In Chapter Six of Alan Moore’s Watchmen, Rorschach explains to the prison therapist the impact of his awareness of evil: “Once a man has seen, he can never turn his back on it. Never pretend it doesn’t exist. No matter who orders him to look the other way. We do not do this thing because it is permitted... We do it because we are compelled.” Alan Moore said in an interview, “Anarchy… is...the best way and most morally sensible way to run the world. Everybody should be the master of their own destiny. Everybody should be their own leader.”
Alan Moore uses his anti-hero character Rorschach as an icon of anarchy. Rorschach points out society’s fascist tendencies and humanity’s moral hypocrisy. Rorschach is a fictional character who fits uncomfortably well in the raging individualism and increasing discord between political parties and social classes found in today’s culture. Alan Moore explores the consequences of Rorschach playing god, and we are left with an unsavory taste of a society whose morality is defined solely by the individual convictions of its inhabitants. While Rorschach may be a voice of Moore’s own belief in anarchy, Watchmen is far from a manifesto or a persuasive piece of propaganda. Rather it is a brilliant exploration of the consequences of people acting on different moral and political ideals. This generation is a revolutionary one, and I hope that this presentation will encourage students to reassess their own social and moral location in it.
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22 March 2019
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19 July 2022
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