Right from Wrong in Literature

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All throughout history and literature, many people fight for what they believe in, but it does not always mean that it is for a good cause. Knowing right from wrong is crucial when it comes to people within a virtuous society, because it gives them a sense of justice. The people of a society must first know what is right and what is wrong before being able to act upon a situation, assuming that they will do it in a fair and just manner. Once having acquired a virtuous state of mind, these people know that it would be morally just to help those in need, and to help them, it often requires a degree of fortitude. A society is virtuous when its people strive to have good morals and seek the benefit of others.
A society with strong morals can be seen in the epic poem Beowulf. Beowulf and his men leave their country to assist those in Denmark who are being killed and ravaged by a “demon.../ a devilish creature.../ [with] murder in his heart/ hell’s messenger” (Rebsamen 10). It is just that these men, having great strength, do not want to watch Denmark suffer, and because of this they help them. However, later on, when Beowulf is having a tough time fighting the dragon, his “hand-companions/… [did] not stand close to him/ … but they bent to the woods/ shelter[ing] their lives” not having the fortitude to assist Beowulf in his fight against the dragon (Rebsamen 84). These men lack fortitude when it was needed most. Although Beowulf told his men to stand aside before the battle commenced, they were too afraid of the dragon in the first place. They did not have enough fortitude to help see Beowulf’s triumph over the dragon making these men selfish, only having the desire to seek their own benefits and not that of others. An ...

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... and obstacles to be able to achieve justice within their society. Furthermore, even if one has good morals, it may take fortitude to seek the benefit of others, just like it took Beowulf and his band of men fortitude to help free the Danes from an evil monster. If a society were to have one strong virtue above all of the other ones it would be fortitude because “ courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point” -C. S. Lewis. And once a society acquires virtue as a whole, the are considered virtuous because “A nation as a society forms a moral person, and every member of it is personally responsible for his society" -Thomas Jefferson.

Works Cited
More, Thomas. Utopia. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 1997. Print.
Rebsamen, Frederick R. Beowulf: An Updated Verse Translation. New York: Perennial Classics, 2004. Print.

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