Hubris In Jon Krakauer's Into Thin Air

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In many timeless stories, the human nature of Hubris has caused the downfall of many a great hero such as Aristotle's Oedipus or Shakespeare’s Prince Hamlet. Hubris is a theme that Jon Krakauer explores in his writing of Into Thin Air, a nonfiction novel depicting a first-hand witness of the tragic disaster on Everest in 1996 that took the lives of 8 human beings. Though the cause of the disaster cannot be pinpointed, it is reasonably explained by two human phenomenons: the principle of hubris and the principle of blind ambition. By reducing competition on the mountain -- and equally as importantly -- by enforcing rules, not guidelines, and thus reducing blind ambition, the severity of these issues could be reduced in the future and climbing…show more content…
One such example of ambition is the “summit fever” that the climbers experience on Everest. To reduce summit fever and thus prevent poor-decision making, strict rules should be set and enforced by guides on the mountains, even if the clients disagree with such rules. In the story, Hall seems to be slightly lax on the rules; “[never] announcing what [the company’s] turnaround time should be” (185). The risk of pushing on past the rules is simply too great to to ignore the rules on a dangerous and unpredictable mountain like Everest. It is unreasonable to suggest that people will learn from the mistakes of previous climbers, and, as Krakauer suggests, for a person to “convince [himself] that [he is] too clever to repeat those same errors” (286). If it takes a “mountain police” or something to that length to enforce the rules on the mountain, that length should be taken. It is in the interest of safety to do so. For example, national parks have law enforcement officers called “park rangers”. They keep the peace and enforce rules that protect these parks. Something similar could be created to serve Everest and its increasing climber
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