Would Superman be good for an Ethics paper?

#1 Edited by Gambit474 (1458 posts) - - Show Bio

So not really sure if this would be off topic or general disc..But anyways I'm taking an Ethics class and near midterm we have to do a paper on watching a film(or book if I recall)and follow a character and state morals or something like that about them..Being a comic fan I figured Superman might be a good choice. Thoughts? I figured either Superman,Batman,or Spider-man since all 3 seem to have a set of principles,morals,or ethics about them..but idk

oh and btw if it sounds corny to choose Superman for such a thing..teach told us someone did it on the little mermaid once so I feel no shame lol

#2 Posted by lightsout (1819 posts) - - Show Bio

I'd read it

#3 Posted by TekTheNinja (765 posts) - - Show Bio

sure.

superman is the perfect example of ethics

#4 Edited by Wolverine08 (37948 posts) - - Show Bio

Pretty unique idea man Go for it.

#5 Posted by SlimJ87D (9241 posts) - - Show Bio

@gambit474: Is this for college?

If you want an easy A, I would not do a comic book character unless the instructor is quite familiar with what the character has done. I would rather stick to real person. Maybe do your paper on the men that served in the 442nd regiment?

But if you decide to go the route of using a comic book character, try and stick to real life events and how the character has inspired people to perform good ethics, etc. http://www.breitbart.com/Breitbart-TV/2013/09/09/Hollywood-Not-Even-Safe-For-Superheroes-Superman-Saves-Wonder-Woman

Good luck. These are my personal opinions, I'm sure you will get an A regardless of which route you choose.

#6 Posted by PowerHerc (80659 posts) - - Show Bio

I'd say yes but your professor might not agree.

#7 Edited by Gambit474 (1458 posts) - - Show Bio

oh yeah I forgot to mention that I'd run it by her of course first though,but she seems pretty lenient on everything we've done so far(as mentioned she told us a student did it on the little mermaid once)..yeah it's college. A majority of the films she had in her example list were of fictional characters so I figured why not..I suppose imo Supes seemed like a guy who usually tries to do what is just or moral so he felt like a good example.

#8 Posted by Squares (4667 posts) - - Show Bio

@gambit474: Well, since you're writing about a book or movie and not a character, I'd suggest writing something about Identity Crisis, if we're going with DC. Big ethical issues there.

#9 Edited by The Stegman (22706 posts) - - Show Bio

If you have to do a book or film, pick a book or film about Superman. Maybe Man of Steel.

#10 Posted by DoomDoomDoom (4212 posts) - - Show Bio

If you write it post it.

Also, I think there was whole section on ethics in Superheroes and Philosophy. Just to stir some ideas maybe.

#11 Edited by DocStrange (152 posts) - - Show Bio

How about depicting Superman as one end of the archetypal ethics spectrum and another literature or comics icon for the other end; such as Batman (light/dark analogy), Dr. Doom (extreme morality/amorality), Joker (reason/chaos), Dollmaker (good/evil), or... Zod (idalism/totalitarianism). Or something else entirely within a comparison/contrast format to illustrate the character qualities. Just a suggestion.

#12 Posted by Gambit474 (1458 posts) - - Show Bio

@squares said:

@gambit474: Well, since you're writing about a book or movie and not a character, I'd suggest writing something about Identity Crisis, if we're going with DC. Big ethical issues there.

no what I meant was you pick a book or film and you follow one of its characters and talk about their ethics/morals/principles sort of thing

anywho i'm liking the input..I'll do some research like what you mentioned doom

#13 Edited by teddy_the_god_killer (235 posts) - - Show Bio

@gambit474: You say you are taking an ethics class, but out of interest (not to cause offence) what is your actual knowledge regarding ethics? I did something for my degree and it was a massive time investment just understanding the subject. Having a sound academic understanding of morals and ethics is the key, because at the end of the day, as the Little Mermaid example shows, the subject is just a vehicle for the meat of the essay. Choosing heroes is too simple therefore requiring more effort to get the upper grades. What is always more fascinating is the villain aspect. Without morals or ethical controls how do they control themselves? It would be easier just to destroy everyone in your path. Superman not killing is a bit one-dimensional. Even WWH has a little more to offer as many different heroes made individual choices regarding their positions from the consequences of other's actions.

There is more to be said about the decision to take life than to allow it to continue, due to the finality of the action (in comics obviously it is a joke). Hank Pym or the new Cyclops might be a decent choices. The big boys need lots of explaining and never forget in some cases your greater knowledge of a character might be a handicap. Essays need to be tight and to have to keep explaining everything eats up words like nobodies' business. I still think literary classics like 1984 and Brave New World offer a lot of opportunity. Maybe check out Orwell's Animal Farm, there is an animated film available on YouTube.

