"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
"It's a sin you should be proud of, damnit!"
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 grab the Idiot Ball
by Tempting Fate
Many religions, such as that of the Greeks
(who coined the terms Hubris
for such dangerous amounts of pride) were condemning 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
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. 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
How the Mighty Have Fallen
! The technical term for that is "Tragedy
." When done on a larger scale upon entire civilizations, leads to Look on My Works, Ye Mighty, and Despair!
or And Man Grew Proud
Pride forms a powerful combination with Ambition
, and these deadly sins have brought down more heroes and villains than Homer
could shake a cudgel at; just see the many victims of the Villain Ball
and its subtropes. 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
. There's a reason why this is one (and also the worst) of the Seven Deadly Sins
, and why a very minor
character in Classical Mythology
is the Trope Namer
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!
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 do just that. 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
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- 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 one of the endings to the fangame Bluebird's Illusion, Edward becomes Pride when he commits suicide after failing to save his brother.
- While she definitely embodies the sin she's named for (specifically the desire to hurt others), the Homunculus Lust is also unbelievably arrogant, seeing herself and her fellow Homunculi as superior to all the pitiful humans.
- Dragon Ball Z
- Vegeta 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. Frieza 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.
- Even in the original series most villains have this fatal flaw. King Piccolo is so sure of his power that he believes that no one in the world can defeat him, even when Goku was fighting as his equal and he was sealed for centuries by a martial artist.
- Piccolo Jr, before his Face-Heel Turn, also had this flaw, believing no one but Goku was a threat to him, and even then talked down to Goku and kept underestimating him.
- Code Geass
- Death Note
- Light. 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 not being identified as 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.
- Neji 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.
- 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: Pride is 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. Whenever he starts enjoying a fight, pride kicks in.
- Take a drink every time a noble dies due to pride in Legend of 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.
- Al La Flaga, a Posthumous Character in Mobile Suit Gundam SEED, was so arrogant that he had himself cloned rather than deal with a son who could not live up to his opinion of himself. He ended up creating the Big Bad of the series.
- Batman has been known to have pride issues, especially as his paranoia have been played up more and more over the years by writers.
- 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 Doctor 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.
- 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.
- Spider-Man has had trouble with pride. It is, after all, the reason his Uncle Ben died, as Spidey was too full of himself to care about the burglar that would kill him. Of course, Spidey then learned that with great power Comes Great Responsibility, but he's still had his moments since then.
- This is the most common reason given for the downfall of the Kryptonian civilization. They are often depicted as one of the most powerful races of their time, and the very idea of the destruction of their planet is unthinkable. This leads them to mock Jor El and his warnings, and as a result of their hubris, only a few survive.
- To quote the Man of Steel himself. "Luthor is my greatest enemy. Not because of his wealth. Not because of the weaponry he creates. Not because of greed, not even because of evil. But because he cannot be humbled. No matter what happens to him."
- The Brotherhood of Guardians in Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog massively prided themselves on their old Guardian traditions, leading them to think that threats like Dr. Robotnik wasn't a threat to them at all. When Eggman took Robotnik's place, they still weren't concerned, even when Princess Sally came to them, begging for help. To their shock and horror, Eggman eventually caught up to them technologically and helped cull the Echidna population greatly. Oops.
- The Olympians from the Incredible Hercules suffer pride worse than the Asgardians. Hercules, while a good guy, has attacked people who he believes insulted him or take attention away from him. The other Olympians are about the same either wanting mortals to worship them again or reacting badly to challenges of their godhood. Once when rendered mortal, Zeus completely broke after a few hours out of broken pride and fear. Hercules at least is used to it.
- In the Hulk vs. Iron Man tie-in of Original Sin, the "sin" turns out to be Bruce Banner's pride. After an argument between him and Tony, a drunken Tony sabotaged the Gamma bomb. His sabotage made the bomb's yield smaller, and he sent an e-mail to Bruce explaining what he had done. Bruce arrogantly deleted the e-mail and blocked all following e-mails from Tony. If Bruce had just swallowed his pride and read an e-mail, he could have avoided becoming the Hulk.
- In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic Envy And Arrogance, the mane six have to save Equestria from their Evil Counterpart Elements of Discord. One of them is named Arrogance and she definitely plays the part. She is also very powerful but, unusually for the trope, she is not the most powerful of the six - instead she is an Evil Counterpart to Applejack - since self-delusion is the ultimate aversion of honesty.
