A crisis of conscience seems to occur for many people when it comes to the matter of should they tell someone a hard truth, that would hurt that person, or a little white lie to try to protect that person. Many people unfortunately choose to tell the little white lie despite the fact that if you were to ask their preference, they would claim they want to hear the hard truth. These, upright and caring people, who claim a preference to hear the truth, in the same breath will also claim that a little white lie will hurt nothing and may even make the other person feel better. Despite their own preference in the matter and utterly disregarding their own knowledge of the pain they would feel upon learning of the lie.
Humanity puts such positive emphasis on truth, loyalty, and justice while it condemns lies, betrayal, and injustices as demonstrated continuously through out our literary history. Yet we as a species continuously disregard those ideologies that we have been raised upon and spoon fed from almost every direction of literature, biographies, novels, poems, plays, and so on and so forth. As a species humans continue to disregard the reoccurring warnings against the ills of such negative behavior as are found in our literature.
William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is a prime example of such a warning. How much needless death occurred due to Romeo’s and Juliet’s betrayal of their families? Now for those die-hard romantics, would you not prefer if Romeo and Juliet told their families they were married and lived? Could they not have averted their own tragedy if they were honest and less rash? For that matter, if Montagues and the Capulets were less unjust to each other, would the story of Romeo and Juliet have even been a tragedy? Probably, Shakespeare needed to have some sort of climax to his work in order to sell it. Yet many of people, especially young teens, choose to wear blinders to the repercussions warned of in this tale, recalling only the great passion between the two lovers. They claimed to love their families, yet lied to them constantly, resulting in several deaths including their own. They claimed to love each other, though Romeo, instead of seeking confirmation through the friar, chose to end his life depriving his supposedly loving Juliet of her husband.
Another well-known tale of tragedy, that of King Arthur and the fall of Camelot. The betrayal of Guinevere and Lancelot (and Mordred depending on the version) is at the heart of the destruction. Oaths broken, because the couple would rather lie to one who loved them dearly than do the honorable thing and keep their oaths.
These tales serve as a warning to us all, yet repeatedly we as a species and as individuals fail to heed them. We too often choose to hide behind masks of lies than to honestly be who we are out of fear, either fear of being hurt or of fear of hurting another. Either way we continuously choose to lie and pretend while claiming to love each other. Can one truly love who and what they do not know, or is it only mere infatuation at best? Without honestly and truth, can we truly be us? Can we ever truly even love ourselves? Which do you prefer, the easy lie or the harsh truth? Which do you actually tell yourself?