Rorschach and Ozymandias In Alan Moore's The Watchmen

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In Alan Moore's The Watchmen, Moore presents the reader with two drastically different characters who have one strikingly similar trait. Ozymandias is a handsome, rich, public, and powerful man. Rorschach is an ugly, poor, private, and almost worthless man. Despite all of these contrasts, they share a common philosophy: they believe that the ends justify the means. This is a major theme of the story, and through it Moore causes the reader the ask themselves the question - do the ends justify the means?

Before looking at the concept of the ends justifying the means, it is important to understand just how different the characters of Rorschach and Ozymandias are from each other. Rorschach is strongly right wing, even to the point of fascism. He believes that "the whole world stands on the brink, starring down into bloody hell, all the liberals and intellectuals and smooth-talkers"(Volume 1 page 1) Rorschach is also an ardent subscriber to the New Frontiersman, a right-wing conspiracy magazine. Ozymandias is an extremely rich philanthropist, who once gave his entire fortune to charity. Ozymandias was the first of all the super heroes to go public, two years before heroes were required to unmask themselves by law. Rorschach never went public, choosing to live as an outlaw rather than give up his identity. Ozymandias is considered by many to be the most handsome man in the world, while Rorschach is an ugly man who does not even bathe on a regular basis. Ozymandias runs an international conglomerate, while Rorschach does not have enough money to pay his rent. These differences present the reader with two extremely different characters, their only similarities being their staunch belief that the ends justify the means.

Moore presents ...

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...11, page 25) Within the next few pages, he reveals his massive plan which is to teleport an alien like creature to New York, which will kill half of the people living there. While ultimately this did work, there is no denying that he used a terrible means to achieve his ends.

Throughout the Watchmen the reader is presented with many different characters. The characters of Rorschach and Ozymandias have a manichaean relationship. The line between good and evil has been blurred with these two characters: it is unclear to the reader which of the two is good, and which is evil. One is rich, liberal, and handsome. The other is poor, conservative, and ugly. However, despite all of their differences, these characters share a common philosophy: they believe the ends justifies the means.

Works Cited

Moore, Alan. Watchmen. 1-12. Canada: DC Comics, 1986-1987. Print.
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