Monthly Archives: July 2012

The Importance of Exercise – Jack Stein

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In 2011 a statewide study done by the Birmingham News showed that 33% of the people in Alabama are obese.  Seventy percent are labeled as overweight.  The easiest way to solve this overwhelming problem is by exercise: any physical activity that develops fitness or is done to maintain or increase a skill.  It may seem obvious that exercise is a prime solution for ridding Alabama of obesity, but clearly the people of Alabama are doing nothing to solve the issue for themselves.  However, one of the best ways to increase exercise and decrease the obesity rates in Alabama is for all schools in the state, public and private, to mandate regular exercise of some form for at least thirty minutes every day.  This way all children attending a school outside the house would be able to receive all the proper tools to increase their level of fitness and lower the obesity rates in Alabama.  Obviously, most students do not have an athletic activity outside of school, and mild forms of exercise like walking up and down stairs are simply not enough to enable these students to have a healthy level of fitness.  By schools mandating exercise, the students’ health would benefit as well as the physical and academic aspects of the students.  In some cases not only would the students benefit, but also the schools themselves would benefit by including mandatory exercise in their curriculum.

Initially, schools should make exercise mandatory because of the health-related benefits it would give students.  Exercise is a great way to combat diseases and other kinds of health conditions.  According to a Mayo Clinic fitness study, exercise helps prevent diabetes, arthritis, and depression by releasing chemicals that ease depression and reduce other harmful immune system chemicals.  Thousands of kids in Alabama suffer from diabetes, high cholesterol, and depression; and if schools enforced exercise as a part of a student’s daily schedule, then the number of kids suffering from one of these diseases would dramatically drop.  By exercising every day, students would lose tons of unwanted calories which are stored in the body as fat and can lead to diseases.  Once the students lost these unwanted calories, they would be left with a healthier and fitter body.  Also, exercise enables people to live longer.  By the higher heart rate exercise causes, the students would be left with a stronger heart which would enable them to live a longer, healthier life.  In fact, according to “To Live to a Biblically Old Age,” those who exercise consistently are far more likely to live a longer life than those who never exercise at all.  This shows the importance of regular exercise as it pertains to health.  The positive affects of exercise are shown over time to benefit the exerciser in the form of a longer life.  This points out the need for consistency; exercising off and on will have little affects in the long run (To Live to a Biblically Old Age).  Schools have the best opportunity to ensure that the students are exercising every day and not just once a week.  Millions of people have lost their lives prematurely due to diseases, and many of those have been children.  However, if schools invested in their respective students by mandating exercise, they would help the students tremendously in the long run and enable them to live longer, healthier lives.

Additionally, exercise should be mandatory in Alabama schools because it would give physical and athletic benefits to the students.  With 70% of Alabama’s total population labeled overweight, it stands to follow that many students in Alabama are not in a safe condition physically.  Exercise in schools is the easiest way to guarantee that all students in Alabama would receive the tools they need to reach a healthy physical condition.  According to the study done by The Mayo Clinic, thirty minutes of exercise per day can significantly control one’s weight; and schools could easily find the needed time in their regular hours.  Exercise is the best way to control one’s weight because it helps to eliminate unwanted fat and build muscle at the same time.  By exercising at school, the student would be able to save a large amount of money that could be spent trying to lose weight somewhere else.  With students in better shape, the athletic programs of the schools would improve greatly.  This would bring greater attention to the schools both at a state level and even on a regional or national level.  By schools mandating exercise and helping students lose weight and obtain a healthy level of fitness, they themselves will receive great reward at an athletic level as well.  The opportunity they give the students to have that level of fitness gives the students the opportunity to give the schools athletic success.

