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 Post subject: Religious Allusions
PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2008 5:22 pm 
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Crimebuster

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This struck me recently as I re-read Watchmen .
Chapter VI, page 21, panels six and seven.
Rorscach/Kovaks speaking:

"Shock of impact ran along my arm. Jet of warmth spattered on chest, like hot faucet.
It was Kovaks who said 'Mother' then, muffled under latex. It was Kovacs who closed his eyes.
It was Rorschach who opened them again." (Emphasis mine.)

This is an almost literal representation of baptism.

Not only is Kovacs literally "washed in the blood", but he also becomes a "new creature", Rorschach.

What's very interesting is that this "re-birth" doesn't open his eyes to the reality of God, but rather to the reality that there is no God......as he says on page 26, panel 2: "Looked at sky through smoke heavy with human fat and God was not there. The cold suffocaating dark goes on forever, and we are alone."

Add to this the fact that the printed material at the end of this chapter describes the young Walter in the Charlton home as doing "...very well at schoolwork, excelling particularly in the fields of literature and religious education... (Emphasis mine).

So here we have a baptism and re-birth that reveals a godless universe and (significantly, I think) leaves Kovacs : "...reborn...free to scrawl own design on this morally blank world." (Page 26, panel six.)

Obviously, there is a lot of other religious symbolism in Watchmen, but this particular sequence really made me think.

Discuss if interested ;)


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 Post subject: Re: Baptism
PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2008 8:38 pm 
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Kind of like a reverse baptism, really. One uses water, the other used blood. One establishes religion, the other establishes atheism.

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 Post subject: Re: Baptism
PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2008 9:50 pm 
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The Rorschach persona is truly separate from Walter at that moment of baptism. He's "free to scrawl own design on this morally blank world". He becomes a demi-god in his own right, at least in his own mind. He puts the mask on to become "free of lust" and what not, although Walter is capable of handling himself well enough without it (eg. the prison sequence). Then again, he answers only to "Rorschach" during his arrest, so perhaps the two "personalities" have melded after all.

This apparent contradiction and reasoning that Walter/Rorschach have in functioning as a person/hero make him an extraordinary character indeed.

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 Post subject: Re: Baptism
PostPosted: Mon Apr 14, 2008 10:38 pm 
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Curiosity Inc. wrote:
Kind of like a reverse baptism, really. One uses water, the other used blood. One establishes religion, the other establishes atheism.


Well, in the protestant tradition at least, water is simply a "stand in" for the actual blood of christ, so I don't know that I'd call it "reverse".
More like making the symbolic into something literal.....and HEY!! I just thought of this!!!
Rorschach is hit by the blood of a DOG!!!!
And "dog" backwards is .....what?
G_O_D!!!!
Even more hidden meaning!!!!
!
!
!
Just kidding.....
But again, I don't think Moore put this in without thinking about it. It does represent a baptism and a re-birth.
Kovacs has become a "new creature"....
which is exactly what supposedly happens at baptism.


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 Post subject: Re: Baptism
PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 8:25 am 
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saint wrote:
This struck me recently as I re-read Watchmen .
Chapter VI, page 21, panels six and seven.
Rorscach/Kovaks speaking:

"Shock of impact ran along my arm. Jet of warmth spattered on chest, like hot faucet.
It was Kovaks who said 'Mother' then, muffled under latex. It was Kovacs who closed his eyes.
It was Rorschach who opened them again." (Emphasis mine.)

This is an almost literal representation of baptism.

Not only is Kovacs literally "washed in the blood", but he also becomes a "new creature", Rorschach.

What's very interesting is that this "re-birth" doesn't open his eyes to the reality of God, but rather to the reality that there is no God......as he says on page 26, panel 2: "Looked at sky through smoke heavy with human fat and God was not there. The cold suffocaating dark goes on forever, and we are alone."

Add to this the fact that the printed material at the end of this chapter describes the young Walter in the Charlton home as doing "...very well at schoolwork, excelling particularly in the fields of literature and religious education... (Emphasis mine).

So here we have a baptism and re-birth that reveals a godless universe and (significantly, I think) leaves Kovacs : "...reborn...free to scrawl own design on this morally blank world." (Page 26, panel six.)

Obviously, there is a lot of other religious symbolism in Watchmen, but this particular sequence really made me think.

Discuss if interested ;)


i don't see walter being an atheist.

himself says that it's not god who brutalizes children like the girl eaten by the dogs. "it's us".

maybe that's part of his ambiguitious ideas and personality, much like his mask




btw...god's non-existence....is a fact???

now that's discussable.

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 Post subject: Re: Baptism
PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 9:30 am 
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While Rorschach might not use the term "atheist" to describe himself, I think it's pretty clear that he thinks there is no god.

