Thursday, April 9, 2015

Is the World Truly Evil?

From the moment we are born we are taught right from wrong and what is bad and good. Sometimes even with that people can still be evil or they can turn out well. I think we can all agree that President Snow in the Hunger Games trilogy is evil(or is he?), but could we include Coin in there? How about Katniss? What exactly defines evil?

According Dr. Baron's lecture, someone who is evil gets "individual pleasure from causing harm to others which can be as a result of vice or extreme apathy toward others' humanity." During his lecture we talked about different Philosophical Morals of Being Good. Each of these employed ways in which a person can deal with situations in different perspectives on how to make the right choice. One view called Utilitarianism is described as the right actions is the one that maximizes utility. An example from the Hunger Games we looked at was at the end of the Hunger Games when it was only Katniss and Peeta left. The Gamemakers announced there could only be one winner then they try to commit suicide with Nightlock berries which causes the Gamemakers to declare them both the winners. In this situation, as a utilitarian, we must look at what the Gamemakers and Katniss were thinking. Are Katniss and Peeta thinking about what is best for them? Everyone? In order for this situation to make anyone evil, Katniss, for example, would have to be doing this for herself instead of the greater good. She the berries because she wants to benefit her life and not worry about anyone else. In this case, Katniss nor Peeta is evil but what about the Gamemakers? They changed the rule at the last minute. So was that to benefit them which would make them evil? Or is it to benefit everyone and prevent the start of a revolution?

Panem is a country filled with evil everywhere. The Hunger Games themselves, created by the government after the Dark Days, are truly evil. The games themselves are not evil as much as the creators of the games are. In "The Nature of Evil" in The Hunger Games Companion by Lois Gresh, she talks about what specific aspects of Panem are evil. The big group of evildoers she discusses is the adults in Panem. Gresh makes the argument that the "adult leaders of Panem in The Hunger Games are indeed evil, as evil as can be"(129). This group consists of President Snow and his Gamemakers and Peacekeepers and probably other high powered people but not as important as the three mentioned. She later goes on to say "[m]urder of children is almost universally accepted as evil[...]President Snow and his cronies-clearly plan and intend to torture and kill children in the most excruciating and horrific ways possible. They know and delight in the fact that the children will suffer immensely. They have no shame"(134). With this description of how Snow is evil, we could include the entire Capitol as they watch they games and cheer and are betting on children's lives.

The world is filled with evil and we see it everywhere. From serial killers to robbers the world just functions with evil because there is good to counteract it. There are varying definitions of evil but for most people we define evil in the same way. Evil is something we are born knowing just as we know the difference between right and wrong.

"The Hunger Games Companion" by Lois Gresh, Chapter 7 "The Nature of Evil"

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