Just Lather, That’s All: principles vs. actions
In Hernando Tellez’s Just Lather, That’s All; despite given the opportunity to greatly help the revolutionists, the Barber cannot murder Captain Torres because the act goes against his moral beliefs. Even killing an evil man is beyond his personal principles. On the other hand, Captain Torres is more than capable of killing the Barber, but his arrogance prevents him. His intentional provocation of the Barber tests the revolutionist; he knows the potential danger, but refuses to accept the possibility as he believes he cannot be killed by such a simple man. Morality and arrogance prevent both characters from killing each other; their principles mean more to them than their duties.
The Barber cannot kill Captain Torres, because he finds murder ethically ugly. After the horrible hanging of the revolutionists by Captain Torres, he becomes horrified and contemplates killing the man: “And how easy it would be to kill him. And he deserves it. Does he? No!” (par. 12) The Barber is certain that murdering Captain Torres is “easy” for him, but his morality puts him in hesitation, which is clearly shown as he contradicts himself: “[Torres] deserves [to die]. Does he? No!” The Barber thinks that “no one deserves to have someone else make the sacrifice of becoming a murderer” (par. 12), even if that “one” is a ruthless executor like Captain Torres. The word “sacrifice” emphasizes the Barber’s hate for murderers, as it shows that someone must give up his moral principles and turn into a monster in order to become a murderer. The Barber has to sacrifice the joy of perfecting his job by committing the most shameful mistake a Barber can make - opening a customer’s pores and emitting blood. “Blood” is the word that the Barber doesn’t like: “out of his neck a gush of blood would spout onto the sheet… the blood would keep inching along the floor…ineradicable…like a scarlet stream.” (par. 12) The Barber’s disgust for blood, which...
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