Mabry, Period 1
8 February 2013
A Double Edged Sword Cuts Both Ways
The phrase “a doubled edged sword cuts both ways” means that something has both beneficial and adverse outcomes. The comparison is made to a double-edged sword because it allowed the wielder of the sword to slash on the backswing without having to pivot the weapon in their hand, but it also allowed the wielder to cut themselves on the backswing. The actual origin of the phrase is unknown, but the earliest mentions of it can be found in the Bible. This phrase can be applied to literature, art, music, and society throughout history. The phrase rang true in its Biblical inception and remains relevant in the media of today. Many facets of our society wield double-edged swords from our political issues to our everyday entertainment. I selected this phrase because the broadness of the quote allows it to apply to many subjects across the whole of time. “A double edged sword cuts both ways” demonstrates that every decision can have consequences and benefits, and it’s important to think before you act on impulse. In the dramatic short story “The Tell-Tale Heart”, Edgar Allen Poe demonstrates that humans are not capable of enduring extreme guilt. The story’s narrator lives with an old man and is constantly haunted by the old man’s eye. The narrator is mentally ill, and he decides that he can no longer endure seeing the eye anymore and resolves to kill the old man. After the murder, the narrator hallucinates that he can hear the old man’s heartbeat underneath the floorboards, and he turns himself in to the police to silence the sounds of his guilt. The biggest motif in this work is the concept of time. The amount of time spent with certain actions is never specified, only that it takes a long time to do so. Time is used to describe the heartbeat of the old man right before his murder and the hallucination of it afterwards. Time is what tortured the old man while he was awaiting his death, and time spent dealing with the old man’s eye is what made the narrator insane. My quote is “a double edged sword cuts both ways”, and, in the context of this story, the truth cuts both ways. “Yet the sound increased …yet the officers heard it not. I talked more quickly —more vehemently; but the noise steadily increased. I arose and argued about trifles, in a high key and with violent gesticulations; but the noise steadily increased.” The narrator is hallucinating that he can hear the old man’s heartbeat. He believes that the officers can hear the heartbeat as well, so he tries to speak louder to cover up the sound. “Anything was more tolerable than this derision! I could bear those hypocritical smiles no longer! I felt that I must scream or die…’I admit the deed! —tear up the planks! Here, here! —It is the beating of his hideous heart!’” The narrator can no longer bear the sound of his hallucinations and admits to his murder to stop the heartbeat. This coincides with my quote because admitting the murder would obviously put him in jail, but it would free him of the hallucinations that he knows are going to push him further into insanity. Admitting his murder is the narrator’s double-edged sword. In the poem “England in 1819”, Percy Shelley demonstrates that the government can be corrupt just as easily as it can be good. The poem tells of the rule of the dying king and his sons that take over the throne. The people are starving and dying, and the laws and army, which were implemented to protect the people, have turned against them and are now their oppressing force. A major metaphor in this work is the comparison of the government to unseeing, unknowing leeches that live for their own benefit while sucking life from others. This poem is related to my quote because it frames the law as a double-edged sword. “An army, which liberticide and prey/ Makes as a two-edged sword to all who wield.” This conveys that the army, a force meant to protect the people, has...