Finally, students would benefit academically if schools made exercise mandatory.  A recent study by NPR showed that exercising every day greatly improves brain activity and development.  This way, not only would the students’ brains be able to function for longer periods of time, but they would also be able to function at deeper levels.  The level of focus in students would tremendously increase and they would be able to pay attention for longer periods of time.  Consequently, it follows that the students would become smarter and more capable in the classroom.  In fact, the New York Timesshowed that students who exercised every day had on average a .4 advantage in their GPA over those who failed to exercise daily.  By helping the students improve academically, schools in Alabama would in turn help themselves.  Because the students would be so well equipped academically, they would be able to perform better on standardized tests, which solely reflect the school and how it teaches the students.  Involuntarily, the more the schools help the students, the more the students help the schools.  Many people would point out that mandating exercise would take time out of the school day for actual learning.  While this is true, the increase in brain power and efficiency that regular exercise provides would make up for the lack of time in the classroom.  In the long run, it is more important to have regular exercise than the equivalent time of learning because the student would make much better use of his time that he would have in the classroom due to the increase of focus he would have.

While almost everybody would agree that exercise is beneficial, many people have serious concerns about the financial effects it might have on both the students’ families and the school itself.  Losing weight through exercise means losing money spent on new clothes for that student.  It would cost a great sum of money for this to take place.  There is no doubt that effective exercise would indeed require spending money on new clothes due to the effects it would have on each student; however, in the long run, a change in lifestyle is more important than spending money short term.  Losing money on new clothes is required throughout time with or without exercise, and the money would still have to be spent one way or another.  For the schools themselves, most public schools already have the facilities that it would take to enforce regular exercise.  For those that do not, fundraisers and other ways of making money would not be hard to come up with to receive the money that would be necessary to build facilities for the exercise to take place in.  Additionally, the exercise programs that each school would need to sustain would not have to be unusually nice or fancy.  Effective exercise can easily take place without high-end equipment.

It would not be difficult for schools to mandate daily exercise.  Exercise can take a number of different forms, all greatly beneficial to students in different ways.  Most school have a track or a path that students could run around, and many schools also have a weight room.  For schools like Westminster without a track of weight room, the students could easily go to the gym and play basketball and other sports to increase the students’ blood flow and lead them on a road to a high level of fitness.  In more ways than one, daily exercise would leave students healthier and in better shape physically.  In Alabama, obesity leads to an unbelievable amount of conditions like diabetes or heart attacks.  If schools mandated exercise, then the benefits to the student’s health and physical condition would greatly reduce obesity and thus lessen the chance of life-threatening conditions.  That 33% obesity rate could easily drop down ten percent into the range of many northern states just by the number of students who would have been transformed by schools mandating exercise.  For the safety and health of the students in Alabama, schools should make daily exercise a part of their curriculum.

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A Noble King – Rebecca Thompson

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A noble king is often portrayed as a warrior who is superior in strength, skill, or appearance, but nobility is a trait exemplified by outstanding qualities such as ideals or morals. There is a Hindustani Proverb that proclaims, “There is nothing noble in being superior to some other person.” This insightful quote goes along well with the epic poem Beowulf translated by Seamus Heaney because Hrothgar, King of the Danes, shows he is noble through his virtues even compared to the superior warrior Beowulf. Although Beowulf kills the hell-serf Grendel with his awesome strength, he is not nobler than the king. Hrothgar has multiple reputable qualities, such as his generosity, graciousness, and care for other people. These good attributes are three evidences of the king’s noble character.

Hrothgar is a noble king primarily because of his generosity. This is evident when the poem states that Hrothgar, “… would dispense his God-given gifts to young and old” (71-72). The gifts the king gives are his best because they are the ones that are “God-given” and this shows his desire to bless others as God has blessed him. When this excerpt declares that the king gives “gifts to young and old”, it is implying that he gives gifts to everyone because he is both able and desirous to do so. Additionally, Hrothgar tells the warrior who defeats Grendel and Grendel’s mother to save Hrothgar’s kingdom, “So now, Beowulf, I adopt you in my heart as a dear son. Nourish and maintain this new connection, you noblest of men; there’ll be nothing you’ll want for, no worldly goods that won’t be yours” (945-949). By saying “I adopt you in my heart as a dear son”, Hrothgar is trying to convey to Beowulf that he will altruistically provide both possessions and fatherly affection for the warrior.  Furthermore, the king goes on to say to Beowulf, “there’ll be nothing you’ll want for, no worldly goods that won’t be yours.” When the king pronounces this, he is saying that he will give Beowulf all he has to give, which reveals the king’s lavishly charitable nature and willingness to give up his precious goods in a way that few people would do. Another example from Beowulf that illustrates the king’s generosity occurs after the warrior returns to his homeland and explains to his uncle King Hygelac, “Halfdane’s heir, the shelter of those earls, again endowed me with gifts in abundance. Thus the king acted with due custom. I was paid and recompensed completely, given full measure and the freedom to choose from Hrothgar’s treasures by Hrothgar himself” (2142-2147). By stating he is “endowed” with gifts and “given full measure and the freedom to choose from Hrothgar’s treasures,” Beowulf is explaining that the king is so exceedingly magnanimous that he allows Beowulf to choose his reward out of the king’s most precious possessions. This statement connotes that Beowulf is given Hrothgar’s treasures “by Hrothgar himself” and that the lord of the Danes comes in person to Beowulf to offer him his own priceless riches. These actions by Hrothgar help prove he is an unselfish and therefore virtuous king.

