Although everyone wants to be successful in life, success may not be as beneficial as people hope it will be. In the French film, Le Diner de Cons, Michel is a successful man who invites a so-called “idiot” to a dinner for idiots, and finds out that despite all his success, he is the idiot after all. The Greek myth of Arachne and Minerva also embodies this idea as Arachne uses her skills in weaving to show she’s better than Minerva, yet suffers the consequences. This is often the case seen for people who have had much success in their life, but suffer because of it.
Michel, the main character in Le Diner de Cons, is a book publisher living in Paris with a beautiful apartment and wife. He is very well-off, and takes advantage of his success, especially by having an affair with one of his clients. Michel invites a man, Francois Pignon, that he thinks is very foolish to a dinner for idiots to be the entertainment for the night. The two never make it to the dinner, and instead embark on a quest to find Michel’s wife who had just left him because she found out he was cheating on her. Pignon is not a very smart man, yet he shows Michel that despite all his success in business, he has not been successful in life because he allowed it all to get the better of him, causing him many personal problems, and he is in fact the “idiot.”
Similar to Michel, Arachne has had a lot of success in her life, being called the best weaver in the world. She believes it also and is very hubristic because of it, mocking the goddess Minerva saying she is better than her at weaving. Minerva challenges the girl to a weaving contest and sees that Arachne is the better weaver after all, however because of the girl’s hubris, Minerva turns her into a spider as punishment for her crime. Arachne may have been a skilled weaver and gained renown for her talents, but the success she found wound up having terrible consequences in the end as she let herself be consumed by it.
Both Michel and Arachne were very successful people with a lot going for them, however the success they had caused them more grief than anything else. Michel’s personal problems stem from his talents as a publisher and cause him to lose his wife and face other consequences, similar to how Arachne, after becoming known for her excellent weaving skills was turned into a spider for bragging about them. Everyone wishes to be successful in life, but sometimes the consequences of achieving great things are not worth it.