- In X-Men fanfic Mutatis Mutandis by Artemis's Liege, Rogue's main flaw is her pride, which frequently interferes while she's trying to interact with other Marvel heroes.
- With Strings Attached. There's a reason the third part of the Third Movement is called the Ego Trip....
- Discussed in Hoofstuck when Pinkie Pie first tells the story of Love Lock and the Batterqueen. Apple Bloom points out that Love Lock's Absurdly High-Stakes Game seemed just as arrogant as the Batterqueen's belief she was entitled to rule. Pinkie spins this into An Aesop by telling her that "if you take a risk and succeed, that's called confidence. But if you fail, it's called ''hubris'... but it's really all the same thing!"
- In Flight has Shirou reunite with Saber and Rin, who have a method of keeping the Clocktower from experimenting on Shirou by having them stay with him. The only problem is that her pride as a magus and human would never allow her to be reduced to the level of his Alien Harem and she would rather go into exile than share him.
- In The Love of Three Oranges, the slave sees the heroine's reflection in the pool and thinks it's hers. It goes straight to her head and causes a lot of trouble.
- In The Three Little Men in the Wood, the stepsister's pride causes her to try to duplicate the results of seeking strawberries in the winter woods.
Films — Animated
- 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. 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. He could probably even 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."
- Woody in Toy Story has his desire to be in the centre of attention as his main flaw, in addition to being worried that Buzz Lightyear could take over his place as Andy's favourite toy. Ironically, his given surname is quite a coincidence.
Films — Live-Action
- The theme of Pride/Vanity as an engine of destruction runs all through the plot of The Devils 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. At one point, he describes it as his favorite sin and the most "natural" as it stems from a "love of self"
- Discussed in Pulp Fiction by Marsellus Wallace when he talks to Butch: "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." 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. Butch later turns it around on Marsellus while he's beating him up, taunting him with "See that? That's pride fucking with you."
- Victor of Upldr is this. He felt that he was the only one who could do his project and should get sole credit for it. He was willing to do anything just to beat his former boss into completing his project.
- The defining trait of Apollo Creed in the Rocky franchise. He picks up underdog nobody fighter Rocky Balboa for a publicity stunt when his original "name" opponent pulls out; Creed doesn't take the fight seriously at first, approaching the whole thing like a game until Rocky knocks him down with one mean blow, something that had never happened before in his entire career. After an epic battle between the two the fight is so close that the judges have a hard time naming a true victor, but ultimately they give it to Creed, which comes back to bite him in the ass in the second film where Creed is angry and full of hurt pride over accusations from fans and critics that he cheated by rigging the fight with the judges earlier to give the title to him no matter what or he simply got lucky when they gave it to him. With his popularity and reputation crumbling as a result of the controversial and humiliating fight from the first film Creed becomes so obsessed with proving he didn't cheat that he forces his handlers to cook up a nasty smear campaign to get Rocky back in the ring for a rematch since it's the only way he knows of proving and redeeming himself in the eyes of his fans and critics. Once Rocky agrees to the rematch Creed trains harder than ever before and attacks Rocky like a force of nature in the ring but after another epic fight Rocky ultimately defeats Creed, though at least Creed's fans and critics forgive him for an honest loss.
Sadly, Creed's pride ultimately brought about his death in Rocky IV.
- 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 Elliot 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.
- 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.
- Outbound Flight: 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 40,000 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 40,000 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 Back Story, 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 40,000 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 40,000 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 C. S. 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.
- The Reynard Cycle: This is Duke Nobel's ultimately fatal flaw. Given that his character was based on a anthropomorphic lion, this character trait is a Stealth Pun.
- 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 Divided We Fall to Teeth-Clenched Teamwork.
- Conan the Barbarian: In "The Hyborian Age" note 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 crises 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.
- It's also Annabeth's fatal flaw as revealed by the sirens in book two. However, once she knows this, she works hard not to let her pride get the best of her. She makes some mistakes, but overall is successful. She even uses her knowledge of how a prideful mind works in her climactic battle with Arachne at the end of The Mark Of Athena to trick her opponent, as pride was her fatal flaw as well
- Harry Potter:
- Pride is the defining trait of Lord Voldemort in . 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.
