Slumdog Millionaire

Topics: Slumdog Millionaire, Ethics, Morality Pages: 2 (608 words) Published: September 3, 2013
Is ethical decision making possible when one must make choices based on survival? Do seemingly “bad” choices make a person bad? Discuss. Ethics refers to the moral principles that govern a person’s behaviour or the conducting of an activity. In the 21st century, essentially in western cultures, ethics are becoming progressively important in all aspects of life. What is judged as a “bad” or unethical choice may vary amid cultures, societies and religions as individuals have divergent perceptions. It is deemed unacceptable in society to act in such a manner as to harm others or deviate from morality; however is a “bad” choice justifiable if it was an act based on survival? The film, Slumdog Millionaire, based on the bestselling novel Q and A by Indian diplomat, Vikas Swarup and directed by Danny Boyle, exposes unethical principles and topics in a confronting manner. Slumdog Millionaire was set in the slums of the most populous city in India, Mumbai. Life in Mumbai presented countless complications for Jamal Malik, the main character and his older brother Salim. After their mother was killed by Muslim extremists during the Bombay Riots, the young, naive brothers were left to fend for themselves, which often resulted in acts which would be considered unethical to most. The importance of ethics was often irrelevant in terms of decision making for Jamal and Salim. They committed acts of theft in order to satisfy the basic necessities associated with living. For many westerners who live a life at ease, it is challenging to relate to the lives of Jamal and Salim, whose main focus was survival, not questioning whether the choices they were making were ethical. A demonstration of an entirely unethical choice which is challenging to justify was when Salim stole his brother’s autographed picture of Indian Bollywood star, Amitabh Bachan and sold it to a trader in the slum for a small price. Under most circumstances this would be understood as a selfish and harsh act,...
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