What is evil? A question boasted by Anne Rice's novel, The Wolf Gift
Anne Rice is commonly referred to as the queen of Gothic novels, forcing all of us to fall in love with the dark side. After a period of, I guess we could call it "lighter" writing, she's back to her original supernatural tricks, creating a new idea or vision of the term 'werewolf' in her novel The Wolf Gift.
I'm almost halfway through this highly anticipated book, so I can't really say much in regards to what I think of it as a whole, but I did come across something that made me stop and whip out my journal. If you've ever read Anne Rice, you know she enjoys raising intense philosophical questions through the trials and experiences of her supernatural characters, especially when it comes to asking: What is evil?
We see plenty of what can be called evil in Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles, most of which is either instinctual or conscious, but in The Wolf Gift we read a different explanation...
'What had Phil said about evil? "It's blunders, people making blunders, whether it's raiding a village and killing all the inhabitants, or killing a child in a fit of rage. Mistakes. Everything is simply a matter of mistakes."'
Mistakes, huh? Is it really that simple? I don't think so...
What is a mistake afterall? It can officially be defined as:
- an error in action caused by ignorance or carelessness
Does that sound like evil or more like the entirety of being human? The definition of evil isn't as basic as simply making a mistake. Evil is defined as:
- immoral, harmful, wicked ~ basically every synonym for 'bad' you can think of
Evil is a conscious decision. Evil is when a person chooses to do wrong, having no ignorance of what would be considered right, and enjoys the consequences of their harmful actions.
Now I know that this quote doesn't reflect events in the book; in fact, it'll probably turn out to be an ironic statement. But the more I thought about Phil's statement and tried to see his point of view, the more awkward his idea felt positioned in my thoughts. If 'everything is simply a matter of mistakes,' then can everything be forgiven and altered to be good? I'm not so sure.
By Phil's definition, an evil person is simply a person that makes a lot of mistakes. That just doesn't sound right, does it? It makes light of the person... almost makes them sound clumsy or absent-minded... someone you could smile and shake your head at and forgive for almost anything. Doesn't fit too well in my mind...
I find it hard to believe that the core of a person can change, and if a person contains a central element of evil, meaning they enjoy inflicting pain and taking at other's expenses, how can you define their actions as 'blunders' or 'mistakes'? A blunder, in my opinion, would be printing a typo or accidentally buying low-fat ice cream when you really meant to grab the good stuff. I don't think those mistakes would ever be considered evil...
So what do you think?