Ethical Theories Within the Film “Crimes and Misdemeanors”

Topics: Morality, Jean-Paul Sartre, Ethics Pages: 4 (1571 words) Published: September 13, 2013
In the final scene of the movie Crimes and Misdemeanors, I believe the fictional philosopher Louse Levy’s message was very similar to philosophy Jean-Paul Sartre and his theory on existentialism. One of Sartre’s quotes, “Man is nothing else but that which he makes of himself.” Levy is trying to convey that we are in control of our choices and we choose our own happiness. In the final scene of the film Levy states, “We’re all faced throughout our lives with making conscience moral decisions. Some are on a grander scale than others, but we define ourselves by the choices we have made. We are, in fact, the sum total of our choices.” So when Levy’s character states, “most human beings seem to have the ability to keep trying and find joy from simple things”, this is based on our choices. We decide to be happy or sad. Because we as human beings have the ability to think rationally or ill-rationally, our minds have the capacity to feel emotions, to dream up, or cognitively entertain, a mind-based reality of happiness. One of the survival tactics as human beings is our ability to strive for happiness; and once a level of happiness is achieved there is always a need for more; it is a never ending pursuit of happiness. Our happiness should also be achieved without pain. Ever though we strive for this happiness there is no methodical way to obtain happiness or does the sense of happiness always become achieved. I believe this viewpoint is heavily reflected throughout the movie, Crimes and Misdemeanors. I think all the characters in the movie are striving and hoping for happiness but I think the only character who truly achieves the ultimate happiness would be Rabbi Ben. The role of GOD in establishing ethical values and whether the world would be valueless if GOD didn’t exist is displayed throughout this movie. Rabbi Ben (Sam Waterston) leads a moral life throughout the film and he ends up blind, but he can dance with his daughter with a clear conscience....

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