The outbreak of the Cordyceps Brain Infection triggered the survival instincts of every human being, and they were ready to go to any extent to keep themselves alive. People were doing things that they never thought they were capable of. They realized that their principles, ethics, and values were nothing but a complete sham, which they left behind at the first sign of a threat. But still, at the end of the day, they were humans who needed to look at themselves in the mirror. They needed to tell themselves that whatever they were doing was right. They needed to be assured of the fact that they had not transformed into demons and maybe that is why they needed a Pastor to lead them and tell them that they were all followers of the Almighty.
There were two battles that probably everybody was fighting after the outbreak: one where they were at war with the fungal infection, and the other where they were in conflict with themselves and what they were slowly becoming. There was no acceptance among people, and how could there be when they saw themselves becoming like those whom they had once hated or criticized? The perfect example of this was Katherine, who once stood up against an oppressive regime but slowly turned more dictatorial and oppressive than the regime itself. Lack of acceptance made the people hypocrites because they still wanted to believe that they were maintaining the delicate balance of society and not doing anything that could be termed as uncivilized. They believed that they still had faith even though their fate had been sealed by the shadows for a very long time.
Did The People Of Silver Lake Know About David’s Cannibalism?
In the eighth episode of the series, “The Last of Us,” we are introduced to probably the most sinister antagonist, who suffers from a severe God complex and believes that he is the provider on whom his clan depends, quite literally. David practiced cannibalism, and he was making his entire group do the same. The group pretended that they didn’t know that they were eating human flesh, but we believe that deep down, they knew what was happening, and they were just too scared to face reality. Just like Kathrine portrayed whatever she was doing as being for the welfare of her people, these people lied to themselves as they desperately wanted to believe that they had not abandoned their principles and that there was still some humanity left inside them.
At the beginning of the episode, one of the girls named Hannah, whose father had recently asked David if they could give him a proper burial, felt like she had caught David off guard, and he stared at her for a moment and then looked towards his right-hand man, James as if to buy more time to formulate the lie inside his head. He told Hannah that they would have to wait for the spring to arrive and the temperatures to go a bit higher, and only then could they bury her father. It was at this moment that we realized that something suspicious was happening in their settlement.
David wanted constant validation that he was a righteous being who only worked for the betterment of his people, and keeping them safe and sound was his primary concern. David was a complicated man who found unique ways to validate his actions, even if they were nothing less than blasphemy. He was eating human beings, but somehow managed to convince his conscience that he was doing it for the greater good, as by doing so, he was saving a lot of lives. David put on a great show, and he had a way with words, so much so that he could also influence Ellie when he met her for the first time, but his only weakness was that he lost his composure when people saw through him or had doubts about him.
Cannibalism is not a new concept for society, and in real life, too, people have resorted to it as a means to survive. In 2013, there were reports from North Korea saying that people were killing and eating their own family members because of an acute food shortage. But the problem with David was that he wanted to show people that he was a decent man, which is why he knew that eating human flesh didn’t go well with his image. He was reading verses from the Book of Revelation, living his life the way the Bible taught him to, and believing himself to be the shepherd who was vested with the responsibility to look after his flock. Maybe he was not ready to accept, but that was not his real self. He was surely fooling the people, and maybe he was being delusional to some extent and deceiving himself. David was in denial about the inconsequential things as well, so it was not possible that he would accept the fact that devouring human flesh made him a sinner and a facilitator who made sure that the others sinned with him too.
We eventually realize that, while David was the personification of the devil, who was in denial and believed himself to be God, even the other members were not as morally upright as they thought they were. There was movement in the eighth episode of the series, The Last of Us when this hypocrisy of the people was exposed, and though they might have believed to be a part of a pious and religious community, their actions were in stark contrast to it. Hannah’s mother asked the man what kind of meat it was when he came with a tray of human flesh. That man stared at the woman as if he wanted to tell her the truth through his piercing eyes. The woman also understood that it was human flesh, but she didn’t say anything and proceeded to clean it. Now, it could have been possible that they ate it because of their fear of David and because they didn’t want to question him, but we also feel that they ate it so that they didn’t have to starve to death.
People had turned into animals, but they still wanted to reassure themselves that they had strict regard for what was morally right. David tells Ellie, towards the end of “The Last Of Us” Episode 8, that eating human flesh was the last resort, and even if he was speaking the truth, it didn’t justify their hypocritical nature and their willingness to live a lie. The outbreak had triggered the survival instincts, and the people had lent a helping hand to cope with the difficult situations, but now that survival instinct had itself become the root cause of the problem, there were consequences that needed to be addressed sooner rather than later.