The Fate OF The Watchmen

In The Watchmen, characters face many challenges and choices that affect their relationships and the fate of the world. However, a certain recurring idea is entangled in their journey, given in imagery, depicted through the setup of the story, and debated through the internal struggles of characters.

This idea is the conflict between fate and free will. The concept of fate and predestination is especially contemplated by the character Doctor Manhattan, who essentially gains an understanding beyond time, while his existence is still limited to linear experiences.

Doctor Manhattan can look upon events in the future as we look upon the past; he can't change what has happened or will happen, but he still can regret and try to learn from them. This contributes to conflict because he already knows what people will do, creating a distance between himself and others as he is not always mentally present in the moment.

Furthermore, the story itself contributes to this debate by placing events of the "future" next to the events of the present or past. It tells itself in a way that makes the future seem inevitable, building on little events or actions that snowball into huge plots. Details shown in the beginning recur and build on the idea that everything that happens is predestined in a universal domino effect.

This idea is also present throughout the novel in small details such as the clock at the beginning of every chapter. Representative of the doomsday clock, it slowly counts down, once again reinforcing the idea that events are always building up to an inevitable and destructive conclusion.

Little clues like the sign in this picture are present throughout.
Finally, the clock strikes 12.

However, just because the novel builds itself around this idea, does it really mean that life's events cannot be stopped? Are the heroes really doomed to fail from the beginning?

No. Even Doctor Manhattan realizes that even if the future is prewritten, it doesn't mean it's not worth living through. Just because eventually the woman he loves will leave him, he still relishes the time they spend together, and that makes it worth it.

Also, even with all the imagery and clues about the direction of the plot, the final outcome is not predicted by any character or the reader, proving that while fate may or may not be prewritten, it doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things. Events are all closely and intricately linked by cause an effect, but we don't realize this in the moment, and thus the illusion of choice is practically reality.


Created with images by dailyinvention - "Who Watches the Watchmen?" • Unsplash - "path pathway distance" • orijinal - "Orange Stripe" • dok1 - "Fox Creek S Bridge" • danielam - "path winter snow" • skeeze - "bricks pathway colorful" • MikeBird - "bridge walkway wooden" • gabriella szekely - "A clear path" • Barta IV - "Swamp Boardwalk" • Debs (ò‿ó)♪ - "Watchtower II" • aritanadantas - "Pillart Watchmen. Quem vigia os vigilantes?" • ♡ dare to share beauty - "Wye Island Ruby Road - HDR" • Debs (ò‿ó)♪ - "Watchmen IV"

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