Superman and Morality

March 3, 2005

Matt Seidel (

The implications of morality which Superman poses begs a greater questions of how we perceive morality. In a sense, the way in which we view events or situations or events as moral or immoral has to do with the perception of morality that the person judging the matter maintains. For instance, it is clear that, in the progress of man through history, that some events that were considered moral at the time, such as sacrificing enemies to gods, are now immoral. One might argue that this is due to the fact that, as man progresses, he is further able to comprehend the implications of his actions. However, the truth of the matter is that the only change which occured was how society and thus the individual percieves the matter. In a sense, there are no truly definate forces in the world since it is man who creates how he sees this world.

This statement may insinuate that there are no forces of good or evil that present a set standard for how to live. On the contrary, this statement still leaves this as a possibilty in the universe. However, even if there is some kind of intrinsic code of conduct built into the fabric of existense, the way in which man relates to itself is only ruled by the social norms of the time. Morality has changed in its meanings and implications over time and thus the way in which Superman champions morality is more a question of what aspect of this moral code does he represent.

In terms of how Superman presents himself as a hero of the world and thus the icon of morality, it seems that he is no different in his differentiation of right or wrong. Even though he has power far beyond that of a normal man, it is still his choice to use his power for what is deemed morally good. In this perspective, given what is seen as moral and immoral, Superman represents how the moral nature of man would act given the chance. Thus Superman does not diminish the value of the moral actions of man. Rather, he shows a hopeful view that, given that kind of power, man would also rise above the instinctive nature that's embedded inside and reach a new level of understanding of both morality and society.