Though the tyrants and the exploited share a common sense of guilt, Dennis Brutus acknowledges that the oppressors in the poem “Their Behavior” suffer an immense blow due to their increased sense of blame.
The poem Their Behavior takes the reader through the mentality of those who indiscriminately prey on the innocent. The author writes of “those who exercise arbitrary power” and raises the question of who hasn’t taken advantage of a situation in which one can wield such great power. However, with such power comes responsibility. If such great strength is not managed responsibly and used for a darker purpose then naturally guilt would fall upon that person or people. This is the case in “Their Behavior.” The group of people who employed the use of limitless power begin to feel guilt over their actions. So inundated with guilt they attempt to make their actions justifiable in their own eyes. They change the social fabric and convert their “terrible actions” into a common and widespread practice. Ultimately they begin to believe that their exploits are of a “holy” stature and begin to commit such actions religiously. As the poem states “the private dishabille of love becomes obscene in orgies.”
The first noticeable characteristic of the poem is in its structure. The entirety of the poem in written as one sentence. This can be interpreted to mean that there is an extremely fast progression of events in the poem. Without periods in the poem separating ideas the pace continues on a steady course never being interrupted. This is similar to how hatred spreads amongst the oppressors towards the oppressed in the poem. Without interruption or delay their hatred becomes so deep rooted that it resembles a religion, being followed without question. The tone also greatly affects how the message of this poem is conveyed. The tone of “Their Behavior” is very urgent and critical. It is urgent because as previously stated the poem begins from a few people who...