FINAL ENGLISH PAPER

FINAL ENGLISH PAPER - Evil With a Heart of Gold Bryan Baum...

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Evil With a Heart of Gold Bryan Baum In the Harry Potter series we see a constant struggle between all of the characters, both good and evil, for their desire of power. It is their differing responses to that desire that differentiate them from each other. However, this clear-cut dichotomy is not as simple in The Lord of the Rings and His Dark Materials . In these other texts we see similar themes of good versus evil, yet they are much more complex. There is this idea of a clear separation between good and evil, but these works show that there are more complicated cases because people can change. Thus, it makes more sense to say that particular actions are good and others are evil. The real difference between good and evil is that a good person, no matter what mistakes they have made in the past, eventually sacrifices his or her craving for power because he or she realizes that there are more important things in life. In Harry Potter, the character of Dumbledore shows a clear representation of how power can corrupt a person. Dumbledore and Grindelwald are both consumed by their superiority over muggles and plot to take over their society using magic. They justify this fact by saying that taking control would be “FOR THE GREATER GOOD” (Rowling, Deathly Hallows , 357) and feel that as Dumbeldore says, “that power gives us the right to rule” (Rowling, Deathly Hallows , 357). Their desire for power leads them to begin a quest to search for the Deathly Hallows, which would allow them to conquer death. Aberforth, Dumbledore’s brother, tries to thwart their plan, which leads to a fight and the eventual death of Dumbledore’s sister Ariana. This incident made Dumbledore realize that his craving for power changed him into a different person. In his book, Some
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Varieties of Heroes in America , Roger Abrahams makes a point of how a person’s desire for power can change his personality as he writes, “One can forget their self-identity either through fear, lust for power, and/or materialism” (Abrahams 29). Therefore, Dumbledore understands that his desire for power not only corrupted him, but also harmed the people around him. Dumbledore essentially overcame his desire for power by removing the temptation of it from his life. We can see the contrast of the paths of good versus evil as Dumbledore describes to Harry what happened after his sister’s death. “Years passed, There were rumors about him (Grindelwald), They said he had procured a wand of immense power. I, meanwhile, was offered the post of Minister of Magic, not once, but several times. Naturally, I refused. I had learned that I was not to be trusted with power” (Rowling, Deathly Hallows , 717). Dumbledore knew that he could not take the position of Minister of Magic because it would give him too much power. He feared what he would do this kind of influence because of past events. Dumbledore states that, “those who are best suited for power are those who have never sought it” (Rowling, Deathly
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This note was uploaded on 04/07/2008 for the course ENG 009J taught by Professor Finberg during the Spring '08 term at Swarthmore.

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FINAL ENGLISH PAPER - Evil With a Heart of Gold Bryan Baum...

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