"We're all puppets, Laurie. I'm just a puppet who can see the strings."
THE DOOMSDAY CLOCK
The Doomsday Clock, which represents the world's proximity to a human-caused global catastrophe, appears at the beginning of every chapter of Watchmen. In reality, the Doomsday Clock wavers, moving closer or father from midnight based on the events following its previous adjustment. However, it is interesting to note that in Watchmen, the clock only moves forward, inching closer and closer to doomsday. This is likely related to the impending nuclear crisis, but it also raises questions regarding the novel's theme of destiny. Could there have been any kind of alternate ending where the characters successfully stopped Adrian's plan and prevented the Doomsday Clock from striking midnight? Or is the clock just another puppet on a string; was Adrian's plan destined to happen?
What does WATCHMEN TELL US ABOUT TIME?
While Dr. Manhattan’s belief in the inevitability of destiny raises existential questions, the true conclusion about time that one can draw from Watchmen concerns how people handle the past and prepare for the future. The hours before Doomsday are full of nostalgia, where Laurie, Nite Owl and Rorschach do all they can to cling to their past years as vigilantes. However, when the clock strikes midnight, a new day begins. The once-nostalgic characters’ decisions to adapt to the forever changed world convey the message that while nostalgia is often comforting, it is essential to accept change and adjust to it accordingly.