Hey, Camp Folks!
Strap in for another investigation of those old sayings that folks around particular regions of the country as well as the world have been using for so long that they’ve forgotten where the phrase originated from in the first place. Our language is peppered with these sayings and old adages. Today, let’s hold up our magnifying glass to the phrase The Pen is Mightier than the Sword to see what it means and where it comes from.
Really what’s being said here is that conflicts can often be solved by intellectual means as opposed to physical fighting—and will be more effective as a result as well. Some other phrases with the same revelation are 'words are weapons’, ‘words cut deeper than a knife’, and ‘some words hurt more than swords’.
"The pen is mightier than the sword" was first written by Edward Bulwer-Lytton in 1839 as a line in his play ‘Cardinal Richelieu’ (the main villain in The Three Musketeers). A rather poetic way to say that words communicate better than violence, it makes perfect sense that this phrase was originally from a play.
It can be easy to give in to our animalistic impulse to fight when someone is doing something that upsets us, but as the heroes of countless classics teach us, the clever and cunning thinkers are the ones who come out the victor of certain issues and circumstances.
So remember, kids—use your words; they’re likely to get you the results you want out of a situation much better than resorting to violent means. Violence is never the answer. Check back in when we return for another Adage Origin Blog post in October when we’ll take a look at the phrase ‘Dead as a Doornail’. As always, thanks for reading!