He says quite clearly: "Looked at sky through smoke heavy with human fat and God was not there. The cold suffocating dark goes on forever, and we are alone."

I don't see any other possible interpretation of this statement.
And, for him, because the is no god, he is : "...reborn...free to scrawl own design on this morally blank world."


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 Post subject: Re: Baptism
PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 10:54 am 
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Saint, I like your baptism interpretation, but it bothers me. I've always done my best to deny and ignore all of the Christian symbolism in Watchmen, mostly because I've never been able to make it all fit together in what I would consider a coherent whole. It all seems kind of randomly placed, what with Adrian's stigmata, Jon's Vetruvian/Jesus pose, the squid's Immaculate Conception, and now, thanks to you, Rorschach's baptism.

I suppose there must be a reading that explains and ties it all together, but I'll be damned if I can work it out.


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 Post subject: Re: Baptism
PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 11:52 am 
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saint wrote:
While Rorschach might not use the term "atheist" to describe himself, I think it's pretty clear that he thinks there is no god.

He says quite clearly: "Looked at sky through smoke heavy with human fat and God was not there. The cold suffocating dark goes on forever, and we are alone."

I don't see any other possible interpretation of this statement.
And, for him, because the is no god, he is : "...reborn...free to scrawl own design on this morally blank world."


it sounded more like a dark epiphany - moved by the memory (and the moment) of bitter, gritty feelings, than a true statement.

i believe his moral has to do with basic justice concepts that are related with god's opinion about human behavior - although his way to administer justice is so very opposite to God's.

in the end he 'agrees' with him, while his new vision won't permit to believe Him with no 'objective' evidence.

his opinions about certains values of life are so shifting as the blots on his mask, I think. they remain black or white, no blend, no bend...but they change intensity and 'distribution'.

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 Post subject: Re: Baptism
PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 12:39 pm 
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Broken Finger wrote:
Saint, I like your baptism interpretation, but it bothers me. I've always done my best to deny and ignore all of the Christian symbolism in Watchmen, mostly because I've never been able to make it all fit together in what I would consider a coherent whole. It all seems kind of randomly placed, what with Adrian's stigmata...


I'm not sure that's supposed to be stigmata; it might just be "Hey, Look, He's Got Blood On His Hands! Literally As Well As Figuratively! Ha! Kinda Like When He Saw America Go Up In Flames At The Crimebusters Meeting, Or When Veidt Said Humanity's Fate Was Figuratively Resting In His Hands Right When Eddie Blake's Limp Body Was Literally Resting In Said Hands!"


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 Post subject: Re: Baptism
PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 12:43 pm 
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Broken Finger wrote:
Saint, I like your baptism interpretation, but it bothers me. I've always done my best to deny and ignore all of the Christian symbolism in Watchmen, mostly because I've never been able to make it all fit together in what I would consider a coherent whole. It all seems kind of randomly placed, what with Adrian's stigmata, Jon's Vetruvian/Jesus pose, the squid's Immaculate Conception, and now, thanks to you, Rorschach's baptism.

I suppose there must be a reading that explains and ties it all together, but I'll be damned if I can work it out.
Welcome back, Broken Finger. It's been a while.

I see your point about the mixed symbolism. Doc Manhattan is the one who can perform miracles, but the "immaculate conception" of the squid is also a valid interpretation. So which one is Jesus?

As for the baptism... well, one man's religious allusion is another man's character turning point. Whichever one you want.

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 Post subject: Re: Baptism
PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 1:08 pm 
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saint wrote:
Curiosity Inc. wrote:
Kind of like a reverse baptism, really. One uses water, the other used blood. One establishes religion, the other establishes atheism.
But again, I don't think Moore put this in without thinking about it. It does represent a baptism and a re-birth.
Kovacs has become a "new creature"....
which is exactly what supposedly happens at baptism.


Actually according to he Holy Bible a "new creature" is just in reference to Salvation, not to baptism...

In the New Testament it says
Quote:
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.


Water baptism in scripture is a outward sign of a inward faith.
There is no saving in the water, just obedience...

I acutally saw some religious symbolism in the panel where blood is on Rorschach after the dog scene...
This in the bible...having someones blood upon you makes you responsiible for there fate, there future.

I always thought that was pretty interesting.

This is a very thought provoking thread.


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 Post subject: Re: Baptism
PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 1:17 pm 
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Curiosity Inc. wrote:
Welcome back, Broken Finger. It's been a while.

I see your point about the mixed symbolism. Doc Manhattan is the one who can perform miracles, but the "immaculate conception" of the squid is also a valid interpretation. So which one is Jesus?

As for the baptism... well, one man's religious allusion is another man's character turning point. Whichever one you want.


It was only two weeks.


