Literature’s obsession with good vs. evil

Literature’s obsession with good vs. evil

All of us have a typical collective reminiscence of our grandparents narrating the story of Lord Rama defeating the demon king Ravana. Every considered one of us has a reminiscence to look again to wherein we’re too immersed within the characters of Rama and Ravana that personify the qualities of fine and evil. Furthermore, the story was once a favorite in the course of the festivals of Dussehra and Diwali. With the pageant of Diwali approaching on November 14, many amongst us and people of youthful technology would possibly bask in a storytelling session with the elders and hearken to the identical story that we’ve got been listening to since childhood.

There isn’t a doubt about the truth that an important theme of the epic Ramayana is nice vs. evil. Lord Rama is an embodiment of qualities like goodness, righteousness and virtuousness. However, the demon king Ravana personifies detrimental traits resembling anger, corruption, greed, evil, and so on. What’s fascinating is that the theme of fine vs. evil is just not restricted to mythological tales and ethical tales solely. Fairly, it’stype of common; one that may be traced within the majority of books. From traditional Greek texts like ‘The Iliad’ or ‘Odyssey’ to trendy pop-fiction novels like ‘Harry Potter’ or ‘James Bond’ to Shakespearean performs, all signify the triumph of fine over evil not directly or the opposite.

This recurring theme of fine vs. evil raises the vital query of why is literature so obsessive about the 2 binaries. Or has it all the time been so? Was Ravana all the time the evil and Rama the personification of fine?

In previous folktales, nobody fights for values or morals. Particular person tales would possibly show the virtues of uprightness or integrity, however, there isn’t a point out amongst folktales about which actions are good or unhealthy. In a narrative resembling ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’, who may be characterized as the great man? Jack is the protagonist that everyone likes and cheers for, but he has no moral justification for stealing the large’s belongings. Furthermore, on a deeper degree, neither Achilles nor Hector stands for values of fine or evil. They don’t symbolize something and so they by no means use their values as the rationale to battle.

The shift from ethical qualities not being related to characters to them personifying a number of them occurred majorly throughout World Battle II. As per American creator Catherine Nichols: “There was a powerful nationalistic motivation to create nationwide mythology that held up good, nationwide values and led to the ‘othering’ of individuals of various nations, and sub-groups inside these nations, like Jews. Most folklore scholarship for the reason that Second World Battle has been involved with archetypes or commonalities amongst folktales, the implicit drive being that if the myths and tales of all nations had extra in frequent than divided them, then folks of all nations might likewise have extra in frequent than divides us. It was a radical concept when earlier folktales had been printed particularly to indicate how folks in a single nation have been in contrast to these in one other.”


The attraction in the direction of good vs. evil tales is a manner of hiding from the complexity of the world. Often, the villains are evil and proud who indulge in lots of immoral actions as properly. Nevertheless, the rationale that folks get away with doing horrifying issues is normally that they’re “good folks”. Individuals deny crimes taking place in the entrance of them for many years due to entrenched energy constructions and since they’ve been skilled to imagine that individuals who do horrible issues are totally different from us in some basic and easily-recognized manner.

This makes it essential to know that totally different folks have totally different views, needs, and values. Everybody in a state of affairs can have a great and justifiable cause to do what they do and nonetheless fall into battle and tragedy. Even with all of the variations, as people, there are staple items we would like love, independence, and security. It requires a lifetime to seek out the stability between these issues, and it’s all the time advanced because the English singer and songwriter Eric Burdon identified: “Inside every one of us, there’s the seed of each good and evil. It’s a continuing wrestle as to which one will win. And one can not exist without the opposite.”

By: Kartikeya Shankar

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