The Wars by Timothy Findley Essay

1054 words 5 pages
The Inherent Evil of Humankind Joseph Conrad once observed that “a belief in a supernatural source of evil is not necessary; men alone are quite capable of every wickedness.” As a result of the violence that is necessary during wartime, soldiers are permitted to engage in savage behavior that is normally forbidden in society. In The Wars by Timothy Findley, however, soldiers act in violent ways even when they are not actively engaged in battle. The inherently savage nature of humankind is evident when Robert Ross kills the German soldier after the gas attack, when Robert is raped in the baths, and when Robert kills Captain Leather. These violent events that occur outside the direct action of the war demonstrate the evil inherent in …show more content…

His assailants are not crazy; they are logical and sane enough to avoid providing any evidence that might indicate their identities as soldiers. A soldier’s duty is to protect his fellow citizens from harm, not perform the harmful acts himself. Thus, the evil inherent in humankind is shown through the violent physical assault on Robert by his fellow soldiers. In addition to the German soldier’s death and Robert’s rape, the inherently savage nature of humankind is also evident when Robert kills Captain Leather in favor of saving the horses. When Captain Leather refuses Robert’s request of releasing the horses from the barn, Robert’s “anger rose to such a pitch that he feared he was going to go over into madness” (203). Robert becomes furious at Captain Leather’s attitude towards the situation, and describes that he “feared” that he might go over into “madness.” Although Robert becomes violently angry at his commanding officer’s refusal to free the horses, he remains sane and rational, thinking, “‘If an animal had done this-we would call it mad and shoot it,’ and at that precise moment Captain Leather rose to his knees and began to struggle to his feet. Robert shot him between the eyes” (203). Robert’s inherent violence becomes so aggravated that he kills Captain Leather by shooting him “between the