Watchmen Symbolism Analysis

1811 Words 8 Pages
The comic, Watchmen, by Alan Moore and Dave Gibson, employs a reoccurring symbol of a smiley face stained with blood covering its left eye. This reoccurrence of the symbol suggests that there is more to it than what the eye meets. It is such a simple symbol that shows happiness, yet is presented in such a convoluted manner in the comic. The smiley face in Watchmen is used ironically throughout the text to show how the characters, and perhaps all humans try to overlook or falsify violence, reality, and immorality, and further shows that these characteristics can’t be covered up. Additionally, the symbol suggests that we live in a pretense world where we try to find happiness, by ultimately happiness is unobtainable because there will always …show more content…
Although the badge is the most iconic symbol in Watchmen, other representations of this blood-stained smiley face manifest throughout the text. One such example is shown on page 24 panel 5 chapter XII where Dr. Manhattan kills Rorschach because of the discord between their ideologies. Dr. Manhattan proposes to keep silent of Veidt’s massacrous plan of world domination, but Rorschach refuses to keep silent and says, “Evil must be Punished […] people must be told”. Following Rorschach’s death, his blood splatters on an icicle in the foreground of the yellow circular entrance to Veidt’s fortress, which imitates the blood stain on the smiley face. Ironically, Dr. Manahattan tries to establish peace by killing Rorschach in order for Veidt’s plan to work. However, his violence can’t be overlooked, because in return, Veidt ends up decimating millions of people. Another example is shown through Veidt’s yellow flower fastened to his purple coat on page 15 panel 3 of chapter V. Veidt encounters his would be assassin, and overcome by violence, murders him, ergo, causing the blood of his assassin to stain the yellow flower. This stain on the flower is a replica of the stain on the comedian’s smiley face badge. Here, the symbol ironically shows Veidt as the innocent recipient of an attack, however, the readers know that he is the true …show more content…
For example, on page 7 panel 1 of chapter V, the religious poster of Buddha with a yellow sun behind his head is tainted with blood in an identical manner as the smiley face symbol. This blood is of two innocent children both killed by their father. Nowhere does religion approve of bloodshed especially of children by their own father. Maybe before the murder, the family was happy or was pretending to be happy, but ultimately, the father’s immoral act can’t be overlooked regardless of the situation the family was in prior to the murder. Another manifestation of the symbol is on page 14 chapter 2, which indicates the immorality of killing a mother carrying an innocent life in her belly. Before Blake kills his child and the mother of his child, who is clearly just a commodity to him, his blood from her strike recreates the symbolic pattern on the smiley face badge. Moreover, he tries to cover up his immorality by blaming Dr. Manhattan for being a passive bystander when he kills her. However, Blake’s immorality can’t be overlooked regardless of who he blames or the reasons behind his murder. In both examples, the symbol shows that the immorality of both the father and Blake can’t be covered up as to suggest that our own immoral behaviors can’t be covered up. For example, humans consistently display immorality through

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