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Does war give the right to kill The study of the character of Elisha in Dawn by Elie Wiesel - Essay Example

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There are many instances throughout Dawn where the transgressions f the terrorists are justified by themselves as being an act f war. On one such occasion we read f a situation where Elisha is wrestling with the fact that he must execute an unarmed hostage the following morning…
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Does war give the right to kill The study of the character of Elisha in Dawn by Elie Wiesel
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Download file to see previous pages Another friend, and fellow terrorist, Ilana approaches Gad to comfort him. She states, "Don't torture yourself, Gad. This is war" (151). In both f these instances we see the members f this terrorist cell justifying their actions, and their opponents for the matter, as being a mere act f war. Thus, this leads us to an undeniable question: are actions f violence, terrorism for that matter, justifiable in a state f war
On the side f the terrorists, yes, using unfair and excessively violent tactics are quite acceptable. Acceptable to the point where basically anything goes, despite who is affected; be they military personnel or innocent civilians just trying to make their way in the world. Its war, pain and simple. However, on the opposite end f the spectrum, namely that f civilized nations, we find that there are certain rules to war, or a code f conduct if you will. Killing an unarmed man because you were given the orders to is not war, especially if the victim knows not why they are being executed. Weisel shows us a situation in Dawn where Elisha is a few seconds to snuffing the life out f John Dawson, the terrorist's captive. John Dawson says, "I'm smiling because all f a sudden it has occurred to me that I don't know why I am dying. Do you" (203). Clearly Elisha and John Dawson had no concrete idea as to why John Dawson was to be killed. So, how can this be justified as an act f war when both the killer and the victim do not know the motives for their dispute It simply can't.
One can also find that this story presents the reader with a provocative warning. One can find find that this tale warns us against naive actions, and where these decisions can lead. In Dawn this concept is illustrated by Weisel when Elisha states, "I was the Executioner. And I was eighteen years old. Eighteen years, f study and rebellion, and they all added up to this" (139-140). We see here that Elisha clearly knew he was going to play the role f executioner, but one may feel that he was unprepared. One may say that Elisha knew that he was to be killing people, be they innocents or military personnel, at the time he accepted the offer which Gad presented him with. However, one may also find that this Execution he will have to commit came f great surprise. Despite his past experience on the field f battle, nothing could prepare himself for the coming event.
Even aside from this fictional story, this situation is quite prominent even in reality. When one has to look into the eyes f another man and realize that they will have to kill that person, one will find it very hard to eventually squeeze the trigger and snuff the life essence from the other. Elisha states in a conversation with Ilana when she asks if he is afraid, " I'm afraid that he'll make me laugh. You see Ilana, he's quite capable f swelling up his head and letting it burst into a thousand pieces, just in order to make me laugh" (175). Elisha is clearly afraid f having to kill a man if he gets to know him. Its one thing to kill a person without ever knowing the person on a personal level. However, it's a totally different situation when faced with having to exterminate a person who you have gotten to know. So, in conclusion, this warning Wiesel presents us is very profound. He warns f the dangers f uninformed decisions.
All in all, when reading Dawn Wiesel presents us ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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