Study Guide

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe Compassion and Forgiveness

By C.S. Lewis

Compassion and Forgiveness

Chapter 2
Mr. Tumnus

"Then be off home as quick as you can," said the Faun, "and – c-can you ever forgive me for what I meant to do?"

"Why, of course I can," said Lucy, shaking him heartily by the hand. "And I do hope you won't get into dreadful trouble on my account." (2.57-58)

Lucy is ready and willing to forgive anyone who is genuinely sorry. Mr. Tumnus feels the need to apologize for a transgression he hasn't even committed!

Chapter 6
Peter Pevensie

Peter turned at once to Lucy.

"I apologise for not believing you," he said, "I'm sorry. Will you shake hands?"

"Of course," said Lucy, and did. (6.12-14)

Peter may seem high-and-mighty sometimes, but he is always willing to admit when he is wrong. As with Mr. Tumnus, Lucy is ready to forgive him right away. Unlike Edmund, she doesn't hold grudges.

Chapter 11

And Edmund for the first time in this story felt sorry for someone besides himself. It seemed so pitiful to think of those little stone figures sitting there all the silent days and all the dark nights, year after year, till the moss grew on them and at last even their faces crumbled away. (11.21)

At the moment when Edmund feels compassion for someone else, we know that he can be redeemed, in spite of everything that he's done.

Chapter 12
Lucy Pevensie

"Please – Aslan," said Lucy, "can anything be done to save Edmund?"

"All shall be done," said Aslan. "But it may be harder than you think." And then he was silent again for some time. Up to that moment Lucy had been thinking how royal and strong and peaceful his face looked; now it suddenly came into her head that he looked sad as well. (12.21-22)

Aslan is willing to make any sacrifice necessary to show mercy to Edmund, but that doesn't stop him from feeling sorry that such a sacrifice is necessary in the first place.

Chapter 13

"Here is your brother," he said, "and – there is no need to talk to him about what is past."

Edmund shook hands with each of the others and said to each of them in turn, "I'm sorry," and everyone said "That's all right." And then everyone wanted very hard to say something which would make it quite clear that they were all friends with him again – something ordinary and natural – and of course no one could think of anything in the world to say. (13.27)

If Edmund were our brother, we're not sure we'd be able to forgive him so quickly and easily. It seems like Peter, Susan, and Lucy are just so glad that the Witch didn't murder him that they've forgotten he put them in mortal danger only yesterday.

Chapter 15
Susan Pevensie

"I do believe!" said Susan. "But how queer. They're nibbling away at the cords!"

"That's what I thought," said Lucy. "I think they're friendly mice. Poor little things – they don't realise he's dead. They think it'll do some good untying him." (15.12-13)

This may seem like a small incident, but Aslan won't soon forget the compassion of the little mice in the field. Even though he is magnificent and important, Aslan values the smallest creatures in his kingdom.

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