A story!

There is a house in the woods by a river. In the house live a husband and wife. The wife has a lover on the other side of the river. One day the husband has to leave for a day on a business trip. The wife wants to stay faithful to her husband but knows she won’t be able to resist the temptation of seeing her lover if she stays home so she begs her husband to take her with him, but doesn’t say why. The husband refuses and leaves her at home alone. So she goes to see her lover. There are two ways to get across the bridge, a ferry and a bridge. Under the bridge is a purple people eater. She takes the ferry and pays the boatman to take her across. The next morning she wakes up in her lover’s bed and realises she doesn’t have enough money to get back home. She asks her lover to lend it to her but he refuses. She explains her situation to the boatman but he also refuses to take her over for free and her husband is coming home soon so she has no choice but to chance it with the bridge. Unfortunately, she is seen by the purple people eater and eaten.

Now, the people involved in this scenario are:

the WIFE

Rank them in order of most responsible to least responsible. For the record, here are my rankings (readAFTERyouwriteyourresponseplz) :slight_smile:

    Well, he did eat her.
  2. WIFE
    She neglected to make sure she had enough money for a return trip when she knew perfectly well it was either the ferry or the bridge. I’m tempted to say she shouldn’t have been over there in the first place but I don’t think that’s terribly relevant here. In any case she shouldn’t have been relying on her lover to cough up.
  3. LOVER
    He also knew perfectly well it was the ferry or the bridge. Asshole.
    Well… just doing his job I guess. Can’t let people ride for free. Besides, he had no way to tell if she was lying.
    He had no idea any of this was happening. While all this could have been prevented had he taken his wife with him on his trip, he had no reason to do so.

I agree with your rankings except that

I would put the Purple People Eater in fourth place (just above the husband). After all, he was only doing what Purple People Eaters have been for ages.

Do we submit our answers in spoiler boxes, or openly?

Without reading the spoiler, I would say:

  1. WIFE
  2. LOVER

but not necessarily because the WIFE was a cheater. She’ll go to hell for that anyway. The WIFE could have easily tricked her lover or the boatman in to getting eaten by the PEOPLE EATER if she wouldn’t have been such a bimbo.

Secondly, the LOVER could have manipulated the bimbo WIFE into divorcing her hubsand in order to collect a fat alimony check for them to split equally. The BOATMAN is neutral here, as we don’t really know all his risks. The WIFE probably could have manipulated the LOVER into killing the boatman, and that would have worked too. The PEOPLE EATER just does his thing, so there’s no way he’s to blame. The HUSBAND is the true winner, as I’m sure he probably paid off the LOVER and the BOATMAN in the first place to ensure the wife was unable to cross the river in one piece.

Uh, I dunno. I spoilerboxed mine since I figured you’d just carry on reading my OP otherwise. I guess the rest of you are free to leave them out.

I think it’s obvious…society is to blame :smiley:

The lover was a lover because his parents never instructed him in morality, hoping he would find his own. But he didn’t.

The wife is a victim of a patriarchal society where women are defined by the role they play in a man’s life. She has to be doing something for somebody or else she feels worthless.

The boatman is bound by a greedy society to charge for his services in stead of bartering or else he would be unable to pay his bills.

The husband is taught from an early age to treat women as objects that can be used when needed or wanted and stored on a shelf when he’s not interested. Further, he is taught that to earn respect in society he has to work too long and too hard.

And the Purple People Eater never wanted to eat people, in fact, he auditioned for the part of Barney, but one too many people looked at his hideous form and shrieked in fear, and he snapped. He took to lurking in alleys, and under bridges and attacking and eating people, even though he didn’t want to. He tried to get help, but when you are a purple people eater, its hard to get admitted into a mental care program.

Huh. I read the request completely differently, and said the husband, ferryman and monster all behaved responsibly, while the lover & wife behaved irresponsibly.

Posting openly, then. :slight_smile:

There’s one crucial item of information that’s missing from the problem - I have two different answers depending on it. I’m assuming that all parties concerned knew about the existence of the PPE and the cost of the ferry in advance.

Scenario 1 - Cost of ferry is reasonable.

  1. LOVER. By refusing to pay the cost of the ferry, he knew he was putting the wife at risk. She’s already risking her marriage to visit him, and she does love him; his actions seem to be calculated to get rid of her.
  2. WIFE. Although she initiated the whole thing, it wasn’t unreasonable for her to assume her lover would pay for the ferry.
  3. HUSBAND. Almost certainly has some culpability for the breakup of his marriage; why does his wife need to take a lover in the first place? His actions in the incident itself are irrelevant, however.
  4. BOATMAN. Possibly some condemnation for making a profit out of the situation, but can’t be held at all responsible for what happens to people who choose to take the risk on the bridge.
  5. PPE. A wild beast, not responsible for anything at all.

Scenario 2 - Cost of ferry is extortionate.

  1. WIFE. By not taking enough money with her, or, alternatively, by deciding to go even though she couldn’t afford the ferry both ways, she deliberately put herself at risk of being eaten.
  2. BOATMAN. Indirectly responsible for this death and (presumably) for many others, as he forces all travellers to take the bridge if they can’t afford his unreasonable fare.
  3. LOVER. Placed in an impossible position by the unreasonable behaviour of the wife. He didn’t invite her over, and he’s justified in not contributing to the boatman’s scheme of organized crime.
  4. HUSBAND. Reasons as above.
  5. PPE. Reasons as above.

I’d agree with the OP’s rankings except I’d move the PPE to the bottom since it was only doing what came naturally to it in order to survive and thus can’t carry any human notion of “responsibility”.

On preview (actually, on being logged out and having to re-enter the thead and my post the long way round), I see Tevildo has beaten me to it :).

WIFE: She made every choice that led to the situation, whether in reaction to another’s choice or not.

LOVER: He made almost every choice that the wife did, and was selfish when he had a chance to be generous. Given his responsibility for the situation in the first place, he’s an asshole.

HUSBAND: Your wife begs you to come on a trip, you bring her. Unless there’s a specific reason not to, you don’t need more reason than “she loves you.”

BOATMAN: Just doing his job, and arguably had a responsibility NOT to let freeloaders across. Nonetheless, he’s an intelligent agent, and thus carries more responsibility than the…

PURPLE ETC.: Mindless beast following its nature. If the PPE is also an intelligent agent, then it rises to the top.