Watchmen CAROLINE MEDLOCK

Rorschach and the "Gray Area"

In Watchmen, Rorschach's understanding of good versus evil is what stood out to me the most. He has a resolve unlike any other character; he refuses to see the gray area in between. While this can be seen as a negative thing in reality and in the novel, I would argue that it can also be seen as admirable. Rorschach, after everything he has been through, wants to do what he thinks is truthfully right: defeating evil. The way he goes about things is what makes his resolve negative. If the reader was not shown the far-right stance he takes on humanity and the United States as a whole, he would not be put in a negative light. This resolve and how much of it is evident in our world today is something I want to look at as a parallel.

Different Faces of Rorschach

In the above pictures, I think the complexity of Rorschach is evident. On the left, he is depicted as a murderer: a man whose present insanity and broken past defines him. On the right, he is a crime fighter: someone who is proud of the things he has done and is secure in his beliefs and actions. Rorschach in and of himself shows the blurry line between good and evil, which is ironic because it is something he refuses to see about the rest of the world. As an outsider looking in, Rorschach is the definition of the "gray area" in justice.

Watchmen, page 34

In this series of comics, two retired vigilantes are laughing about a villain they used to deal with. They both recall what a nuisance he was because he actually wanted the pain they could inflict on him. This character clearly has a mental disorder, and the others see this and choose not to act on their heroic instincts. Rorschach, on the other hand, took this man who claimed to be a villain at face value and killed him. This is a prime example of the refusal to see the gray area between right and wrong. Instead of taking pity on this man and seeing that his need for pain was a cry for help, Rorschach saw his definite line between good and evil and punished the evil.

Understanding of Good versus Evil
No Gray Area

In society today, I think the gray area is something people refuse to see. Coming from a small, rural North Carolina town, that gray area is often overlooked. Much like Rorschach, I know people who view society today and the "liberal" thinking that prevails as truthfully evil. They refuse to look at the individual and understand their situation because of the focus on the evil that they think lies in the "bigger picture". I think the gray area is something that should be taken into account in every situation. Rorschach refused to do so and because of that, ended up a murderer of people that could have been inherently good deep down. The parallels between Rorschach and the small-minded people who refuse to see the good are uncanny.

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