The nature of evil is a major topic represented in The Hunger Games trilogy. There are many instances in which one may analyze the evil actions of specific characters throughout the books.
Dr. Baron, a philosophy professor, discussed the different types of ethics that exist - utilitarianism, consequentialism, deontology, virtue and care. Utilitarianists believe that the right action is the one that maximizes utility. The actions produce the greatest balance of pleasure over pain for the greatest number of people. For example, President Coin and President Snow are two great examples of people that would be considered evil through this type of ethics. Both of these individuals do NOT act for the greater good, instead the only think about themselves.
Consequentialists believe that the morally right action depends on the consequences and focuses on the possible outcomes. In The Hunger Games the reader may see a few examples of this type of ethics. When Katniss and Peeta threaten to eat the berries at the end of the 74th annual Hunger Games they had to weigh out the possible outcomes, as did the Gamemakers when they chose to have two winners. Other examples may be when the tributes such as Johanna and Finnick sacrifice themselves in order to protect Katniss, who will eventually be the symbol of the revolution. Also when Katniss is supposed to kill President Snow but kills President Coin instead.
Deontology is the theory that the morally right action is independent of consequences and focuses on duties and obligation. This includes the formula in the end of itself, which states that you cannot use people for your own benefit, as well as the formula of universal law which states never to do anything that you would not want other people to do in that same situation. Deontologists believe that it is never acceptable to lie. In The Hunger Games Haymitch and the rest of the rebels hide the truth about the rebellion from Katniss. When she enters the Quarter Quell she has no idea that many of the tributes around her are planning to revolt against the Capitol. She later finds out when she escapes the arena and realizes that Peeta has been taken by the Capitol.
Virtue Ethics state the traits and characteristics that make a good person. The golden mean is when one takes into account actions/feelings and creates an appropriate response, which is usually the mean (somewhere in the middle). This type of ethics is portrayed when Katniss volunteers for Prim. Many may say that Katniss represents characteristics that make her a good person, which include her courageousness.
Finally, care ethics include thinking about others and their well being. Katniss exemplifies this type of philosophy when she cares for Rue in the 74th Hunger Games. She does not receive any benefit from taking Rue as an ally but she feels that it is the right thing to do to care for Rue. Dr Baron stated that in order to be evil, one must have a specific intent and find pleasure in causing harm to others.
Gresh takes a different approach on what drives evil forces in the book The Hunger Games Companion. She discusses the biological traits that cause people to act in certain ways; "It's all induced inside the body, specifically by the neuronal connections in the brain" (Gresh, 139). "When a neuron sends information down an axon away from the cell body, neuroscientists say that there is an action potential or that a spike has occurred" (Gresh, 138). Gresh describes the conclusion that evolutionary psychologists have come to in regards to how our minds work. Other theories state that "evil criminals are born with what researchers call criminal or risk genes" (Gresh 135). Basically, these researchers believe that one is born with evil DNA and cannot alter the gene.
There are many different theories and perceptions on what makes an individual evil. Many of the characters in The Hunger Games possess characteristics in one form or another of evil. Evil actions are seen throughout the entirety of the trilogy through many different individuals.