King that he has planted explosives on two

King
Lear, written by William Shakespeare, depicts a man named Lear who as the
King of England decides to make a quick decision to split his kingdom for his
three daughters. This decision, which Lear did not think thoroughly about, causes
chaos to ensue throughout the rest of the play. Similarly, in the 2008 film The Dark Knight, directed, co-produced,
and co-written by Christopher Nolan, the main antagonist of the film, the Joker,
forces passengers on two separate ships to make a quick decision when he claims
a detonator is placed in each ship. My creative project illustrates connections
to King Lear because in the film The Dark Knight and in William
Shakespeare’s King Lear, there are
occasions in which haste decisions cause both ethical and unethical decisions
to occur. Firstly, the unethical decisions of the crew and passengers are
revealed when they are faced with a fatal proposition during a moment of
tension and confusion. In the scene, the Joker explains that he has planted
explosives on two separate ships, one with normal citizens of Gotham and the
other carrying prisoners from the Gotham City Jail and that each boat has the
other boat’s detonator. They are then instructed that they have a time limit to
blow the other ship, and if the task was not met then their own ship would
explode. The unethical decision takes place when a man, who is a passenger of
the boat with normal citizens, says, “Those men on the boat made their choices.
They chose to murder and steal. It makes no sense for us to die too”. Without
thoroughly thinking about his decision, the man states that the other boat
should be detonated due to the fact they are prisoners. By doing so, he does
not consider the lives of the police officers and the ship’s crew who are
accompanying the prisoners. In King Lear,
Lear banishes his youngest daughter, Cordelia, without question when she
refuses to flatter him, an unethical decision caused by his affected mental
state. Another instance in which Lear’s affected mental state causes him to
make an unethical decision is when Kent, a loyal follower of Lear, attempts to
calm Lear down after Cordelia’s refusal, but Lear angrily replies to Kent saying
that, “The bow is bent and drawn. / Make from the shaft” (1.1.148). Although
Lear does not have any conflicts with Kent, the moment of stress he is
experiencing causes Lear to make decisions he would not make under normal
circumstances, in this case a verbal attack. In both the film and the play, when
characters’ morals are substantially compromised due to intense situations and
moments of panic, it can result in unethical decisions. Moreover, amidst panic
and chaos, there is evidence of good morals made by either the same or a
different character that can result in ethical decisions. Going back to the
scene from the film, the boat with carrying the prisoners are seen rioting in
panic, leading to warning shots from officer. The camera then pans on to an odd
man out, a prisoner who is just sitting there. He goes up to the officer and
instructs him to give him the detonator, telling the officer to “give it to me,
and I’ll do what you should have done ten minutes ago”. The prisoner then
throws the detonator out a window, showing the audience that even though people
have made decisions they have regretted in the past, they are still able to
make moral decisions during moments of panic and confusion. Similarly in King Lear, Lear’s outrage after
Cordelia’s refusal to flatter him leads to not only Cordelia being banished but
Kent too. Before Kent is officially banished, he pleads with Lear to retract
his decision by telling him to “See Better Lear, and let me still remain / The
true blank of thine eye” (1.1.165-166). During this moment of confusion, Kent
is begging Lear to realize the severe nature of banishing Cordelia, and pleads
with Lear to remain in the kingdom to help him make future decisions. Even
though characters in both the film and the play are placed in circumstances
with rising tensions, there is always that one character that is still able to
morally do what is right. In conclusion, both The Dark Knight and King Lear
show us how intense, confusing, and chaotic moments are able to test the
morals of each character, and how both ethical and unethical choices are made
when this setting occurs.