Conflict is not a matter of you get what you deserve. How are some people innocent victims of conflict?

Expert Answers
literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Since you posted this question in Literature, I am sure that you are examining conflict in a text. (Outside of that, this would also be a great Discussion post or fit into Social Sciences.) This conflict, per your question, is not always the fault of the protagonist. Right? Therefore, what I am assuming you are asking is about some examples where the protagonist faces conflict that they did not force to happen.

There is truth in the statement made in your question: some people are innocent victims of conflict.

Therefore, there are many examples (in literature) where the protagonist, or any character for that fact, faces conflict which they do not deserve.

For example, the protagonist Melinda, in Laurie Halse Anderson's novel Speak, does not deserve the conflict she faces in the novel. Melinda is bullied and alienated by both her closest friends and complete strangers. Melinda was raped at a party and called the police. The party was broken up and everyone comes to find out that it was Melinda who placed the call. Melinda did not deserve to face the conflicts she faced.

To determine if a character deserves the conflict they face in their life, a reader must examine the character's actions. Did they do something which deserved conflict to be a part of their life? If not, then the character could be deemed innocent and would not deserve the conflict which they are forced to face.

gloryalee | Student

Well, there's always two sides to a conflict, and sometimes it's not even up to the reader to judge who is "right" or "wrong", "guilty" or "innocent". For example, in "The Cask of Amontillado", the protagonist is plotting to obliterate a guy whom he tells the reader nothing about, not even what he did to prompt such an endeavor of revenge. In the end, he succeeds, and the so-called "antagonist" is locked away forever in a burning crypt. So, who would the antagonist be 'innocent' or is it just the work of an Unreliable Narrator?