- Other characters in the series, such as Hermione Granger and Draco Malfoy and pretty much anyone with a blood prejudice, has been shown to suffer for their pride as well.
- In Jack Campbell's The Lost Stars novel Tarnished Knight, Drakon poses as over-confident in his ability to protect himself. ISS agents will believe that he doesn't bring his guards out of Pride.
- In John Milton's Paradise Lost, Satan, of course.
To reign is worth ambition though in Hell:
Better to reign in Hell, then serve in Heav'n.
- The defining trait of the Lannisters, Targaryens and to a small extent, the Greyjoys in A Song of Ice and Fire.
- In the Firebird Trilogy, pride is both Brennen and Firebird's main failing, one that drives the plots of the second and third books. In the second book, Brennen faces losing most of his extraordinary abilities and learns that his worth is not dependent on what he can do. In the third book, Firebird struggles to let others help her and to not get detrimentally caught up in her royal heritage.
- Penny of Edenborn is defined by her pride and stretches to justify her self-esteem at every turn. She's a teenager.
- Breaking Bad has Walter White, 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 money 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. Though it is justified, considering how the Doctor was raised by the Time Lords, who pretty much keep priding themselves as the most powerful civilization in the universe; compared to that, the Doctor is the most humble Time Lord there is.
- In the story "The King's Demons", Hugh's anger over the way the Doctor saved his life in a Duel to the Death is inspired by this, as his parents observe.
- In Mad Men this turns out to be Lane Pryce's undoing. The man started the series as a bit of a Chew Toy who is used as a hatchet man by his bosses and never given the recognition he deserves. In America he finds the freedom to pursue his own goals and becomes a founding partner of Sterling-Cooper-Draper-Pryce. He is justifiably proud of his achievements but his pride soon leads him to make questionable decisions. When a business downturn forces the partners to put more money into the company, he commits all his assets to the venture and does not tell anyone about his difficult financial position. More importantly, he fails to pay his British taxes (the US and UK did not yet have a reciprocity treaty), and a year later Inland Revenue sends him a menacing letter saying that if he ever wished to return to Britain and not get arrested, he had to make a very large lump payment that would bankrupt him. Don would have been more than happy to lend Lane the money but Lane's pride prevents him from asking for a loan. Instead he forges a check to get an advance on a bonus. When bonuses are canceled, he cannot return the money and Don tells Lane he has to leave when he finds out about the embezzlement. Lane hangs himself in his office rather than face the disgrace. Lane was no longer willing to "suffer the little humiliations" that his life was filled with before he became successful and thus was not able to ask for help when he most needed it.
- In Smallville, it often appears to be the Kryptonians' racial hat, having an inflated sense of ego which causes most of the Kryptonian survivors who find themselves on Earth to quickly devolve into a Smug Super. Even Clark isn't exempt from this, with his pride in being The Paragon frequently colouring his decisions and serving as his fatal flaw. Series 10 turns this into a major plot-thread, as Clark literally cannot defeat Darkseid until he's learnt humility.
- In Stargate SG-1, the Tollan are utterly convinced that they are invulnerable, due to their vast technological superiority that is even beyond that of the Goa'uld. Their arrogance eventually lead them to being wiped out, since they never considered that the Goa'uld might eventually find some way to circumvent their technology.
- 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 AkunoP aka mothy. Pride's song is Daughter of Evil, by Kagamine Rin in the role of Riliane Lucifen d'Autriche, 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 and Religion
- Older Than Feudalism: Classical Mythology is chock full of these. Here "pride" often means contention with or disrespect for a god, though outside of classical literature hubris/pride is actually more accurately translated as "sadism".
- In some versions of her myth, 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. note
- 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. And yet another version says that Arachne was stupid enough to specifically mock Zeus with her tapestry. With Athena being a notorious Daddy's Girl, you can probably guess that this wouldn't have ended well for poor Arachne.
Note that she didn't just claim to be better than Athena, in many versions of the story she actually was. Not that the Greek gods being phenomenal jerks should surprise anyone, of course.
- 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.
