One thing that spoke to me personally when I was reading The Tale of Despereaux was the idea that love overcomes evil. I didn’t really agree with this and it was hard to read the book because it kind of annoyed me because the characters believed that love is what overcomes evil rather than good overcoming evil in that because you are good, righteous and pure you use this to have bravery and courage to overcome the enemy and the evil that is in this world. Good, righteousness, and purity in this situation being inclined more towards good than evil, inclined to do what is morally right and morally good, inclined do do what is right and good rather than what is evil, and not necessarily without sin but with an inclination to avoid sin and wrong doing as much as possible and to avoid influences that will cause sin and wrong doing.
There is one point in the story when the narrator implies that Despereaux will be able to overcome Roscuro, Mig, the rats, and the dungeon and rescue the princess through his love for her,
Honestly, reader, what do you think the chances are of such a small mouse succeeding in his quest? Zip. Zero. Nada. Goose eggs. But you must, when you are calculating the odds of the mouse’s success, factor in his love for the princess. Love, as we have already discussed, is a powerful, wonderful, ridiculous thing, capable of moving mountains. And spools of thread. (223)
Before this the narrator also implies that even though the king can love with all of his being, he believes that because he can’t see past his hate for the rats, nothing can rescue the princess and overcome these things, not even his love,
But there was one extraordinary, wonderful, admirable thing about the king. He was a man who was able to and willing to love with the whole of his heart. And just as he had loved the the queen with he whole of his heart, so, to, he loved his daughter with the whole of it, even more than the whole of it. He love the Princess Pea with every particle of his being, and she had been taken from him. (211) ‘Liar,’ said the king. He sat back up. ‘I knew it. All rodents are liars and thieves. She is not in the dungeon. My men have searched the dungeon.’ (213)
The Narrator seems to be saying that because both Despeareaux and the king believe that love exists and is a wonderful thing it can be used in many ways but their views on the way it can be used differs, Despereaux sees love as being able to overcome anything but the king can’t see past his hatred for the rats, so he doesn’t think that his love or anyone else’s love for the princess can help her, thus he doesn’t believe that anything can be done to help this situation not even Despereaux going to the dungeon to save his daughter, the princess.
I don’t agree with how these points of view are because I am a Christian and I believe that we are all inherently evil and we all sin and thus cannot truly love in the way we are supposed to be cause of the fall of Adam into sin at the creation of the world and thus we all have a sinful nature. I believe that because of God’s love for us he sent his son to die on a cross, take the our sins upon himself, and go to hell to take the punishment for those sins so we did not have to go through that punishment for eternity and thus Jesus then rose after three days and went back to His and our father in heaven. I also believe that because of this we are now seen by God as righteous, pure, and good. Jesus was wrongly accused of blasphemy and thus put to death by the religious leaders of the time. Jesus was completely sinless, blameless, and holy and so he is good, righteous, and completely pure, thus he could take our sins upon as a burden upon him and died and rise again to save us from our sins.
Because of these beliefs I see it as Despereaux using his righteousness, purity, and goodness to overcome the things he is facing through the fact that he loves the princess. he is using his love as a motivator not as a tool to overcome them, he is doing it through love, not with love but with righteousness, purity, and goodness not through these things. This is shown in the way Despereaux goes through similar experiences to the way Jesus died on the cross for our sins. He is wrongly accused of “sins” he did not commit by the leaders of his community, the “sins” of reading human books, and interacting with humans, which were not sins at all, they were just signs of being good, righteous, and pure similar to Jesus being pure and sinless and was sent to the dungeon for it, “‘To the dungeon. To the dungeon. To the dungeon……..‘Very well,’ said the Most Very Honored Head Mouse. ‘You will die, then, with a black heart. Thread master,’ he called, ‘Bring out the thread.’” (56). Because of his goodness, righteousness, and purity he is able to go to the dungeon and die a symbolic death, become familiar with the dungeon’s ways, and still overcome it and rise out of it and thus when the princess is kidnapped he is able to go back to the dungeon and rescue the princess and bring her out into the light of the castle, the same way that Jesus died on the cross, went to hell and experienced our punishment in hell, and it is prophesied that he will come again to rescue us from this world and bring us to heaven. Despereaux is also shown to be using his goodness, righteousness, and purity to do this is through the fact that he does not tell the princess he loves her but instead, “‘I honor you!’ shouted Despereaux.” (40). Thus love does not seem to be his main motivation in this situation even if the narrator implies that it is.
I did not agree with the way the narrator told a story of love overcoming the darkness in the story because of my beliefs as a Christian in righteousness, purity, and goodness, thus I see Despereaux as being blamed for others sins, dying a symbolic death in the dungeon, becoming familiar with its ways, rising out of it again and coming back to rescue the princess from the dungeon through goodness, righteousness, and purity as symbolic of Jesus being blamed for our sins, dying on the cross for our sins, going to hell to experience our punishment, rising from the dead, and being prophesied to come back to rescue us from this world through goodness, righteousness and purity.