Role of Evil in the Novel “Night” by Elie Weisel

Various reasons why Moishe was not believed and whether modern journalism has eliminated the problem of complacency

In the novel “Night” Moishe, the Beadle warns the residents of Sighet that all was not well in the world and that they were in a lot of danger. Moishe’s warnings went unheeded due to several reasons. The first reason was that Moishe was poor and eccentric. While the people of Sighet did not shun the poor, they chose to ignore them (Weisel 3). The second reason that the warnings were not believed is that the people did not want to believe in them. They believed God would protect them from such atrocious events and that they would be safe (Mehrotra and Vats 166). The final reason was that the residents could not fathom how one man could cause so much death to so many people in this developed world. They thus considered Moishe’s experiences as an aberration and his warnings as an over-reaction.

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The residents of Sighet also ignored other warnings that pointed to serious troubles. The first warning was the ascendance of the fascist party in the country. The pro-Nazi Nyilas party seized power and instituted a new government in the country (Weisel 9). Apart from this, the entry of Germans into the country was also a very significant warning. The final important warning that was ignored was the appearance of German Army vehicles in the town of Sighet (Mehrotra and Vats 166).

If I was a resident of the town, I would have had a problem believing the warnings of Moishe. Considering his eccentricity and that most of the adult population seemed to shun and ignore him, his warnings would have appeared too atrocious to be true.

Modern journalism has created great strides in solving the problem of complacency. Due to pictures, first-hand accounts, and investigative journalism, the problem of complacency has been substantially reduced.

Hanging of the young boy in the novel “Night,” and why it elicited so many reactions

The hanging of the young boy, a pipel of the cable commando, raised a lot of emotions in the prisoners as well as the German captors. One of the main reasons he prisoners were overcome with emotion was that the young boy was beautiful and delicate (Weisel 64). He stood for everything the camp was not. In a way, the young boy stood for hope and perseverance. His death signified the death of hope in the camp.

The young boy was also polite and beloved by all. When people were turning against each other, the young boy communicated and respected his fellow prisoners. Eliezer likens the boy “an angel in distress,” and it was this image that all the prisoners saw (Weisel 64). The prisoners had to find a source of goodness in the camp, and they found it in the young boy. According to Gavriluta and Asiminei, the death of the young angelic boy signified the triumph of evil over good (77).

The German soldiers also seemed overly anxious and unsettled. This is because they had to kill a child in front of many prisoners. The SS were not sure how the angry prisoners would react to the death of a child. Knowing that children die, and seeing them die is very different and may result in chaos.

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Finally, the reactions of the child confused the Germans and brought out feelings they were not comfortable with. The child remained serene, beautiful, and delicate, even in the face of death. They expected the child to beg and cry, thus making it easier to diminish him as “other.” Gavriluta and Asiminei argue that the young boy reminded the Germans of their own children (78). This caused the Germans to feel pity for the boy, but unable to show it as they would be dubbed sympathizers by their comrades.

Works Cited

Gavriluta, Cristina and Romeo Asiminei. “The Problem of Evil and Responsibility in Elie Wiesel’s View: New Perspectives on the Holocaust”. European Journal of Science and Theology 7.4 (2011): 75-82.

Mehrotra, Nitisha and Naresh Vats. “Holocaust and Death of God: A Study of Elie Wiesel’s Night”. American International Journal of Research in Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences 5.2 (2014): 165-167.

Weisel, Elie. Night. New York: Hill and Wang, 1958.

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