- Psyche ended up Chained to a Rock and doing a lot more dangerous tasks because a whole group of people starts worshiping her instead of the resident Goddess of Beauty, Aphrodite, who didn't take about the loss of worshipers and someone else taking the Fairest of Them All title away (and not to mention, her son's affection on Psyche).
- Another case of Chained to a Rock: Cassiopeia of Aethiopia was so full of pride when praising the beauty of her daughter Andromeda that she's more beautiful than the nymph-beauties Nereids, daughters of a sea deity Nereus. Who took offense on this Pride? Poseidon. So mad that there's a mortal making Blasphemous Boast to the daughters to one of his fellow-same-territory deity, Poseidon floods Aethiopia and demands Andromeda be subjected to that trope and be sacrificed for his sea serpent or else the city will continue to drown.
- 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.
- Suprisingly enough Satan does not show this in the Bible yet in the Apocrypha(namely the book of Enoch which is quoted by Jude in his epistle) the Archangel of the Afterlife Ramiel(called Hades in the book of Revalation) is filled with it(as is Azazel who gave Humans fashion and metal-working in defiance against the Almighty) and was cast out of Heaven and joined Satan in the Angelic rebellion because of it. He's hinted to be the Leviathan(the Leviathan is prophecied to first punished by a sword then killed which matches how Ramiel with Samael/Thanatos/Death are given the Second Death by being thrown in the Lake of Fire unlike Satan and the Beast who are tormented inside said Lake of Fire for eternity)
- Lucifer is called a man in the book of Isaiah where the picture quote comes from. He is also refered to as the king of Bablyon who at the time was Nebuchadnezzar who was indeed filled with this and was humbled as a result.
- Robin Hood stories tend to feature a trap set by the Sheriff of Nottingham in the form of an archery contest, as it is well known that Robin is the greatest archer in all the land. Robin is entirely aware of the nature of the trap, but generally goes anyway, because he has to prove he's the best.
- 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.
- This shows up in multiple ways in Warhammer 40,000:
- Many Space Marine chapters 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 customized 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, as a race, are now on the brink of extinction due to the Fall but are still full of themselves and refuse to get along with other races. The Dark Eldar take this even further, seeing their Craftworld and Exodite cousins as failures to the Eldar legacy despite that legacy having destroyed their race.
- The birth of the three younger chaos gods, the Horus Heresy and the fall of half the space marines to chaos, and the opening of the eye all pretty much directly resulted from the Emperor's decision to solve the problem by having everyone ignore it until it went away, because he was the only one superior enough to be allowed to know basic facts about (in-universe) science... reducing the millions of people using that science for basic transportation to the position of blindly poking a cosmic bear with a stick with no warning or ability to take precautions.
- The Tau are convinced that the Tau'va, or "Greater Good", is the best basis for a culture. This has ended badly for them on multiple occasions, as they've misinterpreted aliens fighting for their own reasons as coming to their aid - leading to unfortunate experiences like hiring Dark Eldar mercenaries or trying to throw a thank-you party for the Necrons.
- 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.
- Discussed in Nobilis 3e, which cautions that while it's possible to become Noble by eating a Power's heart, making plans to do so would be an example of hubris and would probably come back to bite you on the butt, possibly in the form of a giant scorpion. Through Nobilis' history, Lucifer has been the Imperator of Pride and Persuasion, which is to say that it is because Lucifer exists that Pride, as a thing in itself, does as well.
- Genius The Transgression: the prideful conviction that you are Correct and everyone else is Wrong is how a Genius goes Unmada. This is rarely a thing that ends well for anyone concerned.
- 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.
- By the end of The Women, Mary decides that pride is "a luxury a woman in love can't afford."
- 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".
- 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).
- Umineko no Naku Koro ni: Lucifer is the eldest of the Stakes of Purgatory. Naturally, she has 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.
- In American Barbarian, Yoosamon tells the king that his pride cost him a son, and the king must not like his pride likewise injure his kingdom.
- 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!!!"
- 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.
- In Ménage à 3, petty pride is Zii's big failing. She's proud of being a great seducer, but regularly fails to anticipate the long-term consequences of her seductions; she also claims to be great at pairing other people up, but after promising to help the virginal Gary, she makes only vague, intermittent efforts to get his love life moving, with limited success.
- 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(s). To his/her credit however, they s/he seems to have realized this and is trying to improve.
- 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.
