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Good and evil

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Good and evil Two authors of different periods wrote on the same subject. Each approaches the idea from a different direction. Anton Chekhov looks at the aspects of light as a sign of hope. Franz Kafka examines the despair that comes from darkness in humans. Despite their different approaches, both address the aspects of the human psyche that deal with good and evil. Light to Chekhov displays hope and the good in man. Kafka sees darkness as the example of human evil and despair. The use of light in The Cherry Orchard and The Metamorphosis shows the antithetical elements of good and evil and the authors' attempts to show the human condition of the conflicting elements hope and despair. Kafka's mind dealt in the darkness, and Chekhov's mind dealt in light. According to human mythology, light and dark represent good and evil. Good things happen under the light; in the shadows, the human psyche does not feel comfortable. The aristocrats in Cherry Orchard exist in a changing society, with the new ways crumbling away their positions. Madame Ranevskaya, one of the main aristocrats, says upon her return from Europe, "All white, all white! Oh, my cherry orchard! After the dark and stormy autumn and the winter frosts you are young again and full of happiness" (Chekhov 28). This observation emphasizes the good that humans associate with light. The aristocrats distribute warmth and love, while coldness describes the capitalist feeling. ...read more.


Gregor does not wish to fight to obtain his humanity. He would rather hide from his own potential by remaining something all men despise. Gregor finds being an outcast better than the possibility of being the only good man. None of his family remains loyal to him, but instead his father abuses him without care, and his whole family conspires to eliminate the problem. Gregor's father attacks him, and eventually hurt him, the apple thrown hard and "literally forcing its way into Gregor's back" (Kafka 39). Kafka uses this falling away in the family to show that even though they try to love Gregor, they allow their evil natures to take over. Kafka uses Gregor's hiding from the light to show that the human psyche includes good and bad sides. With this method, Kafka shows the mind contains multiple parts, each of which can influence the whole. According to Jung, the human psyche comprises of these parts. The brains alter ego, or shadow, tries to dominate with acts that society rarely sees. This escape into the open world results in crime and hate. Jung says that the part of man with bad motives lies there, and the drive to do good exists in the self. Gregor, after his transformation and after the attacks, gains the right to an open door to watch the family. Despite this opportunity, "Gregor found it very easy to give up the open door...when it was opened he had not taken advantage of it, but instead...had lain in the darkest corner of the room" (Kafka 46). ...read more.


Kafka writes "His conviction that he would have to disappear was, if possible, firmer than his sister's...He still saw that outside the window everything was beginning to grow light" (Kafka 54). When his need to live cancels out by his thought for others, Gregor joins humanity again, and can have hope for himself. Gregor and Madame Ranevskaya both begin in their respective works as characters that have no reason for hope. Gregor becomes a bug, and because of debt, Madame Ranevskaya's estate will go to the auction block. These situations offer little choice of resolving themselves, and the protagonists will correct them differently. The more despair grows in them, and the closer they come to their final reckoning, the less the two feel able to save themselves. In each work, the author has a different climax, at which the characters recognize their position and turn to something other than the previous life. Madame Ranevskaya moves away from her family wealth, and Gregor stops living as a human in a bug. Both character have the opportunity to gain hope. For Gregor and Madame Ranevskaya, light symbolizes what they can have, and darkness symbolizes their problems. However, where light exists there cannot also survive darkness, so hope cannot coexist with despair. By changing to a brighter outlook, the two characters show the goodness in man, and the difference from their previous state shows the darkness in man. Kafka and Chekhov both use the technique of antithetical elements to show the human condition of conflict and change. ...read more.

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