Batman and Moral Dilemma

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Category: English Composition

Date Submitted: 02/02/2013 05:45 PM

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A person faced with an ethical dilemma must choose between two options and, although both can be justified, choosing one results in a moral transgression of the other. A conflict emerges between the actions taken for each and the possible ethical consequences of those actions. For instance, in the famous “life-boat dilemma,” a group of people lost at sea in an overcrowded life raft must choose between sacrificing some survivors to lighten the load or risk capsizing. A person faced with such a situation must analyze the consequences, then the actions taken that leads to those consequences, and finally weigh the two and make a decision. In Christopher Nolans “The Dark Knight,” Batman and the people of Gotham are forced into numerous moral and ethical dilemmas by the antagonist Joker.

In the movie, Batman must choose between saving the one girl he has ever loved, Rachel, or the new found hope of Gotham City, District Attorney Harvey Dent. Although the actions taken to save either are the same, the consequences are especially distinct. Obviously, if he saves Rachel, they will be together. However, the death of Harvey Dent could cause catastrophic consequences. Dent has not only rejuvenated hope in the people of Gotham, but he has also brought justice and honesty to the prosecuting office of Gotham City. Although the movie is unclear about what decision Batman actually chose, Dent is ultimately rescued. Thus, Batman chose what would ultimately benefit more people rather than advancing a selfish motive.

Next, the people of Gotham are forced to participate in what the Joker calls his own “social experiment.” He has rigged explosives to two ferries, one of which is boarded by ordinary citizens of Gotham and the other by federal criminals. Each ferry contains the detonator to the other; the criminals have the detonator to the ferry with the citizens on-board and vice-versa. If neither boat is detonated, the Joker will sacrifice both. Would the citizens of Gotham be...