As ends well. The adage seems to
As a reward she is granted a favour that she can ask any man’s hand in marriage, and she chooses Bertram. But appalled at the match he flees from France.
After many twists and turns Helena is able to win the love of Bertram and is happily united with him, justifying the title of the play and giving the world the adage all is well that ends well.
The adage seems to tell us that ends are more important than means because howsoever hard we try, if we do not get the desired result, if we do not reach our goal, it all useless.
We can cite the example of a student who works hard throughout the year but does not pass the examination or does not qualify for admission to a college or for a post; all his efforts come to nothing. He/she loses a valuable year or session or an opportunity.
On the other hand, another student who does not put in earnest endeavors but somehow gets through, qualifies for admission or gets a job, he/she is considered successful. The means take us nowhere if they are not followed by success.
There are others who do not agree with the belief that ends are more important than means. For them the means applied to achieve a goal are significant.
If means are noble, the success is sure to come and that success will be sweeter than that achieved through unfair means.
Even if the desired goal is not achieved after making efforts, there is no need to get disheartened, because it is only a matter of time before hard work will be crowned with success.
Taking the example of two students cited above further, we can say with a fair degree of assurance that the student who has worked hard but does not achieve success will not be worse off in the long run because during the course of putting in serious efforts he is bound to have gained valuable knowledge which will help him in many an examination.
On the other hand, a student who had not worked hard, as was expected of him, will not go far in life even if he has cleared an examination of test, because when the application of knowledge in life or at work is required, he will be found wanting.
Success is very important in life, career and work. But it is not the only thing in life. The ends do not justify means.
Many great men of the past have taught us to be sublime in our deeds, whatever the circumstances. Mahatma Gandhi was one such great man. He not only himself led a life of good deeds but asked others to do so.
His goal was to free his motherland from the slavery of the British. For this, he started a mass struggle involving peasants, workers, both men and women. But he never used any violent means to achieve his goal.
At Champaran, he helped the farmers who were exploited by the British and were forced to grow indigo instead of grain. His Dandi march was aimed at going to the sea shore and make salt which had been taxed by the government.
He went against the authorities only for a just cause. His aim was high but he never used unfair means. Nor did he appreciate if someone tried to do something undesirable even if it is for the purpose of achieving a cause.
Naturally, he was greatly disturbed when the miscreants burnt the police station at Chauri Chaura, so much so that he gave up his non- cooperation movement. For him achieving India’s independence was the ultimate aim, but it could not be done by using any violent means.
Again when England was involved in the Second World War, and many freedom fighters thought of stepping up the struggle to create a situation whereby the British may find them dealing with two huge oppositions at the same time the raging World War on one hand, and the hard-pressing Indian freedom fighters.
But for Gandhiji, it was more important to support the British at that time. He declared that he did not want to build India’s freedom on the ashes of England. He thought, as he always did, that means were more important than the cause itself.
Ultimately, India won freedom, but it was not before long hard struggle in which a large number of Indians had to lay down their lives, and many others had to undergo untold suffering in jails.
But achieving independence was a great relief because the slavery of centuries came to an end. The Indians could say all is well that ends well.
The adage upholds that if things culminate nicely the efforts made to achieve the objective are said to have been rewarded and all the pain undergone are forgotten.
We have tests and examinations in our education system, right from the primary classes. It is only when a student passes the examination that the teachers and parents are able to say that his/her progress was good.
It is not easy to ignore the fact that we are all chasing some dreams. In our pursuits of objectives it is always important to assess where we have reached with efforts we have put in.
Even if a student has not been studying as hard as the teachers and parents wanted, the fact that he goes to the next class is immensely reassuring, because all is well that ends well. We may add that the right approach is the one that keeps an eye on the goal but adopts the right methods to achieve it.