The Scorpion and the Frog

The Scorpion and the Frog

The frog carrying the scorpion across the river.

The Scorpion and the Frog is an animal fantasy which teaches that any other folks can not resist hurting others even when it’s now not of their very maintain interests. This fantasy appears to be like to be to maintain emerged in Russia in the early 20th century.


A scorpion wishes to shameful a river but can not swim, so it asks a frog to lift it across. The frog hesitates, worried that the scorpion might maybe sting it, but the scorpion promises to now not, stating that they would each drown if the scorpion killed the frog at some stage in the river. The frog considers this argument sparkling and agrees to transport the scorpion. Midway across the river, the scorpion stings the frog anyway, dooming them each. The death frog asks the scorpion why it stung despite colorful the consequence, to which the scorpion replies: “I’m sorry, but I could maybe now not support it. It be in my nature.”[1]


The earliest identified look of this fantasy is in the 1933 Russian novel, The German Quarter by Lev Nitoburg.[2] The fantasy additionally appears to be like to be in the 1944 novel, The Hunter of the Pamirs, and this is the earliest identified look of the fantasy in English.[3] The Hunter of the Pamirs is an English translation of the 1940 Russian novel, Jura by Georgii Tushkan, but the fantasy doesn’t seem in the customary Russian. The fantasy appears to be like to be in the final chapter of The Hunter of the Pamirs, but doesn’t seem at the corresponding procedure in Jura.

In the English-talking world, the fantasy became made smartly-known by the 1955 movie, Mr. Arkadin. It’s far recounted in a soliloquy by Gregory Arkadin (played by Orson Welles).[4][5] In an interview, Welles mentioned that the fantasy is Russian in foundation.[6]


The Scorpion and the Turtle[edit]

An illustration of “The Scorpion and the Turtle”, from a 19th-century edition of the Anvaar Soheili, a Persian collection of fables.

A likely precursor to this fantasy is the Persian fantasy of The Scorpion and the Turtle. This earlier fantasy appears to be like to be in the Anvaar Soheili, a group of fables written c. 1500 by the Persian student Husayn Kashifi.[7] The Anvaar Soheili contains fables translated from the Panchatantra, a group of Indian fables written in Sanskrit, but The Scorpion and the Turtle doesn’t seem in the Panchatantra, which means that the fantasy is Persian in foundation.[8]

In the Scorpion and the Turtle, it’s far a turtle that carries the scorpion across the river, and the turtle survives the scorpion’s sting attributable to its protective shell. The turtle is baffled by the scorpion’s habits because they are inclined associates and the scorpion will need to maintain identified that its stinger would now not pierce the turtle’s shell. The scorpion responds that it acted neither out of malice nor ingratitude, but merely an irresistible and indiscriminate roam to sting. The turtle then delivers the following reflection: “Basically maintain the sages said that to esteem a heinous personality is to provide one’s honor to the wind, and to involve one’s maintain self in embarrassment.”[9]

The factual of this fantasy is thus said explicitly, and now not left to interpretation. Yet any other well-known contrast is that, in this fantasy with the turtle, the scorpion doesn’t query of to drown. In some later variations of this fantasy, the turtle punishes the scorpion by drowning it anyway.[10]


The Scorpion and the Frog is ceaselessly attributed to Aesop as its factual author is unknown, though it doesn’t seem in any collection of Aesop’s fables before the 20th century.[8][11] On the opposite hand, there are a group of inclined fables historically attributed to Aesop which snarl a identical factual, the closest parallels being The Farmer and the Viper and The Frog and the Mouse.


A customary interpretation of this fantasy is that of us with vicious personalities ceaselessly can not resist hurting others even when it’s now not of their interests.[12]

The Italian author Giancarlo Livraghi has commented that while there are numerous animal fables which warn in opposition to trusting vicious other folks, in none of these other fables is the villain irrationally self-opposed and fully responsive to it.[11]

To a social psychologist, the fantasy also can simply novel a dispositionist behold of human nature since it appears to be like to be to reject the premise that of us behave rationally constant with instances.[13] The French sociologist Jean-Claude Passeron saw the scorpion as a metaphor for Machiavellian politicians who delude themselves by their unconscious tendency to rationalize their ill-conceived plans, and thereby lead themselves and their followers to extinguish.[14] The psychologist Kevin Dutton saw the scorpion as a metaphor for psychopaths, whose impulsive and merciless personalities continually rating them into pointless effort.[15]

Orson Welles felt that the scorpion’s lack of hypocrisy gave it a particular enchantment: “I will repeatedly like a man who admits to being a bastard, a murderer, or whatever you’d like, and tells me: ‘I killed three other folks’. He’s straight away my brother, because he is frank. I judge that frankness doesn’t excuse the crime, but it completely makes him very ultimate-attempting, it offers him enchantment.”[6]

The French thinker Gilles Deleuze remarked that Welles on the final took a nihilistic perspective to the villains in his motion pictures (he old the scorpion as a metaphor for the villain in Mr. Arkadin). He refused to condemn them on wonderful grounds even supposing he disliked them and wished them destroyed.[16] The scorpion is now not an shameful creature but simply a “force” which fails to adapt to routine instances and thereby makes itself impotent if now not self-opposed. Deleuze says that this is essence of Gregory Arkadin, the villain of Mr. Arkadin. Arkadin thinks that he can quilt up his sordid previous as a sex trafficker by murdering his inclined accomplices, but sarcastically this plot backfires and exposes him, and the shame drives him to suicide. An inherently vicious man, Arkadin also can now not survey other alternatives reminiscent of inquiring for forgiveness.

