“The Pen is Mightier than the Sword” – meaning and explanation
Introduction: From the earliest times, the sword has played an important part in human history. People praise its great valor and success in wars.
The pen, on the other hand, is very simple and slow, and so they cannot see its powerful influence and greater success. Man cannot imagine that the pen has any power to win victories like the sword. However, the pen has been working all along with greater success than the sword.
Its meaning: The proverb ‘The Pen is Mightier than the Sword” means that ‘the writers of the world invisibly exercise greater influence upon people than soldiers.”
The proverb acknowledges that we often think violence (‘the sword’) is a source of strength. But, this proverb states, it is actually the art of writing that is stronger.
The proverb celebrates the power of writing. It highlights the fact that:
- writers are more powerful than mighty warriors, and
- mighty warriors and the fear of the swords cannot build the impact that the words of great writers can on people’s mind.
These types of writing might be creative, factual, political, social, economical, inspirational, theatrical, etc.
Explanation: Warriors fight with swords and win battles. The power of sword has built vast empires in the paste. These empires were built on the back of killing of thousands of enemies. Alexander the Great was a great conqueror. Similarly, Napoleon was a great military commander. However, the glories of their victories did not last forever.
It is an absolute fact that fighting leads to destruction. Fighting, of course, is done sometimes with a good end in view. The sword has been used sometimes to remove evils and bring about good. Abraham Lincoln fought to abolish slavery, an evil system, which ruled over America and many other countries.
The use of the sword for an aggressive purpose is a great crime. However, for a good purpose, it may be good to a degree. However, the pen far surpasses it in its power of doing good to all human beings.
Warriors use swords and writers use pen as their weapon. Swords cause pain and misery. On the other hand, pens are the sources of joy, justice, and happiness.
Writers influence men more that the fear of the sword can. Great writers create immortal literature. The works of Shakespeare are read and admired by several generations. It is a fact that men are more guided by ideas than by physical force. The mighty pens of Bankim Chandra, Rabindranath Tagore and others ushered in the independence of our country by creating a passion for freedom. The teachings of Mahatma Gandhi made India free without any recourse to the sword.
It is evident that the power of the sword is confined to a particular time and place. However, the power of the pen is universal and immortal.
Significance: The significance of the proverb, ‘The Pen is Mightier than the Sword”, is highlighted below in points:
- Political action. Peaceful acts of writing can have stronger effects than violence.
- Solving disputes. Words can solve disputes more effectively than force.
- Persuasion. Writing is more truly persuasive than force is.
- Civilization. Civilized behavior is preferable to brute force.
- Enjoyment. Literature is more enjoyable than fighting.
Conclusion: These are the days of wars and unrest. Today people boast of a higher civilization. But they are rapidly going back to a barbarism more cruel and callous than even the savagery in the past. Science has placed in their hands many destructive weapons in place of the sword. As a result, modem wars have become much more horrible and inhuman.
This proverb is a very common one, very much in use today’s mess. This phrase constitutes a call for peaceful debate rather than the use of force. We should realize the superiority of the pen over the sword. We should not be dazzled by the fleeting glory of the sword. We should rather try to use the mighty pen to achieve the undying victories of the soul.