Power Of Doubt Analysis

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The Power of Doubt

"At the bottom of great doubt lies great awakening. If you doubt fully, you will awaken fully" (5). With these words Hakuin Ekaku, one of the most influential figures of Buddhism, expresses how doubt can trigger the truth in different situations. Many times, it is in belief rather than knowledge where the proofs for the truth are founded. This is reflected in the play “Doubt”, in which John Patrick Shanley puts ambiguity at the service of meaning, showing how “doubt can be a bond as powerful and sustaining as certainty” (6). Sister Aloysius, one of the main characters in the play, finds herself overwhelmed by her suspicion about Father Flynn’s behavior in the parish. She accuses him for having committed an act of pedophilia against a black student,
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Firstly, having a private talk with Donald Muller when there was nothing to be private with a twelve year-old boy makes Father Flynn’s arguments much weaker. Even worse, Donald’s unusual attitude in class after coming from the rectory reinforces Sister Aloysius’s suspicion. When Donald came into the classroom “he looked frightened and…he put his head on the desk in the most peculiar way. And one other thing. I think there was alcohol in his breath” (22) confesses Sister James in one of her talks with Sister Aloysius. The event which involves Father Flynn and Donald Muller reveals a furtive attitude and demeanor in Father Flynn. His secrecy becomes mysterious, leading not only Sister Aloysius but also the reader to judge him as guilty.

All in all, though Father Flynn presents reasonable arguments to justify his behavior, they are not good enough to deny Sister’s Aloysius accusations. Moreover, his resignation as well as secrecy in his demeanor support Sister Aloysius’ suspicious on Father Flynn’s alleged infringements, making her statements

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