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Alexander and Diogenes - Essay Example

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He wrote the story “Alexander and Diogenes: The Dog has his Day”, with Diogenes as the protagonist. Diogenese was a gross, contemptuous philosopher, and…
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Alexander and Diogenes

Alexander was greeted by everyone when he met Diogenes, except Diogenes himself, who spoke to Alexander rudely when the former asked the latter if he could do anything for him. Highet (10) writes that Diogenese said, “Stand to one side. You’re blocking the sunlight”. Although the crowd awaited Alexander’s reaction to this rude remark, they were amazed to hear him say that he preferred being Diogenes if he were not Alexander. “If I were not Alexander, I should be Diogenes” (Highet 10). This meant that he considered Diogenes as a free person, unafraid and bold, not thinking about what effect his saying would have on the listener. He, sort of, saw his own image in the beggar’s style and pride. He came to know that, on earth, it was either Alexander, the King, or Diogenes, the beggar, who were free and independent in their choice of speech and action.
Highet made this historical story even more compelling, by giving it the form of an essay. The message that can be extracted through this is that the real human being is one who is bold enough to use his free will. When we say that a person is free, we mean that he lives by his own value system, which is so strong that he is not afraid of whether the people around him approve of or disapprove his speech and actions. The main theme is about simplicity. One must not get indulge in the complexities of life. Simplicity is what makes life beautiful, and also makes one understand his true self, because it is in simplicity that one collides with nature and recognizes his worth. “He knew that of all men then alive in the world only Alexander the conqueror and Diogenes the beggar were truly free” (Highet, 10), means that even Kings realize the importance of those people whom they consider as inferior, just because of strong values and confidence. It also means that even beggars are considered as inspirational, if they are free and ... Read More
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