EICHMANN IS IN THE PANOPTICON: COMMENTS ON HANNAH ARENDT’S “BANALITY OF EVIL”
Keywords:Arendt, Eichmann, banality of evil, panopticon
Hannah Arendt’s book “Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil” has led to a hot-debated argument among readers for years, in particular, the Jews. She has been criticized for describing the former Nazi officer, Adolf Eichmann, with the terms “thoughtless”, “clown”, and “banal”. However, through a close reading of the expression “banality of evil,” this paper presents the rational side of what Arendt has written about the offender, who has been responsible for murdering millions of people in the extermination camps. Many see him as guilty and extremely sinful. While others consider him as a heedless follower of fascism. This study aims to explore the invisible parts of this case – through the Jewish gazes on Eichmann during his trial which show the power relation that is depicted in Foucault’s “panopticism”, the influence of nationalism (Immanuel Kant), Ideology (Gramsci and Althusser), and obedience (Milgram’s experiment). This analysis demonstrates that Arendt has turned to philosophy and depicted Eichmann in his state of nature rather than being a German or a Nazi officer.
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