Since the beginning of time, there have always been two sides, good and evil. Good and evil are terms that people use in everyday life, but nobody knows the depth. These entities exist in the hearts of each and every person. They create feelings of harsh realization, whether it be after stealing, giving, killing, or saving. Authors write situations like these throughout literature just like history. Good nor evil cannot exist purely on their own; situations influence them.
Goodness is pure and true, but not exactly innocent. In today’s society, changing for any reason requires a fight; however, fighting is an evil action, but it is required to be good. In this case, many say that it is acceptable to fight because it is for a good cause. Humans try to justify what they do so they are good or right in any circumstance. Since good is pure and true any good action is being controlled by a person’s empathy, their ability to connect with others emotions, like evil actions are brought upon by the lack thereof:
Researchers have found that empathy is the kindling that fires compassion in our hearts, impelling us to help others in distress. Studies have traced violent, psychopathic, and antisocial behaviors to a lack of empathy, which appears to stem from impaired neural circuits. These new insights are laying the foundation for training regimens and treatment programs that aim to enhance the brain’s empathetic response. (Bhattacharjee)
Evil is selfish and unjust in the actions of humans. Evil actions are those that are done with no remorse for the destruction they cause along the way, as long as they end in favor of the person who commits them. Evil in its purest form is the ugliest thing any human will set their eyes upon, the natural reaction to anything that repulsive is to get as far away as possible. Evil has ways of keeping people entranced in its wicked dance by the uses of glamour and temptations. No matter how much they try, they never stray away from the path, like a drug addiction, they are hooked. People break the spell for a little while, but as soon as the opportunity arises, they run back to their wicked ways. The Christian Bible states in Judges 2:19, “But when the judge died, the people returned to ways even more corrupt than those of their ancestors, following other gods and serving and worshiping them. They refused to give up their evil practices and stubborn ways.” (NIV)
By thinking so black and white, there are too many controversies and overlaps to come across. In the hit Broadway musical “Wicked” the writers gave very complex characters that everyone in America thought they knew. When “Wicked” made its Broadway debut in 2003 the audience begins to see the story from a different point of view. When given Elphaba, the heroine of the story, the writers take one of the iconic villains in American culture and cinematic literature and suggest this person is not what was once thought, that she can be good. The creators of this story make the audience think, “The things that are associated with evil, what if they were circumstantial?” Before anyone realizes it, he or she are looking at someone who looks like what he or she thinks of as a wicked witch, and realizes she is not that at all. This musical requires viewers to think outside of previous thoughts and opinions about what they think is good or evil. Alex Danchev supports this idea of the gray-zone in On Good and Evil and the Grey Zone, “One must free oneself from the question, What is good? What is compassionate? and ask instead, What is the good man, the compassionate man?”
The idea of good and evil may not be as black and white as previously thought, it’s actually more of a gray zone that is determined by the experiences in one's life. Within all good there is evil, in every light there lies a shadow. 'good cannot be understood without evil, nor evil without good.' (Russell page 84)
- Bhattacharjee, Yudhijit. 'The Science of Good and Evil.' National Geographic, vol. 233, no. 1, Jan. 2018, pp. 116-143. EBSCOhost, proxygsu-gamc.galileo.usg.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=fth&AN=127040761&site=eds-live&scope=site.
- Danchev, Alex. On Good and Evil and the Grey Zone. Edinburgh University Press, 2016. EBSCOhost, proxygsu-gamc.galileo.usg.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nlebk&AN=1140070&site=eds-live&scope=site.
- Russell, Jeffrey Burton. The Prince of Darkness: Radical Evil and the Power of Good in History. Cornell University Press, 2016. EBSCOhost, proxygsu-gamc.galileo.usg.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=nlebk&AN=1508175&site=eds-live&scope=site.
- SCHLABACH, GERALD W. 'The Glamour of Evil.' America, vol. 214, no. 4, 08 Feb. 2016, pp. 15-18. EBSCOhost, proxygsu-gamc.galileo.usg.edu/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=fth&AN=112670506&site=eds-live&scope=site.
- Holy Bible, New International Version® Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 International Bible Society