Read the Riot Act
The Riot Act, an
English statute of 1715, stated that if twelve or more people assembled riotously and refused to disperse upon proclamation, they would be guilty of felony.
law, local magistrates were supposed to control rowdy citizens. Therefore, these citizens would be arrested if they did not scatter within an hour of the Riot Act being read to them by a magistrate. This is because in the eighteenth century, the English government thought Jacobite mobs would overthrow the Hanoverian George I. Today in society, to read the riot act means to reprimand someone for bad behavior with a warning to carry out consequences. For example, a mother threatening to take her daughter’s phone after constantly repeating a list of chores would be reading the riot act.
One conflict in this allusion is man vs. man because when someone reads the riot act, he warns another person forcefully and severely. It is a firm verbal command. Another conflict in this allusion is man vs. self because an individual dawns the reprimand upon himself by breaking behavioral rules. Typically, a person is read the riot act after several fair warnings.
One theme is that proclaiming consequences helps to discipline behavior. When someone is simply told to follow a particular rule, he does not always listen. However, once the individual is read the riot act with a threat of firm punishment, the rule becomes more credible and is therefore followed. Another theme is that an initial warning is not enough to execute a rule. Multiple and sharp warnings are more effective when reinforcing a principle of behavior. When a rule is set initially, there is refusal to follow. Once the caution is announced repeatedly and more sternly by reading the riot act, inappropriate behavior ceases.
Quinion, Michael. "World Wide Words: Read the Riot Act." World Wide Words. English ...
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