of the myth, Medusa does nothing prideful but gets walloped by the gods anyway -- one version even had her raped by Poseidon.