Superman Ethics and Relevenance to the modern day society

Essay by BamboozledUniversity, Bachelor'sA, September 2012

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Superman, The Elite, and the ethics of Heroes

Superman- the name alone brings forth the words ​"Truth, Justice, and the American Way", but in today's day and age are the ethics of the Man of Steel dated? In the DC's 2012 animated feature Superman versus the Elite, director Michael Chang and writer Joe Kelly explore such a scenario: in which Superman's morals are challenged by a new group of Anti-Heroes calling themselves "The Elite", a group willing to kill to achieve their goals. By looking at these groups we are challenged to answer the question of what ethical viewpoints make up a hero, are they truly ethical, and most importantly- Are they viable in society?

Superman versus the Elite (2012) opens with a "Saturday Morning Cartoon" of Superman. This Superman cartoon is a representation of Superman's Deontological views and gives us a clear glimpse into what makes the Man of Steel tick.

Superman holds to the belief that it is how you go about living that is important, that living good is the way to do good. Though Superman has the powers of a figurative god, he does not use these powers in excess, he attempts to show that not even he is above the law, and "Duty rooted in principle must be the sole source of moral action" (The Ethics Toolkit,64). That it is his duty to protect the people of the World. While this belief is to be admired and praised, it is also inherently unbalanced: Superman does not kill; he does not play judge, jury, and executioner but instead seeks to uphold Justice. In doing so Superman allows for the villains he captures to escape and cause chaos again; so the question becomes, why shouldn't Superman kill, if killing the one saves countless others...