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Guilt and Redemption

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Tarek Bedair

on 9 June 2014

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Transcript of Guilt and Redemption

Macbeth is one of the characters in the play that did some very terrible things because of his greed and lust for power. At the beginning of the play he is a war hero and an amazing man to his friends and family. But by the end he kills one of his closest friends and has the other murdered in order to gain and secure his kingship, which he is unable to enjoy because of his terrible deeds. His guilt also manifests in his constant trembling and fear after murdering his friend.
The theme in relation to

The Kite Runner

Guilt and Redemption
The Kite Runner
, the main conflict is Amir's personal struggle with his own guilt that stemmed from him doing nothing to stop his friend Hassan from being raped.
Throughout the novel, Amir struggles through the pain associated with his past, and has to find a way to redeem himself in order to alleviate the pervasive guilt that plagued him.
In the end, after starting a new life in America, Amir redeems himself for his past by returning to Afghanistan to rescue Hassan's son from danger.
Guilt in Other Literature
Guilt in Video Games
Guilt in Television
Guilt, when left unchecked,
will plague the holder
unless redeemed.

The Book Thief
Plot Synopsis:
In the novel "The Book Thief" the main protagonist is a young girl named Liesel Meminger who lives in Germany during Hitler's reign and the second world war. At the start of the novel, Liesel is traveling with her mother and brother to a new city so that they can join their new foster parents. On the train ride there, her brother passes away which is an event that permanently traumatizes her. At her brothers graveside, she steals her first book from a young grave digger and gains her love for reading and words. After the ceremony she continues on to Molching where she meets her new foster parents, The Hubermans. She spends the next four years there living with the Hubermans, and eventually a jewish man who they are protecting from execution. She makes many friends, enemies and along the way steals many books.
is a TV series about a vampire named Angel, who had a history of violence and murder. However, he is later cursed by being given a human soul, which causes him to regret his violent past. Throughout the show, Angel tries to pursue redemption by working as a private detective in Los Angeles to help its helpless citizens, while battling other demonic forces as well as his own former demonic identity.
Guilt is present throughout the novel of "The Book Thief" and is represented by many of the characters and their actions in the novel.
Relation to Theme
Connections to Theme
Guilt is a significant human emotion that is important to ensure that we abide by our own moral standards.
Many things can be learned about a character by examining the way they cope with guilt and how they attempt to redeem themselves.
Due to this unique characteristic, it plays a central part in many current and past forms of media. It can take the form of characters, messages and actions and is present in many places. Guilt may never truly be redeemed but the pain of it can be lessened.

Comparison to
The Kite Runner
The general premises of
The Kite Runner
are similar: Both stories involve characters who embark on a quest to redeem themselves for actions they have done in their pasts.
The Kite Runner
, Amir's guilt stems from the fact that he did nothing to help his friend Hassan from being attacked. Angel's guilt, however, is far more deeper, because he has actually committed willful acts of violence against others in his past.

