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Mercy Killing of Mice and Men

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If you think about mercy killing, also known as compassionate homicide, you think about the act of painlessly allowing to die, to avoid extreme measures of pain and suffering. Mercy killing is demonstrated thoroughly throughout John Steinbeck’s novel Of Mice And Men. Mercy killing can be argued whether or not it is right or wrong, and/or justifiable, as demonstrated throughout the novel Of Mice And Men. In current society Mercy Killing is considered politically incorrect, although many people agree it is a necassary step to save one from extreme pain and suffering. Several acts of mercy killing are demonstrated throughout Steinbeck’s novel Of Mice And Men.

One situation of mercy killing is Carlson’s shooting of Candy’s dog because of it’s old age it had no teeth smelled bad, and was suffering from blindness as quoted by Carlson: “That dog of candy’s is so god damn old he can’t hardly walk. Stinks like hell, too. Ever’ time he comes into the bunk house I can smell him for two, three days.” Got no teeth, damn near blind, can’t eat. There was Slims drowning of the four pups because the mother was unable to sustain them. There was the murder of Lennie by George to save him from experience possible torture from Curley. Curley quoted ” i’m gonna shoot the guts outa that big bastard myself, even if I only got one hand. I’m gonna get ‘im.” In all of these examples, the killer kills the other out of mercy and love, not for the usual motives of hatred, rage, anger, etc.

I believe Lennies death is It was only partially morally justified. George was Lennie’s protector and knew, more than anyone else, that he was a kind and gentle soul. He had the mind of a child but unequalled masculine strength. Hence, he committed murder without meaning to. He was going to get jailed and was going to get the death penalty – George knew that there was no way out this time. Hence, he killed him as an act of mercy – it was, in moral terms, a kinder and more merciful death than that which awaited him. At the same time, we cannot ignore the fact that Lennie was a burden upon George. By killing him, George was effectively freeing himself from that burden. Hence, the selfish element undermines the argument that this was wholly morally justified.

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