18 January 2011

On the Sword and the Pen: Part II

As a follow up to my first post, I wanted to further elaborate on the reasons I chose the name The Sword and the Pen for this project. The answer comes in two parts.
^ Cardinal Richelieu ^

Part 1: The first reason that I chose this for the title comes from the famous line from act II of a play by Edward Bulwer-Lytton called Richelieu. Essentially, the main character, Cardinal Richelieu, who is a priest, discovers that his friend Joseph the monk is planning some plot against him. Being a priest, he is prevented from engaging in a physical fight. At this point he utters the famous line,

Beneath the rule of men entirely great,
The pen is mightier than the sword.

Although Edward Bulwer-Lytton is often given all of the fame for having thought up this brilliant line, he is hardly the first one to have the thought. Awesome people like Shakespeare, Thomas Paine, Thomas Jefferson, and Robert Burton all had similar thoughts. Although the prize goes to a Greek poet named Euripides whose dying words were
The tongue is mightier than the blade.

Part 2: The second reason comes from the brilliant singer/song writer Regina Spektor's song "Sword and Pen" from her album, Far. This song, like most of hers, can have a million different meanings. For me it signifies the importance of thinking critically about how our world functions. What if we got it wrong? What if the sword kills the pen?

If you don't know who these two people are, you should definitely google them--or bing them, if you roll that way--and learn everything you can about them. Edward Bulwer-Lytton was an amazing writer whose words are still used in conversations today, and Regina Spektor is a brilliant song writer whose lyrics are beautiful and meaningful and will be remembered (at least by me) for long after she stops writing.

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