Moral Theories In Bob Dylan's Masters Of War

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Masters of War’, included in the 1963 album ‘The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan’, is not the usual antiwar and pacifist song, it is a strong condemnation of the people responsible for the atrocities of war and for the deaths and the blood that it brings, with particular reference to the Vietnam War. The lyrics to the song are powerful and unforgiving. It makes you feel the intensity of the times Dylan was living in and his opinion of those times are clearly noted in his song. In Masters of War, Dylan’s anger and argument written in his lyrics can be analyzed under the idea of Moral Theories. Such theories include Moral Subjectivism, Utilitarianism and Kantian Theory.
When evaluating Dylan’s lyrics under moral theories, we come across what may be Moral
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Utilitarianism is a theory evaluated by how good an action is based on the end result, for example, risking one person in order to save many. A utilitarian would consider any action justified so long as it benefits a large number of people. In the case of Masters of War, the utilitarian would be the government. The idea of war would be to fight for a greater cause; risking soldiers in order to keep a nation and its’ people safe. Dylan argues this idea, claiming it is unnecessary and without benefit to send men out to fight for a cause seemingly only for personal gain. Dylan wrote, “You put a gun in my hand/ And you hide from my eyes/ And you turn and run farther/ When the fast bullets fly.” He accuses officials of easily sending off men to war to do their bidding meanwhile they turn away and act oblivious to the fact that there are men out dying for their sake. In the government’s eyes, it is all for the best and for the benefit of many, however, Dylan believes that the blood shed is nothing but selfish. Dylan uses Masters of War in order to call out government officials who sit behind their desks causing death and destruction for the damage they have caused. He sings, “You fasten all the triggers/ For the others to fire/ Then you sit back and watch/ When the death count gets higher.” He points the finger of guilt towards the makers and those who profit from war and makes sure his disdain is …show more content…
The Kantian Theory is the idea that something could considered right or wrong based on obligation. This theory was brought up by philosopher Immanuel Kant, who deemed doing something out of good will means doing it strictly for the sake of duty. You’d be considered to be doing the right thing because it is your “obligation’ to do so. If you are acting on the idea that you should get rewarded for said action or for pleasure, then it is no longer considered to “good” or “right.” There is no other emotion that should be felt other then, “I must do this because it is my

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