Albert Camus: People\'s Inability to Act and Schindler\'s List

"I know that the great tragedies of history often fascinate men with approaching
horror. Paralyzed, they cannot make up their minds to do anything but wait. So
they wait, and one day the Gorgon devours them, But I should like to convince
you that the spell can be broken, that there is an illusion of impotence, that
strength of heart, intelligence and courage are enough to stop fate and
sometimes reverse it." Albert Camus.

Albert Camus believes that the greatest tragedies of history are so
horrific that people stand in awe, and consequently, nobody even attempts to do
anything in response of the tragedies. Many are under “an illusion of impotence”
, and eventually, Camus states, “The Gorgon devours them”. Also, in order for
this “spell to be broken”, people must have “strength of heart, intelligence
and courage.” I believe that Albert Camus is correct, people are under a vale
of impotence when it comes to the tragedies of the world, and that people can
easily overcome this inability and reverse their fate, or let the “Gorgon”
devour them. Camus\'s beliefs can be proved through the use of examples from the
movie Schindler\'s List.
Oscar Schindler, the movie\'s main character, is, in the beginning of the
movie, not actually aware of the full extent of the killing of Jews and the
powerful anti-Semitic outlook of his comrades. His ties relating to the affairs
of the Nazi party and his loyalty to his country shield him from this knowledge.
Thus, it can be concluded that in the beginning of the movie Schindler does not
fully grasp the tragedy at hand, and consequently does nothing attempt to aid
the Jews. Shindler\'s realizations of the horrors of the holocaust begin in one
scene near the middle of the film. During this infamous turning point of the
movie, Schindler, on top of a barren hill, traces the path of a young and
helpless Jewish girl who wanders haphazardly through the streets of a devastated
camp. In a red trench-coat-coat, nowhere to go, desperately searching for her
two parents, the little girl finally wanders into an abandoned building where
she is safe from the chaotic world outside. Her safety is only temporary, for
later she will be hunted down and cold heartily murdered, forgotten to the world,
destroyed by her own people, asking in wonderment, why do I deserve such
punishment?
This scene is the point at which Schindler becomes infuriated, and he
asks himself why, and most importantly, what he could do to stop the massacre.
Thus, Schindler\'s change in character is an example of Camus\'s idea that people
can do much more than “wait” for each tragedy to stop. People can help, and as
Camus states, that merely “strength of heart, intelligence and courage are
enough to stop fate and sometimes reverse it.” Schindler portrays intelligence,
courage and the will go forth and conquer.
Albert Camus has another idea. Camus believes that if one does wait and
do nothing about the horrors of history, “one day the Gorgon devours” you.
Schindler\'s List is a perfect example of how eventually people can be devoured.
In Schindler\'s List, one aspect of the film relates to the Gorgon idea. The Jews
of Schindler\'s List. As Camus interprets, when people wait they become devoured.
This is the same with the Jews. The Jews basically wait and are eventually
devoured, or murdered, by the nazis and German people. Of course, the Jews do
act to try and free themselves, such as hiding from the nazis and eating their
valuables, but ultimately these actions failed. Through this example, I believe
that Camus is right in his beliefs.
I think that it is sad that Camus is correct in saying that people
actually pay no attention to tragedies such as the holocaust. Anyone that reads
this quote and thinks of the holocaust would most likely ask themselves whether
or not they would recognize the holocaust if they were alive during that time.
I believe that it is hard to think in these terms and that, generally, people
deny the fact that they reject the horrific tradegies of today. Even though,
altogether, they do. Of course, ironically, lets just “wait” and see what
happens.

Category: Social Issues