You are on page 1of 2

Critical Lens-The Tortoise and the Hare using the Theory of Existentialism In applying Kierkegaards Theory of Existentialism special

attention will be paid to his leap to faith concept and subjective reflection as it relates to both characters. In applying the theory the tortoise took a leap of faith in challenging the hare to a race and seeing the truth that he could win this race from his subjective perspective thereby taking responsibility for his lifes worth. The tortoise knows that in a flat race where both the hare and himself were to put out their total effort that he was genuinely slower. This tale of The Tortoise and the Hare shows the power of commitment and faith over flash and dash (desire without the requisite hard work). Whilst the hare dashed in front and grew overconfident and complacent, so much so has to take a nap. The tortoise continued at his slow steady pace. Which though the hare tried to recover some ground at the end, his effort was too late and the race was lost. Though the tortoise was the underdog he kept at the task at hand and triumphed in the end. Kierkegaards in his theory posited one lives as a "single individual", giving priority to concrete human reality over abstract thinking, and highlighting the importance of personal choice and commitment. Looking at the tale through the critical lens of Kierkegaards Theory of Existentialism, we see that the tortoise in addition to taking a leap of faith when he challenged the hare to a race also took into consideration his knowledge of himself. He considered the reality that though the hare was faster than he was and could beat him in a straight, flat course. Being the braggart he was, the hare would underestimate the tortoise and so become complacent.

The tortoises action of being fully committed and passionate not only to the challenge but also of winning parallels the human condition has described through Soren Kierkegaards theory. Individuals must always be prepared to fight against odds and what is considered normal or is required by society. It is more important to live up to your individual expectations that that of the perceptions of society. Again this was demonstrated in the story by the apparent high self esteem the tortoise had. He didnt care that he might have appeared foolish by challenging the hare as the general consensus was that the hare was very fast and he therefore did not stand a chance of beating him. The tortoise was fully committed to his task and the actualization of his self worth. Conversely, the hare though he believed his perception that he was the fastest animal. He spent his time boasting at this. Quite often boasting may be construed as a form of intimidation, because, the hare constantly said he was the fastest, the other animals made this their truth and reality. And therefore the hare did not get the opportunity to

test his skills/talent. The hare though believing in himself as evidenced by the boasting did not have the faith and commitment to back it up. He also committed some cardinal mistakes he overestimated his ability (one which he really does nothing to nurture) and he underestimated his opponent. One must agree with Kierkegaards Theory of Existentialism, when applied to Aesops tale of The Tortoise and the Hare. Both animals exhibited the principle of individual and as such each had full responsibility for creating the meanings of their own lives. Whilst the tortoise had the faith and commitment to maximize his self worth and therefore could achieve for himself; the hare wanted to achieve with understanding his situation and the effect his actions would have on his reality and life. By extension two popular adages go a little faith goes a long way and hard work takes the price.

References Aesop's Fables: With His Life: In English. France: 1687. Hannay, Alastair. Kierkegaard: A Biography. England: Cambridge, 2001