Eliot the King: A Defense of Hubris

Our own  Morgan Meis in The Smart Set:

Screenhunter_01_mar_18_0854I can’t stop thinking that Eliot Spitzer’s downfall is extraordinary in its Oedipal dimensions. I don’t mean this in the Freudian sense, but in the classical. In Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex a man, Oedipus, attempts to engineer his own fate in the face of a terrible prophecy. In the end, Oedipus comes to realize that his own actions, meant to liberate him from this course of fate, have been the agents of its realization. He declares:

No human hand but mine has done this deed.
   What need for me to see,
When nothing’s left that’s sweet to look upon?

It has been noted again and again in the Spitzer story that ironies abound, multiplying quicker than they can be sorted out. This is a man who seemingly went out of his way to commit a crime that A) he would eventually get caught doing and, B) that he would have no defense against when caught. As a prosecutor Spitzer made enemies — lifelong abiding enemies in the banking world, the Republican political establishment, and organized crime. He then frequented a call girl service (which he had to know was likely tied to organized crime), used bank transfers to pay for it, and crossed state lines in the process. He was tempting fate, surely. More like sticking his finger in its eye. (Speaking of eyes, it must be noted here that Oedipus ends up blinding himself. Spitzer, meanwhile, hands his governorship over to the blind David Paterson.) If this is not hubris, the tragic flaw of arrogance, what is? Let us not forget, further, that Spitzer is a man who chose to define himself, and his political career, in opposition to corruption and to hypocrisy.

But it gets more intriguing.

More here.