The Realism of Moral Dilemmas in Combat Scenarios in Media

Ava King

Updated Sunday, June 23, 2024 at 11:23 PM CDT

The Realism of Moral Dilemmas in Combat Scenarios in Media

The Unrealistic Portrayal of Morality in Combat

Many shows, particularly anime, often depict characters who refuse to kill their enemies for moral reasons. This portrayal, while noble, is often criticized for being unrealistic and potentially dangerous. The argument is that sparing enemies in combat situations can put both the protagonists and innocent civilians at greater risk, a notion that the er finds absurd.

In real-world combat scenarios, the principle of double effect can be a moral framework that justifies killing under specific conditions. This principle requires meeting criteria such as the action being mo***** good or neutral, the bad effect not being the means to the good effect, and the intention being the good effect. This nuanced approach can add depth to storytelling, making the moral decisions of characters more believable.

Batman’s “No Killing” Rule: A Unique Case

Batman’s “No Killing” rule is often cited as an example where this restriction is believable due to his personal issues and moral code. Batman's refusal to kill stems from a deep-seated trauma and a desire to avoid becoming like the criminals he fights. This rule leads to interesting storylines, such as Jason Todd's character development in "Red Hood," where the consequences of Batman's moral stance are explored in depth.

However, not all media handle this moral dilemma as effectively. For instance, the "Revenge is bad" ending of "Wakanda Forever" is criticized for its inconsistency. Shuri spares Namor only after a massive battle, which seems contradictory and undermines the moral lesson the story attempts to convey.

Emotional Realism in Storytelling

People are driven by emotions rather than pure logic, and stories should reflect this complexity. Characters' actions should be based on their emotions and traits rather than an idealized, logical outcome. This emotional realism makes characters more relatable and their decisions more understandable.

The moral dilemma of killing enemies can be compared to the rationalizations people use to justify eating meat. Just as individuals navigate their personal ethics in everyday decisions, characters in media should grapple with their moral choices in a way that feels authentic. Animated movies often avoid showing protagonists taking necessary violent actions to protect loved ones, which can feel disingenuous.

Examples and Criticisms in Popular Media

"Mulan" is an example where the protagonist kills hundreds of soldiers and is still seen as the good guy. This portrayal aligns with the narrative's context and stakes, making Mulan's actions feel justified and heroic. On the other hand, the lesson in "Raya and the Last Dragon" is seen as problematic, as it suggests trusting a villain who caused massive destruction, which can send mixed messages about accountability and trust.

Ludonarrative dissonance is a term used in video games to describe the conflict between a game's narrative and its gameplay mechanics. Nathan Drake from "Uncharted" exemplifies this dissonance, as he kills many enemies but hesitates to kill the main antagonist. This creates a moral inconsistency that can detract from the story's overall impact.

The Broader Consequences of Moral Decisions

The refusal to kill enemies in shows is often a way to maintain a perceived moral high ground. However, moral decisions in combat should consider the broader consequences, including the safety of innocents. The tension between moral ideals and practical realities in storytelling, especially in combat scenarios, is a rich area for exploration.

Ultimately, the portrayal of moral dilemmas in media should strive for a balance between idealism and realism. By doing so, stories can engage audiences more deeply and provide a more nuanced understanding of the complexities of morality in combat situations.

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