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Evil In The Lottery By Shirley Jackson

1008 words - 5 pages

The word evil can have several different meanings, such as morally bad or wrong, the act of causing others to reevaluate their beliefs and assuming a completely new persona, or abusing an immense amount of power. One can only vaguely grasp the term evil given the definition of it. It takes one’s own experiences to thoroughly understand evil. Evil is when one purposefully outcasts a mass of people as a result of a common attribute. It is proceeding to do something immoral while recognizing its potential risks. Through the voice of Elaine Aron, Zimbardo claims that such qualities are embodied among ordinary people put under various pressures to create an evil situation. These traits repeatedly ...view middle of the document...

Mrs. Hutchinson even reaches the extremity of turning against her own family. She picks out her children Don and Eva, yelling “Make them take their chance!” (Jackson 299). The heinous ceremony and its wicked conductors have successfully driven out the ability for a mother to protect her own children.
The era of McCarthyism also witnessed similar occurrences, as the government and other high-ranking officials were put in charge of incriminating innocent Americans and immigrants of having communist ties. Individuals from the film industry were blamed and faced consequences such as being blacklisted and banned from certain activities. While the people condemning the innocent could have had evil motives such as Senator Joe McCarthy, many simply were “made to feel part of a system that asks them to carry out orders from higher-up” (Aron 2). They were put in a position where disobeying the group of higher-ups would result in the finger being pointed at them. All they possessed was Spectral Evidence – “a witness who claimed to have seen” the accused committing an act of communism, however this was enough to ruin the lives of leading actors, directors, and screenwriters (Miller 4).
As a result of evil wrongdoings, peoples’ original believes are undermined and they presume a completely different identity. They are made to “literally forget who they are”, mirroring the situation faced by Salem’s society in The Crucible by Arthur Miller (Aron 4). Reverend Hale faces the challenge of questioning the basis of his faith and the morality of his conscience and actions. He is blinded by his overbearing sense of power and is unable to keep his motives simply objective. Hale finally gives in and complies with the court’s demands. He asks for “all their names” (Miller 47), indicating that the girls are now under investigation. However, towards the end Hale progressively analyzes his new altered state of mind and regains his true identity. The occasional questioning of the...

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