Conscience In Hannah Arendt's A Human Being Died That Night

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Conscience is the feeling inside one 's self that alerts them that something is wrong. This can sometimes be overpowered by stronger external forces such as a powerful authority figure, surrounding circumstances, or the belief that what they did was correct. Through, Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil, Hannah Arendt argues that for the first time the world has encountered a different kind of criminal- - one that blindly followed orders from superiors and was made to believe the anti-Semitic ideology, although it could have been any ideology. Similarly, in her work, A Human Being Died That Night, Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela claims that the actions of ordinary citizens could be influenced by surrounding practices and drive people…show more content…
The fact that anybody could become a killer without conscience is quite alarming because it means that any society could fall victim to similar atrocious acts on humanity. The criminal acts that Eichmann took part in would be labeled under a new kind of crime, one which is done with a lack of conscience, that is with- no shame or sense of guilt. Some would classify this kind of criminal as much more dangerous due to their disregard of human life. Arendt states that it was "impossible for him to know or to feel that he [was] doing wrong" (373). Arendt highlights Eichmann 's inferiority compared to his superiors because he was simply a "cog in the wheel" who was made to follow orders. Ultimately, Arendt concludes that whether he was a cog or the machine itself, there is no difference as long as he was a part of the crime…show more content…
When examining these cases where a portion of the population is targeted, justice is difficult to obtain. No one action or decision will ever satisfy an entire group or community, making justice almost unattainable. In the case of Eichmann, many were against his execution, some even sending letters to have him pardoned, while others believed that he should be made to work in Israel for the very people he tried to exterminate (CITE?). Resembling Eichmann 's trial, those affected by de Kock 's actions were divided as to what justice was. Many were against de Kock 's sentencing, seeing his willingness to cooperate and sense of guilt towards his actions as sufficient. Responsibility is difficult to pinpoint when evil acts are committed. There is a network of people that help to reinforce within one another that the actions that they are doing are correct. In Eichmann 's trial, he did not demonstrate remorse or shame for his part in the Final Solution. He stated that no one was against it, opposing the majority was "outside his competence", and because Jews were more than willing to cooperate and go to the camps, what was ultimately done was not to be blamed on him (327-328). Under the totalitarian regime, people had to carry out the orders they were instructed or someone capable of fulfilling them would be found. As many other Nazi leader, Eichmann expressed that he had "no intention to kill" but could not disobey

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