The Interlopers Theme

What general theme is the main focus in "The Interlopers"?

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The main theme of "The Interlopers" is that of an awareness of the distortions of the vendetta and its eventual denial.

Having inherited the feud over a strip of woods, Ulrich von Gradwitz intensifies the animosity between him and the man he considers his foe, Georg Znaeym, whom Ulrich considers a "raider of the disputed border-forest." This vendetta is fueled by the hatred of the two men for each other from the time that they are boys. Furthermore, this vendetta intensifies until both Ulrich and Georg yearn for each other's blood, hoping that fate will bring them misfortune. men each prayed that misfortune might fall on the other, and this wind-scourged winter night Ulrich had banded together his foresters to watch for the dark foresters. 

Ironically, when they are finally confronted with one another, the realization that his enemy is before him is so sudden that each man who has been brought up with a sense of honor does not immediately fire his weapon. This unexpected intervention of nature and its terrible blow to both men brings with it also a disturbing awareness of the mental distortions that holding such a vendetta causes. So, as Ulrich and Georg lie pinioned beneath huge tree branches, their common plight effects the reconciliation of the two men. Inevitably, however, nature again strikes with a final denial of the men's vengeful mentalities in their vendetta as ferocious wolves hear their cries and run toward them. 

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As with most texts, multiple themes are present.  Here are a few ...

1.  "Man is insignificant to nature."  This is apparent when two very powerful men are trapped under a tree and then are ultimately killed by a pack of wolves.

2.  "Holding a grudge benefits no one."  The grudge that the two men have against each other leads to their death.  If they had forgiven each other and moved on, neither would have died.

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