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PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2009 3:10 am 
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I'm in college at the moment without the novel to hand but im making the topic now (Because i'd forget otherwise)

But it seems, in all, most of the characters thought, although morally wrong in, most things, he was right.

Jon said it himself 'Blakes different, he understands perfectly, and he doesnt care'

That to me is a compliment. And im sure at other points in the graphic novel, he is complimented as such by rorschach, Adrian, and maybe even Dan.


Did anyone else notice this? And could anyone find evidence to back it up?

Was Alan Moore saying, out of the lot of them, The comedian made the most sense? Caring not for moral absolutes and being completely ambiguous on the matter of just about everything.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2009 6:33 am 
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Ikke av flesk wrote:
But it seems, in all, most of the characters thought, although morally wrong in, most things, he was right.


An interesting question!

I don't know whether the other characters agree with his actions, but his moral stance is much harder to argue against. He is able to call the others out on their moral failings, forcing them to confront their own dishonesty (in contrast with his honesty) about human nature and their behaviour. I'd even go so far as to characterise Blake as the "father figure" of Watchmen. Almost everything that happens is a consequence of his actions, and his world view.

Of the five other main characters of Watchmen, only Laurie and Rorschach are not explicitly confronted by the Comedian about their views and actions: and yet they are both directly influenced by his behaviour.

The most obvious case is Laurie: Blake is literally her father. But she isn't just a result of Blake's biology: her upbringing, which shapes everything about her - making her the "specific form" that has kept Jon on Earth for two decades - is a result of the way he approached Sally. So, although Laurie is the least in agreement or admiration of the Comedian, she is also the most shaped by his actions.

Rorschach is the most explicit in his admiration of the Comedian. In fact, he almost views Blake as a father figure: Blake is the kind of guy Rorschach would like his father to be. We don't find out explicitly whether Rorschach amended his behaviour due to the Comedian (the only time they interact - at the Crimebusters meeting - they disagree, and Rorschach doesn't seem to have changed his perspective on the importance of bringing down criminals like Moloch), but he seems at least to admire and aspire towards Blake's worldview and achievements.

Of the other three protagonists, we see their revelations from the Comedian in the Chapter II flashbacks. At the funeral, each sees how fundamentally Blake has influenced them - even if we as readers don't realise the significance at the time, in Adrian's case.

Adrian is most obviously Blake's "child", in the sense that, when confronted at the Crimebusters meeting, he has to admit that Blake is right: he's been trying to solve the wrong problem, and he proceeds to reshape his entire life around this fact. In his case, he's specifically trying to prove Blake wrong, deny his nihilism by saving the world, but he still has to admit that Blake was right about the scale of their problems.

Jon is forced to admit that his criticism of Blake's amorality is hollow. He could have stopped the killing, he could have done a lot of things, but he didn't. Is this the first time he realises that he is "drifting out of touch"? Certainly, the line about "Sally Jupiter's little gal" must have been particularly cutting, even though he couldn't have known why the Comedian was so upset by it at the time. I'd still argue that Jon pretty much spends the next fourteen years trying to prove the Comedian wrong: trying to fight his growing estrangement and prove that he does care, even when he's drifted too far to relate to her properly. Hence his willingness to return to Earth, to persuade Laurie and Dan that they need to keep quiet about Adrian's behaviour, and kill Rorschach when he refuses, to protect a world that he himself has no interest in. So, maybe he doesn't agree with Blake, but he can see that he's in no position to criticise him.

Dan's revelation from the Comedian is less mind-blowing, but I still think it's the Comedian's behaviour during the Riots of '77 that led to Dan retiring. Can Dan argue that he's really noble, and protecting society when he's only happy going up against "Schmucks in Halloween Suits"?. He later admits that the Comedian was right: they didn't need all that hardware just to catch hookers and cutpurses. I suspect that this is the point where Dan realises that he's been acting out of self-interest: a bored rich-kid living out his hero fantasies, rather than helping the world. He may not agree with the Comedian's take on life, but he can't deny that the Comedian's got his number. After all, when Dan does go back into the field, he does so with no illusions that he's doing so altruistically.

So, having said all that, I don't think Jon, Dan or Adrian do agree with Blake's views on morality: but they have to admit that he's right about them. Their nobility is largely pretend, and deep down - they're really no better than him.

That's my take, anyway!

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2009 7:39 am 
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First we need to make the distinction between moral right and being correct in ones' observations. What Adrian and Manhattan were complimenting was the accuracy of Blake's perceptions not his morality.

Edward Blake always had a different focus to the rest of the masked heroes.
The earliest time we see him, at the 1940 photo shoot, he is the one complaining that America wasn't in the war, Hooded Justice was complaining about the photo shoot keeping him off the streets while Mothman was quivering with fear the the idea of war.

