The Literary Stick No. 10: Educated Stupidity

Originally posted on

Once again, in addition to character archetype this week, I’ve also included an allusion. This time it’s to the patter song “Modern Major General” from The Pirates of Penzance by Gilbert & Sullivan.

This song is a great example of irony – one would expect the major general to be well versed in military tactics, but this major general seems to have more “school” knowledge than practical war knowledge.

This character represents educated stupidity well as clearly he is educated formally, however, his informal/practical knowledge is clearly lacking. Juxtapose that with the other soldier character who is just wise (or in this case, exhibits common sense that the major lacks) without formal education.

Side note: The tank says adversary on it because adversary was one of the vocabulary words taught in my classroom a few weeks ago.

Can you think of other pairings like this?

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