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Amboß oder Hammer sein

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prisoner_sm.jpgHammer into Anvil is an episode of the famous English 1960’s television program The Prisoner. When Number Two calls Number Six to the green dome the first time, he threatens to break him, quoting Goethe: “Du mußt Amboß oder Hammer sein” (“You must be Anvil or Hammer”) “And you see me as the anvil?” asks Number Six, to which Number Two answers “Precisely. I am going to hammer you.” The interesting thing is that Number Two has the analogy backwards: to quote George Orwell‘s classic essay Politics and the English Language: “In real life it is always the anvil that breaks the hammer, never the other way about.” The writer undoubtedly knew of this common mistake and used it to form the title and the theme of the episode, wherein Number Two hammers desperately away at Number Six, who with anvil-like calm, breaks him: “Hammer Into Anvil”.

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