Analysis of Twain's on the Decay of the Art of Lying

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Critical Analysis
On the Decay of the Art of Lying by Mark Twain

“Lying is universal – we all do it.”

In the essay, the author believes that all men lie because we must lie. There are many instances wherein men were prompted to lie at some point of their lives for the benefit of others. According to him, it’s better to give a good lie than a destructive truth. Lying for other’s advantage was given precedence than telling the truth at all times no matter how it hurts. Unfortunately, lying is easily covered with different alibis and given little thought of how destructive it might become on the long run. Twain considers lying as a noble art. It is the fourth grace and an eternal virtue. “Judicious lying is what the world needs,” he said. He’d sometimes think that it’s better not to lie if the lie will be destructive to others. For him, a habitual truth-teller [someone who speaks truthfully at all times] doesn’t exist and had never existed.

The author gives us a simple look on how lying had become the fad of his generation. Even in the tiniest of things, people tend to lie. It goes to show that many are pretentious and still is today. However, the author overlooks one thing. True – a lie for the good of another might be reasonable – but lying will always be lying. Truth hurts indeed but a lie hurts even more when unveiled. As far as God is concerned, liars go to hell. A small lie can lead people to the lake of fire. Of course, God forgives sins. He forgives lying, too, so long as the person will repent from it. Avoiding lies might be hard to do with all the deception and temptation going on around but it’s not impossible. Fearing to tell the truth means that you’re afraid of what will happen to you. In order to protect one’s self from being punished or from hurting others, lying becomes the scapegoat. Eventually, it develops into a habit and you become a ‘master’ at it. For Twain, he is still a newbie in this game. He would like for this art to be...
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