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 Post subject: Re: Baptism
PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 1:36 pm 
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Nice series of "analogous opposites" Saint. Baptism by water vs blood splatter. Becoming closer to God vs. closer to atheism.

Here's something I just noticed. (Uh,oh -- here we go with other of BNB's nutty thoughts). Rorschach is splattered by the dog blood on the left side of his chest. Rorschach is then splattered with Lawrence's (fat Big Figure goon) blood during the jail break -- on the left side of the chest. Jesus's bleeding chest wound on the cross was on the right side.

Is it purposeful to have Rorschach's blood stains on his left side?

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 Post subject: Re: Baptism
PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 1:39 pm 
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Burgers N Borscht wrote:
Nice series of "analogous opposites" Saint. Baptism by water vs blood splatter. Becoming closer to God vs. closer to atheism.

Here's something I just noticed. (Uh,oh -- here we go with other of BNB's nutty thoughts). Rorschach is splattered by the dog blood on the left side of his chest. Rorschach is then splattered with Lawrence's (fat Big Figure goon) blood during the jail break -- on the left side of the chest. Jesus's bleeding chest wound on the cross was on the right side.

Is it purposeful to have Rorschach's blood stains on his left side?


So that would make Rorschach the very opposite of Jesus Christ?


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 Post subject: Re: Baptism
PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 2:30 pm 
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Regularguy wrote:
I'm not sure that's supposed to be stigmata; it might just be "Hey, Look, He's Got Blood On His Hands! Literally As Well As Figuratively! Ha! Kinda Like When He Saw America Go Up In Flames At The Crimebusters Meeting, Or When Veidt Said Humanity's Fate Was Figuratively Resting In His Hands Right When Eddie Blake's Limp Body Was Literally Resting In Said Hands!"


Why can't it be both? Anyway, I'm not saying that stigmata is the absolute definitive interpretation of the blood on Adrian's hands, nor am I saying that Manhattan's outstretched arms automatically equal Christ on his cross (I've seen it argued, and argued well, that he more closely resembles Da Vinci's Vitruvian Man illustration), but eventually all of these similarities and possible references should add to something more substantive than some seemingly random and oddly-placed nods to Christianity. That's my gripe and issue with this particular reading, at any rate.

As a brief aside, I remember a guy from the early days of another Watchmen forum that swore up and down that the smiley face was supposed to represent the flaming sword of Genesis.


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 Post subject: Re: Baptism
PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 4:12 pm 
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Broken Finger wrote:
It was only two weeks.
Beg pardon. I've had a rough couple of weeks.

Broken Finger wrote:
Why can't it be both? Anyway, I'm not saying that stigmata is the absolute definitive interpretation of the blood on Adrian's hands, nor am I saying that Manhattan's outstretched arms automatically equal Christ on his cross (I've seen it argued, and argued well, that he more closely resembles Da Vinci's Vitruvian Man illustration), but eventually all of these similarities and possible references should add to something more substantive than some seemingly random and oddly-placed nods to Christianity. That's my gripe and issue with this particular reading, at any rate.
I quite agree. Nothing about Watchmen is certain or concrete, and that's what makes it great.

Broken Finger wrote:
As a brief aside, I remember a guy from the early days of another Watchmen forum that swore up and down that the smiley face was supposed to represent the flaming sword of Genesis.
Wish I could've heard that argument.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 7:21 pm 
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Curiosity Inc. wrote:
Beg pardon. I've had a rough couple of weeks.


Chin up, sir.

Curiosity Inc. wrote:
Wish I could've heard that argument.


It was terrifically boring and not in the least bit informative. He just kept insisting it was true and saying how obvious it was. I didn't know what the fuck he was talking about, honestly, and he made little effort to explain himself.


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 Post subject: Re: Baptism
PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 7:26 pm 
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Broken Finger wrote:
As a brief aside, I remember a guy from the early days of another Watchmen forum that swore up and down that the smiley face was supposed to represent the flaming sword of Genesis.

Well, the smiley sort of resembles Phil Collins, the flaming good lead singer from Genesis. :roll:

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 Post subject: Re: Baptism
PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 7:28 pm 
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DoomsdayClock wrote:
Broken Finger wrote:
As a brief aside, I remember a guy from the early days of another Watchmen forum that swore up and down that the smiley face was supposed to represent the flaming sword of Genesis.

Well, the smiley sort of resembles Phil Collins, the flaming good lead singer from Genesis. :roll:



:lol:
creative humor


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 Post subject: Re: Baptism
PostPosted: Wed Apr 16, 2008 9:07 pm 
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CSFRITZ wrote:
:lol:
creative humor


That's your definition of "creative humor", is it?

For truly creative humor, you should check this out.

;)


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