The next illustration depicts the graciousness that makes King Hrothgar a noble figure in the book. The king’s watchman Wulfgar pleads with the king upon the arrival of Beowulf and his men, “Most gracious Hrothgar, do not refuse them, but grant them a reply” (366-367). In this reference, Wulfgar is asking the king to graciously reply to Beowulf’s recommendation of himself to fight Grendel, an evil monster that terrorizes Hrothgar’s kingdom. After this request, Hrothgar goes on to reply to Beowulf and is “most gracious” by letting him enter his kingdom to fight the monster. Rather than pridefully rejecting Beowulf, Hrothgar diplomatically welcomes him because he knows this will benefit his people. This is especially significant because Hrothgar’s last encounter with Beowulf’s father was not a pleasant one and he references it in his conversation with Beowulf  once he enters the land of the Danes, “There was a feud one time, begun by your father.. Finally I healed the feud by paying” (459 and 470). Hrothgar  graciously receives  Beowulf  even though Beowulf’s father started a feud by murdering someone and Hrothgar had  to remedy the situation by paying though it was not his fault (459-472). This shows how merciful Hrothgar is to Beowulf’s father by paying his debt and welcoming his son into his home. Clearly the king has forgiven Beowulf’s father. A further instance is seen when Beowulf, right before returning to his own homeland, speaks of Hrothgar as a gracious host: “Here we have been welcomed and thoroughly entertained. You have treated us well. If there is any favor on earth I can perform… anything that would merit your affections more, I shall act, my lord, with alacrity” (1820-1822 and 1824-1825). Beowulf, saying he has been “welcomed and thoroughly entertained” and “treated… well”, is describing his trip to Heorot as pleasant and thanking Hrothgar for being a courteous host. When Beowulf states, “If there is any favor on earth I can perform… anything that would merit your affections more, I shall act, my lord, with alacrity”, he is stating that, because of his new found admiration for Hrothgar, he will do anything for him with eagerness, because Hrothgar has treated Beowulf and his men chivalrously. The past exemplifications of Hrothgar’s gracious nature demonstrate that he is a righteous man.

