The paper critically examines the problem of metaphysical evil which is perceptible in Steinbeck’s The Winter of our Discontent. Metaphysical evil conveys the eternal struggle between good and evil which intended to show that man cannot achieve true perfection due his limitation. The interaction with these belligerent forces kindled spark of materialistic ambition which ultimately establishes the concept of evil, resulting in the loss of human values and ethics. In The Winter of our Discontent, Steinbeck draws attention to metaphysical evil in the character of Mary Hawley who is the embodiment of evil in the life of Ethan. The novel presents the unpleasant recurring theme evident in every human society. The paper employs qualitative approach for the exploration of proposed evil. The method is set through inductive reasoning of textual analysis from the particular lines and inferred inductive generalization. Through inductive method, the novel indicates the belief that men as creatures of needs and requirements are determined by the tides of environment. They are set helplessly at cyclone of circumstances. Ethan being a proponent of American dreams and conflicts is not only surrounded by corruption but also witnessed a chaotic and fast-changing society. Therefore, the textures of Steinbeck’s novels are coherently intertwined in the problem of evil. Each work is preoccupied with a single aspect of evil in modern life.
Keywords: Metaphysical evil, good and evil, materialism, human values, modern life