Essay, Research Paper
Good and Evil
The novel of Maestro reflect many aspects of mankind which are both good and evil. The effects of evil can be seen in the character of Keller; after he has seen what cruelty human beings are capable of he becomes very pessimistic about humanity. He had underestimated the extent of evil and even the music he loves becomes a weapon of evil, which was used against him and so it subsequently becomes his enemy. As we grow up the world around us contains both good and evil, therefore as we follow Paul’s youth we can also see through him both good and evil revealed in the society around him.
The Holocaust was a turning point in Keller’s life. He used to be like Paul, insensitive, arrogant and felt invulnerable. He had felt optimistic about the safety of his family. He tells Paul that in one’s own familiar home “it is more difficult to see evil.” (p. 50). He blames himself for the death of his family because he realizes that he was blinded by his own arrogance, this experience makes him teach Paul “human limitations” and to be rational. He always dies down Paul’s confidence. Keller also constantly reminds himself of the stupidity, greed and failure of the human race by keeping a scrapbook of newspaper cuttings. He now keeps all his feelings suppressed because he now sees his former feelings of invulnerability and optimism as unwise or even criminal. He believes these large amounts of emotions and feelings of invulnerability and arrogance can be used as a tool for evil to play upon.
In this novel it shows that beauty is capable of covering the evil or worthlessness that lies beneath. The maestro distrusts the beautiful city of Vienna because of its violent history and the bitterness it reminds him of. He disassociates himself from Austria, his birth place, and strongly shows that he doesn’t want to go there again. “Nothing, dear lady, could make me homesick.” (p.45). When Paul’s mother talks about the beauty of Vienna and its architecture, Keller continuously referred to how they were used militarily “Of course. An excellent city for military pomp and processions.” (p.45), and endlessly associated all beauties with the more evil darker side’ “movie-set architecture…ornamental facades. Hiding the hypocrisy within…” Keller can clearly see the evil and ugliness beneath all the beauty and he is very bitter about it. Keller knows what is important is what is underneath those beautiful facades; the historical reality, not the architectural illusion and he attempts to teach Paul this.
Music is beautiful, but it was used as a tool by evil. For that reason, Keller felt very betrayed by his much-loved music. Hitler had used music as a part of propaganda to sway people into believing the party’s policies. Keller is especially reactive to Wagner because that composer’s songs were what were used the most for propaganda. It is sad to know that such a great composer like Wagner was also very anti-Semitic. This just shows that beautiful things can be used for good and for bad.
Power and leadership can also be used to obtain good or bad results. Having power gives a person a chance to do some good things for society. However, like Hitler when he had too much power he misused it and this resulted in the deaths of sixty million people. There needs to be a balance power and its limitations.
The novel of Maestro reflects the society around us and man’s capacity for good and evil. Beautiful things can be used as a tool by the evil and attractive external appearance can hide what ugliness is really underneath. There needs to be a balance between good and evil, or everyone will be effected.