Ayn Rand’s “Anthem” a Commentary About Egoism

Topics: Ayn Rand, Incandescent light bulb, English-language films Pages: 2 (456 words) Published: May 20, 2012
Ayn Rand’s “Anthem” a commentary about egoism

Ayn Rand’s “Anthem”, is an interesting book about one man’s struggle to preserve his individuality in face of society’s pressure to conform. The main character in this book is Prometheus. Prometheus is a man who tries to fight for his personal rights while the government (called “the society”) tries to control its people. It raises interesting questions about what it means to be an egoist and whether it is good or bad to pursue one’s own dreams and desires. Let us explore whether Prometheus actions in the book make him an egoist, and whether this is a good thing or a bad thing.

Some people might think that Prometheus was an egoist. Prometheus wanted to be a scholar and an invent things but the society council told him he had to be a street sweeper. The society made it illegal to do what one wanted to do because they thought it did not serve the greater good. Going against the wishes of society, Prometheus secretly made a light bulb. This gave him joy and great personal satisfaction. He would not let anyone touch or destroy his light bulb. In fact, he was willing to give his life for his light bulb.

Being an egoist usually means that one lives their life solely for personal interest and gain. Prometheus did not accept the society’s order to act or behave in a particular way. One could say that his deliberate disregard for his civic responsibility to conform and serve the greater good makes him an egoist.

On the other hand Prometheus can be viewed as person trying to fight for his personal freedom as well as freedom for others. For example, after the council found out about Prometheus making the light bulb, he left the city. He was exiled and never aloud to go back. Despite the fact he could get in serious trouble for returning he did it anyway so he could give his friends the same opportunity he has to live free. He did this at the risk of his own harm. It’s hard to classify that as being...
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