“Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting. This is the treason of the artist: a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain.”

This quote comes as the narrator shifts their point of view from third person omniscient to first person. The narrator struggles to describe the complexity of the people of Omelas, in light of their joy and happiness, and laments the fact that pain and evil are so often regarded as interesting where happiness is not. If it is the artist’s role to create beauty out of pain, this raises the possibility that beauty only exists because of and in relation to pain and ugliness. Though the narrator labels this “treason,” they nevertheless acknowledge a symbiotic relationship between beauty and pain.

“It is the existence of the child, and their knowledge of its existence, that makes possible the nobility of their architecture, the poignancy of their music, the profundity of their science. It is because of the child that they are so gentle with children.”

This quote comes shortly after the revelation that Omelas is dependent upon the suffering of a miserable child. It reveals a terrible paradox: that the utopia of Omelas is possible only because of this suffering. The narrator’s proposal here is that appreciation of the beautiful requires knowledge of pain and suffering. Therefore, if there were no pain and suffering, people would not know beauty, and thus beauty would not exist.