Banality of Evil and Adolf Eichmann Essay

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"It was as though in those last minutes he was summing up the lesson that this long course in human wickedness had taught us--the lesson of the fearsome, the word-and-thought-defying banality of evil" (252).

The capture and trial of Adolf Eichmann, which evoked legal and moral controversy across all nations, ended in his hanging over four decades ago. The verdict dealing with Eichmann's involvement with the Final Solution has never been in question; this aspect was an open-and-shut case which was put to death with Eichmann in 1962. The deliberation surrounding the issues of Eichmann's motives, however, are still in question, bringing forth in-depth analyses of the aspects of evil.

Using Adolf Eichmann as a subject and poster-boy
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"The sort of person that Eichmann appeared to be did not square either with the deeds for which he was being tried or with the traditional preconceptions about the kind of person who does evil" (Geddes). Throughout the trial, Arendt is conflicted by what she wants to seen when she analyzes Eichmann, and struggles greatly when she finds he does not embody the crude and inhumane thoughts she associated with the history of the Holocaust. It is this absence of the profound hatred of Jews, along with the normalcy he possesses, that creates the emblematic role of banal evil for Adolf Eichmann.

A man who does not seem to be filled with rage, Eichmann can not been depicted as a satanic monster, clearly separate from citizens who fall under terms such as normal or sane. In fact, he was a man who's goals were similar to all working class people. Eichmann's desires to be an idealist and a successful businessman may draw sympathy, even though it is clearly taboo to consider someone normal if capable of participating in a genocide.

Studying Eichmann's relationships with Jews previous to his involvement in the Final Solution become counterintuitive when looking for any sign of hatred he embodied toward the Jewish culture. "It is obvious there is no case of insane hatred of Jews, of fanatical anti-Semitism or indoctrination of any kind" (26). Furthermore, he was related to Jews, as his mother had Jewish relatives.
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