Ultimately you have to think of what is best for your essay, even if it is not what you ideally want. No point in writing an essay for yourself rather than for the grade, you can end up trying to fit a square peg in a round hole. Grades first, fun later. I know from experience. Primary objective get the best mark you can...come the end of year you will see the difference.

#14 Posted by ArturoCalaKayVee (10899 posts) - - Show Bio

I wrote a paper about Superman and Batman in my freshman year of college for my philosophy class and it got an A. I have good faith that if you get your point across clearly, you'll get a good grade. Go for it.

#15 Posted by Dabee (2371 posts) - - Show Bio

Go for it. If your teacher said doing the Little Mermaid was okay, doing Superman shouldn't be a problem. Be sure to let us know how you do on it. :)

#16 Posted by fodigg (6130 posts) - - Show Bio

You need an interesting hook. Not just "define Superman's morality" but a question about him. Comparing him to Batman and Spider-Man is a good start because you can use brief comparisons to both to introduce the concepts of control and responsibility. The core question in this case would be "Is Superman immoral for not doing more?" He's so powerful, how does he reconcile playing Clark Kent the reporter while people die? Of course there are lots of answers to that but it sets up an interesting question to explore.

Another angle could be how religion intersects with morality and Superman. He was raised Methodist, seems as an adult to believe at least casually in the Kryptonian god-figure "Rao", but is frequently portrayed as a Christ-like messiah figure himself. He's also been portrayed seeking counsel from—for some reason Catholic—priests more than once in comics and other media. The question would be "what, if anything, does this have to do with his morality?" Is his strong moral sensibilities defined by one, a combination of, or completely separate from these religious influences? You would need to do some research to show him referencing these in his decision making process, but it's another approach for an ethics paper.

#17 Posted by Gambit474 (1458 posts) - - Show Bio

I suppose I could try to do sort of the clash between him and Batman if it would be more reasonable. With what teddy said about a more chaotic character..My second pick was the Punisher but I figured I couldn't get much from him since although he'd be good for the parts that deal with punishment(no pun intended)..I think other characters would've had more meat to them. If it's film, I was thinking of Man of Steel being that it's the most recent and imo Superman did some things that would fit the theme

#18 Edited by fodigg (6130 posts) - - Show Bio

I still think a central moral question is the best way to start. Something specific like, "If Lex Luthor was sentenced to death, would Superman save him before his execution?"

EDIT: Granted, paramount would be relating any question to what you've studied in this class, so maybe the best starting point is to pick one or two concepts/authors you've studied and go from there.

#19 Posted by Lvenger (17848 posts) - - Show Bio

@fodigg: Superman's morality definitely doesn't come from any religious influences despite the shoe horned comparisons so I'm not certain going down that route would bring much fruit if the OP were to do an essay on Superman. And your proposed question would be preconditioned by Superman following the law meaning that he wouldn't save someone if he was executed. Why do you think All Star Superman didn't save any death row patients? I'm certain he disagrees with it wholly but if it's the law in a state, Superman won't intervene.

And choosing Superman would require a lot of research in order to fill out the main substance of the essay discussing how your choice of character relates to the question being asked. But if you can make it work in the right way, go for it gambit.

#20 Posted by Z3RO180 (6250 posts) - - Show Bio
#21 Posted by JakeN7 (9903 posts) - - Show Bio

When it comes to good topics for an Ethics Committee (or in this case class) there needs to be a lot of grey area involved. What I mean is, any topic for Ethics needs to be debatable from both sides. Whether what he/she is doing is right or wrong. Therefore, I wouldn't pick Superman. He's too much of a boy scout, and his actions are almost never questionable.

.....now if we were talking Man of Steel, well then that would be pretty perfect. ;)

#22 Posted by ULTRAstarkiller (5741 posts) - - Show Bio
#23 Edited by Gambit474 (1458 posts) - - Show Bio

@jaken7 said:

When it comes to good topics for an Ethics Committee (or in this case class) there needs to be a lot of grey area involved. What I mean is, any topic for Ethics needs to be debatable from both sides. Whether what he/she is doing is right or wrong. Therefore, I wouldn't pick Superman. He's too much of a boy scout, and his actions are almost never questionable.

.....now if we were talking Man of Steel, well then that would be pretty perfect. ;)

Depends on which version of Superman is used,however yes Man of Steel felt like the way to go if the books didn't look like an option. After doing some consideration I've thought about if I do a book..perhaps Batman would be better suited,especially since I've always find it intriguing as to why he always refuses to kill the Joker..felt like that could open some possibilities, whereas if I decide to go with film then yeah Man of Steel could work

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