Without Evil Whatâ€™s Good
â€œIf my devils are to leave me, I am afraid my angels will take flight as well.â€ Rainer Maria Rilke wrote this to explain the nature of humanity. He expressed his views on human behavior and how humans think. Without evil, one does not know exactly what goodness is. Everyone possesses good and evil qualities. For they are balanced and create stability in everyone. If the one doesnâ€™t exist then humans would not be able to differentiate or comprehend whether their actions are right or wrong. In our nature life always presents two sides of a situation therefore, making us act and think the way we do every day.
In the beginning of the novel Lord of the Flies, by William Golding, there is a theme of society in which the boys begin to show order. Problems occur based on the sinful nature of man in desperate conditions. Jack and his hunters greatly illustrate the evil in human nature. Most of the story is made of the battle between good and evil through symbolism. While Ralph represented the good of the boys, Jack symbolized evil. Order is a great part of human behavior since it allows people to act upon rules and values. Ralph and Simon conducted order by guiding the boys. They built shelters and fires in order to stay civilized. As the novel began, they had rules and concerns and acted like civilized people who had some sort of governmental atmosphere. Ralph decided to choose a leader and every once in a while they would call assemblies. Ralph always seemed like the calmer on, but as time progressed he began to show his savage side towards Jacks group. At first, Jack would never think about killing a baby pig, yet later discover he is the first to turn into a savage hunter. Society was taken away from them and therefore they lost their values and innocent thoughts and began killing the other boys. Without knowing what bad was, none of them would feel guilty of what happened on their stay at the island. There is a great struggle between savage and civilization as the two groups of boys argue and try to live on their own until they are rescued.
In the same way, the novel Grendel, by John Gardner, reinforces the fact of evil and good in people. Grendel had both characteristics of human and of monster. He acts like a child and has the heart of one, yet he seems to have an evil monstrous aura to him as well. Towards the men in the mead hall, he is an outcast and his human quality of feeling lonely forced him to try to find a friend on land. They seemed to speak his language, although he didnâ€™t understand why they didnâ€™t understand him. Grendel wants to be friends with the men, although being a descendent of Cain, he decides to attack the mead hall instead. His evil monster side was that he wanted to kill and destroy the humans. He felt guilty at first when he did this, but discovered this is what he was meant to do to these people. When Grendel killed a man he knew it was bad because he had that good quality within him. The Dragon, who told Grendel that he was born a monster and therefore must be the monster and kill, influenced Grendelâ€™s evil side. Whether the men were nice or not it was his destiny to be a monster. He wanted to be good, although he felt he needed to be evil. One needs both qualities in order to distinguish between them.
In contrasting views, there could be two different ideas symbolizing the nature of humans. The two poems by William Blake, â€œThe Lambâ€ and â€œThe Tygerâ€, represent the dual nature of humanity. â€œThe Lamb,â€ although a simple poem, has a very deep meaning. For instance, the â€œlambâ€ shows innocence with words such as â€œdelightâ€, â€œchildâ€, and â€œtender voiceâ€. The lamb is compared to an angelic figure. On the other hand, â€œThe Tyger,â€ is expressed to be devilish with words such as â€œfireâ€, â€œhammerâ€, â€œchainâ€, and â€œfurnaceâ€. The Tyger asked God, â€œDid he who made the lamb make thee?â€ The Lamb asks â€œLittle Lamb, who made thee? Dost thou know who made thee?â€ The Tyger questions God how he could make one evil like himself and make one good like the lamb. Lambs and tygers are opposite animals, but they coexist similarly as angels and devils do, according to Rilke. However, the lamb is not completely good, while the tyger is not wholly evil.
In more realistic terms, Night, by Elie Wiesel, examined how humans could be civilized with order as well as inhuman. The Nazis were completely possessed by the devil because they killed humans without question or guilt. Elie, during his experience in the concentration camps, no longer believed there was a God. â€œHow could people do this do other people?â€ he would ask his father. Being the few to survive he then asked God why he was one of the survivors. He began a religious boy until death lingered in the air and they thought they would all die. As the bad becomes worse, one starts to think about what exists and what to think about. Elie knew what was going on was a tragedy, but no one tried to do anything to prevent them from dying. He was in the camp with his father, who gave him a reason to live and look toward the future. However, to see someone close to you be in such a situation allows one to compose the worst thoughts and emotions towards others. Elie would rather die with electric wires than of devilish humans.
Likewise, Dick Prosser encounters two natures of humanity in Thomas Wolfeâ€™s â€œThe Child by Tiger.â€ Dick was a role model to young children in his neighborhood because he was genuine and tender towards people. One day after getting hit, Dick becomes infuriated and completely changes into an inhumane state. Sometimes one small occurrence could change someone and their bad side will automatically arise within them. Dick experienced inner conflicts within himself with the fact of being a black man and anything was able to strike his inner anger. He began committing crimes and killing people in his town. The mystery of his background and the reason he shot people symbolizes that evil is all around and nothing can stop it once it hits. Dickâ€™s new personality shocked the boys to see how someone so nice and kind could turn out to be so uncivilized after all. No matter how pure and civilized someone seems to be, the â€œotherâ€ side eternally exists.
Inevitably, all people must have the sense of right and wrong, angel and devil, in order to go through life and understand the meaning of it. Without knowing the good, the bad will not exist and vice versa. In humans the quality of dual nature exists. Each work of art will always have these views in characters because it shows how people think. Though Jack and Grendel were perceived as the devilish characters, they both had a sense of pureness. All were created with two consciences for learning through experience and observation.