Moral Dilemmas

May 13, 2008
By
There are many times in life when we will be faced with making a decision. Some of these decisions will be pretty simple. Some of them will be very difficult and could result in something happening that goes against all we believe in, or our moral responsibility. Morality is a set of rules that modifies our behavior in social situations. It's about doing good instead of harm and it sets a standard of virtuous conduct. Most of the time, no matter what decision we make, someone will not agree with it.
In the story The Guest, the schoolmaster, Daru, is forced into making a life or death decision. An Arab, accused of killing his cousin, is brought as far as the schoolhouse on the hilltop by Balducci, his guard. It is here that Daru learns that he now must take the Arab the rest of the way to police headquarters. “Are you pulling my leg?” asked the schoolmaster upon learning of his part in the Arabs future. Daru is told that these are the orders and he must obey. Daru is having a hard time with this because he doesn’t believe in sentencing someone to death for committing a crime. As he says in the story, “Every bit of this disgusts me, and first of all you fellow here. But I won’t hand him over. Fight, yes, if I have to. But not that.” Daru is torn between his moral belief that is wrong to take a life and his allegiance to his country. Unlike Balducci, who does what he is told to do, Daru is the kind of person who thinks things through and ultimately tries to get the facts of the case in front of him in order to justify what he is about to do.
When making a decision, no matter what the subject matter, it is important to weigh all the facts. Daru tried to get the true story from the Arab. But because there was a language barrier between the two men, the Arab didn’t understand all the questions asked of him. It is clear though, from the story, that the Arab wants Daru to accompany him to police headquarters. Perhaps he sees how hard this decision is for Daru and feels safer with him. Because there is always going to be someone who has a different outlook than you do, it is important to know both the pros and cons of the decision.
A lot of different factors can play into the decision making process. We get our moral values from our family, friends, religion and culture. Religious beliefs will carry a lot of weight on certain moral decisions such as the death penalty. Many religions place a high value on human life and the thought of taking a life for any reason would go against all that is taught.
Most of us are raised to do what is right. No one starts out wanting to hurt others. As we go through life, the lessons learned along the way will determine the values we choose to live by. Sometimes it may be necessary to make a decision that goes against all that we believe to be right. . The Arab had the opportunity to escape from Daru while they were still in the schoolhouse. Daru wouldn’t have minded if he had. Daru decides that it is not up to him to determine the fate of the Arab. “Take it,” he said. “There are dates, bread, and sugar. You can hold out for two days. Here are a thousand francs, too.” By giving him food and money and showing him the two roads he can choose from, Daru has made the choice not to choose. He has left the choice up to the Arab. He hoped that the Arab would not choose the road to prison. As he started back up the hills toward the schoolhouse, Daru, “with a heavy heart made out the Arab walking slowly on the road to prison.” Daru fully believes that he has made the right choice by giving the Arab control over his own life. He thinks this decision was the right thing to do. Although the Arab himself had the opportunity to take the road that would probable lead to his freedom, he made the moral decision to face his punishment and pay for the crime he committed. Religious beliefs will carry a lot of weight on certain moral decisions. Religions and certain cultures place a high value on human life and the thought of taking a life for any reason would go against all that is taught.
We all have a moral obligation not only to ourselves, but to those people around us. Too many people make the wrong decisions. Sometimes we should take a step back and think about what we really believe is the righteous thing to do before we make a mistake that could have severe consequences. Daru chose to live a peaceful, quiet lifestyle up on that hillside. He was put into a compromising position by Balducci and made the choice to follow his moral beliefs instead of doing something he didn’t believe was right. We should all try to do what we know is the right thing to do. If we did, this world would be a much better place to live





Join the Discussion

This article has 1 comment. Post your own now!

daku said...
Dec. 3, 2016 at 12:30 am
Nicee it made me
 
bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback