Arachne, Prometheus and the politics of hubris

On Demand (IF 2020)

45 minsPWYD

Discussion | Literature & Poetry, Politics, Society, The Arts

Discuss big questions of politics through stories from Greek mythology with you in the role of the insightful and majestic chorus.

Session 2 of 4 brings you Arachne and Prometheus, then Icarus, Sisyphus and Tantalus, all punished by the gods for displaying hubris – violating the accepted order with recklessness and overconfidence. Is what they did necessarily wrong or justified? Should the chorus side with the gods or with them? Who are we reminded of in contemporary politics? Is hubris a problem, or can it serve progress?

What is a Greek chorus? Watch this short video from Frankie Lowe on Vimeo.

Watch the recording of this live public event held on

11 October 2020 at IF Oxford


Kalypso Nicolaïdis is Professor of International Relations at Oxford University and a Governing Body Fellow at the European Studies Centre, St Antony’s College. Her contribution to the festival draws on her last book (Exodus, Reckoning, Sacrifice: Three Meanings of Brexit)




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