Finally the Danish King’s nobility is characterized by his caring nature. After Beowulf’s arrival  Hrothgar reveals his belief to the warrior that God, “guided him here to the West-Danes, to defend us from Grendel” (381-383). When Hrothgar acknowledges that Beowulf comes to Heorot “to defend” the kingdom “from Grendel”, he is showing that he cares for his people enough to allow outside help into his territory to rid the kingdom of the one monster Grendel, even at the risk of looking less capable than Beowulf in doing so. This example shows that Hrothgar’s desire for his people’s welfare is greater than his concern for his reputation as an able warrior. Additionally Hrothgar’s caring nature is seen when he displays extreme grief after the death of a warrior and friend lamenting, “Aeschere is dead. He was Yrmenlaf’s elder brother and a soul-mate to me, a true mentor, my right-hand man when the ranks clashed and our boar-crests had to take a battering in the line of action. Aeschere was everything the world admires in a wise man and a friend” (1323-1328). When Hrothgar communicates that Aeschere was his “soul-mate”, he is communicating that his friend meant a lot to him and was close to him. Also, by  saying “Aeschere was everything the world admires in a wise man and a friend”, Hrothgar  shows the depths of his devotion to his friend. Another illustration of the king’s warmheartedness takes place after Beowulf defeats the monster Grendel’s mother and he entreats, “Choose, dear Beowulf, the better part, eternal rewards. Do not give way to pride” (1759-1760). Hrothgar implores the mighty warrior to choose “eternal rewards” because he is concerned for Beowulf’s salvation and does not want him to focus only on temporal, earthly rewards. Also, when the lord of the Danes commands Beowulf, “Do not give way to pride”, he is alluding to worries that Beowulf may fall into temptation, which implies that he cares about Beowulf . One more instance of King Hrothgar’s compassionate nature occurs when he says farewell to Beowulf. “And so the good and gray-haired Dane, that highborn king, kissed Beowulf and embraced his neck, then broke down in sudden tears… And such was his affection that he could not help being overcome: his fondness for the man was so deep-founded, it warmed his heart and wound his heartstrings tight in his breast” (1870-1873 and 1876-1879). This display when Beowulf is about to leave Heorot when Hrothgar “broke down in sudden tears” proves that he cares deeply for Beowulf, and despite being a grown man and king, he actually cries at the thought of his friend returning home. Likewise, when the book communicates “his fondness for the man was so deep-founded”, it implicates that the Danish king’s devotion to Beowulf is unshakable. Consequently, Hrothgar’s care for others manifests that he is an unselfish man.

In conclusion King Hrothgar is proven to be a noble king in the epic poem by another exemplar when Beowulf voices, “Yet there was no laying of blame on their lord, the noble Hrothgar; he was a good king” (861-862). When this citation states that “there was no laying of blame on their lord”, this reference is pointing out that Hrothgar did not end up being blamed for needing help to fight Grendel, because he was such an upright man. Consequently, “The noble Hrothgar… was a good king”, plainly states that he is an honorable king. The poem’s comments about Hrothgar prove that the king is no less noble than Beowulf, because, though Beowulf is seen as the hero and superior in this epic poem, he is not nobler than Hrothgar, for, “There is nothing noble in being superior to some other person.”

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The Building of the Ship Thesis

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When the Greeks sailed to Troy to win back Helen, the wife of King Menelaus, they ended up at war with the Trojans. The Greeks and Trojans fought for ten long years, but neither had the upper hand and neither would give up. Finally, Odysseus thought of a brilliant idea. He thought to build a giant wooden horse. When the horse was fully constructed, an elite group of fighters were hidden inside the horse to unlock the giant gate at the front of Troy. The Greeks sailed away to make it look like they had given up. The Trojans brought this horse back into their city without knowledge of its secret. That night, these fighters in the horse let in the army of the Greeks and won the Trojan War. While the Greeks could have given up, they remained even though their army could have been slaughtered. Just as the Greeks realized the potential danger, the men continued to build even though the ship could be destroyed. In the poem “The Building of the Ship,” by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, these craftsmen did their job, and they realized their ship had a secret. These builders were correct in building this magnificent craft even though it was difficult. Because the ship was full of splendor, it was as well-built as a ship could be, and it had a character unmatched by any vessel, these engineers acted in reflection of the heroes in the battle for Troy. The builders paid heed to their calling to keep at their work even when it was tough.

First of all, the builders were right to build the ship because of its magnificent beauty. As the builders created the vessel, it grew to become wonderful. “Till after many a week, at length, Wonderful for form…” (184). When the builders imagined something gorgeous, those individuals went to extreme measures in order to construct that magnificence. Magnificence was a great motivator to people. That beauty created a sense of yearning in the builders that caused them to strive to finish the craft. Nevertheless one may say, why go to the trouble when it could have been destroyed? The ocean was perilous. Nevertheless, is it not better to see beauty once than never at all? Seeing splendor was important to people in that time. Also, the way the craft moved through the water was beautiful. As the men built the ship, they built it with curves that made it stunning in motion. “With graceful curve and slow degrees, That she might be docile to the helm.” (46). When the poem stated “With graceful curve,” it illustrated the majestic qualities of the vessel. As it moved through the water, it parted the seas in a way that was remarkable. As soon as a human saw a ship that he had crafted which was moving, he would have a feeling of wonder inside himself. “Ships never come back!” you may say. The sea demolishes ships in its tempests and waves. It is true that heaps of ships get destroyed, but in the wreckage something does still survive. “And in the wreck of noble lives Something immortal still survives!” (377-338). Even though this ship may die, the beauty of the vessel lives forever. Majesty and beauty served as excellent causes for building this ship. The builders saw this majesty before it was created and built it even in the threatening of the seas.

