The following material was prepared by members of Tom Sienkewicz' Freshman Seminar class at Monmouth College during the fall semester of 1998.
The Ten Commandments of Narnia
1) Be kind
2) Love thy neighbor
3) Be loyal to each other
4) Respect everyone
5) Trust Aslan
6) Honor Aslan
7) Put the lives of others before your own
8) Thou shalt have an honest tongue
9) Respect life
10) All Narnians shall be treated equal
Commandment 1: Be Kind
There were quite a few examples of Narnians being kind. One of the first examples of kindness was, the kindness shown by Mr. Tumnus towards Lucy. Mr. Tumnus could have easily taken Lucy directly to the Queen, but he didn't, he just couldn't bring himself to do it. This was one of the first signs of compassion in the book. I think another significant sign of kindness would definitely have to be when Aslan forgave Edmund. Since they are the laws of Aslan, I think it would be a perfect example of him practicing what he preaches. He forgives Edmund even after he betrays Aslan himself, that is a definite sign of compassion and kindness. These are two very significant signs of kindness in the book.
Commandment 2: Love thy Neighbor
The bible tells us that "no greater love hath a man for his brother than to lay down his life."
Asaln proves this love in pages 168-170. He gives up himself so his blood is given in place of Edmond's blood. On page 166 he walks to the stone table and even the Witch was struck with fear as he approached. He then surrendered to the witch. It was on page 157-158 that the deal had been struck. Aslan spoke to the witch and then tells the children that the Witch will renounce the claim on Edmond. Little did they know the great price that had been paid to free Edmond.
Commandment 3: Be loyal to each other
In Narnia there is an unspoken code of loyalty to each other, and to Aslan. On page 73 (in my book, which is a different version from the rest of yours) the children decide to help Mr. Tumnus, because he helped Lucy. To Mr. Beaver, Lucy says, "can't we - I mean we must do something to save him. It's too dreadful and it's all on my account." To follow that up, Peter tells Mr. Beaver, "This faun saved my sister at his own risk, Mr. Beaver. We can't just leave him to be - to be - to have that done to him." This shows loyalty because the children want to help he who helped them.
Commandment 4: Respect everyone
Tumnus respects Lucy and decides to not hand her over to the queen on page 21 when. The beaver shows respect for all of the four children and to Tumnus when he explains everything to the children and helps them on Tumnus' behalf. He even feeds them when they are hungry (pages 73-82).
On page 60, Peter shows his respect for Lucy by apologizing to her for not believing her about Narnia. He recognizes that it was wrong not to trust her, and he had not shown respect for her honesty, so he apologizes to show his respect for her truthfulness and redeem himself in her eyes, too, so that he might have her respect in return. The greatest examples of this commandment of respect are in the attitudes toward Aslan. On page 85, the Beaver's show that they have great respect for Aslan and his abilities to rid the kingdom of the white witch. Also on pages138-141, the children show their awe and respect for Aslan when they cannot speak to him because they are afraid of him and yet they immediately feel a strong sense of respect for him because of his appearance.
Commandment 5: Trust Aslan
This commandment is not easily expressed by actions and passages of the book. Instead it is one that the reader and characters imply. It is not stated but just simply understood by everyone. Aslan is considered a higher authority, and, therefore, he must be trusted. Also, the stories of his actions are courteous and gracious which shows that he is trusted by many.
Commandment 6: Honor Aslan
The honor for Aslan is expressed in many different ways throughout the book. One example is on the page 158, "Aslan roars at the Witch from his throne; and his great mouth opened wider and wider and the roar grew loader and loader". Due to this horrendous roar, the Witch became very intimidated. She "stared at him for a moment with her lips wide apart" in awe of Aslan's power. Then she "picked up her skirts and fairly ran for her life". Another example of honoring Aslan is expressed on page 168. This occurs after the Witch has cut the honorable lions mane. Lucy expresses sympathy for him and Aslan "looked to her braver and more beautiful, and more patient than ever".
Commandment 7: Put the lives of others ahead of your own
This commandment is displayed best on pages 166-170 of The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. In this scene Aslan becomes a sacrifice to save the life of Edmond. Aslan went calmly to meet his death and portrayed no resistance to save the life of another. He could have easily put Edmond to the back of his mind and let Edmond be killed by the witch. Clearly, Aslan proved his true nature by allowing himself to be murdered to save Edmond.
Commandment 8: Thou shalt have an honest tongue
An example of this would be where the witch is threatening Aslan, yet he doesn't lie. This expresses to all Narnians just how important it is to follow the code. Even in the face of danger Aslan told the truth. We think this example epitomizes how important this code is. Aslan treats it as if under no circumstances should the code be broken. This is observed by all Narnians.
Commandment 9: Respect life
This commandment is expressed on page 197. In this scene Lucy, the other children, and the animals show their concern for life by attending to the wounded after the battle against the witch. Aslan spent his time restoring those who had been turned into stone. After the battle, and after saving Edmond, the children could have returned to the safety of their own home. However, they stayed to make sure that the wounded were taken care of. Aslan could have attained the attitude of, "Well its their own fault for being stoned." Instead, he spent a lot of time unstoning the Narnians.
Commandment 10: All Narnians shall be treated equal
An example of all Narnians being treated equally took place at the stone table. This was the area where Aslan and his army were waiting for the Beavers and the children to arrive. The army consisted of beings of all types, shapes, sizes and colors. There were Tree-women and Well-Women (Dryads and Naiads), there were centaurs, giants, a unicorn, a bull with the head of a man, a pelican, a eagle, a great Dog, two lions, leopards, beavers and humans. The unique characteristic of this army was that they were all trusted and looked to, to play an integral role in the struggle to reclaim Narnia from the clutches of the White Witch. (P 138). Another example of the equality in Narnia happened in the witch's castle, after Aslan had freed the statues. When everyone had awakened from their stone induced slumber and the door had been broken off its hinges. Aslan instructed the small animals, children, and dwarfs to ride on or be carried by the ones who could. Even though they were small they would be expected to fight in the battle. Those of the group who had good noses would lead the way. This scene is everyone playing an important role in what was about to happen. (P 191).
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