In Alan Moore's The Watchmen, Moore presents the reader with two drastically different characters who have one strikingly similar trait. Ozymandias is a handsome, rich, public, and powerful man. Rorschach is an ugly, poor, private, and almost worthless man. Despite all of these contrasts, they share a common philosophy: they believe that the ends justify the means. This is a major theme of the story, and through it Moore causes the reader the ask themselves the question - do the ends justify the means? Before looking at the concept of the ends justifying the means, it is important to understand just how different the characters of Rorschach and Ozymandias are from each other. Rorschach is strongly right wing, even to the point of fascism. He believes that "the whole world stands on the brink, starring down into bloody hell, all the liberals and intellectuals and smooth-talkersÃ¢â‚¬Â¦"(Volume 1 page 1) Rorschach is also an ardent subscriber to the New Frontiersman, a right-wing conspiracy magazine. Ozymandias is an extremely rich philanthropist, who once gave his entire fortune to charity. Ozymandias was the first of all the super heroes to go public, two years before heroes were required to unmask themselves by law. Rorschach never went public, choosing to live as an outlaw rather than give up his identity. Ozymandias is considered by many to be the most handsome man in the world, while Rorschach is an ugly man who does not even bathe on a regular basis. Ozymandias runs an international conglomerate, while Rorschach does not have enough money to pay his rent. These differences present the reader with two extremely different characters, their only similarities being their staunch belief that the ends justify the means.
Moore presents the reader with an early visual clue to the similar natures of Ozymandias and Rorschach in chapter five, titled Fearful Symmetry. Every page of this chapter has a parallel page in the other side of the chapter. For example, pages one, two and three are nine panel pages concerning Rorschach, as is the last page, page twenty-eight, and pages twenty-seven and twenty-six. Page four has one panel the width of the page to begin with, which is then followed by six smaller panels, as does page twenty-five. These pages concern the confrontation between Rorschach and Moloch. Page twenty-five also has the one larger panel at the top, followed by six smaller panels, and this page also concerns Rorschach and Moloch. This mirror-like pattern continues until the center of the comic. While there are other characters in this chapter (Dan and Laurie, the newspaper salesman, and the two policemen), the two characters who receive the most focus in this chapter are Rorschach and Ozymandias. Even the title of this chapter is meant to cause the reader to think about the nature of Rorschach and Ozymandias. The title Fearful Symmetry comes from The Tyger by William Blake. This classic poem and its partner, The Lamb, are two poems about the nature and duality of life. While the tyger may be a predator and the lamb its prey they are both concerned about where they came from. This is a direct parallel to events taking place in The Watchmen, where although Rorschach and Ozymandias may be almost total opposites, they are both attempting to perform acts which will they believe will improve humanity. Moore hints to the reader that Rorschach believes that the ends justify the means on the very first page, when Rorschach uses his journal to tell the reader that he thinks that the people "had a choice, all of them. They could have followed in the footsteps of good men like my father or president Truman. Decent men, who believed in a day's work for a day's pay."(Volume 1, page 1) While Truman may have had many great accomplishments, his most famous decision was to drop the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This is a real world example of the concept of whether the ends justify the means. Truman would be an obvious hero to...
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