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Ethical Analysis of The Shawshank Redemption
Scott S. Critzer
Dr. Gerry R. Sokol and Dr. Nancy Powers
EDLP 705—Frameworks for Decision-making: Ethical Perspectives Virginia Commonwealth University
February 11, 2012

Author Note
Correspondence regarding this paper should be addressed to Scott S. Critzer, Assistant Principal, Randolph-Henry High School, 755 David Bruce Avenue, Charlotte Court House, Virginia 23923. E-mail: critzerss@vcu.edu Ethical Analysis of The Shawshank Redemption

It has been suggested that a person can learn a great deal about a society; its customs, values, ethical beliefs, etc…, through its cultural works (art, film, literature, etc…). In the case of the 1994 film, The Shawshank Redemption, a story of one man’s wrongful imprisonment and subsequent freedom, the viewer can gain a great insight into two ethical principles that help to govern society. The Shawshank Redemption provides the viewer with a backdrop against which to consider the ethical principles of justice and power and the implications that the way in which those principles are dealt with in the film can have for society. Ethical Principles

Ethics can be defined as, “a social, religious, or civil code of behavior considered correct, especially that of a particular group, profession, or individual” (Ethics). While the individual principles that make-up such “correct behavior” can be debated from group to group and society to society, there are certain ones that seem to transcend culture and societal boundaries. One of these is “justice.” Justice can be defined as “the quality of being fair and reasonable/conformity to moral rightness and attitude” (Justice). It is a sense that a person is being treated in a manner that is in accordance with a reasonable and fair application of both written and unwritten “laws” that are considered to be righteous and is an almost universal ethical principle. One can see the ethical principle of justice in The Shawshank Redemption from the...