When we think of ethics with regards to Hollywood, some people might even question if there really are any left? With the growing number of moralists and critics that easily target Hollywood, ethics has become an important factor that seems to be set aside. Many of the movies that are being shown today presents violence, nudity and lack of values incorporated with the film. But there can always be an argument about how is ethics really perceived through the movie industry? Some might doubt but actually when we look pass through over-all violence and those unacceptable factors to moralists, some movies do posses ethics in them.
Most of the time, those ethics are just overlooked by the over-all presence of the movie. When we analyze and breakdown a movie and study the characters there is a great opportunity to realize the moral fiber of the film. In recent memory, there are only a few movies that have produced an unusual style of presentation in the silver screen. One of those movies showed up during 2007 through a film titled “300”. It was based from Frank Miller’s graphic novel also named “300”. This movie adaptation of the novel is also based from the Battle of Thermopylae that was retold in a fictional sense.
To further analyze the movie, the following paragraph will showcase the movie’s summary. Beginning with the presentation on a how a Spartan boy grows up and how he emerges to be king of Sparta, the movie was narrated by Dilios, a spartan soldier who was able to live and tell the tale. After years of being Sparta’s king, Leonidas received a messenger who was sent by the Persian ruler Xerxes. The messenger presented an offer that enraged king Leonidas, leading the messenger kicked down a seemingly bottomless pit.
The message was sent clear, the Persian army is about to come, to invade Sparta and add it up to their growing territory. King Leonidas then consulted the Ephors, priests who consult the oracle for answers from the gods. Proposing a plan to block the Persian army by defending the Hot Gates of Thermopylae, King Leonidas was furious by the Ephors’ advice of not to fight because the oracle said that it was forbidden and the gods will get enraged if they do. Despite all of this, Leonidas stood strong with his firm decision to defend the Hot Gates.
He gathered 300 of the greatest Spartan soldiers and assembled a party that would hold off thousands of Persians. As they have reached the Hot Gates, they defended it for days just to protect Sparta. King Leonidas courageously led the way by standing strong to his principles until the end. The number of the Persian army was too much for the 300 Spartans and eventually led to their deaths. Only one soldier was tasked to return to Sparta to tell the tale, Dilios, who forever made Leonidas and the 300 Spartans, remembered.
LEONIDAS AND HIS VIRTUES The whole essence of the story evolved in Leonidas’ answer to his ethical dilemma that concerned with his decision to push through despite a number of people prohibiting him. One example was when he was discouraged by the Ephors or priests to pursue his plan because it was the time of the Carneian festival. His ethical dilemma would be is that if he pushes through with his plan, he would be disrespecting the Carneian but he would be able to salvage some time to defend Sparta.
Despite the senate’s disapproval of sending the whole Spartan army, Leonidas faced his dilemma by standing strong with his beliefs and forming an army of 300 to continue his plan. Another example would be seen during the scene where the Persians were negotiating with Leonidas. First was during the arrival of the Persian messenger who offered Leonidas salvation of the Spartans from the Persian army if he yields. Another was during their stay at the Hot Gates, when King Xerxes himself talked to Leonidas personally and again proposed to have them spared if he yields to the Persians.
Both of these instances presented a same result, Leonidas refusing to give up and standing strong to his principles. Choosing the side of what’s right than what’s wrong, suggests Leonidas’ firm ethical correctness and proper morality virtues. OTHER ETHICAL THEORIES PRESENTED Egoism is also depicted in the movie as seen in Xerxes’ motivation to rule and conquer the world. His actions towards self-interests boost his drive to invade and gain territories. In one instance, he even called himself the king and ruler of the world.
A little bit of Egoism can also be attributed to Leonidas. His strong desire to win and his confidence to bring only 300 soldiers despite knowing that his enemy would be thousands in number suggests a showing of Egoism. CONCLUSION When we analyze the definition of ethics we easily incorporate it with what’s write and what’s wrong. Most of it solely depends on how we make that decision. The movie “300” despite its over-all violent nature still possessed that essential factor of morality and the integration of ethics through the characters, most especially Leonidas.
Being the Spartan king, his decision to protect his kingdom by defending the Hot Gates despite disagreements by the senate and the priests caused his ethical dilemma. By overcoming this dilemma and choosing what he knows is right, it created a chain of events that lead to his popularity and immortality through the help of the story that’s still known up to today. Despite Xerxes’ tempting offers in order for him to surrender, Leonidas’ strong principles carried him all the way to legendary proportions.
Driven by a king’s instincts, Leonidas died for the people of Sparta which caused them to be more inspired and more driven to defeat the Persian army that arrived pass the Hot Gates. All in all, despite Hollywood’s descending reputation in accordance with moralists, people can still find ethics in movies. People just need to look pass through and analyze the details to get the even bigger picture.
Mackie, J L. (1977). Ethics: Inventing Right and Wrong. New York: Penguin Books. Simpson, R. H. (1972). Leonidas’ Decision. Phoenix (Vol 26, pp. 1-11).
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