Can deception—pretending that something is true when it is not—sometimes have good results?

SAT Essay

Think carefully about the issue presented in the following excerpt and the assignment below.

There are two kinds of pretending. There is the bad kind, as when a person falsely promises to be your friend. But there is also a good kind, where the pretense eventually turns into the real thing. For example, when you are not feeling particularly friendly, the best thing you can do, very often, is to act in a friendly manner. In a few minutes, you may really be feeling friendlier.

Adapted from a book by C. S. Lewis


Can deception—pretending that something is true when it is not—sometimes have good results? 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 your reading, studies, experience, or observations.

2011/4/27 13:24:24

Posted by DoctorZ | 阅读全文 | 回复(2) | 引用通告 | 编辑

Re:Can deception—pretending that something is true when it is not—sometimes have good results?

The act of deceiving, could it lead to something good?


Somewhere buried under the floorboards of this splendidly devious novel is a real-life event. In 1794, a young Englishman, William Henry Ireland, came across something astonishing that he hurried to show his father: an old mortgage deed, with its seal intact, signed by none other than William Shakespeare.


The young man’s father, Samuel, an antiquarian and a passionate Shakespeare enthusiast, was thrilled, and still more thrilled when from the same mysterious source — an old chest in the possession of a reclusive aristocrat who wished his identity to remain secret — his son came up with a series of further discoveries. These included contracts; theatrical receipts; correspondence between Shakespeare and his patron, the Earl of Southampton; a letter to Shakespeare from Queen Elizabeth herself; a “profession of faith” in Shakespeare’s own hand, proving once and for all that he was a good Protestant; and the playwright’s own manuscript of “King Lear.” Alerted to the news, people crowded into Ireland’s house. James Bos­well fell to his knees to kiss the great playwright’s relics. Against his son’s vehement objections, the proud Samuel hurried most of these stupendous finds into print. But he held in reserve the best of them all, until they could be returned in glory to the stage where they belonged: two full-length plays by Shakespeare, both hitherto unknown, “Vortigern and Rowena” and “Henry II.”


The discoveries aroused a predictable mixture of popular excitement and learned skepticism. On March 31, 1796, Edmond Malone, the greatest Shakespeare scholar of the age, published a 400-page book examining each of the documents Ireland had printed and enumerating in numbing detail their historical inaccuracies and manifold flaws in handwriting, diction and the like. Two days later, “Vortigern and Rowena” opened at the Drury Lane Theater to a sold-out house. The audience listened raptly to the opening words of Constantius, the king of the Britons — “Good Vortigern! as peace doth bless our isle, / And the loud din of war no more affrights us” — but by the third act its mood had shifted. Whispered criticisms turned into catcalls, wags shouted rude jokes and the audience laughed so uproariously that the performance had to come to a halt until order was restored. The actors gamely limped through to the close, but the play was not performed again. Shortly thereafter, William Henry Ireland confessed that he had forged “Vortigern” and the rest of the documents. But in a strange twist, his father continued to insist that they were authentic. Disgraced and ridiculed, estranged from his son, shortly before his death he printed the plays with a preface in which he declared that neither Malone’s refutation “nor any declaration since made from a quarter once domestic to this Editor . . . can induce him to believe that great mass of papers in his possession are the fabrication of any individual, or set of men of the present day.”


So as we know today, Vortigern and Rowena is well likely to be forged. Yet it is another Shakespeare in a way, which might be even more relevant to millions of fans – an inspired dream although misplaced, a forged effort of many years of learning and studying and appreciation, another proof of the shining brilliance of the true Shakespeare, its magnificence untouched and lasting till today. Deceiving helps to shine the truth in a profound way.

2011/5/1 9:25:33

Posted by doctorzhang | 个人主页 | 引用 | 返回 | 删除 | 回复

Re:Can deception—pretending that something is true when it is not—sometimes have good results?

Deception is not necessarily lying and dishonest behaviors that are desinged for sheer personal gain and embeded with malicious motives. In fact, deception is justified in some apt situations.

In the Mahabharata, the greatest ancient war of India, the righteous Pandavas were at war with their evil cousins, the Kauravas. It seemed unlikely that good would win over evil this time; the Kauravas were employing unfair advantages to the maximum. They weren’t playing fair – they had a much larger and stronger army than the Pandavas, possessed weapons of greater strength, and had ferocious demons and giants at their command. They were evil to the extent of slaying helpless soldiers during the battle rest-time at night. In short, if things continued as they were, the Pandavas would be doomed. Unless they played fire with fire, they would lose the war. Bheeshmapitama, the strongest and most skilled among the Kauravas’ warriors, posed the biggest threat to the Pandavas.

So they came up with a cunning strategy. They killed an elephant having the same name as Bheeshmapitama’s son and then sent a messenger to inform him about ‘his son’s death’. When he got the message, Bheeshmapitama grew suspicious since his son was a formidable warrior. The others assured him that the message was a ploy to weaken him emotionally; however, Bheeshmapitama had to be sure. So he turned to Yudhisthira, the eldest of the Pandava brothers, who always spoke the truth since he was the son of Dharma (God of Truth and Righteousness). Over the din of the battlefield, Yudhisthira replied “Yes. Ashwathama, the elephant, is dead.” But while enunciating “the elephant”, Yudhisthira deliberately lowered his volume a little so that he would not be heard. Bheeshmapitama was immediately stunned by the news of ‘his son’s death’. Seizing the opportunity, the Pandavas felled him with a thousand arrows.

Had he not been slain, the Pandavas would have been defeated right in the early stages of the battle. They used subtle deception to avoid certain defeat at the hands of their malicious brethren. Clearly, deception was justified here.


2011/4/27 13:36:31

Posted by doctorzhang | 个人主页 | 引用 | 返回 | 删除 | 回复


Powered by Oblog.