Saturday, November 29, 2014

Good and Evil in Literature

Francis and Francis and discuss their philosophies…

F. Urquhart: You play it more menacingly than I.

F. Underwood: And you play it for amusement. 

F. Urquhart: You perform it as a malevolent, malicious Machiavellian.

F. Underwood: Whereas I can applaud your performance as an elegant epitome of evil.

Both versions of Michael Dobbs’ House of Cards have at their centers unambiguously wicked politicians. Is it possible to cheer such characters on and wish that they succeed in their ambitions? If so, have they seduced us with their cleverness and scuttled our sense of moral outrage? Or do we appreciate them for a peep at the schemings of a MacBeth or Richard III? Toni Morrison on Good and Evil in literature: ”Evil has a blockbuster audience while Goodness lurks backstage. Evil has a top hat and dresses well and even has its own theme music. Goodness is often described as stupid: good people are often viewed as stupid people.”

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