Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil

What is the banality of Evil?

Does Eichmann embody the banality of evil?

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The word "banality" means trite or dismissive. It this sense the book explores Eichmann's very dismissive tone after he was caught and tried for war crimes. Eichmann displayed neither guilt nor hatred, claiming he bore no responsibility because he was simply "doing his job" ("He did his duty...; he not only obeyed orders, he also obeyed the law." p. 135). It is this very patronizing and cavalier attitude that confounded the world and, most particularly, his surviving victims. It is this "banality" that seems to set an eerie standard for evil. It seems an evil that takes no pleasure or pain in the hideous atrocities of the Nazi camps. This evil is emotionless and one dimensional. Eichmann seemed to embody this but at least he remains a reminder that evil existed and sadly still does.