Morality, Principle, and Fate in Literature
Cormac McCarthy’s critically acclaimed 2005 novel No Country for Old Men, centers around three major characters (Llewellyn Moss, Anton Chigurh, and Ed Tom Bell) whose lives intertwine after a chain reaction occurs related to a drug deal gone bad near the Mexican-American border in 1980. While hunting antelope to bring home for dinner, protagonist Llewellyn Moss stumbles upon the bloody aftermath of a messy drug deal. After investigating the area and searching for who he thought would be “the last man standing” (McCarthy, 15), Moss finds another dead body lying next to a satchel containing 2.4 million dollars in cash. He makes the critical decision to pick up the satchel and run, igniting a series of events that not even the law could contain. Upon his return to the desert in which the money was found, Moss is seen by a man (Chiguhr) hired to find and retrieve the money that was stolen. What followed was a cat and mouse game between the psychopathic killer Anton Chiguhr and the story’s likeable protagonist Llewellyn Moss. McCarthy demonstrates his masterful writing talents by using powerful motifs such as the coin toss to allude to universal themes as ancient as the bible such as principle, fate, and nihilism. After Llewellyn’s early demise, the novel concludes in an anticlimactic fashion. As Anton Chiguhr safely lives on, Sherriff Bell retires from duty due to the harsh realities of evil he has witnessed.
Throughout the novel, it is evident that a major theme was that of principle. Each of the three central characters previously mentioned express their own fundamental understanding of the world. Llewellyn Moss is placed in many situations throu...
... middle of paper ...
...where he mentions a “prophet of destruction” (McCarthy, 4) whom he doesn’t want to meet and fails to understand. The series of events that Bell witnessed led to nihilism in the novel as he failed to understand the morality in the universe. Because of this, Bell retires from duty at the end of the novel. In William Golding’s 1954 novel The Lord of the Flies, a group of British boys find themselves stranded on an uninhabited island after their plane crashes. The story focuses on the boys as they try to govern themselves. The novel focuses on themes such as human nature and instinct which lead the novel to have a sense of nihilism throughout. The boys lose their sense of morality for survival, leading to questions that bring up nihilism. Both novels touch on this philosophy as they challenge morality and human nature through the experiences and ideals of the characters.
Need Writing Help?
Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.Check your paper »
- Although it is widely alleged that destiny is by choice, there are a vast number of people who believed that it is by fate. Those who believed it is by choice follow the directions and guidance of their elders. For example, they will try to hold on to the values that their parents instilled in them and use them to guide their entire lives. Others who believed that destiny is by fate, believe that the outcome of their lives is determined by luck, and that no matter what they do or how careful they are, whatever has to happen to them must happen.... [tags: Oedipus, fate, free will]
1349 words (3.9 pages)
- Good and evil have existed since the beginning of mankind. Good defends the righteous, as evil has been bent on destruction. In today’s society, many people believe that good will always triumph over evil. The murderer will eventually be caught by the police; the carjacker will one day meet his doom; the superhero will defeat the evil villain. Simply, in some circumstances, this is not entirely true. Good does not always prevail over evil. This is exceptionally true in the movie No Country for Old Men by the Coen brothers.... [tags: Film Analysis ]
905 words (2.6 pages)
- ... The unsettling smile that slides up Chigurh’s cheek as his stalks his prey – unsuspecting Texan inhabitants – certainly points to a diabolical sort of mirth. At the other end of the spectrum is Sherriff Ed Tom Bell, a man whose matured morals draw a fine line between right and wrong. In the relentlessly vindictive manner of McCarthy’s novel, Bell delivers a welcomed voice of sanity and justice to the human mind; his old-school morals and philosophical reminiscences offering a sanction in a world dominated by evil.... [tags: mexican drug lords, sheriff´s investigation]
907 words (2.6 pages)
- Cormac McCarthy is known for his narrative writings, in No Country for Old Men McCarthy, does not let his readers down. McCarthy is very informative in the narratives in No country for Old Men. McCarthy is the narrator for three of the main characters in this book. McCarthy starts out telling Sherriff Bell’s prospective that there is no room in the world for an old principled sheriff. McCarthy then goes into the life struggles of the young man Moss who has some life changing choices to make and could take him down the path of several assassins, the main assassin is Chigurh.... [tags: sheriff, money, murder]
580 words (1.7 pages)
- Having a greater physical capacity the wolf was successful in competing for food and territory against the coyote, thus has difficulty competing for the same niche (Friedl, 2016). The coyote was forced into small habits throughout New England and New York state, coyotes, therefore, had a limited realized niche (Gautheir, 2014). This known competition between two organisms is classified into the competitive exclusion principal, where one life form will drive out the other, usually to extinction (“Competitive Exclusion Principle,” 2014).... [tags: Ecological niche, Competitive exclusion principle]
2323 words (6.6 pages)
- At the heart of every great tragedy lies the universal struggle between the human inclination to accept fate absolutely and the natural desire to control destiny (Stockton). Like most of his plays, in Shakespeare’s masterpiece Hamlet one of the prevailing themes centers on the question, “Does fate and providence overrule man’s own choices and decisions?” Throughout the work, the main character Hamlet views Fortune in various differing lights as he plots and plans his revenge. This complex interpretation of Fate’s influence is also shared with Horatio, Hamlet’s most treasured friend.... [tags: fate, destiny, play analysis, Shakespeare]
1003 words (2.9 pages)
- Bitter about the evolution of the corruption of society, Sheriff Ed Tom Bell plays the official hero clinging to old traditions and reminiscing about the old days in No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy. Delusions of a peaceful utopia during the time his grandpa Jack was a sheriff has left Bell looking at the world through hopeless eyes; a world on its knees with only one explanation for its demise: Satan. Not necessarily a religious man, Sheriff Bell, when asked if he believes in Satan, remarks: “He explains a lot of things that otherwise don’t have no explanation.... [tags: Character Analysis, Sheriff Ed Tom Bell]
1618 words (4.6 pages)
- Fate in Beowulf A Twist of Fate for the Great Hero Beowulf Fate seems to be an ongoing theme in the works of Boethius and Beowulf. Whether it is a belief of Christian providence or pagan fatalism, the writers of these works are strongly moved by the concept of fate and how it affects the twists and turns of a person’s life. Fate is most often seen as the course of events in a person’s life that leads them to inevitable death at some time or another. Throughout the poem Beowulf, the characters are haunted by fate and acknowledge its strong presence in everything that they do.... [tags: Beowulf Fate Essays]
1477 words (4.2 pages)
- Oedipus the King: Free Will or Fate. A common debate that still rages today is whether we as a species have free will or if some divine source, some call it fate, controls our destiny. The same debate applies to Oedipus the King and Oedipus at Colonus. Does Oedipus control his actions, or are they predetermined by the gods. It’s that question that makes Oedipus a classic, and many different people think many different things. With all the oracles and talk of prophecies, its obvious that there is some divine intervention in Oedipus.... [tags: Destiny, Fate, Free Will, Free Choice]
617 words (1.8 pages)
- Fate Webster defines fate as a “ a power thought to control all events and impossible to resist” “a persons destiny.” This would imply that fate has an over whelming power over the mind. This thing called fate is able to control a person and that person has no ability to change it. Its been proven time and time again that the human mind can over come any obstacle. An asset to the mind is a persons will. With the combination of a person’s mind and their will to decide their own destiny this thing called fate can be over come.... [tags: Fate Destiny Essays]
442 words (1.3 pages)