With great power comes great responsibility
"With great power there must also come great responsibility", or simply "With great power comes great responsibility", alternatively known as the Peter Parker principle, is a proverb popularized by the Spider-Man comic books written by Stan Lee, though clearly conceptually dating from (at the latest) 1793, during the French Revolution. That formulation is used by journalists and book authors, in politics, monarchic rhetoric, law enforcement, public safety, and in various media.
The origins of the phrase pre-date its use in Spider-Man, though its exact origins are unknown. In a Plan de travail, de surveillance et de correspondance, proposé par le Comité de Salut Public aux Représentants du Peuple, députés prés des Armées de la République of the French National Convention in 1793, there is this sentence: Ils doivent envisager qu'une grande responsabilité est la suite inséparable d'un grand pouvoir ("They [the Representatives] must contemplate that a great responsibility is the inseparable result of a great power"). In 1817, British Member of Parliament William Lamb is recorded saying, "the possession of great power necessarily implies great responsibility." In 1906, Under-Secretary of the Colonial Office Winston Churchill said, "Where there is great power there is great responsibility," even indicating that it was already a cultural maxim invoked toward government at the time.
In Spider-Man stories
The thematic and often-quoted (including by the Supreme Court of the United States) Spider-Man phrase with great power comes great responsibility is widely attributed to Uncle Ben. However, in Amazing Fantasy #15, where it first appears, it is not spoken by any character. In fact, Ben has only two lines in the entire comic. The original version of the phrase appears in a narrative caption of the comic's last panel, rather than as spoken dialogue. It reads, "...with great power there must also come -- great responsibility!".
However, later stories and flashbacks that took place when Ben was still alive retroactively made the phrase one of Ben's many homilies he would lecture Peter with. Latter-day reinterpretations of Spider-Man, such as the Spider-Man film and the Ultimate Spider-Man comic, depict Ben as saying this phrase to Peter in their last conversation.
- Noblesse oblige
- The Bible, Luke 12:48: "To whomever much is given, of him will much be required; and to whom much was entrusted, of him more will be asked."
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