The House of Judgment (Wilde)

From Summarium
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The House of Judgment
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A man faced judgment from God for his evil deeds, but could not be sent to Hell or Heaven due to his life experiences and inability to imagine Heaven.

There was a time when a man stood naked before God in the House of Judgment. God opened the Book of the Man's Life and began to recount the man's evil deeds. The man had shown cruelty to those in need, ignored the cries of the poor and afflicted, and taken the inheritance of the fatherless. He had also driven lepers from their peaceful marshes and spilled innocent blood on the earth. The man admitted to all of these actions.

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The Man — narrator; lived an evil life; bitter, hard of heart, and cruel.

God continued to read from the Book, revealing that the man had sought beauty and ignored goodness. He had indulged in sinful pleasures, worshipping idols of flesh and adorning them with luxurious items. He had shown his shame and madness to the sun and moon. The man admitted to these actions as well.

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God — supreme being; judge of the man's life; omniscient, omnipotent.

For the third time, God read from the Book, stating that the man had repaid good with evil and kindness with wrongdoing. He had wounded the hands that fed him, betrayed those who had helped him, and sold his friends for a price. He had given lust instead of love to those who had brought him love. The man admitted to these actions too.

God then declared that he would send the man to Hell, but the man protested, saying that he had always lived in Hell.

Because in Hell have I always lived, answered the Man.

There was silence in the House of Judgment. After a while, God decided to send the man to Heaven instead. However, the man protested again, stating that he had never been able to imagine Heaven.

Because never, and in no place, have I been able to imagine it, answered the Man.

Once more, there was silence in the House of Judgment.