Evil the Humanity of Evil Essay

Excerpt from Essay :



If humans are not the architects of good and evil, then, it is easy to see how a human cannot be wholly good or wholly evil. An architect may be trying to emulate the style of Frank Lloyd Wright, but his or her work will, ultimately, be different from Wright's in some ways. The emulating architect will create some aspects of his or her building that are entirely his or her own. In the same way, a person may be emulating the metaphysical creator of good or evil, but he or she will be flawed in some ways, meaning that he or she is not wholly evil or wholly good. Edgar Allen Poe gives a good example of this in his story "The Black Cat." While the main character commits atrocities to his cat, Pluto, readers are able to find a glimmer of good through his actions before he commits his atrocities. The narrator says, "From my infancy I was noted for the docility and humanity of my disposition" (Poe 597). Thus, while he eventually does evil acts, the narrator is not wholly evil; for at one point in his life, he was good.

The fact that humans cannot be wholly good or wholly evil directly corresponds to the question of forgiveness. Some are of the opinion that certain acts are inexcusable, and cannot be forgiven. Although Govier presents this argument, along with others, in her essay "Forgiveness and the Unforgivable," she also makes the following statement: "To forgive is not to renounce the moral judgment that an action is wrong, because it is only wrong actions that need to be forgiven. Nor is forgiving the same as excusing or condoning. When we forgive, we assume that there is something to forgive - a wrong action for which the offender was responsible. Nor is forgiveness incompatible with punishment" (59-60). Just as the statement regarding evil encompassed the modern conception of evil, Govier's statment provides a rebuttal to
Parts of this Document are Hidden
Click Here to View Entire Document
the modern misconceptions regarding forgiveness. What this statement suggests is that is always possible to forgive, no matter the state of the victim, as forgiveness does not give the wrongdoer ultimate absolution. Still Govier points out Golding's description of what constitutes an unforgivable wrong as an antithesis to this argument. Golding argues that "a deed" can be considered unforgivable if the victim is dead, the "deed is utterly inexcusable," and if it can never be appropriately compensated for, as well as forever resented (Govier 63). But even if a deed can be unforgivable, the person who committed that deed can be forgiven, as in the popular Christian belief that "a wrongdoer may have clothed himself in evil, but he should not be regarded as immoral to the core" (Govier 64). Thus, if humans cannot be wholly good or wholly evil it is inappropriate to argue that some humans can remain unforgiven. It is possible to leave a deed unforgiven, but because a person has many deeds that he or she has committed in his life, it is inappropriate to say that person is wholly unforgiven.

Because of the fact that humans cannot be wholly good or evil, nor can they be wholly unforgiven, it is right to recognize forgiveness as the natural approach. Because a person cannot remain wholly unforgiven due to his or her humanity, forgiveness is a tool of the victim, whether this is the primary, secondary, or tertiary victim. What forgiveness does is give the victim peace to deal with the atrocity, as he or she recognizes the wrong that has been done, the punishment, and the future.

Works Cited

Brians, Paul et al. "St. Augustine on the Problem of Evil." Washington State University.

18 December 1998. Resources for the Study of World Civilizations. 18 May 2009.

"Evil and Otherness."

Govier, Trudy. "Forgiveness and the Unforgivable." American Philosophical Quarterly.

36.1 (1999): 59-75.

Poe, Edgar Allen. "The Black Cat."

Webster, Richard. "Freud, Stan, and the serpent." Richard Webster.Net. 2002. 18 May

2009.

Sources Used in Documents:

Works Cited

Brians, Paul et al. "St. Augustine on the Problem of Evil." Washington State University.

18 December 1998. Resources for the Study of World Civilizations. 18 May 2009.

"Evil and Otherness."

Govier, Trudy. "Forgiveness and the Unforgivable." American Philosophical Quarterly.

Cite This Essay:

"Evil The Humanity Of Evil" (2009, May 18) Retrieved December 3, 2020, from
https://www.paperdue.com/essay/evil-the-humanity-of-evil-21779

"Evil The Humanity Of Evil" 18 May 2009. Web.3 December. 2020. <
https://www.paperdue.com/essay/evil-the-humanity-of-evil-21779>

"Evil The Humanity Of Evil", 18 May 2009, Accessed.3 December. 2020,
https://www.paperdue.com/essay/evil-the-humanity-of-evil-21779