Prelude to Foundation Short Essay - Answer Key

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1. Who is Hari Seldon?

Hari Seldon is a mathematician who claims he can foretell the future mathematically.

2. How do Demerzel and Cleon's views of Seldon differ?

Demerzel assures the emperor Seldon's psychohistory is "a children's dream of magic" and "self-fulfilling" prophesies. However, Cleon thinks people will believe a mathematician without understanding him.

3. Why does Seldon not want to help Cleon predict the future?

Seldon tells Cleon that long-term predictions interest no one, while short-term ones risk error and could destroy any chance of perfecting his system.

4. How does Seldon say assassinations occur?

Seldon tells Cleon that most assassinations start as palace coups. As soon as an emperor grows suspicion of a subordinate, a cycle of resentment, suspicion, and changed behavior begins that ends either in execution or assassination.

5. Why does Hummin think he can help Seldon?

Hummin claims he knows Trantor intimately, has many people obligated to him, and is shrewd enough to survive.

(read all 60 Short Essay Questions and Answers)

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