A horror more terrible then fires – wars – epidemics – or bandits, this overwhelming horror is the weak character of man, the distrust and selfishness feeding each characters continual suspicion of his fellow man, always expecting the worst of them. The priest describes this horrific human trait and the world it creates with but a few lines; It s horrible.
If men do not tell the truth, do not trust one another, hen the earth becomes hell indeed. This lack of honesty toward man is shown throughout each characters stories, each unable to talk about themselves without embellishing, and constantly creating lies to make them feel that they re better people then they really are. It even shows this need for flattering falsehood going eyond the grave, as the dead samurai Takehiro holds onto his lies in a vain effort to maintain what little honor he has left.
The horror of the human nature eventually dominates every character, from the bandit, the ommon man, as well as the wood cutter who believes in doing the right thing, who then in turn steals from the scene of a bloody murder and then is abashed by his guilt feeling of the action he has committed, and then finally the horror touches upon the priest, who insists on believing in the better nature of man but is consumed by this horror and becomes aware of his own lack of charity and suspicion toward others.
The Child Although the introduction of a baby is unprepared for and does not emerge out of the plot rather it seems to be a shabby way of adding a new plot twist to the picture in hopes of concluding the entire story and leaving the ending on a positive note. The baby is meant to be as a test of each of the characters attitude after hearing and witnessing the dreadful horror of mans dishonesty and distrust.
The baby would act as both an object that would show hope for man, by bringing out the kindness in the woodcutter and giving renewed faith to the priest, as well as showing the continuing chaotic disorder of the world, as seen with the commoner stealing the child s possessions for his own self interest. If for not the introduction of the baby then we would have been left with an ending that left the woodcutter lost in a guilty stupor, the priest would have remained with a feeling of lost faith while the commoner would have remained the same selfish being regardless of what has transpired before him.