Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Adrian Veidt: World's Greatest Hero?

Alright, so on Monday I may not have been clear. I definitely got a chance to speak my part, but I think I expressed the thought poorly. Simply enough, I actually think Adrian Veidt is actually the most consciously heroic person in the story. I think he's a great guy who uses his massive intellect to solve what was the greatest problem his world's ever seen. However, his logic was somewhat flawed. He assumed that the only way to achieve his goal was the one he used, based on the (true) premise that no one else who was willing to solve the problem was smart enough to do the job.
What he never considered was that intelligence might not be the only criteria for saving the world. As much as it pains me to say it, but sometimes the smartest one is not the best one. On the other hand, he also kind of assumed that the problem needed outside help to be solved. Our Cold War worked out fine, if you recall. Of course there were differences in society, but the end result could have very easily been worked out in less sudden methods; I'm sure someone like Veidt would have had some political leverage.
Of course, none of this is related to my original point. The simple fact is that Veidt had no ulterior motives for doing what he did; he simply thought it was the only way to save the world. He makes no money from this venture, in fact he loses quite a bit of his own. The way he's planned it, no one will even know he's done it; he'll be remembered as "Ozymandias, that one guy who was an okay hero and a decent businessman."
That fact right there is why I'm calling B.S. on the people who compare Veidt to Light from Death Note. If Light's plans succeed he'll be worshiped as Lord and Savior; Veidt wants to be recalled as a guy you wish you were friends with. Yes, they both had God complexes, but Viedt's was more like a surgeon, and Light's was like a fascist dictator.
I guess all I'm saying is that you can't call Veidt a villain. He did only what he thought was necessary to accomplish his goal (saving humanity from an actual threat, remember?), and all the loss of life was tragic to him. He feels more like the Classical tragic hero; did what needed to be done, but his flaws now condemn him to a life of sadness and pain.

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