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Critical Analysis of Trial of God by Elie Wiesel

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Trial of God by Elie Wiesel is a representation of both a religious question of why a perfect and honest being allows evil and suffering in the world he created? Why would loving and just God allow his chosen people to suffer. While it is written as a Purim Shpiel based on a real event, Wiesel tries to capture the emotions and theological points that were present at the time. However, it is not a true depiction of what Elie Wiesel had experienced. Rather than set the story at a time of the holocaust, Elie Wiesel, because of some difficulties, decides to set the story in the past, with a new location with new cast of individuals. As, a result it begs the question, why did Elie Wiesel decide to do this. Why did he decide to take an experience of his and set it in the past?

In the original trial of God, evidence was presented, witnesses were brought forward, inferences were made and by the end God was found guilty of crimes against humanity. After which there was silence. Finally, in some strange turn of events, everyone went for evening prays. Just like that. If looked at first glance one can find look at the event as comedic. Especially when one considers the sudden change of the tone of the story as the trail begin, concludes and even prays begin. It seems it can infer that Mr. Wiesel was trying to transfer this tone to a retelling as he called a “tragic farce”. However, with the serious nature of the Holocaust and his own personal connection Mr. Wiesel may have found that it difficult. As a solution Mr. Wiesel may have thought that producing the narrative as a play in the past may mitigate these problems or 'a Purimschpiel within a Purimschpiel'. This still allows the situation to have comedic effects while also retaining its tragic theme. Furthermore, it allows Elie Wiesel to retain core essence of the event he witnesses long ago. The seriousness of the event is brought upon by the fact it took place after another Jewish tragedy (Chmielnicki pogroms). However, the trail is itself is a farce. Setting the story in the present time or the time of the incident would cause the story to treated as a recounting but setting back in time allows the story to have a life of its own and allows us to see it as a question rather than a telling. Elie Wiesel is an observer, storyteller, and a writer, in that order. Each of his roles is are shaped by tragedy. As a survivor of tragedy, I feel Wiesel is not trying to recount another story of holocaust nor is he he trying to poke fun at but he’s informing us in way that makes him comfortable and preserves the uniqueness of the original event.

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Next, Allowing the story to take place in a different period allows a mirror to held up to our own believes whether it be Jewish or Christian. Otherwise the important aspect’s would be overlooked in present or overshadowed by contemporary thinking. The characters still think and act in way that relate to the time period and that is what he the writer wanted. I feel this is why Elie Wiesel sets the event around certain in this time period. it allowed him to anchor his thoughts and experience in a time period allows him to convey the same thoughts and feeling that helt without the contemporary philosophical or theological thought processes interring. This type of writing promotes multiple perspectives by introducing characters who have different points of view and offering examples most through speech of how people deal or manage their individual problems in the context of religion and tragedy. It also illustrates the interpretive nature of history by showing the event in different context (time period). I feel a good example of character that exemplifies this is Sam. Sam acts as a defender of God contrary to actual event in in which no one defended God however is true nature isn’t reveal until the end. Sam is portrayed in the play as a man of faith, whose trust in God is unshakable and solid. 'God may do with me whatever he wishes. Our task is to glorify him, to praise Him, to love Him-in spite of ourselves.' (p. 157). Sam’s arguments consist of rational reasons for God’s actions and inaction in relation to human beings. While Sam argues from logic and reasoning Berish argues form experience. Sam is allowed to be his way because unlike the everyone else he is Christian therefore removed from the tragedy of the inn keepers and others. By allowing the story to take place 300 years ago. Ellie is allowing characters such as Sam and Berish discuss and argue on God before the religious reforms of the 19th century. Therefore , As a result this setting, it allows us the readers to better understand how these individuals might have responded to their environments as extension of Elie Wiesel own environment during the time of the holocaust.

In the end, God reasons for allowing is unanswered and whether God is responsible is questioned to debate and trial. However, I truly believe he had a mission in telling this story outside the environment of another holocaust story but to propose questions and thoughts of God himself. The holocaust and the massacre themselves were the transport but the play was the main item. I believe that he set the story back for too many reasons. First, to convey his experience in ironically without diminishing the seriousness nature of the holocaust. Secondly, to allow us to think of the story from the perspective of others without contemporary, and lastly to expand on the story to include his own thoughts and experiences through characterization while maintaining the authenticity of the original event.

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Critical Analysis of Trial of God by Elie Wiesel. (2022, August 12). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 21, 2024, from
“Critical Analysis of Trial of God by Elie Wiesel.” Edubirdie, 12 Aug. 2022,
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