GAMSAT Essay Theme: Beauty (Task B)
GAMSAT Essay Quote: “It is amazing how complete is the delusion that beauty is goodness.” (Leo Tolstoy)
The biggest mistake I see GAMSAT students make when tackling this quote is ignoring the word delusion. The aftermath of this error is an essay that rambles on about inner beauty and good people being beautiful on the outside as a result of their inner goodness. This misses the entire point of the quote. What Tolstoy actually meant is that we are fooling ourselves by assuming that beautiful = intrinsically good.
Once we have correctly interpreted the quote as above, it’s time to start mentally examining the world around us for examples (evidence) that either supports or disproves this claim. Your best strategy to approach a quote like this and find strong examples to include in your GAMSAT essay is to ask the opposite: When does beauty NOT equal goodness?
If I were to choose this quote for my GAMSAT essay, I would be inclined to plan out my essay as follows:
Paragraph 1 – (Nature)
I would ask myself: When in nature are things beautiful, but dangerous / “bad”?
The venom of the strikingly beautiful blue-ringed octopus is powerful enough to kill humans and there is no anti-venom available. They pounce on their prey, paralyze them with venom, and use their beaks to tear off pieces. They then suck out the flesh from the body. Once bitten, the fast acting poison leads to loss of sight, taste and touch immediately, and asphyxial death results due to respiratory paralysis.
Angel’s Trumpet (Flower)
The name sounds innocent, but all parts of this pretty little plant are poisonous when ingested, resulting in paralysis, diarrhea, migraine headaches, visual and auditory hallucinations and possibly death.
Paragraph 2 – (People)
I would ask myself: Who are people that are beautiful on the outside, but “bad” on the inside?
Charles Manson – Handsome and charming, but a serial killer.
Jodi Arias – A sweet librarian looking women who faced the death penalty for the vicious, cold-blooded killing of her ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander while he was in the bathroom. She stabbed him with a knife 27 times and then shot him in the head.
Do you see how all of these examples provide strong evidence for my essay thesis that allowing ourselves to be fooled by the delusion that beauty equals goodness can be very dangerous to us, both in nature and in our interactions with other people?
What about beautiful female spies and assassins?
Beautiful wives that murder their husbands to get their money?
What other examples can you think of that brilliantly demonstrate how we delude ourselves by thinking that beauty = goodness?