Heart Of Ethics

Misericordia University

Heart of Ethics
Ethics and morals are a subject that is a matter of perspective and individual thinking. I have chosen the movie Dragon Heart as the subject of this film analysis. Throughout the film there are multiple events that require an ethical decision. The main event that I have chosen to analyze is what the movie actually is about when all the entertainment of the movie is taken out. In the plot summary I will take you through the highlights of what add to the ethical dilemma and how in the end how the main character Bowen chooses to act when asks to choose between two different types of murder. Kant and Aristotle’s views will be analyzed in regards the ethical dilemma of murder.
Plot Summary
It all starts with one of the main characters, Bowen, who is a Knight of the “Old Code” and values honor, valor, and chivalry. He teaches a young prince named Einon the lessons of the “Old Code” in hopes he will learn to be a better king than his father who rules with tyranny. The ethical portion of the movie begins with Einon riding off on his horse to see a rebellion of peasants that his father has gone to put in their place. During this battle Einon’s father the king is slain and Einon has a deadly wound. The queen in desperate attempt to save her son makes a request to an old dragon to give half of his heart to Einon. The dragon saves her son with the agreement that the boy be brought up with the “Old Code” and gives him half of his heart binding them together forever. They are linked is such a way that whatever happens to the boy happens to the dragon and vice versa.
As the boy grows he turns into a tormenter just like his father. He enslaves villages and rules with fear. During this time, Bowen feels as though he has failed in raising the boy properly and resigns from the side of Einon. This is where the ethical dilemma grows from as Einon can’t be killed or harmed due to having half of a dragon heart. Bowen decides to hunt dragons in hopes to find the one dragon that saved Einon and slay him to save mankind from the tyranny of Einon. Bowen tracks a dragon into a cave and finds himself in a stalemate with the dragon. The dragon explains he is the last dragon and if killed that Bowen would be out of a dragon slaying job. Bowen and the dragon strike a deal to swindle the local villagers out of gold by making them think that Bowen was actually killing the dragon even though he was not. This is one of the smaller ethical issues that appear in the movie.
Many villages were scammed in this matter until one village had the scammed revealed to them when the dragon fell into their lake but it wasn’t deep enough to cover the dragon. The dragon had to fly away for fear the village would cut him up and use him to feed all its people.
These same villagers planned a rebellion against Einon and stormed his castle with the help of Bowen and the dragon. It was during this battle that a priest injured Einon and in doing so caused the dragon to fall within the castle walls and be captured by Einon. Einon’s mother had arranged that dragon slayers would kill the dragon and thus ending her son’s tyranny. However, it was Bowen who with the dragons help killed the dragon thus ending Einon’s life.
Kant’s View
I am going to explore Kant’s views on ethics and how it relates to the film. Kant practiced Deotology or the view that “duty” is what determines whether or not an action is moral. Bowen in the story has two possible duties; one he has a duty to his king, as well as having a duty to the villages which the King is enslaving. Kant believed that morality is experienced by a categorical imperative. “The categorical imperative is, in fact, the only bases for determining our duties.”(Denise, Great traditions in ethics, 2008, p. 144)
The first formulation is the Formula of Nature. This formulations states that “Act only on