Other contexts[edit]

For the rationale that fantasy’s narration in Mr. Arkadin,[4][5] it has been recounted as a key ingredient in other motion pictures, including Skin Deep (1989),[17] The Crying Game (1992),[18] Force (2011),[19] and The Satan’s Carnival (2012).[20] To boot, references to the fantasy maintain appeared in comics,[21] tv exhibits,[22] and in newspaper articles,[23] a few of which maintain applied it to the relationship between gigantic commercial and govt[24] and to politics,[25] especially the bitter nature of Middle Eastern politics such because the Arab–Israeli war[26][27] and in Iran.[28]


  1. ^ Paraphrased from a group of sources, including The Hunter of the Pamirs and Mr. Arkadin
  2. ^ Nitoburg (1933). The German Quarter.
  3. ^ Tushkan (1944). The Hunter of the Pamirs, p. 320.
  4. ^ a b The scene in Mr Arkadin the attach Orson Welles recounts the story of the scorpion and the frog on YouTube. Retrieved August 2, 2016.
  5. ^ a b Richard Brody (March 30, 2010). “DVD of the Week: Mr. Arkadin”. The Contemporary Yorker. Retrieved February 25, 2020.
  6. ^ a b Bazin et al. (1958). “Interview with Orson Welles”, pp. 24-25: French: “Primo, la grenouille est un âne! […] Rien au monde de plus charmant qu’une crapule admettant qu’elle est une crapule. […] L’histoire du scorpion, elle, est d’origine russe.”, lit.‘On the starting attach, the frog is an fool! […] Nothing in the enviornment is more charming than a scoundrel who admits he is a scoundrel. […] The sage of the scorpion is Russian in foundation.’
  7. ^ Ruymbeke (2016). Kashefi’s Anvar-e Sohayli, p. 292.
  8. ^ a b Takeda (2011)
  9. ^ Eastwick (1854), pp. 133–134
  10. ^ Dutton (1908). The Tortoise and the Geese, pp. 12-13.
  11. ^ a b Giancarlo Livraghi (March 2007). “The Scorpion and the Frog”. Retrieved February 25, 2020.
  12. ^ Takeda (2011): German: Die Appropriate der Fabel besagt: Manche Menschen handeln von Natur aus mörderisch und selbst-mörderisch zugleich., lit.‘The factual of the fantasy says: Any other folks act naturally murderous and self-murderous at the identical time.’
  13. ^ Lasine (2012). Weighing Hearts, p. 110.
  14. ^ Passeron (2001), allotment VI, paragraph 101.
  15. ^ Dutton (2012), chpt. 1
  16. ^ Schuster (2016). The Hassle with Pleasure, pp. 137-138.

    “The truthful man in the stop wishes nothing as opposed to to contemplate existence; he holds up a superior worth, the ultimate-attempting, in the title of which he’ll be in a negate to contemplate, he is craving to contemplate, he sees in existence an shameful, a fault which is to be atoned for: the factual foundation of the belief of fact. In the Nietzschean kind, Welles has consistently battled in opposition to the system of judgement: there is now not this form of thing as a worth superior to existence, existence is to now not be judged or justified, it’s far harmless, it has ‘the innocence of becoming’, beyond ultimate-attempting and shameful…”
  17. ^ Wasson (2011). A Splurch in the Kisser, p. 296.
  18. ^ Norman N. Holland. “Neil Jordan, The Crying Game, 1992″. A Sharper Focal level. Retrieved March 19, 2020.
  19. ^ Peter Canavese (September 16, 2011). “Overview: ‘Force. Mountain Explore Converse. Retrieved March 19, 2020.
  20. ^ Lenika Cruz (August 17, 2012). “How the Creators of The Satan’s Carnival Stated ‘Screw You’ to Hollywood and Received a Cult Following”. LA Weekly. Retrieved July 23, 2020.
  21. ^ As Grimm Fairy Tales #39 (June 2009). Zenescope Entertainment.
  22. ^ 1997’s “Scorpion” episode of Star Bolt: Voyager; 2005’s episode 1, Season 6 of Gilmore Girls; 2006’s episode 2, Season 2 of How I Met Your Mother; 2016’s episode 5, Season 4 of Motive; 2017’s episode 8, Season 13 of Supernatural; 2019’s episode 10, Season 2 of Teen Wolf.
  23. ^ Maurice Saatchi (Might maybe maybe well also 29, 2007). “Google data versus human nature”. Monetary Cases. Retrieved March 19, 2020.
  24. ^ Ryan Ellis (April 24, 2015). “The Scorpion And The Frog: A Account Of Stylish Capitalism”. Forbes. Retrieved March 20, 2020.
  25. ^ Murray Forseter (June 9, 2017). “GOP Effort to Control Trump Is the Embodiment of the Account “The Scorpion and the Frog. HuffPost. Retrieved March 19, 2020.
  26. ^ Anon. “Compromise is gathered viewed as renounce”. The Day after day Telegraph. Archived from the customary on February 26, 2016. Retrieved March 19, 2020.
  27. ^ Patrick Kiker (July 16, 2006). “…Because It be The Middle East”. CBS News. Retrieved March 19, 2020.
  28. ^ United Countries (June 29, 2017). “Accord on Iran’s Nuclear Programme Remains on Be aware, Political Affairs Chief Tells Security Council”. United Countries, SC/12894. Retrieved March 19, 2020.


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