The Tremendous Impact Of Egotism, Self Rationalization, And Societal Expectations On The Construction Of The Self And A Tragic Destiny

2285 words - 10 pages

Identity is a multidimensional notion; it is the product of a person’s struggle to conform to the expectations of society. The subconscious struggle to become the ideal “self” is entangled with misconceptions of personal abilities that can result in self-glorification and unrealistic delusions. According to Sigmund Freud—the father of psychoanalysis—narcissism is defined as the “state of being the center of a loving world in which the individual could act spontaneously and purely out of desire” (Brown 643). Likewise, a lack of respect for authority and higher order can stem from overt egotism and a sense of self-righteousness. Narcissistic behavior can lead to illusions that serve as alternates to the truth, and create catastrophe (Brown 672). The endless battle of morphing into the ideal self is a difficult route. Individuals often strive to justify their transgressions to reduce anxiety. Rationalization is best described as a defense mechanism that allows the masking of intolerable feelings and actions by justifying them as credible and distorting their truth (Brown 646). Furthermore, social standards are the basis of a person’s values and decisions (Goode 490). Elements that are valuable and substantial to society become a part of a person’s principals and shape their identity. Antigone is Sophocles’ closure to his infamous trilogy, and is certainly a tragic finale to the Theban plays. It revolves around imperfect protagonists that exude excessive pride. Likewise, Gurney’s Another Antigone follows the conflict of the sanctimonious college senior—judy Miller—and her narrow-minded professor—Henry Harper. Despite being set in vastly different eras, both plays revolve around the protagonists’ flawed identities and the misfortunes that result because of it. Consequently, the role of egotism, self-rationalization, and societal expectations on misshaping an individual’s sense of self are unraveled to prove the colossal impact of personal identity in a tragedy.
Excessive pride leads to misjudgment and blinds the egotistic culprit of the truth of the situation. An inflated ego can lead to aggression and intolerable behaviour when faced with the disapproving opinion of others. Furthermore, extreme self-regard is linked to Freud’s notion of narcissism which pays tribute to Narcissus—a character of Greek mythology who fell in love with himself upon seeing his reflection in the water (Bushman and Baumeister 220). Sophocles’ Antigone displays the impact of pride on a character’s sense of self, and ultimately, their destiny. Both Creon and Antigone defy laws explicitly and take pride in doing so. Creon disrespects divine laws by leaving a martyr unburied, while Antigone disregards state law and the monarch ruling by burying the body. Creon takes offense to the fact that a patron—a woman in particular—challenges his law: “No woman, while I live, shall order me” (Sophocles 20). His pride prevents him from re-evaluating his own actions, and he utterly...

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