[NOTE: Merged. --"Curiosity Inc."]
(Posted here because it takes both the movie and the GN into account.)
This comment happened in the thread discussing whether or not the older gay couple at Rafael's is supposed to be Captain Metropolis and Hooded Justice:
Ikke av flesk wrote:
So what if Dave Gibbons denied is is nelly and h.j?
They denied alot of things....
Such as the 'I DID IT' panel, the painting on the wall, the two swords are placed directly behind veidts hands, like they're impaling them. You know, kinda like christ?
They deny is was deliberate but i dont really believe them...
This could very much be Nelly and h.j
noticed that before, but it made me realize that there are a number of implicit parallels set up between Veidt and the way Christ is typically depicted in art and literature- the idea of taking the world's burdens onto himself, the closeup on his hand covered in blood with a deep wound in the center of his palm. Not to mention the use of vaguely classically Christlike poses in the film:
The first poster looks eerily like a picture of Christ and a group of children that was hanging on the wall of the Sunday School classroom I attended as a child. The second (even more passive and somewhat cruciform) pose happens right before a confrontation that only happens in the movie between Adrian and Dan, during which Adrian is badly beaten but doesn't fight back (shades of Jesus' adage to turn the other cheek instead of fighting back when someone hurts you, though given a severe twist when you consider all the beating Adrian delivers earlier in the scene).
However, it's very obvious that even if Veidt is offered up as a character one can possibly find sympathy for, depending on his or her own worldview, he is not to be seen as being literally Christlike. Veidt doesn't save the world by allowing himself to be sacrificed; he does it by sacrificing others. The only burden he takes on is one of massive guilt, and rather than transcending what he does for the world, it's implied (in the film especially) that he will be permanently weighted down by it. He is perhaps, if this symbolism was intentional, a dark, warped version of the messianic ideal.
However, given Watchmen
's general stance on the mentality of people who feel the need to act as guardians to the rest of humanity, Veidt is perhaps not a distortion of the messiah archetype so much as he is a reaction to it. To someone who can believe in Jesus Christ's existance as a historical figure but not as a divine being, it's possible to read the Passion story as that of a man who was either convinced he was the savior of humanity or who did not but was burdened with enthusiastic followers who did. Either way, this non-divine interpretation of Jesus can be seen as a man who became fixated on the idea that he had to die to save the world
. His sacrifice was personal rather than carried out with the blood of others, but it was still the result of a mindset that believed in desperate means of acting as a savior and did not reject the idea of death as a means to a greater end. Watchmen
's existential and secular standpoint holds the governments of the world to the same questioning as it holds its superheroes- "what makes them any better equipped to make decisions for the world than the people they are 'protecting'?", and it is all too easy to apply the same line of thinking to the concept of religion, all the way up to its most important figures.
(Let's try to keep this discussion civil, you guys. I'm actually a fairly religious person myself and just tried to think of it from all possible angles.)