As well as for the beauty of the vessel, the strength of it was just as much of a factor for building the ship. This ship would be able to with stand the disasters of the sea. “That shall laugh at all disaster” (3). The builders took up the challenge to build this ship that would be capable of withstanding the danger of the sea. It would be the great victor in the fight for survival out in the ocean. If you are still asking why go to the trouble, then understand this. If one person was challenged by someone far stronger than himself, what would he do? A brave man challenged the strength of the individual. He used strong equipment to fight with this giant, and in this case it would have been the ship. Being a tool against the sea’s wrath, it was required to be strong. They built it to be a safe ship. “We shall safely reach the Fortunate Isles…” (338-339). The ability to would be somewhere over a merciless sea that was beating the ship with gigantic waves and still be safe was an enormous feat. Also, the “Fortunate Isles” were most likely named because ships could barely make it there. This ship sailed would have sailed up to them without trouble. Furthermore, the anchor was made strong for this ship. When a storm hit, it would be immovable and hold fast to the ground. “And near it the anchor whose giant hand Would reach down and grapple with the land,” (204-205). When the ship was hit by the blow of the sea, its anchor would allow it to pass through the tempest. Even if a hurricane hit the vessel, it would be safe and find its way to the Fortunate Isles without trouble. Because of the might of this vessel, it was safe and could not be moved. Therefore, this proved that the creators of the ship made the accurate decision of building the vessel.

Last of all, the identity of the ship provided a reason for the builders to go to the trouble to create the vessel. The ship will be the best ship to depart to sea. When the builder stated, “Erelong we will launch A vessel as goodly, and strong, and stanch, As ever weathered a wintry sea!” (14-16). To have the greatest ship ever to leave to sea was worth the trouble put into the boat. The builders were accurate in going through the trouble because building the best ship in the world was a great accomplishment. Reputation was vital to the builders and being the best let them live up to their name. What about the rocks and the false lights that the sea produced? As stated, being something for a little while and losing it was still greater than never trying. Being the best has always been the goal for humanity, and the sailors wanted that glory. Moreover, the nobleness and gallantness of the ship proved the motive as proper. The ship was being built as the poem stated the foreshadowing, “The keel of oak for a noble ship…” (136). Being noble was a cause worth fighting for. This vessel would help others over its own desires. This ship was made from trees that were taken from faraway places (228-246). They were carried away, never to see their home again. The timbers were reminded of their home in Maine by the stress of the wind, yet they still strode on carrying the sailors. These trees cared for others over than themselves. Except wind and wave and the mystery of the sea rose up against the ship! Being noble was worth more than bumps and bruises in those days. The sailors had the cause to build the ship. It was the identity of the ship that helped prove the worth of building this craft.

Just as the Greeks fought to gain back Helen, the builders created the ship to be as worthy and noble as a ship could be. Nobleness was a feature of a man to the Greeks and to the builders. The Greeks were so upset at the cowardly and unrighteous deed of Paris, the man that stole Helen, that they would not stop fighting until Helen had returned. The builders built this ship to be noble so that it would not fall into unrighteous and cowardly deeds like Paris’ vile action. The builders had not chanced upon nobleness, but they went looking for it. The sweat and struggle were vital to the building of the magnificent, well-built, and gallant craft that was this craft.

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The Song of Roland

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Deception is an evil doing by someone who is trying to get out of a tough situation. This is the wrong way to try to get out of a situation. For as Mark Twain said, “Truth is the most valuable thing we have, so I try to conserve it.” Twain implies that man does not need to keep lying to get out of difficult situations; one needs to tell the truth because it is very valuable in the sense that without it one would not be able to trust a soul. In the epic poem The Song of Roland translated by W.S Merwin, Charlemagne, the emperor of the Franks, has defeated all of Spain except for the city of Saragossa. Marsiliun was the ruler over the Muslims, and he tries to deceive Charlemagne in order to save his people and himself. Unlike what Twain said about telling the truth, Marsiliun does the exact opposite which is to deceive. Marsiliun was foolish in trying to deceive Charlemagne because Charlemagne was too wise to fall for Marsiliun’s deception, the deception would only backfire, and it was a cowardly way of getting out of a tough situation. All in all, Marsiliun’s choice to deceive Charlemagne was a foolish act.

