“Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest,” a maxim attributed to Mark Twain, serves as a beacon of moral guidance and underscores the timeless virtue of integrity.
Always do right suggests a commitment to ethical principles and an unwavering adherence to what is morally just, even in the face of adversity or criticism.
This sentiment reverberates through classic literature, where characters often grapple with moral dilemmas and strive to navigate the complexities of right and wrong.
Twain’s quote implies that the pursuit of righteousness not only brings gratification to those who value virtue but also has the power to astonish and inspire others through its rarity and impact.
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In Charles Dickens’ “A Tale of Two Cities,” the character of Sydney Carton exemplifies the theme of always doing right, albeit in a complex and sacrificial manner.
Initially depicted as dissolute and disillusioned, Carton undergoes a profound transformation marked by his ultimate act of selflessness.
His decision to sacrifice his own life for the sake of another is a testament to the redemptive power of choosing what is morally right, even when faced with personal cost.
The astonishment and admiration evoked by Carton’s choice resonate with Twain’s assertion that doing right has the potential to astonish.
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Similarly, in Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird,” the character of Atticus Finch embodies the principle of always doing right.
As a lawyer defending an innocent African American man in a racially charged community, Atticus faces social ostracism and hostility.
However, his unwavering commitment to justice and moral integrity, despite the prevailing prejudices of the time, exemplifies the idea that doing right may be met with both gratification and astonishment. Atticus’s moral fortitude becomes a beacon of inspiration for his children and the readers alike.
Moreover, the theme of always doing right aligns with the moral dilemmas faced by characters in Fyodor Dostoevsky’s “Crime and Punishment.”
The protagonist, Raskolnikov, grapples with the consequences of his morally questionable actions and eventually experiences a spiritual transformation.
The novel explores the complexities of moral responsibility, suggesting that the path of righteousness is not always straightforward but is nonetheless imperative for personal redemption.
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The quote also resonates with the philosophical underpinnings of Immanuel Kant’s categorical imperative, which posits that individuals should act according to principles that could be universally applied.
Kant’s ethical framework aligns with the idea that always doing right is not merely a subjective choice but a moral duty with universal significance.
Furthermore, the concept of always doing right finds resonance in the wisdom of ancient philosophers such as Aristotle, who emphasized the cultivation of virtuous character.
Aristotle’s virtue ethics suggests that individuals should strive for moral excellence and integrity in their actions, reinforcing the timeless importance of doing what is right.
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In conclusion, “Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest” encapsulates a profound understanding of the moral imperative and the transformative power of ethical conduct.
The literary references from “A Tale of Two Cities,” “To Kill a Mockingbird,” and “Crime and Punishment” illustrate how characters in classic novels embody the theme of always doing right.
Mark Twain’s maxim serves as a reminder that ethical choices, while sometimes challenging, have the capacity to gratify those who value virtue and astonish others through their rarity and impact.
It stands as an enduring call to uphold principles of righteousness, even in the face of adversity, and to recognize the potential for moral choices to inspire and astonish the world.
Thought Of The Day: Thursday, November 16, 2023
“Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.” – Mark Twain
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