In The Kite Runner, why is Assef evil?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Hosseini shows evil to be a complex combination between the desire for power and a cunning ability to justify it.  Assef is evil because he is able to display both tendencies.  Initially, Assef's evil nature is evident because he believes himself to be superior to others.  Elements of his life are his justification for this.  His family's status as wealthy and privileged, the fact that his mother was German, and that he embraces Hitler's idea of racial purity.  Assef is evil because he is able to justify his beliefs of personal superiority and impose them on anyone who opposes him.  His denigration of Hassan as well as his rise to power as a Taliban official reflects this.  Evil is shown to be something that involves both an emotional lack of empathy and a political means of justification.  For Hosseini through his depiction of Assef, both are needed in order to fully develop the characterization of evil.  In Assef, evil is shown to contain both elements.  Assef ends up embodying evil because of a world view in which power and control are the most important elements.  It is for this reason that his final confrontation with Amir is highly relevant and meaningful.

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The Kite Runner

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