Conscience: Beowulf and Powerful Motivator
Lisa Li SAT Essay 08/09/11 Prompt: A mistakenly cynical view of human behavior holds that people are primarily driven by selfish motives: the desire for wealth, for power, or for fame. Yet history gives us many examples of individuals who have sacrificed their own welfare for a cause or a principle that they regarded as more important than their own lies. Conscience-that powerful inner voice that tells us what is right and what’s wrong-can be a more compelling force than money, power, or fame. Assignment: Is conscience a more powerful motivator than money, fame, or power?
Plan and write an essay in which you develop your point of view on this issue. Support your position with reasoning and examples taken from reading studies, experiences, or observations. Outline: Thesis statement: Conscience is a less powerful motivator than money, fame, and power. Examples: (Regarding to the prompt) To show that conscience is the second important motivator. (Regarding to the assignment) To show that the desire of money, fame and power is a more powerful motivator. Macbeth power) Beowulf (fame Entrepreneur (money or profit) Essay: Conscience or Desire? All human beings are self-centered creatures.
We consider about ourselves in the first place. However, there are always quite a few “self-deceptive” people claim that conscience, the main inner voice that evaluates the standard of good and evil, is a more powerful motivator than the strong desire from the deep inside of our hearts. Apparently, as men who are at least warmhearted, we do feel the sympathy or the need of help in some cases. However, we have to admit that we consider about ourselves in the first place. The question that often pops in everyone’s head before the real action is: What can this possibly bring to me? Do I need to sacrifice anything?
After the consideration, some quit because of the fear of losing, some stay because of the temptation of getting a reward in any forms of money, fame or power. Macbeth, the well-known literary character who is created by William Shakespeare, provides us an great example. He starts out as a brave hero, but ends up as a victim of fatalism and his own ambitious choice. He constantly declines in his level of conscience until his death at the end of the play. Greed for fame and power is the main motivation of his every step towards being a king. He killed the Duncan by putting on quite a show. He ends Banquo’s life with no doubt.
He does not even care about his wife’s death. Power, which is extremely attractive, is the only “muse” for him. There is nothing to do with conscience. His desire chooses the way for him. Beowulf, the ancient anglo-saxon character, is another example. Undoubtedly, as a successful warrior, he saves Hrothgar’s country and his people by risking his life. He kills Grendel and Grendel’s mother who are physically strong monsters. His conscience does play an important role. However, at his twilight years, he chooses to obeys his desire. The huge temptation of fame drives him to confront the dragon.
He lays down his life as a result. There are some more practical examples. Entrepreneurs make a deal before fully considering the chance of profiteering. Lawyers help defend plaintiffs or defendants before considering the chance of winning. Wealth and fame can be gained from examples above. The thoughts of being well-off and well-known are the motivators. Conscience may play a role in it. But it will probably not be in people’s first consideration. Above all, it is obvious to see that conscience is a less powerful motivator than the desire for wealth, fame, and power.