Delusions Of Grandeur

Meanings of “Delusions Of Grandeur”

The phrase “delusions of grandeur” means false belief about someone’s significance or importance. This false belief could also be an exaggeration or a delusion. Most of these beliefs appear in the shape of megalomania, which means lust for power, and some other mania or obsessions.

Origin of “Delusions Of Grandeur”

The phrase “delusions of grandeur” is may have appeared in the 19th century following considerable evolution in psychological studies. However, it was coined during an incident of two brothers Henry Prouse Cooper and Stephen Prouse Cooper in which Henry has to undergo investigation for the insanity that he publicly declares in the court. His delusions about his being a grand person led the linguists to coin this phrase.

Examples in Literature

Example #1

Delusions Of Grandeur by Wendy Bureau

O’ darkened shadow’d silhouette
Concise, precise and wise
Tiptoeing through existence
Draped in translucent disguise

Disguised delusions of grandeur
Mistaken by mistakes
A promised personality
Consumed, eaten by false traits

Traits condemned by society
Cradled by sufficient hands
A turning point, a milestone?
An unjust act, no reprimand

This short poem starts the poem with an apostrophe, calling the silhouette and addressing it saying that they are disguised in delusions of grandeur, but still even if there are mistakes in some people, it does not make sense whether the act of pointing them out will lead to positive, or negative results. The phrase is used in the title as well as in the second sentence in the same meaning. The allegorical shape of the story also shows the use of this phrase as a metaphor.

Example #2

Delusions of Grandeur by Rabbi Nester

People like to believe
they are more than
just the body, with its
insistent hunger, larger
than the animal urge.
Hands, after all, serve
the mind, whether
plotting an arc or
sculpting a stone.
But we are composed
of the same stuff
as a star or a redwood,
subject to the same
laws that govern
a mountain or a cloud.

This short poem is a very simple expression of the general public feeling that they have many other things except their physical shape and its requirements. They have their minds as well but they do most of their tasks with their hands. However, interesting point comes when the poet claims that human beings are also subject to the same natural laws as other things, objects and heavenly bodies are. Therefore, it is not an exaggeration that man, too, has delusions of grandeur. The phrase has been used as a direct as well as an indirect meaning, showing various shades of meanings.

Example #3

Battle of the Gods: The Gathering Storm in Modern Evangelicalism by Robert A. Morey

It is impossible for a finite being who is painfully reminded every day of his finite limitations and imperfections to convince himself that he is finite, perfect, immutable, omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, and sovereign. The mere act of stubbing one’s toe tends to dispel such delusions of grandeur.

The passage compares finite and infinite beings, affirming states that an infinite being is superior to a finite being and that they daily feel convinced that they are not sovereign, and so on. And it is not difficult to convince finite beings, for merely a simple act of stubbing toes can dispel the impression of their being among the scheme of a grand design.

Example #4

Blood Highway by Sheila Johnson

Schizophrenics often have delusions of grandeur, and Bissell frequently made statements like “I’m the richest man in the world,” “I own all the stores” and “I’m going to be the ruler of the new word world.” He also claimed to have had his sperm extracted and implanted in women around the world, by which he fathered thousands of children. Did Bissell really have these beliefs, or did he know that delusion of grandeur were frequent symptoms of schizophrenia, and one that he could easily display.”

In this passage, the narrator talks about Bissell’s schizophrenic thoughts about his being the father of many children due to the implantation of his sperm in various women around the world. However, the question is whether it is just schizophrenia or a delusion of grandeur. The phrase is used in the literal sense with its intended meaning.

Example in Sentences

Example #1: “Although Maine states that he does not feel delusions of grandeur, yet his delusions of grandeur seem inviting others to his home to listen to his fruitful talk.”

Example #2: “Following Bobby’s removal from the team list, he still longs to be the captain, let alone just a player. This is just his delusion of grandeur.”

Example #3: “Like Vivian’s previous delusion of grandeur, her grandeur now has proved a delusion.”

Example #4: “Having worked for different governments at the top slots, he does not have any delusions of grandeur. He knows this does not work in the governments, and the person has to be a good realist.”

Example #5: “Prince John’s delusions of grandeur do not let him sit still as he always dreams of becoming the king.”