Study Guide

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe Guilt and Blame

By C.S. Lewis

Guilt and Blame

Chapter 2
Lucy Pevensie

"Mr. Tumnus! Whatever is the matter?" for the Faun's brown eyes had filled with tears and then the tears began trickling down his cheeks, and soon they were running off the end of his nose; and at last he covered his face with his hands and began to howl. (2.28)

Mr. Tumnus has what we might call an overdeveloped sense of guilt. He begins to feel bad for betraying Lucy before he's actually done so. In his mind, thinking of betraying her is just as bad as actually doing so; intent is enough to cause guilt.

Chapter 6
Edmund Pevensie

"I say," began Edmund presently, "oughtn't we to be bearing a bit more to the left, that is, if we are aiming for the lamp-post." He had forgotten for the moment that he must pretend never to have been in the wood before. The moment the words were out of his mouth he realised that he had given himself away. Everyone stopped; everyone stared at him. Peter whistled.

"So you really were here," he said, "that time Lu said she'd met you in here – and you made out she was telling lies."

There was a dead silence. "Well, of all the poisonous little beasts – " said Peter and shrugged his shoulders and said no more. There seemed, indeed, no more to say and presently the four resumed their journey; but Edmund was saying to himself, "I'll pay you all out for this, you pack of stuck-up, self-satisfied prigs." (6.24-26)

Peter blames Edmund immediately and completely for the lies he told to make Lucy look bad. While Peter is sort of in the right, because it was wrong of Edmund to lie, his willingness to place blame on Edmund only increases Edmund's own sense of alienation.

Chapter 9

For the mention of Aslan gave him a mysterious and horrible feeling just as it gave the others a mysterious and lovely feeling. (9.1)

Because Edmund feels guilty for making a pact with the Witch, the effect of Aslan's name is to increase his guilt and make him feel worse.

Even as it was, he got wet through for he had to stoop to go under branches and great loads of snow came sliding off on to his back. And every time this happened he thought more and more how he hated Peter – just as if all this had been Peter's fault. (9.6)

By this point in the story, Edmund has had a lot of practice deceiving himself. He's now able to blame things on Peter that have absolutely no connection with his brother's actions.

Chapter 11

The only way to comfort himself now was to try to believe that the whole thing was a dream and that he might wake up at any moment. And as they went on, hour after hour, it did come to seem like a dream. (11.10)

At the height of his guilt, Edmund can't see any way of atoning for what he has done or repairing his relationships with his family. All he can do is hope that he's having a terrible nightmare.

Chapter 12
Mr. and Mrs. Beaver

"He has tried to betray them and joined the White Witch, O Aslan," said Mr. Beaver. And then something made Peter say:

"That was partly my fault, Aslan. I was angry with him and I think that helped him to go wrong."

And Aslan said nothing either to excuse Peter or to blame him but merely stood looking at him with his great golden eyes. And it seemed to all of them that there was nothing to be said. (12.18-20)

Peter immediately, without any prompting, takes responsibility for his part in Edmund's alienation and betrayal. Perhaps because Peter is so willing to recognize his own faults, Aslan sees no need to punish him.

Chapter 13

Edmund had got past thinking about himself after all he'd been through and after the talk he'd had that morning. He just went on looking at Aslan. (13.37)

Edmund is freed from guilt when he begins to look at the world less selfishly. Instead of constantly focusing on himself, he begins to focus on Aslan. By directing his focus toward something outside himself, something truly good, he regains his own equilibrium.

As soon as they had breakfasted they all went out, and there they saw Aslan and Edmund walking together in the dewy grass, apart from the rest of the court. There is no need to tell you (and no one ever heard) what Aslan was saying but it was a conversation which Edmund never forgot. (13.25)

We never learn whether Aslan blames Edmund for his part in the White Witch's struggle for power, but we do learn that Edmund changes from this point on. His guilt is alleviated, and he feels responsibility, rather than placing blame.

This is a premium product

Tired of ads?

Join today and never see them again.

Please Wait...