Alexander craves knowledge and one of his biggest monsters is the unknown. What he doesn’t know intrigues him, but clearly it causes him quite some setbacks as well. When confronted with familiar enemies, Alexander had no problem. “…Lions and bears and tigers and leopards and wolves attacked us continually, and we held them off” (Orchard 4). However, when unknown monsters appear, he and his men couldn’t handle it. “…There came serpents still more marvellous and fearsome than the others…and many men died because of their pestilential breath. We fought against these serpents for more than an hour of the night, and the serpents killed thirty men from the army, and twenty of my own thegns” (Orchard 5). While the monsters clearly caused trouble for Alexander, they also sparked his curiosity to find more. This curiosity coerced Alexander to continue traveling through the dangerous paths that contained all these new discoveries. The reason Alexander continued his journeys shifted from the desire to catch up with and conquer Porus, but rather to discover more and more of what this new land had to offer. Alexander explicitl...
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... as surprising to one who thought the goal of his journey was to own the world. However, his admitting to that being less glory than he would have wished proves that he cared less about ruling the whole world but would rather live longer to learn and discover more of the wonders of the unknown.
This letter from Alexander is a critique of Alexander’s character and methods, along with the misconception that his goal in this journey was to conquer. Prior knowledge of Alexander would make one believe he is a strong leader on the hunt for conquering more and ruling the world, but this letter debunks that belief. The Old English translator manipulates aspects of the letter, emphasizing events that highlight Alexander’s negative qualities, and makes Alexander’s quest for knowledge and discovery appear more prominent and important to him than his quest to conquer and rule.
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