Terrible acts are carried out in the world of the Hunger Games, a world in which forcing children to fight each other to the death is entertainment. This is the ultimate act of evil. However, this series is full of torture, murder and no remorse, but as Dr. Baron points out, there’s a difference between a act of evil and an evil person. In that case, what exactly is evil?
Philosophy responds this question in four theories of good, which would determine evil by its contradiction:
- Utility: the right action is the one that maximizes utility, the better good for the most people. It looks at the greatest balance of pleasure (happiness), the many benefit, or it minimizes the pain for most.
Coin sending the Prim to the front line, causing her death on purpose is an act of evil because she is only benefitting herself by this action with her goal being causing great pain to Katniss, making Snow look even more horrible in the eyes of Panem and making herself appear more righteous.
- Deontology (Duty): The morality right action is independent of consequences and focuses on duties and obligations. You treat other like they would like to be threated, and you never do anything you would never approve of others doing in the same situation.
Snow and the people of the Capitol sending the children of the Districts to the Hunger Games is an act of evil because it is casing suffering that nobody would one and that they wouldn’t allow for their children.
- Virtue Ethics: focuses on virtues that make up a good person. The golden mean is actions, feelings and an appropriate response to these.
Katniss demonstrates to be a good person by volunteering for Prim in an act of courage, no fear or recklessness.
- Care Ethics: focuses on making decisions that are based on caring for others (a caring bond between people)
Katniss caring for Rue in the arena.
In addition to Dr. Baron’s explanation of good vs. evil, author Gresh exposes her thoughts on the theme of evil in the Hunger Games. She explains that President Snow is responsible for his actions as well as the people from the Capitol, yet they don’t take responsibility for their own conduct and acts of evil, which demonstrates evil. At explaining evil, Gresh discusses its origin in religion as well as psychological/genetic factors. President Snow would be considered a psychopath due to specific traits and behaviors:
- He’s an egomaniac.
- He doesn’t have compassion for others.
- He doesn’t feel empathy, remorse of feelings of guilt.
- He meticulously plans torture and killings.
- He is manipulative and a chronic liar.
- He is superficially charming and personable.
- He has an inflated sense of self-worth.
- He is very good at faking intimacy and compassion.
- He is callous and accepts no responsibility for his actions.
- He is a control freak and sadistic.
- He is sexually promiscuous by selling others for sexual purposes.
- He preys on others.