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Vengeance and Loss of Humanity in The Interlopers

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When people let vengeance get the best of them, it can lead to a loss of their humanity. A considerable example of this is in the story “The Interlopers”, written by Saki.

Ulrich and Georg let their quarrel urge them to hunt and murder each other, completely disregarding their morality. Hence, the two men sought each other out in the forest, regardless of tempestuous weather, and when they met, “The two enemies stood glaring at one another for a long silent moment. Each had a rifle in his hand, each had hate in his heart and murder uppermost in his mind.” Though Ulrich could not care less about the piece of land and trees, he is willingly open to the idea of manslaughter due to his prolonged feud with Georg, his loathing for George has corrupted and darkened his judgement and ethics.

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Moreover, subsequent to being crushed and immobilized by an immense tree, Georg exploits the predicament they are in and snarls at Ulrich ‘caught fast. Ho, what a jest, Ulrich von Gradwitz snared in his stolen forest. There’s real justice for you!’, cackling heartlessly at Ulrich, who immediately replies with ‘I’m caught in my own forest-land…,When my men come to release us you will wish, perhaps, that you were in a better plight than caught poaching on a neighbour’s land, shame on you.’ This is noteworthy to the story as Ulrich is portrayed as an empathetic gentleman, barbarically growling at a disabled and helpless man without pitying him shows a loss of identity and compassion.

Lastly, Georg and Ulrich both allow their bloodthirst for each other take over, throwing aside their nobility and influencing them into commiting timid acts. This is demonstrated by George uttering “When they drag me out from under these branches, it won’t need much clumsiness on their part to roll this mass of trunk right over on the top of you. Your men will find you dead under a fallen beech tree” indicating that George is willing to perform a spineless deed of murdering a vulnerable and powerless man, for control over a piece of meritless woodland. Losing control of his common decency and principles, showing a small loss of his humanity.

Nonetheless, as the two men bond over a mutual dilemma, they start to show compassion to one another, regaining their judgment, morality, and identity as they vow to help each other and let go of their hatred by one another. Eventually, the men exhibit that when you do not learn to let go of your grudge against others, it can lead to more casualties.

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