What does "the pen is mightier than the sword" mean?


The saying "The pen is mightier than the sword" means that the power of the written word is often greater than that of physical prowess or military might. It comes from a fairly obscure play called "Richelieu: Or, the Conspiracy" by Edward George Bulwer-Lytton. Although few people have heard of the play, just about everyone has heard this saying.

Examples of the truth of this statement are plentiful in history. For example, the South African government tried to muzzle Nelson Mandela, a leader in the country who wanted to bring the apartheid system crashing down and usher in equality for whites and blacks. The government trumped up charges of treason and sabotage against Mandela, essentially keeping him in prison because they wanted him quiet and out of sight. Unfortunately, this led to his status as a living martyr — a political prisoner held because of his beliefs. After 27 years, he emerged from prison and, a short time later, became South Africa's new president. His continued advocacy for change, expressed in writing, led to freedom for blacks in his country.

A pop culture reference using this quote comes from the 1989 version of "Batman," directed by Tim Burton. The Joker (Jack Nicholson) kills one of his enemies by throwing a poisoned quill pen into his throat and then saying, "The pen truly is mightier than the sword."

Q&A Related to "What does "the pen is mightier than the sword"..."
A pen may sign a treaty. A blade draws blood.
The pen is mightier than the sword because written word can change the world
This is a very common quotation used by many people globally who want to provide the essence of meaningful quotations. I have heard of it since my childhood but never came to the
Because u can write hurtful words..and i believe words can scar u emotionally which can be worse than physical pain for some people
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