‘Fools rush in where angels fear to tread’ – Origin, Meaning and Expansion of Idea

Origin: The phrase “fools rush in where angels fear to tread” first appeared in a poem “An essay on Criticism” by Alexander Pope.

Since 1711 when the phrase first appeared, it has found its place in the works of several authors. It is also used by in some famous public speeches including that of Abraham Lincoln’s speech in October, 1854.

Meaning: The proverb “fools rush in where angels fear to tread” highlights the strange behavior displayed by low intellect people, who readily accept the such challenging tasks that even the wisest person would wish to avoid.

Fools are those that have no sense of proportion, no knowledge of their limitations or shortcomings. They rush to make such attempt that experienced and intelligent people hesitate.

Expansion of idea: An illiterate may be intelligent and hence not necessarily a fool. On the other hand, a literate person may lack in common sense and prove him to be a fool.

The fools do not understand the risks or hazards or implications of any work and hence they rush in doing that job without caring to look before and after and so in the long run come to repent for their action. They vainly boast of their merit and learning.

For example, an inexperienced person with little financial knowledge is often found to invest heavily in stock market. Because of greed and inadequate information, an inexperienced investor is often found investing in penny-stocks with low fundamentals. There is very less likelihood that an intelligent and smart investor would ever invest in such stocks.

The wise and intelligent people, who may be termed as angels compared to these fools, will consider all aspects including their capability before undertaking any such work. These intelligent people are obviously superior to the humbug and boastful fools who becomes the butt of ridicule through their fruitless actions.

Also read about “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread” in Wikipedia.

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