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When I do

inoremap <Esc> <Esc>`^

in vim, the next time I switch to insert mode (after using Esc) the arrow keys fail to move the cursor (they insert letters instead). Why does that happen?

Edit: It is possible to remap Esc and still retain working arrow keys?

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The underlying code associated with an arrow key is an escape sequence beginning with <Esc>. For example, the up arrow key, if I remember right, is sending <Esc> [ A.

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