Hoffman Paper

Hoffman Paper - Melissa Harintho GE 13186-01 McChesney The Road to Hell is Paved With Good Intentions"The central complexity of human nature lies

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Melissa Harintho GE 13186-01, McChesney The Road to Hell is Paved With Good Intentions “The central complexity of human nature lies in our emotions, not in our intelligence. Intellectual skills are means to an end. Emotions determine what our ends will be,” physicist Freeman J. Dyson asserted. But Dyson was speaking in the context of an individual’s situation; in regards to a social body, do intellectual skills remain as mere means to an end, or do they serve as the primary factor in determining what the ends will be as well? Previous to E.T.A Hoffmann’s short story, “Mademoiselle de Scudéri,” many detective stories focused on the unmasking of events or motives, and depicted investigation and judgment as a single, impersonal process. The judging entities who determined the definition of justice were often represented as obscure, static characters whose emotions and thought processes were unimportant in the overall scheme of events. “Mademoiselle de Scudéri,” however, was novel in the detective genre for its detailed portrayal of a detective character and its examination of other individuals’ determination of guilt in society. In “Mademoiselle de Scudéri,” E.T.A. Hoffmann contrasts the motives and ultimate judgments of the court and police, the sovereign power, and the emerging detective to examine the reason for change in the justice system. The first individuals Hoffmann scrutinizes are the judges in the court system and the police force. In the beginning of the story, Hoffmann gives a contextual summary of the crime scene in France. He tells the story of “The Marquise de Brinvilliers,” in which the policeman Desgrais cleverly captures the elusive Marquise and the court system methodically brings her to justice through means of confession, torture, and ultimately the scaffold. In “Mademoiselle de Scudéri,” however, even the reputable Desgrais cannot
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catch the criminal with his increasingly complex, but constantly unsuccessful schemes. When a suspect, Oliver Brusson, finally emerges, Desgrais is immediately convinced of
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This note was uploaded on 05/18/2008 for the course GE 13186 taught by Professor Mcchesney during the Fall '08 term at Notre Dame.

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Hoffman Paper - Melissa Harintho GE 13186-01 McChesney The Road to Hell is Paved With Good Intentions"The central complexity of human nature lies

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