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Hubris (in Greek tragedy) refers to excessive pride or defiance of the Gods leading to nemesis. This fatal flaw, or an error in action (Hamartia) leads to the downfall of the protagonist. For example, Oedipus’s Hamartia is pride, hastiness and anger leading him to make unfortunate misjudgements. For Macbeth, it was his pride and greed. For Richard II, it is his irresoluteness, unwillingness to confront the changing situations. For King Lear it is his inability to strike a balance between his volatile temperament and arrogance. Hamlet’s faltering judgment and Othello’s jealousy. This Hamartia is built into the Hero’s character, even as he has many virtues.  The right type of the tragic hero, according to Aristotle, exists between these extremes, a person who is neither perfect in virtue and justice, nor one who falls into misfortune through vice and depravity, but by some error or frailty (Hamartia) Unlike, a villainous person, his downfall, does not arouse either pity or fear. Hamartia in its broadened context include: Chance, accident, circumstances, and the craftiness of others. Hamartia is not just a flaw in character; but an entire gamut of tragic happenings.

On one hand there are several instances of corporate scams and shenanigans that have led to the downfall of many Corporate Leaders, some who have  served time in prison, and some under who investigation is in progress. Some have fled the country to escape retribution. They hardly arouse pity or fear, although at one point they led ‘king size’ lives, were celebrities and walked proudly in the corridors of power.

In Indian tradition, the role of a leader is to be a Rajshri, a combination of king and a Rishi. When he serves his duty zealously, but forgets to be inclusive and all embracing, he is potentially, exposing his personal Hamartia, with hubris bound to follow leading to nemesis.

I will stop here. Are you able to spot Corporate leaders with Hamartia?

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