In the film, Schindler's List, why do you think Goeth executes at random?

1 Answer | Add Yours

akannan's profile pic

Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The development of Goeth's character is one of the most important elements in the film.  It helps to establish what evil looks like and what the Nazis psychology was.  In bringing depth and complexity to the Nazis in the form of Goeth, the film makes a statement on how the only way to fully overcome evil is to understand its various dimensions and stand committed against it after such comprehension.  Goeth's psychology of terror helps to make him such a complex character.  His killing at random is something that enables him to exercise complete power over those in the work camp because of their absolute fear of him.  In the randomness of his killings, prisoners never know if they are going to be "next."  This sense of random keeps total control over the camp for no one sees themselves as safe.  When Goeth executes people at random as he awakes in the morning, or simply kills random people for small transgressions, or kills everyone around  a particular person to prove his point to that individual, it reflects how complex and depraved evil is.  To this extent, such a rendering also demonstrates how the Nazis were able to be so effective in maintaining control in that they understood the power in the psychology of future fear.

We’ve answered 317,489 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question