Perhaps the event that illustrates the most difficult moral decision of the whole novel is the murder of the hoodlums' leader. Prior to the event, the Doctor's Wife discovers that she had brought a pair of scissors with the intent of helping her husband shave. She never uses them for the original purpose and hangs them on a wall. However, after her rape, she grabs the scissors without hesitation and heads for the hoodlums' ward. As the leader rapes one of the women, the Doctor's Wife sneaks behind him and stabs him in the throat as he has an orgasm. "His cry was barely audible, it might have been the grunting of an animal about to ejaculate, as was happening to some of the other men" (Saramago 189). Saramago describes the hoodlums as having degenerated to the point of becoming animals, acting solely upon appeasing natural inclinations and vices. The Doctor's Wife runs away with the raped woman and breaks down. She justifies the murder by thinking, "And when is it necessary to kill... When what is still alive is already dead" (Saramago 192-93). Though the first inclination is to think that the Doctor's Wife justified the murder because the hoodlum had proven himself to be incapable of being human, she could have meant that it was she who was the inhuman one. She is the only sighted person among the blind. If even she has dropped to this level of moral decay, then the rest of the internees have little hope in restoring their own humanity until they regain their sight.
Old English blind "blind," also "dark, enveloped in darkness, obscure; unintelligent, lacking mental perception," probably from West Germanic *blinda- "blind" (cf. Dutch and German blind , Old Norse blindr , Gothic blinds "blind"), perhaps, via notion of "to make cloudy, deceive," from an extended Germanic form of the PIE root *bhel- (1) "to shine, flash, burn" (see bleach (v.)); cf. Lithuanian blendzas "blind," blesti "to become dark." The original sense, not of "sightless," but of "confused," perhaps underlies such phrases as blind alley (Chaucer's lanes blynde ), which is older than the sense of "closed at one end" (1610s). In reference to doing something without seeing it first, by 1840. Of aviators flying without instruments or without clear observation, from 1919. Blindman's bluff is from 1580s. The twilight, or rather the hour between the time when one can no longer see to read and the lighting of the candles, is commonly called blindman's holiday. [Grose, 1796] Related: Blinded ; blinding .