I Am Legend and Mortality

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Maybe Killing Vampire-Zombies Isn’t As Cool As It Seems
In Richard Matheson’s novel, I Am Legend, Robert Neville is portrayed as, and believes that he is, a hero. As what may be the last known, non-infected human left on the planet, Robert Neville does what he thinks needs to happen; he single-handedly kills Vampire-Zombies one by one in order to stay alive and to hopefully find other survivors. Although these actions may seem heroic; in the end, Robert Neville realized he had become the ultimate plague in the eyes of the rest of the remaining world (i.e. the living infected Vampire-Zombies). Matheson wants readers to know, even if you are acting in such a way you consider morally right, it may not agree with the rest of society’s morals. For the duration of the novel, readers become sympathetic for Neville and understand his actions for a person in such a dire situation. Robert Neville was forced into his own anti-social lifestyle because the “Vampiris bacillus” germ had either killed or infected anyone left in the world. Neville was in a world where he had no one to talk to, nobody to love, and no one to help him. He killed the Vampire-Zombies in order to survive. When Ruth asked Neville about the infected people and why he kills them he responded: “It’s a trap. If I didn’t kill them, sooner or later they’d die and come after me. I have no choice; no choice at all.” (Matheson 146). Since he didn’t have a choice except to kill or be killed, readers gained a sense of sympathy towards Neville because of the situation he was put in. This sympathy only masked the fact that Neville had lost his sense of morals and was trying to justify murdering countless Vampire-Zombies every day. Killing mass amounts of Zombie-Vampires was no longer something that bothered Neville. Neville even agreed that he had lost his sense of morals; “Morality, after all, had fallen with society. He was his own ethic.” (Matheson 62). When he was forced into isolation, there was...
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