Evil Cannot Win
The Greek philosopher Plato, in writing about his convicted teacher and friend Socrates, said to his few supporters, "Let them know to their comfort that the divine voice has not once checked him throughout that day. This indicates that death is not an evil. And reason shows that death is either a long, untroubled sleep, or removal to a better world, where there are no unjust judges. No evil can happen to a good man, either in life or after death" (Encyclopedia Britannica, volume 19, page 210). The idea behind this is that, while evil may exist in the world and impact the lives of the good and just, it cannot overwhelm that goodness, even by taking those lives. The readings from the past week contain three examples of evil's failure to consume the spirits of individuals, even in its most horrific forms.
Few events in history can be viewed with such disgust and overwhelming hate as those which took place during the Nazi occupation of Europe during World War II. The imprisonment and murder of millions of civilians based on nothing more than their religious, political, or ethnic backgrounds is still considered one of, if not the most shameful display of human cruelty the world has ever seen. The treatment of the Jewish prisoners described in "This Way for the Gas, Ladies and Gentlemen" highlights just how awful the Germans behaved at the infamous concentration camps. However, even in the face of such evil, there are examples of people facing their situation on their own terms with courage and dignity. The attractive blonde girl who questions the narrator about her fate is such an example. Despite the fact that the narrator refuses to answer her questions about where they are to be taken, she maintains her composure and decorum. She knows her fate despite his silence, and she accepts it by forcing herself onto the truck bound for the gas rather than heading to the labor force group where her age and...