The Classic Tales Podcast
Every week, join award-winning narrator B.J. Harrison as he narrates the greatest stories the world has ever known. From the jungles of South America to the Mississippi Delta, from Victorian England to the Gothic castles of Eastern Europe, join us on a fantastic journey through the words of the world's greatest authors. Critically-acclaimed and highly recommended for anyone who loves a good story with plenty of substance.

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Syndication

Ambrosius again stands against those who calumniate the hangman’s daughter. His reward is not what he expected. Ambrose Bierce, today on The Classic Tales Podcast.

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Let’s talk about our monk, Ambrosius. Ambrosius is experiencing something called cognitive dissonance. Leon Festinger introduced this theory in 1957. He suggested that we have an inner drive to hold all our attitudes and beliefs in harmony and avoid disharmony, or dissonance.

For example, when people smoke, and they know that smoking causes cancer and disease. Their behavior (smoking) clashes with their cognition, or what they know to be true (the fact that smoking is harmful to them). The discomfort caused by the cognition, or belief, motivates behavior to be brought into greater harmony with the cognition. (I know this is bad for me- I should stop).

When Ambrosius sees how his superiors shamefully mistreat Benedicta in today’s episode, he experiences cognitive dissonance. All of his experiences as a youth and a monk have given him many evidences of the goodness of his high-demand religion. He loves it. But when he sees Benedicta suffer at the hands of his superiors, he is motivated to somehow find mental harmony.

Would this conflict occur if young Ambrosius were not in love with Benedicta? Who knows? But his feelings certainly make the dissonance stronger. He’s been trying to reconcile his feelings for her all along, considering them a divine mission, a holy sign and token to protect her, etc.. They have to be anything but romantic love, for that is forbidden, and he is very, very devout. He shouldn’t have these feelings. But he does. It is this process of his quest for harmony that leads him to eventually resolve the cognitive dissonance by going to a very dark place, indeed.

And now, The Monk and the Hangman’s Daughter, Part 2 of 3, by Ambrose Bierce

Direct download: CT_488_Monk_Hangmans_Daught_Pt2of3.mp3
Category:Literature -- posted at: 11:41pm MDT