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The Scorpion and the Frog

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Old 01-10-2006, 08:42 AM
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The Scorpion and the Frog


A scorpion and a frog met on the bank of a stream and the scorpion asked the frog to carry him across on its back.

The frog said, "How do I know you won't sting me?"

The scorpion answered, "If I do, I will die too."

The frog is satisfied and they set out, but in mid-stream the scorpion stung the frog. The frog felt the onset of paralysis and started to sink, knowing they both will drown. He had just enough time to gasp "Why?"

The scorpion replied: "It's my nature."


This strange tale from Aesop's Fables isn't really about animals. It's a comment on human behavior from a writer who lived in ancient Greece 2,600 years ago.

I'm curious to see how forum members will answer these 3 questions about the meaning of the story:

(1)What was Aesop saying about the character of people who behave like the scorpion?

(2)Is character and human nature the same thing?

(3)Why did the frog believe the scorpion's explanation of why he would not sting him?

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Old 01-12-2006, 08:37 AM
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Originally Posted by starrwriter
(1)What was Aesop saying about the character of people who behave like the scorpion?
My feeling is he was basically saying that bad people will do bad things even if they hurt themselves in the process.

Originally Posted by starrwriter
(2)Is character and human nature the same thing?
I don't think so. Character is who you are as an individual, human nature it more like taking people as a whole and generalizing.

Originally Posted by starrwriter
(3)Why did the frog believe the scorpion's explanation of why he would not sting him?
To me, he was doing what a lot of people don't do anymore, he was giving him the benefit of the doubt believing that he won't kill himself to kill a frog.

Good thread! Just fun and thought provoking.
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Old 01-12-2006, 10:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Dalton
My feeling is he was basically saying that bad people will do bad things even if they hurt themselves in the process.
I think Aesop recognized the fact that all people have a dark side. The scorpion was just an extreme example.

Originally Posted by Dalton
Character is who you are as an individual, human nature it more like taking people as a whole and generalizing.
Character is fate. Can't recall what author wrote that, but it strikes me as true.

I agree with you about "human nature" being a generalization. The human race doesn't exist in reality, it's a metaphysical concept. Individuals exist and they're all different in some respects.

Originally Posted by Dalton
To me, he was doing what a lot of people don't do anymore, he was giving him the benefit of the doubt believing that he won't kill himself to kill a frog.
Yeah, giving the benefit of the doubt is pretty rare nowadays. People are so afraid of getting burned they usually assume the other guy is up to no good.
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