Charlemagne was too wise to be deceived by Marsiliun. Evidence of this is found after the messengers of Marsiliun come to Charlemagne with their offering of luxuries; Charlemagne was suspicious. He exclaimed, “He says he will join me at Aix in my place, and will submit to our most holy law and become a Christian, and hold his lands under me as a vassal. But I cannot tell what he has at heart” (IXX). Charlemagne was listing off all that Marsiliun promised to do for him if he returned to Aix. Charlemagne was unsure if this was what Marsiliun really planned to do. When Charlemagne said, “I cannot tell what he has at heart,” he is revealing that something was strange about this offer. This showed that he did not fully trust Marsiliun. Because he does not fully trust him, he tells his men to be on guard because Marsiliun could have something planned contrary to what he had said. Another reason why Charlemagne was too wise to be deceived was because he was able to see a person’s true intentions. One way he is able to do this was through his dreams. He interpreted them himself and could tell what was going to happen. As he recalled one dream he said, “Ganelon will be the destruction of France. Last night I saw Ganelon shatter my lance from between my fists. And he has named my nephew for the rear guard, and I have left Roland beyond the frontier in a foreign country. Oh God, if I lose him no one will take his place for me!” (LXVII). This quote is Charlemagne regretting letting Roland be in the rear guard. From his dream he sees Ganelon’s real reason for putting Roland in that position. He put him there to be killed. It was all part of his evil plan of getting rid of him. Charlemagne was filled with grief and was enraged with Ganelon. Charlemagne because of this makes sure that Roland has enough men who will fight with him if something does happen, therefore Ganelon’s plan for Roland to be in great danger does not work because of Charlemagne’s wisdom over the whole instance. This instance with Ganelon supports the idea that Charlemagne was too wise to be deceived by Marsiliun because he was not deceived by Ganelon. Therefore, if he was not deceived by Ganelon, then surely Marsiliun could not deceive him. All of this to say that Charlemagne was too wise to be deceived therefore Marsiliun should not have tried to deceive him.

The deception of Marsiliun was only going to backfire which is why Marsiliun was wrong in his choice to deceive. Marsiliun should have been able to see what was going to happen as a result of his deception because of experience. The first instance of the deception backfiring was when it brought upon the battle. As Oliver and Roland stand in the rear guard Oliver hears a noise. He realizes it is the French and says, “They will bring bitter suffering to our Franks” (LXXX). Oliver sees that there is a battle about to begin which is why he says this. This quote has to do with the deception bringing upon a battle because it shows that the Muslims approach the French and start the battle. They bring the deaths upon themselves because of this deception. They are punished for their actions and this punishment is the loss of almost all of their army. Another reason why the deception would backfire was that the Muslims experienced major pain and suffering. “The French have fought courageously and with a will, and the pagans have been slaughtered by thousands and by multitudes: out of the hundred thousand there are not even two still left alive” (CXI). This quote is emphasizing how great of a loss this battle was for the pagans. They did not even have two men left. They had been slaughtered by the French and were experiencing great suffering. These are all reasons why deception would only backfire therefore Marsiliun should have been more cautious with his decision.

