22 April 2019
The Cycle of Hatred
“If one comes to call vengeance justice, then such justice will only breed further hatred.” This quote, by the antagonist known as Pain, originates from episode 165 of the well known anime Naruto Shippuden created by Masashi Kishimoto. Naruto Shippuden is a Japanese animated action-comedy-adventure, released on February 15, 2007, and is the sequel to the animated series Naruto, released on October 3, 2002. The anime centers around the main character, Naruto Uzumaki, who is raised within a world ruled by ninjas and warring nations. Deep within Naruto resides a demon known as the Nine Tailed Fox, and because of this he is targeted by an organization, known as the Akatsuki, attempting to capture all the 9 demons. Naruto’s main objective is to bring peace to the ninja world, however, his ideals are put to the test after he combats a character known as Pain. Pain is the leader of the Akatsuki, and an entire nation, and is responsible for the destruction of Naruto’s village and the murder of his friends and teachers. When Naruto claims he will avenge his home by killing Pain and bringing peace to the ninja world, Pain reveals that Naruto’s village had done exactly the same things to his own village. As the conversation continues Naruto learns that him and Pain are no different from one another. Pain preaches of peace and justice just as Naruto preaches of it, he seeks the same goal as Naruto, and what Naruto claims he will do to Pain, Pain has already done to Naruto. They had the same teachers, they both had people important to them who were lost, and they both were responsible for the pain the other person suffered. They are nearly exactly the same in every way, yet Naruto is perceived as the hero and Pain is perceived as the villain. The speech Pain gives appeals to an audience who lacks critical thinking skills and uses ethos, pathos, and logos to demonstrate that it is unjust to label a person good or bad without recognizing their point of view.
At the very start of the video, before the speech even begins, Naruto is seen pinned down with a black rod through his hand and impaled into the ground. Pain has forced Naruto into a position in which he can no longer resist and is forced to listen. Had this not been the case, it is very unlikely that Naruto would have listened to anything Pain had said. By being pinned down it represents that in order to share your point of view with another person you are forced to put them into a position that they are unable to resist listening. In real life it is not uncommon for a person to leave the conversation once they realize that the other side has good points that they can not refute. The black rod symbolizes the hold, whether emotionally or physically, that must be implemented onto another individual just so they would hear the other perspective. This gives the audience a pathos appeal because it targets personal experience, on both sides of the rod. The one pinned often does not wish to hear the truth but they must, and on the other side the person who pinned the other down would much rather have been heard without having to force them down. The audience has surely been placed into both positions before, and the rod is both the link and the barrier between human understanding. It links understanding together because they are forced to listen, however it blocks understanding because it prevents humans from willingly trying to understand one another.
At the start of the speech Pain states that even if he were to tell Naruto why he committed these acts, Naruto would not be able to understand at all. This is used as a representation of what the characters depict. Pain is the one portrayed as the accused and Naruto is the one portrayed as the audience. Naruto is strongly against listening to Pain’s side of the story because he has already determined that Pain is wrong and he must be defeated to create peace and justice. This is used at the start of the speech as a logos appeal to the audience to try to reason with them to attempt to understand Pain’s side of the story rather than the simplistic idea that “Pain is the villain therefore he is wrong”. This is also used as a pathos appeal as they use Naruto’s rage to symbolize that his emotions hinder him from attempting to understand Pain. This is demonstrated by Naruto stating the line, “I have nothing to say to you” immediately after Pain says Naruto would not be able to understand. This line shows that Naruto is unwilling to listen because in Naruto’s eyes Pain has committed atrocities that have predetermined Naruto’s decision on what should be done. This is a demonstration of how in many situations the audience may refuse to truly listen to or understand the other side of the story because of their emotions clouding their critical thinking skills.
