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There are many questions that can be posed when speaking of right and wrong what determines whether ones actions are right or wrong what exactly right and wrong are and why actions must be judged as either right or wrong All three questions can be answered with the statement that the only universal absolute is that all things are relative The previous statement may seem to be a paradox but with closer examination it is evident that what is true for all human beings is that there are no truths A prime example used in the debate on what constitutes right or wrong actions is Ryunosuke Akutagawas Rashomon The story takes place in twelfth-century Kyoto Japan with the main character as a former servant of a noble samurai warrior who was forced to take refuge from the rain underneath the Rashomon a large gate It was at the Rashomon that he found an old woman making wigs out of the hair of the corpses of those that had been left there He confronted the old woman who was committing what he considered to be an unpardonable crime and with his sword drawn demanded an explanation for her vile behavior She told the servant that what he thought was a great evil was what she had to do in order to live and he was then overcome by a powerful urge to rob the old woman beat her and vanish into the night The story shows the main characters eventual rise of evil to facilitate survival Even in a society based on nobility honor and pride when faced with certain circumstances in this case death one will try to secure his place in the world and prolong life by any means necessary The servant debated for quite sometime whether he would become a thief and live or starve to death but he could not muster enough courage to justify becoming a thief This was the case
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