Nothing is so beautiful and wonderful, nothing is so continually fresh and surprising, so full of sweet and perpetual ecstacy, as the good. No desert is so dreary, monotonous, and boring as evil. This is the truth about authentic good and evil.

With fictional good and evil it is the other way round. Fictional good is boring and flat, while fictional evil is varied and intriguing, attractive profound, and full of charm.

Simone Weil On Science, Necessity, and the Love of God

It was interesting to come across this quote again last night after thinking about Lars von Trier yesterday. Some critics have applauded him for having the courage to show evil and despair so unflinchingly. I’m not convinced. I think what Weil’s quote suggests is that von Trier has taken the easy road, since it’s not difficult to portray evil in increasingly dramatic ways. Mike Leigh faced a much harder task with Happy-Go-Lucky, having a central character who is genuinely good.

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One thought on “Simone Weil on Good and Evil in fiction

  1. This is a highly suspect, and pretty banal construction. I guess Richard 3rd and Iago are just Shakespeare’s easy way out. Childish thinking this piece.

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