Arachne: Weaving Her Way to Disaster A common theme in the Story of Arachne is hubris and the problems it brings. Arachne decides the only way to prove her dominance in weaving is to challenge Pallas, the same god who gave her this talent. Even after Pallas gave Arachne the chance to take her intentions back she chose not to, she had a fog of arrogance covering her head.
Throughout Greek history there have been many stories that include the Gods. Some of these stories have characters that worship the gods, some hate the gods, others are jealous of the gods. What all these stories have in common is the portrayal of the gods as beings you show respect to. Many bad things have happened to mortals who tangle with the gods. Arachne took it to the extreme with her overbearing arrogance and stubbornness that made her believe she could disrespect the gods because of her talent.
"So artful with her needle that one knew No less than Pallas was her inspiration.
Yet she denied the goddess was her teacher, And took offence when art was called divine."ÃÂ (163) Arachne had decided that her gift was so great that she could defy the gods. So, Pallas and Arachne had their competition. To Pallas's dismay Arachne's depiction of the gods and their evil ways was such a superb example of weaving that it was obvious that Arachne was the best.
After her dominance was decided without contention Arachne got what she wanted, but she had forgotten that she had eagerly disgraced Pallas, a god. So, Arachne receives several slashes across the face by Pallas. Arachne decides to hang herself instead of living with this humiliation. Pallas does not want Arachne to get off that easy. So, Pallas uses some twisted humor by combining Arachne's amazing talent with the way she is currently trying to commit suicide and turns Arachne into a spider. Now she can hang and weave all day long for as long as there are other hanging creatures of her kind.
You have to wonder whether Pallas was sparing Arachne's life, or was she trying to doom her forever. The book itself makes it seem as if she is sparing her, ""ÃÂ¦and Pallas with a twinge of mercy lifted her up"ÃÂ. (166) It seems to me that Pallas is actually making sure she doesn't get off as easy as suicide would allow her to. Arachne has disrespected Pallas so blatantly that Pallas wants to ensure she pays for it for the rest of her life.
The gods are powerful and they are very humanistic which is scary. Ovid's tale can be a lesson well learned for anyone in today's society. Never let your arrogance get in the way of a clear mind, showing someone up is not a way to gain respect, instead it is a way to lose everything you've worked so hard to get.