Sifting Through the Grays of Morality Through Cinema

Shailaja Choksi

Affiliation: California State University, Sacramento, United States of America

Keywords: Cinema, Literature, Ethics, Ethical Theories, Ethics in Cinema, Censorship, Morality, Harry Potter

Categories: News and Views, Humanities, Social Sciences and Law, Performing Arts, Music

DOI: 10.17160/josha.9.4.832

Languages: English

Building from existing theories about ethics and the origins of our moral framework, in this paper I will argue that cinema and literature, through character and plot development provide us with an insight that only ethical theories cannot provide. I will argue that because humans are social creatures a lot of our knowledge comes from social conditioning. Censorship in art and literature are important because they are mediums through which ethical theories can be delivered to large numbers of people. I will illustrate how censorship and obvious portrayal of devious characters in stories we consume as children play a big role in developing our moral framework. Through the example of the Harry Potter movies, I aim to illustrate how censorship and portrayal of devious characters has evolved, how the character development and back story of Snape provides ethical conflicts demonstrating how to apply ethical theories. Ethical thought experiments laid out in art and literature can help us develop a stronger moral framework as a community.

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