Basically, the other masks were concerned about their city but Blakes' eyes were looking at the rest of the world too. Now, at 16 we can likely assume Eddie was just after an adventure and a bigger cause and liked the idea of but then America joined the war effort and Blake went.

He saw war, the world, politics and violence far beyond what he had seen at home.
Then Hiroshima and Nagasaki happened and his descent into despair began.
Now Adrian had a global focus too but it was more social and economic than political.

By 19 it was likely Blake had seen more of the world than any of the others ever did, besides perhaps Dr Manhattan who remained unaffected and Adrian who travelled in peacetime.

Blake's ability to grasp the bigger picture isolates him from the others (well, that and his behaviour). This was always the price he paid for his insight.

He illustrated this at the Crimebuster's meeting by belittling the narrow-focused efforts of the others. He didn't see much point in clearing up one city of the Earth was going to be destroyed and told them so. Maybe he was hoping they would get the hint and stop the inevitable. Maybe he just thought there really was no point. Maybe both.

I think they were impressed by what he said partly because they knew he was coming from a different place to them, that he had seen so much, had that government job where he gleaned so much. Plus he read the papers.

But each had their interactions that coloured their perceptions of Blake.

Dr Manhattan was in Vietnam with Blake when laid a very accurate assessment of him. "You don't really give a damn about human beings. I've watched you... you're drifting out of touch Doc." In comparison Laurie lived with him for 20 years before she understood how very detached he was.

Blake was the only one who discovered Veidt's plan, was able to deduce it's scope and, also, that it would likely work.
Rorschach and Dan between them could get most of the way there with Blake's murder as a catalyst.

Rorschach, back when he was 11, invented a father for himself. A man who worked on behalf of the government, for the president. A war hero. This is how he saw Blake. He admired the man greatly. He defended him to Laurie "he died in the service of his country" and Veidt "He stood up for his country, Veidt, never let anyone retire him, never cashed in on his reputation."
For Rorschach it is as simple as he sees Blake as a hero and that's that.

Even Laurie was impressed by his performance at the Crimebusters meeting (she says as much when she meets him outside afterwards).

Basically Edward Blake was a very perceptive man and at various times the other masks saw this and appreciated it or were otherwise affected by his perceptions.

I hope I'm on the right track here as far as answering your question goes.

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2009 8:22 am 
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blake, as the comedian, is the true jester in the shakespearean way: it is his prerogative to point out hurtful truths, especially to people who may believe they are his betters. in this way, his actions lead the other characters to question their own actions and beliefs, and each one of them draws different conclusions:

- rorschach concentrates on blake´s unquestioning loyalty to the government and manages to avoid blake´s nihilism. i feel if they had ever worked together, rorschach, who cares very much about good and evil, would have had a hard time accepting blake´s "it´s all a joke" attitude
- laurie bases her attitude towards blake entirely on what he did to her mother and hates him for it. when she learns the truth, it helps her to make peace with her mother and see the bigger picture - but i don´t think her image of blake changes much.
- adrian, i believe, hates blake. adrian is the king whom the jester helps to see the truth, but he despises the jester for it.
- dan:blake makes him feel helpless, makes him loose faith in his actions. but blake only serves as the dark mirror, and dan concentrates on himself; he doesn´t blame blake for it, i think.
- jon´s comment ("he doesn´t care") isn´t meant as a compliment, i think, simply because jon doesn´t do compliments. he doesn´t judge. he sees what happens, and simply observes and lets it happen. in the end, however, it is laurie´s epiphany that makes him get back in touch, take an interest, loose some of that nihilism blake inspires.

myself, i could never bring myself to have much sympathy for blake. he surely isn´t an easy character, but i always felt he took the vigilante business and more so the government work as a licence to do his thing, live a life of careless brutality, without having to face the consequences. his one redeeming point is that he seems to care for sally and his daughter, but he is too warped to properly act on it. it is alan moore´s masterpiece to invent something (adrian´s plan) that can actually shock the comedian and makes him lose his cynical distance.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2009 3:29 pm 
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Ikke av flesk wrote:
Jon said it himself 'Blakes different, he understands perfectly, and he doesnt care'

That to me is a compliment. And im sure at other points in the graphic novel, he is complimented as such by rorschach, Adrian, and maybe even Dan.


well, that's no compliment, jon is just stating a fact. adrian somewhat gives him a compliment (its more of a 'yeah he beat me this time' situation, after all he goes and calls the comedian a nazi) for besting him in a brawl, rorschach for his patriotism, and i don't think that dan ever says anything about him besides "the comedian is dead". but in all of those cases, none of them are meant to have a positive reflection.


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PostPosted: Tue May 26, 2009 7:11 pm 
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What I didn't get was that Dr. Manhattan still respected the Comedian even after he shot the pregnent woman. But yes it's a very good question why everyone except for Laurie agreed with the Comedian even though he was doing pretty fucked up stuff.

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