Watchmen Josh Thomas

"If there was an observer on Mars, they would probably be amazed that we have survived this long."

- Noam Chomsky

"Life on Earth is at the ever-increasing risk of being wiped out by a disaster, such as sudden global nuclear war, a genetically engineered virus or other dangers we have not yet thought of."

- Stephen Hawking

"The control of information is something the elite always does, particularly in a despotic form of government. Information, knowledge, is power. If you can control information, you can control people."

- Tom Clancy

"Without the ability to talk about government power, there's no way for citizens to make sure this power isn't being misused."

- Aaron Swartz

"It means that, in fact, it's - whether fascist is the right word I don't know - more of a plutocracy than anything resembling a democracy; it has become a nation controlled by a very small, very wealthy elite."

- Peter Singer

A theme in Watchmen that matures as the novel progresses is the righteousness of controlling information for the betterment of humanity. The idea of a plutocracy, where the wealthy are the former heroes, is explored especially at the end of the novel. The wealth defined is symbolic for owning knowledge of Adrian Veidt's master plan. This singular bit of knowledge is capable of ripping apart a newly developed global society, founded on the idea of xenophobia towards a seemingly hostile alien species.

Characters and Their Views:

The Comedian

Edward Blake is a heartless 'hero' who died early in the story, but his character is expanded upon and explained throughout the novel. He is a very intelligent individual but seemingly lacking empathy. A few moments in Watchmen bring out Blake's sheathed empathic values:
Laurie Juspeczyk held a special place in Blake's heart, however she created complicated emotions in him. One of the few people that he cares about, his daughter, completely despises him. Laurie invoked complex feelings in Blake that weren't typical of his persona, The Comedian.
The period of Blake's highest emotional angst came packaged from Moloch's memory. Blake came to a villain, and former foe, to try to understand the reasoning and implications of Veidt's master plan. The author delivered this scene as, in Moloch's words, "..his last performance." Blake reeks of emotion and empathy in this cutscene is yet again atypical of his persona. However, in this instance his emotion is different. Blake showed that he has little regard for human life in his tours of Vietnam, but the implications of Veidt's plan were too much for him to handle. Some reasonings behind his emotional overload could be that Blake felt like he created this evil version of Veidt, or that the only people that Blake cares about were key figures in Veidt's plan. Beyond reasonings, the important aspect of this scene to realize is that even the most evil hero feels outdone and belittled by Veidt's desire to alter the future of the world.

Dr. Manhattan

Jon Osterman - accidental superhero, holds ultimate wisdom but no regard for life. He plays the most passive of roles out of all of the characters. His return to Earth was supposed to be the catalyst to return peace. Think of the irony; an ultimate weapon to act as a peacekeeper. However Veidt dominated Dr. Manhattan's passive nature by enacting his plan, and Jon held no resistance. This is the biggest contrast between Jon and the characters of Laurie Juspeczyk and Dan Dreiberg; resistance.

Laurie Juspeczyk and Dan Dreiberg

Laurie and Dan were victims to their situation, restlessly living a life that had less meaning since the Keene Act passed. However, their passivity died when they found each other, reigniting their drive to fight crime. "This is a key difference between the pair and Rorschach - their drive to fight died whilst Rorschach would die before his drive did." The same theme is replayed at the end of the novel where Laurie and Dan merely accept *, similar to how they accepted the Keene Act. Following these trends, one could suggest that after Rorschach's journal is published, then Laurie and Dan would end their second state of passivity by breaking the silence and revealing Veidt's crimes.

Rorschach

Rorschach, or Walter Kovacs, is the face and character of total resistance to authority in Watchmen. He follows his own moral code to his death, however his legacy lives and it is assumed that his tale is told. It's hard to brand Rorschach as 'the good guy' due to his nihilistic and even murderous nature, but he is the only constant in Watchmen. Rorschach is the only character that maintains his same persona (once it is created) through all trials, including the Keene Act and Veidt's enactment of his plan. He lives to serve and improve other people's lives when he can, but his ultimate goal, shown in the first picture, is to fight evil.
Adrian Veidt aka Ozymandias, holds the true power behind the scenes throughout Watchmen. While other main characters scattered around the pieces of his plan and their own devices, Veidt sat in waiting. He hid his intentions and actions, but he was discovered in the end. Veidt is the creator of the issue of controlling information, and with his superior intelligence he believed it to be the only hope for true world peace.

Controlling influential information is an effective means to hold power in society, but to think that it is a viable solution to world peace, much less the only option, should be frightening to a global society. Rorschach was a formidable resistance to this idea, and it is assumed that he defeated the idea of controlling information by releasing his thoughts to a publisher.

But, in a world where those who control information have few rivals as powerful or determined as Rorschach - the question is raised - who watches those who are meant to watch and protect us?

Operation Northwoods

Edward Snowden

Credits:

Created with images by _Gaspard_ - "Bomb" • stevepb - "checkmate chess resignation" • jensjunge - "capitol building architecture"

Report Abuse

If you feel that this video content violates the Adobe Terms of Use, you may report this content by filling out this quick form.

To report a Copyright Violation, please follow Section 17 in the Terms of Use.