The Portrayal Of The Nazi Party As The Company In The Lottery In Babylon

1659 words - 7 pages

Written in 1941 by Jorge Luis Borges, The Lottery in Babylon expresses the writer's agnostic and anti-Nazi beliefs through the use of science fiction. Argentina, the home of Borges, supported the Axis powers during World War II. The symbolism Borges uses in the story, not a one-to-one representation, interprets several ways. This paper will focus on Borges' anti-Nazi perspective. The Lottery in Babylon takes place in a mythical city, with a historical name. The lottery began as a game initiated by merchants and enjoyed by the upper class of Babylon. As the Babylonian culture became bored with the game the entrepreneurs of the lottery could not afford to continue. A new clandestine entrepreneur took over the lottery and became known as the Company. A negative aspect was instituted into the lottery; a fine was imposed on the owners of certain tickets. If the unfortunate ticket holder refuses to pay the fine he or she faces imprisonment. This increased the popularity and the power of the lottery. The lottery became so popular that it became mandatory as a cultural norm and the Company became the all-powerful ruler of Babylon. All of society participates and accepts its rewards and consequences. The Company, by enticing the public to believe in a chaotic world and at the mercy of chance, grows into an empire. Borges, known for his philosophical writing rather than political writing (2); uses this science fiction short story, The Lottery in Babylon, to depict the manipulation of religion for use as a tool by the Nazi empire to gain support for the political party.

The evidence that the Company metaphorically rrepresents the Nazi Party begins with the title. Babylon, according to Dr. David Laraway a Professor at BYU, “. . . . is widely agreed to designate not only a generic kind of antithesis of Israel but more concretely, the imperial Rome that had begun to persecute aggressively the adherents of the new Christian sect” (2). Nazism, notoriously anti-semantic, aggressively persecuted the followers of the Jewish religion. The Nazi Party, also known as The Third Reich, originated from the Thule Society (5). The Thule Society was an occult anti-semantic secret society of which many future high ranking Nazi Party members were associated; “It was Thule people to whom Hitler came to in the very beginning; it was Thule people who first joined forces with Hitler.”(5) Hitler, the Nazi leader, later cut ties with the Thule Society while injecting many of the beliefs into the political party (5). The occult ways of the Thule Society and the Nazi Party show in the story by the esoteric ways of the Company. The narrator of the story explains the history of the Company as “tainted with fiction”. The narrator speaks of the lottery's beginnings as lacking moral clout, but as the Company gains more power the lottery begins distributing supposed coincidental punishments for crimes committed. Claims of a lottery of chance based on moral bearing a lottery becomes...

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