The end justifies the means? It is both very conflicting and contradictory statement, indeed. It has always been an ethical issue from the beginning of the human history. Can people justify their actions if it meant their survival? Is it right to harm others for your own profit? Would you mind killing someone if it was for your own good? In the story "Rashomon?by Ryunoske Akutagawa, the fundamental principle of ethics is dealt with a deep scorn and the end of the story leaves the readers with a question mark on their head, making them to seriously contemplate and arbitrate the actions of both old woman and the servant. .
In the story "Rashomon? the servant is dismissed from his job due to the poverty-stricken economy of the West Kyoto after numbers of natural disasters. He goes to Rashomon without any future plans. He doesn't know what to do but decides to seek a shelter in the old, deserted tower of Rashomon. On his way to the top of the tower, he goes through a dilemma whether he should be a thief or not. His idea of being a thief is disturbed by his sense of honor that he thinks he rather die than being a thief. Accidentally, he finds old woman in the tower who is pulling out the hair from the dead person. At first, he finds himself extremely furious toward old woman whom he considers as desecrating the dead body. Forgetting the fact that he himself thought of being a thief a while ago, his mind is now filled with justice toward old woman. He grabs hold of an old woman and questions her what she was doing to the dead body. When the old woman says that she was taking the hair out in order to make a wig, cold contempt rises in the servant's head. But when the old woman tells him that she's doing such thing in order to survive and the dead woman whom she was pulling the hair from will understand the old woman too because the dead woman used to sell snake, faking to her buyer that it's a fish.