NIght and the Problem of Evil
In his first and most famous work, Night, Elie Wiesel relives his experience in the concentration camps of the Nazi regime during World War II. Wiesel, who was born and raised a devout Jew and excelled at Talmudic and spiritual studies, recounts his loss of freedom, innocence, family, and finally faith. One of the accomplishments of Night as a human document is that it not only shows the evils of the oppressors in Auschwitz and Buchenwald, but what evil can do to man. Wiesel saw good men transformed through cruelty into “beasts of prey unleashed” (101).
The most important theme in the book is how evil transforms and de-forms man. While the horrors of the Nazi regime are described in Night, it is the evil wrought by fellow Jews and victims of the Nazis that takes a central place in this work. From the beginning of his time at Auschwitz, Wiesel experiences the worst abuse from his fellow inmates. At the first barracks Wiesel stayed in, the veteran inmates were waiting to beat the newcomers indiscriminately with sticks (35). This behavior, constituting not only a lack of compassion but outright anger and violence towards fellow humans, appears continually throughout Night. After only a few days at the work camp in Buna, Wiesel...
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