The Tongue Lies

1560 Words7 Pages
When the tongue lies Therefore I lye with her, and she with me, And in our faults by lyes we flattered be - Shakespeare Introduction and Definition Before surveys, studies and prying psychologists Shakespeare was poetically exploring, with a clever pun, the complexities of romantic relationships. His bawdy yet poignant couplet hints that lies are a social lubricant. However, it is the submission of this essay that Shakespeare is only representing one side of a complex dichotomy. Perhaps lies might facilitate a measure of closeness but depending on the magnitude, or type of lie, they may also damage or destroy it. The first portion of this essay will define lying and examine how people lie and what they lie about. Following this, the motivation of liars will be examined from a psychological and practical perspective. Then some attention will be given to discussing how lies might both help and harm a close relationship. Finally, discussion will focus on the limitations and challenges involved with studying this area. Barnes (1994) quips that lying is a “slippery concept” and borrows a definition from Bok (1978): a lie “is a statement intended to deceive a dupe about the state of the world, including the intentions and attitudes of the liar” (p. 11). Within this broad definition, lies can be further distinguished by categorising them according them to what people lie about and the form they take. These areas will be addressed in turn. What people lie about and the
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