Death Note: A Second Look At Morality
Have you ever wondered what would you do if you obtained the power to end someone’s life at your own will? Do you just dispose of that power? Or use it to satisfy your selfish desires and “kill” the people you detest the most? Or do you go for a grander scheme, like becoming the savior of the world?
Death Note, is a show which constantly tests your judgment on morality of the characters. Yagami Light, or Kira, an ordinary high school student, who stumbled upon a weird book we all could later discern as the “Death Note.” Initially doubtful, he tested it on some random criminal and to his astonishment, it works out exactly the same way as described in the book. Since then, Light’s life had been “ruined.” He began to have a delusion that he is the world’s savior; a god, and became inhumane and merciless, killing criminals and even innocent bystanders who stood in his way.
L, on the other hand, is a world renowned detective who took on the challenge to solve the Kira serial murdering case. Without second guessing, he immediately viewed Kira as “evil,” and made plans to defeat his unseen opponent. Using his extraordinary skills, he managed to track down the real identity of Kira to certain individuals, and one of them includes Yagami Light.
Aforementioned, the study on character’s morality in Death Note is quite the interesting theme. Light had good intentions originally, but having such a god-like power at his disposal, it’s inevitable he would use it for much more grand, if not dominating schemes. Having such surefire power, he viewed that his actions are always right; he didn’t even blink an eye while murdering countless humans, be it criminals, investigators nor just innocent bystanders. We are humans, we all have a darker side, though Light may have succumbed to his dark side a bit too easily; it was just like a kid who stumbled upon a new toy, immediately satisfying his greed for world evolution.
Although L may have blatantly viewed Light as “evil,” L himself may have indirectly ended a few lives of some other criminals on his own investigations as well. He is a mysterious enigma, but I’m sure it should be no surprise that he might be involved in a number of killings. He made vague decisions which caused quarrels within his group to erupt at times. He also used harsh and brutal interrogation methods as well, shown in one scene where he trapped Misa for an extended period of time, just to get some answers.
Ethics is a complicated matter, even more so when one is judging who is right, and who is wrong; whose is real justice. Justice and righteousness always seem like such vague words, since I do not think every human is completely without sins no matter how passive they are. At that end, it all comes down to the “scale” of his sins. Indeed, both Kira and L are sinful but if I were to pick, L would be a better preference for obvious reasons.
Kira, an idealist, who desires to be a god and to create a new world, and L, a realistist, who abides by the law and doesn’t just blindly follow justice. These two individuals are so different, yet so similar at the same time. Whose morals do you think is the “right” one? And whose do you think is the “wrong” one?
What do you think? Leave a comment.