13: PEACHY KEEN

Moral Profiles of the Characters in Gattlebar Stalactica

(Apologies for the mangled subtitle, but “Stalactica” is too awesome not to be in it.) “How do extreme situations/crises affect the morals of the characters? What do their reactions reveal about mankind in this series?”

When the BSG characters are faced with an extreme situation, they revert to their most basic conception of the role of the individual in a society. Examples:

Adama: Faced with his ship’s malfunction, he tells his girlfriend Thrace to leave him behind and get herself to the evacuating BSG. He exhibits a selflessness indicative of his understanding that (he thought) one person saved is better than none. This utilitarian mindset is strongly resonant with his deepset military history. Greatest good for the greatest number.

Thrace: Faced with Adama’s ship crisis, she maneuvers her ship around to his and saves them both with deft ease. She believes, well, that Adama’s a sexy hunk with a mind to match. She may or may not have saved anyone else in the same situation – we can’t know for sure yet. We can narrow her possibilities to two mindsets: Individuals are always valuable / People you know are valuable.

Commander: Faced with the fire situation, he chose to kill ~80 men to save the ship from potential immolation. He compared the numbers, and the bigger number won. Utilitarianism, just like Adama’s mindset. Greatest good for the greatest number.

Col. Tigh: Just like Commander Adama, he makes the utilitarian decision in the fire crisis. Greatest good for the greatest number. (Also, dammit, Wikipedia, when I look up a character’s name, I don’t want to see a series-ending spoiler at the top of the character’s profile!)

Gaius: Do we really need to waste word on this douche? Selfish prick is concerned only with own fate after damning mankind. Standard-issue douchenozzlery.

President Roslin: Faced with the death of 42 cabinet members, she realized she’s now the President of the 13 colonies. She accepts her obligation and begins doling out orders by the ladleful. This makes sense because she’s a teacher, and is naturally group-minded re: needs and teamwork. “… some have greatness thrust upon them.” (fulfill your duties within society’s role for you)

Anyway, that was fun. It’s cool to see how the characters’ lives affect their ideas of individuality and their responses to crises.

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