Richelieu "The Pen Is Mightier Than The Sword"

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"The Pen Is Mightier Than The Sword"

(Magill's Quotations in Context)

Context: In Act II, Cardinal Richelieu, in his palace, is getting a report about plots against him from the Capuchin monk Joseph, his confidant. In his anger, the Cardinal seizes a long two-handed sword that he had once used against the English, but which is now too heavy for him to swing. His page boy François, reminds him that he now has at his command other weapons. Going to his writing desk, the Cardinal makes the statement that has served as topic for so many school debates:


RICHELIEU
Beneath the rule of men entirely great
The pen is mightier than the sword. Behold
The arch-enchanter's wand!–itself a nothing!
By taking sorcery from the master hand
To paralyze the Caesars–and to strike
The loud earth breathless! Take away the sword;
States can be saved without it!