Utilitarianism In Arthur Miller's The Dark Knight Returns

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Just because Batman is perceived as a hero, does that make him ethical? That seems like a simple question to answer when you have grown up and heard that Batman is a hero. Every child at some point in their life has thought to themselves “I wonder how cool it would be to be Batman?” But they do not understand the dilemmas that batman faces in Miller’s, The Dark Knight Returns. If a child were to read this book they would say a hero always makes ethical decisions because they are doing everything right. Therefor Batman is acting ethical throughout the book. Although when adults who are better educated on morals and ethics read this they may have a different opinion. They may think that Batman is unethical and although labeled as a hero may not …show more content…
Which he chooses to do so by maximizing suffering instead of reducing suffering because he enjoys hurting criminals. The Utilitarian stance would not agree with batman on this because he is maximizing suffering when they would want to minimize suffering when given the option to do so. Batman had the option to inflict minimal suffering in pain but chose to inflict maximum suffering which therefor makes Batman unethical from the stance of Utilitarianism. At the start of the book Batman was retired and Bruce Wayne was no longer fighting crime. A utilitarian would say that Bruce Wayne returning as Batman is a good thing without knowing what would follow. Consequences of him returning sparked the return of other criminals such as the Joker who was in a catatonic state while Batman was retired (Miller, 1986, p. 41). Which brought on more danger to the citizens of Gotham. In the beginning of the comic Batman is faced with the issue of applying suffering to a criminal, he had options where minimal suffering, maximizing suffering or killing could take place. Instead of choosing minimal suffering he chose maximum suffering to inflict pain on the criminal that would be deemed unethical by utilitarianism (Miller, 1986, p. 43). Just like in dealing with the criminal, When confronting the Joker he chose maximum suffering by Snapping the Joker’s neck and paralyzing him …show more content…
Throughout the book Miller uses several examples to display ethical situations and really tests Batman and his moral character. To determine his ethical views I was able to use the Utilitarian View, Deontologist View, Virtue Ethics and the Social Contract Theory to determine that Batman is unethical. While observing Batman’s actions and tendencies I was able to determine that although he does good he is unethical in how he handles situations. Because Batman does like to harm criminals and doesn’t always think of the consequences of his spur of the moment actions he tends to cause more harm than originally intended. Although batman is called a hero it is safe to safe that all heroes are not

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