The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe Theme of Compassion and Forgiveness
The ability to forgive those who have caused you harm or betrayed you is the most important virtue in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. People who are unable to forgive small slights find themselves drawn into a spiral of negative emotions. In order to be redeemed, they must find pity and sympathy for their fellow creatures somewhere in their own hearts. Good is able to triumph over evil through one great act of mercy and compassion. Forgiveness, when it comes, is complete. What's done is done, and it would be pointless to bring up past wrongs.
Questions About Compassion and Forgiveness
- Describe the first moment at which Edmund feels compassion for someone other than himself. (Hint: See Chapter 11: "Aslan is Nearer.") Why is this moment so important for the development of Edmund's character?
- Does Aslan forgive Edmund? Is sacrificing himself in Edmund's place the same thing as forgiveness, or is it something different?
- Why do Peter, Susan, and Lucy forgive Edmund right away when he apologizes to them? Do you think you could do the same? Why or why not?
Chew on This
Although Aslan redeems Edmund, he does not actually forgive Edmund's transgression against his siblings.
By sacrificing himself for Edmund, Aslan implies that all Edmund's past behavior is forgiven and Edmund can begin with a clean slate.