Evil Influences Term Paper

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Scarlet Letter" by Nathaniel Hawthorne, "Moby-Dick" by Herman Melville, and "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" by Mark Twain. Specifically, it compares and contraststhese three characters in relation to the evil that dominates them, indicate what the attitude of the author is regarding each one, discuss the source of their evil nature or acts, the nature of the evil deeds they commit, and the results of these evil designs.

It will also select the character that should be the most strongly condemned and fully justify why. Each of these novel's characters is dominated by the evil influence of another character, and each of them faces this domination in a different way. Each character grows stronger from this evil influence, and learns how to remove the evil influence from their lives.

Evil is present in all of these novels, and much of each novel's theme revolves around the age-old premise of good and evil. Each character, Captain Ahab, Roger Chillingworth, and Pap Finn, influence the characters around him, especially the main characters of each novel. Each character reacts differently to their influence, but each character becomes stronger and more self-aware by the end of their novel, so each author seems to be saying not only that good can triumph over evil, but that the influence of evil in life can bring out the strength and core resolve of a person.

In "Moby-Dick," Herman Melville creates one of the most evil characters in fiction in Captain Ahab. Most people know about Ahab, even if they have never picked up the novel. Ahab's evil is all encompassing because he is so obsessed with finding and killing the whale that took his leg. One character describes him:

He's a grand, ungodly, god-like man, Captain Ahab; doesn't speak much; but when he does speak, then you may well listen. Mark ye, be forewarned; Ahab's above the common; Ahab's been in colleges, as well as 'mong the cannibals; been used to deeper wonders than the waves; fixed his fiery lance in mightier, stranger foes than whales (Melville 79).

Ahab's evil is more frightening than Chillingworth's or Pap Finn's, because Ahab's evil touches everyone around him, and also creates their fate, as well as his own. Ishmael is the only one to survive Ahab's madness, and so, Ishmael triumphs over evil, and has learned the ultimate lesson, that revenge is deadly. Ishmael was always a strong character, but he emerges stronger at the end because he has learned from his experience, while Dimmesdale, on the other hand, does not learn, in fact, he is encompassed in his own misery, and is destroyed by his sin.

Reverend Dimmesdale suffers from the evil influence of Roger Chillingworth in a variety of ways, for Chillingworth too is a victim of revenge, and he hopes to bring Dimmesdale to his knees in the community. Hawthorne describes him, "Had a man seen old Roger Chillingworth, at that moment of his ecstasy, he would have had no need to ask how Satan comports himself, when a precious human soul is lost to heaven, and won into his kingdom" (Hawthorne, Chapter 10). Chillingworth's vengeance is indeed chilling, for it is calculated and well timed. He does not want Dimmesdale to repent, he wants him to continue sinning, and this is the mark of evil, and relates to Satan and the ultimate sin. Poor, weak Dimmesdale is no match for Chillingworth, and the old "black physician" knows it. Like Ahab, Chillingworth has his own demons that haunt him and affect the lives of others. The two are both calculating and manipulative, and this seems to be a common thread among evildoers, they must plan their work well to influence the lives of others. As Chillingworth notes, "My old faith, long forgotten, comes back to me, and explains all that we do, and all we suffer. By thy first step awry, thou didst plant the germ of evil; but since that moment, it has all been a dark necessity" (Hawthorne, Chapter 14). He recognizes he is evil, and in this, he is different from Ahab, who cannot be totally convinced of his evil, which is why he leads his men to destruction. Pap Finn is a different kind of evil influence, because he is not based in revenge, he is a more comical figure, but evil just the same. He is not in the same league with Chillingworth and Ahab because his influence on Huck ends early, and Huck sees…[continue]

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