iris murdoch - love and chaos
Iris Murdoch's novels are not about good and evil, but good and mediocre (the "nice and the good" and the "sacred and profane" as two titles have it), and the latter is often indicated by that word "muddle". It conveys evil not epic and cosmological, but of a dirty, chaotic, ugly, soul-destroying smallness - grimy litter, for example, or petty crime, rudeness, or callous behaviour.
The Murdochian opposite to this evil is love, "true" rather than egotistical, which means simply the ability to see another person (or animal or work of art) in its inviolable sacred separateness.
Degrees of these opposites are seen in the lives of the characters who appear as familiar recurring 'types' in each novel: the philosopher, the hedonist, the deceived wife, the sequestered but calculating maiden, the delinquent, the artist and artist-manqué.
All of them, the frenzied and the middling-decent, the saints and the ego-monsters are looked upon by their creator with compassion.
Walking London we begin to see them everywhere (as Murdoch must have seen their models) - in the crowds rushing on and off the underground, in pubs and squares, the dreamy-eyed girls, shifty-eyed conmen, tired workers and flustered bureaucrats and academics with their minds on the thought of a stiff drink after work rather than philosophy.