Phil Connors (Groundhog Day Film)

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C. Emory Gutshall
Period F
Fr. Houghton
God and Free Will
Groundhog Day (Film): (Writing Topic 1) …Can Virtue Be Taught?
Phil: “What would you do if you were stuck in one place and every day was exactly the same, and nothing you did mattered? Ralph: “That about sums it up for me.” I believe “that about sums it up for everyone,” and if it doesn’t then he or she is just simply kidding themselves. As bleak and austere as that may sound, it is undoubtedly true. The situation of Phil Connors is not just an interpretation of a repetitive bland life. It is an illustration of a major philosophical idea, if not the biggest one at that. The idea that we weren’t put on earth for a concrete purpose, and there is no ultimate objective in life beyond then what we choose. With that notion in every individuals mind, it is our burden to shape ourselves into what we think is virtuous, and to not do that is to not live a genuine bona fide life. Phil Connors, who previously lived life existentialists could call hedonistic and self-centered, has to now find some meaning and true purpose in life. Phil must enlighten himself through experiencing the same drab day he dreads the most. So this begs the question, can Phil Connors, the ego-centric weatherman from Pittsburgh, teach himself to virtuous, and intern receive some positive purpose in life?

In Machiavelli’s The Prince he states “A Prince (Phil) should not necessarily avoid vices such as cruelty or dishonesty if employing them will benefit the state. Cruelty and other vices should not be pursued for their own sake, just as virtue should not be pursued for its own sake: virtues and vices should be conceived as mean to an end. Every action the prince (Phil) takes must be considered in light of its effect on the state, not in terms of its intrinsic moral value.” This is the mentality that Phil adopts after a night of imbibing and recklessness. He then indulges himself in a frenzy of hedonistic bingeing. He robs an...
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