The Dying Murderer

XIR24990One of my students in Greek Philosophy, discussing the Stoic ideal of accepting fate, said that when she was growing up she heard a story about a boy whose entire family was murdered.  After spending his life searching for the murderer, the boy, now a man, found the murderer was about to die.

The murderer begged the man to kill him and end his suffering, but the man refused to punish the murderer.  Now the man wondered why he had spent his life trying to kill his family’s murderer when time was already going to do it for him.

4 thoughts on “The Dying Murderer

  1. If the murderer was suffering, begging for death, would the man be doing him a favor by bringing it swiftly? If the story implies that the man forgave the murderer and let time and fate take its course in the end, wouldn’t he still have a hatred in his heart for not killing the murderer? He spent his life finding the murderer but did it bring him satisfaction to see him laying there suffereng so?

    1. The story ends with the man’s profound dissatisfaction with the course he took in life. It would have been better for him to let things go, but because he did not forgive and forget, he wasted his life and likely finds no solace. I actually left out the last part of my student’s story, which is that the man dies depressed and forlorn. It does indeed appear that he still had great hatred in his heart, as you say.

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