Pain claims that his goal is to achieve the dream that Naruto’s master, Jiraiya, was unable to achieve; to create peace and bring about justice. Jiraiya was the teacher of Pain before he became Naruto’s teacher. By stating this, Pain appeals to Naruto through the use of pathos because he brings up an important individual to Naruto. By stating that he has the same goal he is catching Naruto’s attention and making it so Naruto will at least hear his words, even if they may or may not agree. Furthermore, as they had the same teacher it gives an ethos appeal because he references the dream that Jiraiya had, to which Naruto is all too familiar with. By being the pupils of the same person Naruto and Pain both have credibility to speak of what it is Jiraiya wished for.
Naruto claims that Pain has no right to speak of justice when he killed his friends and destroyed his village. When asked, Naruto states that his goal is to kill Pain and bring peace to the ninja world. Pain responds to this by saying, “That is noble of you, that would be justice.” By saying this Pain demonstrates that although Naruto is on the opposing side of his ambitions, he still recognizes Naruto’s point of view and that Naruto’s dream is one worthy of praise and being labeled as “justice”. Pain then begs the question, “What about my family? My friends? My village?” Pain reveals that his nation had been the battlefield of a war between Naruto’s nation and two other nations, laying his nation to ruins. This has an ethos, logos and pathos appeal to the audience. The ethos appeal is that Pain is the current leader of his nation and was alive during the war that destroyed his home, thus giving him credibility to speak of it. The logos appeal comes from the fact that Pain’s nation is an example of how nations wars can result in uninvolved parties suffering the consequences. The fact that his nation was destroyed due to the war is undeniable, thus making it a logos appeal. The pathos appeal is shown through Pain describing how the three nations thrived after the war was over, but his continued to suffer. This appeals to the audience because it shows the pain others felt from having their home destroyed and makes the audience think how they would feel if their home was destroyed. This is especially understood by Naruto because the same pain he feels from his village’s destruction is the same pain that Pain feels from his nations destruction.
The scene shifts towards Naruto’s eyes which at first are glaring at Pain, but then slowly ease down to show an expression of sadness. This scene depicts that the audience are beginning to not just hear Pain’s words, but also comprehend them. By showing the eye shift from hostility to sadness it demonstrates that Naruto is finally opening up towards Pain’s point of view, and represents what much of the audience begins to feel. As the speech continues Pain says, “Everyone feels the same pain when losing something dear. You and I have both experienced that pain. You strive for your justice, and I strive for mine.” The ethos appeal in this line addresses that everyone suffers the same way, that we have all experienced that pain already, and that justice is the same in definition, but different from points of view.
As Pain concludes his speech, he states that if justice and vengeance are the same thing then it will result in a “Cycle of Hatred”. Pain claims that so long as we are trapped in this cycle human beings will never be able to understand one another and that the world is ruled by hatred. By concluding with this the audience is put into a situation in which they must think for themselves on how the cycle of hatred applies to their world. By making them think about this it results in the development in their critical thinking skills, which is exactly what the speech is hoping to achieve. As the speech ends Naruto has a flashback of Jiraiya speaking about all the hatred within the world. The flashback is significant because it demonstrates that Naruto has finally realized that from Pain’s point of view he is truly trying to achieve their masters goal and fulfill his ambitions, just in a different way. The audience also realizes this through the pathos appeal given by the flashback, which makes the audience think of their past experiences of similar things, thus triggering an emotional yet well thought out response within them.
In conclusion, the speech Pain gives to Naruto regarding the cycle of hatred is also applicable to the real world. This speech’s main goal is to target an audience who do not have the critical thinking skills to see from the other individuals perspective. By targeting these individuals it hopes to promote the idea of trying to understand one another rather than simply refusing to accept a valid reasoning for another’s actions. The speech’s use of pathos, logos, and ethos appeals to the audience and makes them realize that the speech is a strong and well supported argument. Just as Naruto was forced to listen, the audience was as well. Due to this, both Naruto and the audience realize that they are guilty of not understanding the other point of view and often fall victim to their own bias. Biased point of views on justice will only breed more hatred into the world and will only separate people more. So, who is it to decide what “justice” is and who is the hero and villain?
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