The Emperor’s Club is a fascinating movie about a teacher’s moral struggle between doing what’s right and wrong. The plot of this movie revolves around the relationship of a history teacher; William Hundert and his students. Mr. Hundert develops a relationship with one of his students Sedgewick Bell, and his actions leads him to start questioning his moral conscience of whether what he was doing was right. Sedgewick Bell, son of a senator, was a rebellious student who constantly challenged Mr. Hundert and didn’t take school earnestly. Mr. Hundert saw great potential in Sedgewick and began to take a personal interest in trying to motivate and develop him into becoming a better student. His personal interest in helping Sedgewick begins to backfire throughout the movie; several times he goes against his better judgment and does what he feels is right, instead of acting upon what he knows is right.
There are many interesting points that are highlighted in this movie. In the beginning, the Dean of the school welcomes all the incoming students with a speech that sets the main theme for the whole movie. His speech concluded with the quote, “The end depends upon the beginning.” This theme was elaborated when Mr. Hundert gave his first lesson to his students. He used the example of the plaque that was hanging over his classroom door. The plague described a king, Shutruk-Nahunte, who was the destroyer Sippar. This particular king who ruled and conquered was utterly forgotten in history. Why? “Because great ambition and conquest without contribution is without significance.” The point the Mr. Hundert was making to his students was what you contribute to society will determine how you lived your life. There are those who may rule and conquer but without a positive contribution that will surpass your own lifetime, your “end” becomes meaningless and forgotten. But to accomplish great deeds one would have to be a good leader with followers that share the same ideas and values. As a good leader, they will be able to inspire confidence and support among the people who are needed to achieve the goals.
Sedgewick character develops in the movie by being testing and disrespectful towards Mr. Hundert. This causes Mr. Hundert to arrange a meet with his father, a Senator. The reaction Mr. Hundert gets from Sedgewick father reiterates the behavior of his son in school. Sedgewick’s father seemed to care less about what’s going on with Sedgewick. Sedgwick was already considered a failure and that Mr. Hundert was just wasting his time. This can be seen when his father keeps changing the subject of the meeting and was more involved in finding a match for his Cuban cigar. The offering of the cigar was significant because it was a considered a friendly gesture to Mr. Hundert, more of a bribe to shut him up about the situation of his son. It made Mr. Hundert feel uncomfortable and uncertain as to what to do. This just shows the kind of character his father really was and how his actions affect Sedgewick’s life. Sedgewick throughout the movie was looking for approval and acceptance from a father figure. Whenever he got an approval or an acknowledgement from his teacher he began to do better.
Mr. Hundert’s moral point of view begins to be tested when he visits Sedgewick, outside of class, and loans him his old history book. Mr. Hundert actions in allowing Sedgewick to use his own book are somewhat an unethical decision. Moral point of view requires impartiality. Even though, Mr. Hundert was trying to encourage Sedgewick to learn and apply himself, he did not make that book available to the other students in the class. It may appear he was showing favoritism to Sedgewick by giving him an advantage over the other students. He did not take into consideration the interest of everyone as expressed in the slogan, “What’s fair for one is fair for all”. Mr. Hundert does this because he believes Sedgewick has the...
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