The Horror

A horror more terrible then fires - wars - epidemics - or bandits, this overwhelming
horror is the weak character of man, the distrust and selfishness feeding each characters
continual suspicion of his fellow man, always expecting the worst of them. The priest describes
this horrific human trait and the world it creates with but a few lines;

“It’s horrible. If men do not tell the truth, do not trust one another,
then the earth becomes hell indeed.”

This lack of honesty toward man is shown throughout each characters stories, each unable to talk
about themselves without embellishing, and constantly creating lies to make them feel that they
are better people then they really are. It even shows this need for flattering falsehood going
beyond the grave, as the dead samurai Takehiro holds onto his lies in a vain effort to maintain
what little honor he has left.

The horror of the human nature eventually dominates every character, from the bandit, the
common man, as well as the wood cutter who believes in doing the right thing, who then in turn
steals from the scene of a bloody murder and then is abashed by his guilt feeling of the action he
has committed, and then finally the horror touches upon the priest, who insists on believing in
the better nature of man but is consumed by this horror and becomes aware of his own lack of
charity and suspicion toward others.

The Child

Although the introduction of a baby is unprepared for and does not emerge out of the plot
rather it seems to be a shabby way of adding a new plot twist to the picture in hopes of
concluding the entire story and leaving the ending on a positive note. The baby is meant to be as
a test of each of the characters attitude after hearing and witnessing the dreadful horror of mans
dishonesty and distrust. The baby would act as both an object that would show hope for man, by
bringing out the kindness in the woodcutter and giving renewed faith to the priest, as well as
showing the continuing chaotic disorder of the world, as seen with the commoner stealing the
child’s possessions for his own self interest.

If for not the introduction of the baby then we would have been left with an ending that left the
woodcutter lost in a guilty stupor, the priest would have remained with a feeling of lost faith
while the commoner would have remained the same selfish being regardless of what has
transpired before him.

Category: English