October 21, 2012
For this paper on Good vs. Evil, I chose to write on the movie High Noon. High Noon is a 1952 American Western film told in nearly real time. It’s the story of a town marshal, Will Kane, personally compelled to face a returning deadly enemy, and finds that his own town refuses to help him. Minutes before learning this, Will marries his pacifist Quaker wife and his plans are to turn in his badge for a simpler life as a shopkeeper. But first, he has a five year feud to end.
Utilitarianism is an ethical approach made popular by John Stuart Mill. It goes by the belief of “the greatest good for the greatest number” (Rachels, 2012). Utilitarianism followers believe that “if the good outweighs the bad, then the action is moral” (Anderson, 2004). In High Noon, Will’s new wife, Amy, lives by this. She’s a Quaker and does not believe in violence in any way. At one point in the movie she explains how her brother and father both were killed in a shootout. She states they were on the “right” side, but it didn’t matter. One of my favorite lines and what I believe sums up Amy Kane well is “I don’t care who is right or who is wrong. There’s got to be a better way for people to live” (High Noon, 1952). Amy ends up abandoning her morals to save the life of Will, her husband.
The entire town of Hadleyville seems to follow a utilitarianism theory when it comes to Will’s need to stand up to Frank Miller. Will approaches every man in the town, friends and enemies alike, and asks for help. He makes a plea that a Frank Miller-free world would be better for the whole town. No one seems to agree with Will. Even though multiple townsfolk readily admit that Will was the best marshal they have ever had and he helped make the town safe for women and children, they still refuse to help. They see it in a utilitarian view that it would make pleasure for Will but could cause...