- Genre Savvy Control Freak Tarquin is also dangerously, overly proud of himself.
- In Sandra on the Rocks, pride seems to be Zoé's chief flaw (and source of strength). She dislikes being called a "veteran model" because it makes her sound old, and would sooner spend a fortune on gifts than simply apologise for mistreating someone.
- In Sinfest, the Author Avatar and his pets roared by Death, heading toward Immortality. Death got 'em thrown into the Reality Zone before they reached. The comic's even titled "Hubris".
- In the BDSM themed Sunstone this is what brought Ally and Alan's relationship to an end. The experience of dominating each other went to their heads and this turned into a competitive and destructive relationship when they didn't have the free time to share their desired role regularly. At the time the two of them also considered themselves superior to vanilla people; and this trait is still somewhat evident in Ally when she refers to casual practitioners of BDSM as noobs. Ally also blames herself and her ego for what happened in the class on shibari with Marion, leading to her "showing her too much, too fast" and the downward spiral that followed.
- 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.
- Zuko's pride and obsession with regaining his honour encourages him to make two seasons worth of bad decisions, to the point that he's made seriously ill by compromising his goals.
Zuko: But I don't feel any shame. I'm as proud as ever!
Iroh: Zuko, shame is not the opposite of pride, but its source.
- In the sequel series, The Legend of Korra, the title character herself has some pride issues as well. Having humility forced on her happens a lot throughout the show.
- Care Bears - "Proudheart Cat doesn't have a lot to say, but she's Purrfect In every way."
- Darkwing Duck — Darkwing is to pride what Scrooge McDuck is to greed and avarice. With a chaser of Loners Are Freaks.
- 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.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic brings up the subject of pride a number of times:
- Pick a Starscream. Any Starscream. Granted, all of Decepticon/Predacon 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 friendship with 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 makes sure that he alone is the undisputed leader of the Decepticons, and he won't allow even Unicron to command him.
- Speaking of Unicron, he takes It's All About Me to such an extreme that he won't tolerate the existence of the entire multiverse just because it consists of things other than himself.
- ThunderCats (2011):
- Specifically brought up as a trait of Tygra's and tigers in general. Pride is Tygra's defining flaw for much of the series, driving him to constantly try to prove himself as better than Lion-O in almost every aspect, as well as causing him to be the most prejudiced member of the ThunderCats. That he's a royal, albeit adopted, doesn't help much either.
- In "Native Son," we meet the Tiger Clan and Tygra's father Javan, and as it turns out pride was their downfall. The tigers and Tygus were too proud to join Leo when he rebeled against Mumm-Ra and split from them. When a plague was killing them, they were too proud to seek aid from Thundera and sought help from the Ancient Spirits (of Evil) instead. The Spirits agreed to cure everyone if Javan killed Tygra, but when he saved Tygra instead, the spirits cursed the tigers, letting the plague kill them all and forcing them to haunt their home as undead ghosts, only able to pass on if one of them could overcome their pride and show humility. Tygra's father even tries to keep all this a secret and drive Tygra away rather than have to admit what happened when Tygra becomes bitter about being sent away, all out of pride. Even in this case Tygra's pride gets in the way of seeing that his father was trying to save him from the plague, and it's only when he finds out about the curse that he forgives his father, which ends up lifting the curse. As you can see, pride causes a lot of problems.
- Codename: Kids Next Door: After his defection, this was revealed to be Chad Dickson's fatal flaw. He has always considered himself to be the best, and his obsession with being at the top is his drive, to the point that when Nigel was considered to be better than him, Chad tried to kill him.
- C. S. 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.
- 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.
It is also important to note that the Arabic language actually has two words for pride: ghurur and fakhr. They have significantly different meanings: ghurur is the sin of pride, overestimating one's own worth; i.e. the kind of pride that cometh before a fall. Fakhr is positive pride, which is to say recognizing your own true value or that of another; i.e. the "I'm so proud of you" kind of pride. The former is condemned; the latter is encouraged, but one must be careful that fakhr doesn't bleed into ghurur.
- Adolf Hitler had 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.
- Hermann Goering, one of Hitler's top lieutenants, also qualifies. For example, while he was an Ace Pilot in WW1 with a very respectable 22 kills, the men in his squadron didn't like him because he was extremely arrogant.