The final reason why Marsiliun was not justified in deceiving Charlemagne was that it was a cowardly way for getting out of a tough situation. For instance, Marsiliun has to lie to try to get the French to leave. He says, “Tell him that he will not see the end of the first month before I have joined him with a thousand of my followers, and that I shall bow to the law of the Christians and become his vassal in all friendship and good faith” (VI). All that Marsiliun had said was a lie to try to get the French out of Spain. He was never going to follow through with all that he has promised. He would not become a Christian, he would not become a friend, and he would definitely not become a vassal. This was showing cowardice because when someone lies he is trying to forget what happened so that he will not feel bad. Instead of facing the real problem, which was that the French would not get out of Spain, Marsiliun lies in order that he would not have to deal with the French anymore. All this to say that Marsiliun was lying to try to get the French out of Spain. Another reason Marsiliun was acting cowardly was because he never really tried to make an alliance with the French or try to fight them fairly. Instead he just lied which looked made him look scared and weak as a ruler. Marsiliun says, “It is far better that our children should lose their heads than we should forfeit our honor and possessions, or be reduced to begging” (III). Marsiliun thinks he sounds very courageous and strong as he said this, but really he was sounding weak and afraid. He was saying that he would rather lose his son than his honor. This shows how self-centered he was. He did not even want to try to stand up for his country but would lose everything but his honor. All of this is to show that Marsiliun was a weak ruler and that he should not have deceived Charlemagne because he did not even try to win fairly.

Although Charlemagne was wise he did make some wrong decisions. An example of this would be when he allowed Roland to become a rear guard (LX). Although Ganelon was the one to choose, the king still had a say over who was in the rear-guard; but instead he left it as Ganelon had chosen. Even though this was a wrong decision on Charlemagne’s part because it brings about Roland’s death, Charlemagne does realize his mistakes and is not oblivious to what his decisions, good and bad, will lead to. It was said that Charlemagne was beyond upset because of this choice. “But more than any of the others Charles is racked with anguish because he has left his nephew in the gorges of Spain. Pity overcomes him. He weeps and cannot help it” (LXVI). Charlemagne is so angry and sad that Roland now is in an unsafe place, and it is all because of his decision. He is full of pity because he knows that he could have stopped this from happening. So even though Charlemagne does make some wrong decisions, he realizes what he does and ensures that the next decision is a noble one. All in all Charlemagne was a wise man because of his thoughtfulness in his decisions and how he learned from the wrong ones.

Even though Marsiliun’s deception would only backfire, some may argue that the deception moved the French out of Spain and most importantly caused the death of Roland. It created an opportunity for the Muslims to be able to conquer the French. The poem is quoted, “Now the King declares his war over. The Emperor rides toward sweet France” (LV). In this quote Charlemagne is declaring that the war between the Muslims and French is over and that he is ready to return home. Charlemagne has given in to the deception of Marsiliun because he is leaving Spain. Marsiliun’s plan has worked and he now has a chance to pay the French back and to kill Roland. Although Marsiliun’s plan did work, he did not realize that because of his deception he would lose hundreds of men and that his city would now be more vulnerable. He should have thought his plan completely through before going along with it because in the end great suffering will come out of it and the Muslims are eventually defeated in the end.

Admittedly, deception was a very cowardly way of getting out of tough situations, but Marsiliun was just looking out for the welfare of his kingdom. In Marsiliun’s discussion with Ganelon, he asks if he should send a great number of men to go fight with Charlemagne. Ganelon answers, “Do nothing of the kind, for the moment. You will lose great numbers of your pagans” (XLIII). Marsiliun listens to Ganelon’s advice because he wanted the best for his kingdom. He did not want any of them to go through much pain so he did not send them out to fight with Charlemagne. Nevertheless, he still acted cowardly by putting them in battle with the rear guards of the French. This is because he put his men in great danger when he could have avoided all the losses of men by leaving the French alone. Therefore, Marsiliun was foolish in deceiving the French because although he was looking out for his men, he lost many at his last battle with the Franks.

As mentioned before Marsiliun was foolish in his decision to deceive Charlemagne. This was especially because of his cowardice. Marsiliun does not even try to get the French out of Spain with a battle or fair one on one combat which shows that he was afraid. He was afraid and a coward towards the French which shows how weak of a leader he was. He did not think of others and he was not thoughtful in his decisions. Mark Twain’s quote which says “Truth is the most valuable thing we have, so I try to conserve it” applies to this point as well. Marsiliun was not valuing his truth like he should have, but instead he was lying showing that he was a coward and could not stand up to the French on his own. He did not think about what might happen because of his actions but was quick in his decisions and slow to think about them. All in all, Marsiliun was foolish to deceive Charlemagne in order for the French to leave Spain.

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