“Might makes right,” a vacillating quote signifying power, strength and ability, a vast amount of power which may surely lead to ones reign or contrary their own destruction. Is it possible that those with the most power always live a victorious life, and those who don’t have a grueling idea of what they are capable of live within a lie, residing under the casted shadows of those who were capable of exercising it to its full potential.
The quote can be easily traced back to Plato, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s “The Social Contract” although hundreds of historians have found proof that leaders such as Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, and the Nazi Party had been greatly influenced by the idea of “Might makes right. ” The simplistic three-word quote has a peculiar way of existing within everyone’s life without one actually understanding how or why. For example, a child asks his father “Dad how come the country with the biggest army always tells the other what to do? ” The explanation his father gives is simply “Might makes right.
Although the child is young he understands that the country with the larger army is fully capable of dominating the lives of the smaller one, therefore making it the superior force. Ideas behind “Might makes right” vary depending on ones logic, punitive debate whether “Might makes right” can still be found throughout the world to the present day. The underlying questions are, does might really make right, can exercising your rights be the only way of receiving what you desire, and does your might somehow create leadership. Therefore throughout this essay you will be the one who answers my questions.
Within The Tragedy of Julius Caesar one can easily find a variation of examples pertaining to the ideology behind might makes right, Julius Caesar’s assassination, Antony’s promise to avenge Caesar’s death and Octavious’s decision to assert his responsibility as Caesar’s heir are only a few examples as to how might can be the driving force for ones actions. After Caesar arrives at the senate with hopes of being offered the crown the conspirators encircle Julius Caesar and one by one stab him with their daggers. Once Caesar realizes that his dear friend Brutus is within the crowd he accepts reality, gives up the struggle and soon dies.
Marcus Antony decides to question Brutus as to why they decided to kill Caesar but his response is simply that they will find out during the funeral oration. Within the drama Caesar’s ambition is seen as his tragic flaw consequently leading to the idea that Rome was in grave danger and the conspirators verdict to assassinate him. Marcus Antony being a beloved friend of Caesar stays behind after the conspirators exit the room, and promises Caesar’s dead boy as well as himself that his death will be avenged. Marcus Antony questions both Cassius and Brutus’ speech as to how Caesar’s ambition would only lead to the downfall of Rome.
He then speaks to the public about the confidentiality of Caesar’s will, shows him the body and after the crowd begins to plead he decides to reads the will. The masses become enraged at the idea of Caesar lying dead and decide to drive Brutus and Cassius out of the city. Granting that Marcus Antony did not use any form of violence he did have actions in order to persuade the masses to drive both traitors out of the city, his love for Caesar was greatly exemplified and gave rise to the fight between Marcus Antony, Octavius and Lepidus against Cassius and Brutus.
Octavius demonstrates his might by adhering to his responsibility as heir and downgrading Marcus Antony’s responsibility within the battle. Octavius’ army triumphs after Cassius, Brutus and Titinius commit suicide, Antony speaks of Brutus calling him a Roman and Octavius orders for an honorable burial. Throughout the play one can effortlessly see that power is the driving force behind the conspirators’ decision to assassinate Julius Caesar although the tedious decision caused more imaginable deaths than would have occurred if Julius Caesar would have remained alive.
Conceding that literature is of great prominence and influence to the individual ideas and thoughts thousands of philosophers, authors, politicians and even dictators have used the idea of “Might makes Right” to influence their actions. Genevan philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau is credited for his phrase “Man was born free, and he is everywhere in chains” as history has confirmed his phrase is exact, mass murder, enslavement and totalitarianism are only a few of countless occurrences where the superior power has demonstrated its desire to achieve what wouldn’t be possible without its steadfast hold of supremacy.
Are ones religious beliefs of great importance, or is it societies impotence to cast away those who don’t agree, during WWII Germany had the imprudent impression that they needed to make the perfect society, propaganda of anti-Semitism was the simplest way of attaining their goals. As WWII continued the Holocaust gave birth to the most senile, senseless and putrid form of hatred.
Death camps and the murder of Jews is a simple way of demonstrating the immense power that Nazi’s held during the nineteenth century, nearly six million Jews were killed, but did the ends really justify the means, the Jewish population still exist to day, Hitler committed suicide and the Nazi party was defeated, having power is an accomplishment but it has to be well understood and whoever attains it must have the precise knowledge of what the outcome will be.
Relating back to Rousseau’s quote, was man actually born free; history demonstrates that slavery was on of the harshest motives for demonstrating ones power, owning one, two or even ten slaves could easily signify ones power and wealth, but did having wealth and power create happiness for the owner or was it an approach at arrogance, boasting ones self-image.
Blacks were frequently whipped, underfed and over worked but their owner’s malicious treatment taught them to pursue their happiness, therefore up to present days individuals of African heritage can be found performing incredible tasks such as the immense responsibility of holding the position of the President of the United States. Although slavery and mass murder hold an immense role as to how a dominant power must show his role totalitarian control is the superlative example, what better way of exhibiting your power than by controlling an entire country such as Stalin, Mussolini, and never forgotten Hitler did.
All three leaders controlled a different entire frightened population under constant police terror, censorship and indoctrination therefore demonstrating their authority and dominance. Controlling their population may not have been the toughest job but their dominion and the fear their nations felt toward them was exactly what they sought, but did controlling every aspect of their lives change anything. Although the ideology behind might makes right is of great importance within human history it is constantly found within ones everyday life.
Relating to the child asking his father why the bigger army always wins, one doesn’t always perceive how power can influence our lives. Although one does not always consider police, teachers and even parents as a superior power, they have a unique way of controlling what we do simply because they can. Imagine a child fussing over his parents setting a bedtime for him, he doesn’t agree because he thinks he is old enough to sleep whenever he desires but he has absolutely no control over the matter, merely because he must obey or on contrary be punished.
His parents have the ability to set his bedtime simply because they are his elders and he must obey as society has taught us. Although the child may find the rule absurd the next morning he awakes well rested and calm due to his parent’s decision to set his bedtime, therefore the ends actually justified the means. Law enforcement is of immense importance to society due to its ability to regulate ones actions and provide a safe environment for everyone to appreciate.
Police action is of tremendous assistance for anyone during a hostile situation for example during a violent fight the police can be easily contacted and they have enough power to arrest whoever caused the fight or was of danger to the other party. Although police do not have much power without the constant of witnesses they do have privileges such as giving tickets and assigning probation, in order to keep the community safe and secure. Although teachers are at times neglected and deprived of their significance they often assert their positions and demand their students.
During school hours teachers typically assist one hundred and fifty or more students but in order for their class to behave they must have a sense of demand and control, typically teachers assign detention or even referrals, granting that the student was misbehaving some teachers may at times be kind enough to pay no attention to it simply because they do not wish to devastate the students future opportunities. Parents, law enforcement and teachers can be of great importance in ones life but one does not always have enough consideration as to how they can use their power to persuade or even demand an individual to perform a certain task.
Generations passed, generations to come and the debate continues does “Might make right? ” The United States is constantly patrolling countries like Iraq conceivably demanding them to follow in our perspective; surely the motive behind it is to achieve power and dominance. Although violence is a considerable symbol behind power the greatest power of all is having an entire population fear you, such as most totalitarian leaders did.
Then is war only a perennial struggle for power, a game that we play to see who the victor will be or is it a form of leadership that one can attain by dominance and arrogance? “Might makes right” derives from the second a child has the appropriate knowledge as to his parents actions, children as young as ten months understand that the grownup is the one who typically does what he desires. Therefore does “Might make right” or perhaps there is not solid explanation and one must be the soul theorist.