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Superman Ethical Dilemmas Essay

The following essay is about the popular culture icon, Superman, and how a Superhero with immense power can control one’s self. Superman started off with a grim background with the destruction of his home world and the loss of his new father on earth leaving him only with his earth mother. Having not a single person to relate to can leave a person lonely, meaning that superman was alone for a while even though he had a mother to care for him, Superman had no one that could relate to him.

What Superman also teaches those who look up to him that people should not give into temptation and should, nstead, stick to their moral values because someone cannot be themselves if they do not do what they believe to be right. Nowadays, the people of our generation are looking up to a substantial amount of icons in popular culture. A pop. Culture icon can be reference to a real person such as Oprah Winfrey or Elvis Presley. A pop. Culture icon can also be a reference to a fictional character such as Superman or Batman.

These icons set an example to the extensive amount of people who idealize them in a way others might not be able to understand. For example, Superman has become a well-known icon to not only he younger generations of now, but as well as the older generations who grew up reading his comics when thy first started being published. Superman is a prime example of an icon who can connect with generations of young and old thanks to the numerous remakes done over the years.

Superman’s actions and moral standards can teach those who look up to him how to handle moral, ethical, and practical lessons. Superheroes have always been idealized by the younger generations due to their super powered abilities. The kids are still fascinated by the heroic acts performed by the heroes, and hey also love the way the hero usually always win in the end. Heroes like Superman teach us multiple practical lessons about ourselves and how we can be better in our own ways. A lesson in particular that Superman teaches us is that adversity can be overcome.

Superman’s home planet was destroyed resulting in Superman, or Kal El, to lose not only his entire races of people, but his birth parents as well. To make matters worse, Kal El also lost his beloved adoptive father, Jonathan Kent. At this time, the only person Superman had in his life was his earth mother, Martha Kent. In the 2013 Film Man of Steel, Superman loses his earth father to a passing tornado. Superman could have saved his earth father, but doing so would have resulted in the discovery of his powers exploiting the freak many labeled him as a kid.

Living with the guilt of not saving his earth father ate away at him on the inside resulting in him living an isolated, lonely life. Later we see Superman makes himself known to the world and doing good for the world. Superman could have easily taken the death of his earth dad in a bad way causing him to hate the world for be cruel in taking the life of a good man, but nstead he overcomes his loss and take away the lesson that even though the world can be cruel, does not mean to let affect how people should act and behave.

Losing a loved one is a part of living life, and should not cause individuals to stop living. Decisions on essentially choosing who lives and who dies are the choices Superman has to make every day. Superman may be faster than a speeding bullet, but he still is not fast enough to save everyone leaving him with the hardest decision of all. Superman in essence plays God with the people of earth since he cannot save everyone who is in danger. This ethical dilemma s the reason why there are some people who despise superheroes due to their role in choosing who lives and who dies.

In spite of the fact that Superman makes these decisions, there are still people who understand what he is doing and will still stand on his side because they truly believe in him. Also in the 2013 Film, Man of Steel, Superman battles with the villain General Zod destroying a sizable chunk of Metropolis killing numerous innocent lives in the process. This battle leads to the controversy on whether Superman has a regard at all for human life.

According to Heimbach, “There are nonetheless two main chools of thought on what makes an action right or wrong: deontology, which categorizes actions as good or bad in themselves, and consequentialism, which classifies each action based on its results. Essentially, the question for every superhero is whether the ends justify the means”, meaning that even though people were killed in the battle, the entire earth was saved from destruction(Heimbach). When having to make choices like these, it is a wonder that Superman still decides on being a hero.

Most people would not go on being a superhero as they would not be able to make his same decisions every ime. This teaches us that we should respect those who put themselves in the line of fire by fighting for our country, and to the police officers and fire fighters who risk their lives every day to make sure we sleep better at night. Not only does Superman have to worry about his ethical dilemmas, but he also worries about his own moral dilemmas. Most people do not understand the difference between the usage of the words moral dilemmas and ethical dilemmas.

The similarity between the two is that both refer to doing the right thing, but what differentiates the two in who is deciding what is right. Ethical dilemmas make a reference to what society decides is right and wrong and what decisions to make. In the case of moral dilemmas, the deciding person on what is write and wrong is up to the person doing the action. Although all heroes do not have the same code of honor, the hero in discussion, Superman, does have a code. Superman is seen as the boy scout out of most superheroes due to his moral codes.

He follows the same laws as any lawful abiding citizen. As stated by Griffith, “Laws, as flawed as they may be, are important because they are what separate us from chaos. Supes believes people have freewill to choose their own path. However, that also means they must accept the consequences of their actions like sometimes getting socked in the face or having their machine gun barrels bent upward”, meaning that he does what is right now matter the situation(Griffith). Superman has unimaginable power and strength, yet he does not destroy every villain he encounters.

The standard that he sets shows not only the kids who read the comics or watches the movies, but everyone who watches his movies and reads his comics that even though someone may have the power to take ontrol doesn’t mean they should. What Superman teaches us is that we shouldn’t compromise our moral values no matter what happens in our life. People cannot be true themselves if they do not keep the moral values. Superman may be one the best Superheroes of all time, but that does not mean he is without flaws.

There have been times when Superman had crossed the line and had taken a life. In one comic, one of Batman’s arch nemesis, The Joker, tricks superman into killing the love of his life, Lois Lane, which set the cape crusader on a dark path. As Narcisse states in an article,” The comics indicate that Kal-El’s rief leads him to set up some sort of crime-free super- dictatorship so that no crime or unjust death ever happens again”, this shows that sometimes even the best of us can give in to the darkness’s temptation(Narcisse).

However, this comic was just one out of the many incarnations of the hero meaning that almost every other incarnation of Superman exhibits him as the boy scout he is, and emphasizes his code of honor of not killing. The Man of Steel is Superhero is not like any other because he keeps moral value. Never does Superman come close to compromising what he believes to be right. Superman peaks to almost of generations of people whether they are a father of two kids, or a child entering the third grade.

Being a pop. culture icon is a big responsibility because they have an influence over the people who adore them. Although Superman is a fictional character, he icon is still a big influence on the people who believe in his moral values in what he stands for. The Man of Steel teaches his fans that even though someone may have all the power in the world, does not mean they should abuse the power, or take the law into their hands. No one should compromise what they believe in.

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