Despite the enmity between combatants, the story also shows that a strand of human curiosity, of desire to understand and connect with the enemy, is present still. The Republican sniper proves himself to be not totally bloodthirsty, despite the surge of joy he feels upon killing his rival. Rather, after the adrenaline and drama of battle, the Republican sniper immediately understands that his rival was a person, and that the killing of a person is a tragedy and a waste. In fact, the Republican sniper is so overcome by his sense of the now dead enemy sniper’s humanity, that he feels the need to see the man he has killed.
The war, then, does not completely cause the sniper to lose his sense of humanity. The final twist that the enemy sniper is his brother, of course, hammers home how war can make bitter enemies of anyone, but the sniper’s urge to go and see the enemy out of remorse suggests that there is a fundamental humanity that continues to exist even within war, and gives some hope that it will continue to exist after the war as well.
Humanity and Remorse ThemeTracker
Humanity and Remorse Quotes in The Sniper
His face was the face of a student, thin and ascetic, but his eyes had the cold gleam of the fanatic. They were deep and thoughtful, the eyes of a man who is used to looking at death.
The Republican sniper smiled and lifted his revolver above the edge of the parapet...his hand trembled with eagerness.
Then when the smoke cleared, he peered across and uttered a cry of joy. His enemy had been hit.
The body turned over and over in space and hit the ground with a dull thud. Then it lay still.
The lust of battle died in him. He became bitten by remorse…he revolted from the sight of the shattered mass of his dead enemy. His teeth chattered, he began to gibber to himself, cursing the war, cursing himself, cursing everybody.
He felt a sudden curiosity as to the identity of the enemy sniper whom he had killed…Perhaps he had been in his own company before the split in the army.
Then the sniper turned over the dead body and looked into his brother’s face.