Both characters confront their guilt and redeem themselves by returning to and confronting their pasts: Amir goes back to this home country to rescue Hassan's son from Assef, the person who raped Hassan in the first place. Angel meets former friends from his villainous past and fights them, preventing them from causing further harm to innocent people.
Max Vandenberg
Max Vandenberg is one of the main characters in the novel. He is a jewish man that had to abandon everything in order to save himself from execution by the Nazis. His guilt is mainly caused by him leaving his family in order to save himself and burdening the Hubermann's with the task of hiding him. After leaving his family, he can barely function, which demonstrates his guilt. His guilt also manifests itself in his humble, extremely modest and selfless attitude. He seldom asks for anything and even when he needs something he refuses help.
Hans Hubermann
Hans Hubermann is another one of the main character in "The Book Thief" and is Leisel's foster father. Hans is one of those people who receives no recognition for his actions although he did so many great things. However, like anyone else he has regrets. After surviving a battle during world war one in which all of his friends died,he feels a strong sense of survivors guilt. In order to feel as though he redeemed himself, he does as much as he can to save and help Max, the son of one of his closest friends during the war.
Ilsa Hermann
Ilsa Hermann is the mayor of the Molching's wife and ends up being one of Liesel's closest friends by the end of the novel. After the death of her son in 1918, Ilsa spent almost 23 years grieving over his death. This is shown by how quiet she is and how she's always wearing a robe even when its unbearably hot outside. She figures out how to cope with her feelings and learns that by giving Liesel books and talking to her she can cleanse herself of her guilt.
Liesel Memminger
Liesel Memminger is the main protagonist of "The Book Thief" and has to deal with guilt throughout the entirety of her life and the novel. The guilt caused by the death of her brother and persecution of her mother (for being a communist) continued to plague her throughout her childhood and teens in the forms of constant nightmares, bet wetting and social anxiety. She also feels guilty after being one of the only survivors after a bombing and for several weeks her guilt takes the form of her talking to herself, eating very little and not bathing. She soon learns that sometimes the best way of redeeming yourself is just waiting.
Although guilt takes many different forms in this novel, the similarities to "The Kite Runner" are unmistakeable. Guilt scars whoever has it, and will continue to harm that person unless said person finds a suitable way to redeem themselves. Although this book reaches out into other forms of redeeming yourself such as letting time do its work, we can clearly see the link from this novel to our theme. Its also more apparent in "The Book Thief" that the effects of feeling guilty can be more than just mental and can absolutely be physical.
Plot Synopsis:
is a play in which the main character , Macbeth, after winning a war along side his friend Banquo is told by 3 witches that he will become Thane of Cawdor and then King of Scotland. After the former becomes true, he is certain that the rest will also come true and tells his wife of the prophecy. She convinces him to kill the current king in order for him to take his place. He does so compliantly and blames the death on the king's servants. This causes many people to get angry and swear vengeance against Macbeth, including a man named Macduff. After finding out that Macduff wants to get rid of him, he decides to order his army to take over Macduff's castle and to murder his wife and children. This further enrages Macduff and causes him to go and gather an army to take over Macbeth's castle. Macbeth loses the battle and the play end with a man names Malcolm taking over as king.
Guilt is similarly found in
and is represented by many characters and the effects guilt has on their physical and mental states.
Relation to Theme
As we can see in
, guilt is able to plague the holder to the point were they are willing to do anything to rid themselves of it, including kill themselves. It shows us how it affects people differently and how it can manifest in people in many different ways depending on their original mental states. The similarities between "The Kite Runner" and
include how the main characters in both had to deal and find effective ways of dealing with their guilt. The methods in which they rid themselves of their guilt was the main difference between the two literary works.
Lady Macbeth
Lady Macbeth was the driving force behind Macbeth's actions and was the main reason Macbeth did all those terrible things. Her guilt was less of a conscious thing and was mainly shown in her nightmares and sleep walking. She slowly began to descend into madness due to the immense amount of guilt and continually tried to clean her hands of blood that wasn't there. She eventually killed herself in order to escape her guilt.
Avatar: The Last Airbender
takes place in a world that is divided into four nations: The Water Tribe, the Earth Kingdom, the Fire Nation, and the Air Nomads. Each nation houses "benders" that have the power to manipulate their respective element. Sometime before the events of the show, the Fire Nation starts a war in which they try to take over the other nations.
The main character is a young boy named Aang, who is the "Avatar": the only person capable of mastering all four elements, and the one who is responsible for keeping the peace and protecting all of the nations. He has to learn to master bending all four of the elements while at the same time avoiding Zuko, the former prince of the Fire Nation who tries to capture him.
Connection to Theme
Comparison to
The Kite Runner
Guilt plays an important role in Angel, because the entire show's premise revolves around the main character trying to alleviate the guilt from his past by redeeming himself. He seeks redemption by working as an investigator to help various people in Los Angeles. These investigations usually result in Angel discovering that his clients' troubles are caused by other evil vampires and demons, which Angel fights in an attempt to atone for his similar actions in the past.
Because he was a vampire who lived off of drinking human blood, Angel's past mainly comprised of torturing and murdering many innocent people. This ends when a group of gypsies curse Angel with a human soul, causing him enormous guilt for his actions. This guilt was the gypsies' intention, as they decided that the guilt from committing the atrocities was the best possible punishment for him.
Initially, the primary antagonist of the series is Prince Zuko, the prince of the Fire Nation. Although he is a villain, Zuko's primary motivation is redemption; he was banished from the Fire Nation after a dispute with his father, and tries to redeem himself by capturing the Avatar, who threatens the Fire Nation's plan to take over the other nations.
During his journey, Zuko suffers from a deep sadness stemming from his guilt for angering his father. Because of his banishment, the only ally he has is his uncle Iroh, who travels with him and tries to convince him to move on from his past and start a new life away from the Fire Nation. Despite this, Zuko usually ignores him and is constantly obsessed with his goal of capturing Aang, having no desires other than to redeem himself and regain his father's respect.
Eventually, Zuko is allowed to return to the Fire Nation, when he realizes that he still did not feel happy and that his quest for redemption was worthless. He decides to betray his father and goes on a new quest for redemption by joining Aang and his friends and proving that he is no longer a villain.
In both
The Kite Runner
, guilt stems from the feeling of failing a specific person. In The Kite Runner, Amir's guilt is caused by his failure to save Hassan from being raped. In Avatar, Zuko's guilt is caused by him angering his father.

However, the way that these characters approach their guilt is very different from each other. While Amir tries to alleviate his guilt by getting rid of Hassan so that he isn't constantly reminded of his rape, Zuko tries to earn back his father's respect so that he can be with him again.

Despite this, both characters' attempts are similarly futile. Amir is still plagued with constant memories of Hassan even after he leaves the family, and Zuko still feels guilt after returning to his father when he realizes that his father's respect is worthless to him. After this, both characters change their ways and embark on quest for true redemption.
"Out, damned spot! Out, I say"
--Lady Macbeth, Act V, scene i
"I am in blood
Stepp'd in so far, that, should I wade no more,
Returning were as tedious as go o'er"
-- Macbeth, Act III scene iv
Theme: Guilt will plague the holder unless they rid themselves of it.
Theme: Guilt plagues those who hold it unless they find a way to rid themselves of it.
Angel works to redeem himself by fighting other vampires and demons, protecting the same kinds of innocent people that he used to kill. Occasionally, when Angel encounters familiar people from his violent past, the show cuts from the modern setting to centuries ago, when Angel was evil. This shows that Angel endures stressful flashbacks to his past as he has to fight his former friends while his guilt resurfaces.
These reminders of Angel's past constantly plague him with guilt, and further strengthen his desperation for redemption.
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