Analysis Of Gaut 's Ethicism 's ' Oleanna ' Essay

Analysis Of Gaut 's Ethicism 's ' Oleanna ' Essay

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Gaut’s ethicism says that ethics goes into creating aesthetic value for a work of art, although it is neither necessary or sufficient. Ethics play a part in how legitimate the artwork is. Art can still be considered good even if the subject matter is ethically immoral. There is art that is ugly that provokes an ethical response from the viewer. Even though this may not be pleasing to eyes, it can have some value to it due to the ethical attitudes it brings out the viewer. Although the artwork wants a response, it should be the merited response. The work has failed if it evokes an unintended response. For example, if a work is meant to create a positive ethical response, but instead creates a negative ethical response, then the work has failed. Ethics should be included in aesthetics for a broad view, and to include deep meaning and values behind the work.
Oleanna is a three act play and adapted film about a young female student, Carol, and her professor, John. Carol originally arrives to John’s office for help in his class because she does not understand the material, particularly his book. At first, John ignores this, but eventually decides to help Carol. Through a series of misunderstanding and miscommunication, Carol presses charges of sexual harassment against John. John invites her back to explain herself, but ends up making the situation worse by attempting to grab her to make her listen. Carol then presses charges for rape, and now she is the one with the power instead of John. John invites her back again, and she obliges. She says she will drop the charges if he removes several books from the university, including his own. He refuses, demands she leaves. Before she does leave, Carol makes a remark to not call his wife “ba...


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...audience, but these responses can vary greatly. According to Gaut’s ethics, works of art ask the viewers to have certain responses to them. They want to evoke a certain feeling or attitude towards the subject matter. If it can do this, it is successful, if it cannot, it is not, and is therefore inappropriate. Yet since it difficult to say what this play is supposed to merit, it is also difficult to assess what responses are inappropriate and what are not. It is unclear what the play wants the audience to feel. If a person responds a certain way, they may feel their response was supposed to be the merited response due to bias. In this way, according to Gaut, this work is an aesthetic failure. The audience is split and has different responses depending on the character they side with. Therefore, unless Oleanna was meant to prescribe that split response, it has failed.

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