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Paragraph 3 - imagination. By disregarding the reason and...

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The True Nightmare Acumen is not always consciously self-manifested; prudence can come from outside means. Just as many world leaders, today, have myriad advisors, so too did kings of the past have sundry sources from which to seek guidance. As seen in Herodotus’ The Histories , King Xerxes of Persia is understandably forced to seek such recommendation when faced with the prospect of world domination. Despite telling his subjects his plans for war, Xerxes comes to a resolute decision not to go to war—as fostered through the counsel of many learned men. In this, he is just for he rethinks his brashness and makes a wise decision based on the greater good. However, when—after a man in his nightmares demands that he “‘[c]ontinue to tread the path which [he] chose yesterday’” (Herodotus VII. 12)—Xerxes ceases to consider the Utilitarian benefit of peace, he takes the moral plunge by going to war, appeasing only the figment of his
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Unformatted text preview: imagination. By disregarding the reason and judgment of those close to him, and—in so doing— sentencing to death millions of his subjects, Xerxes commits the ultimate atrocity. Whether the phantom was truly a figment of his nightmare, the intervention of the gods, or an actual man— perhaps a warmongering Magi—physically looming over the king’s bed, is hard to decipher. The ambiguity leaves the interpretation up to the reader. However, it is plain to see that Xerxes’ dreams—whether they are manifestations from within himself, from the divine, or otherwise— are taken far too seriously. It is in this frightening story that a leader’s one ostensible nightmare leads to the one true nightmare in life for all his people: death and senseless war. Works Cited Herodotus. The Histories . Trans. Aubrey de Sélincourt. New York: Penguin Books, 1954....
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This note was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course GENS 145 taught by Professor Bormann during the Fall '07 term at Whitman.

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