The moral dilemma of the The Purge

I know I have a lot of other topics I plan to talk about but I just say “The Purge” (Ethan Hawke, Lena Headey) last night and I couldn’t get the moral dilemma of the film out of my head last night or this morning.

SPOILERS THROUGHOUT THIS POST – if you haven’t seen the movie, I would recommend you do before reading this piece

So, the key moral dilemma, ignoring the subtextual discussion of whether the Purge is actually a good thing or not, is when a hunted man finds himself in the family’s house and his hunters demand the family release him or they will break in and kill everyone inside and the father has to decide whether or not he will willingly give up this apparently innocent man to the hands of those who will kill him in order to spare the lives of himself and his family.

I can understand how their natural human empathy kicked in when they tried to tie up and give up the wanted man but is it just me or is it really quite strange to see them flip from effectively saying “no, we cannot let this one person die to save ourselves” to saying “we are going to kill as many of those people outside as we can to save ourselves and this one person”….?

Let’s look at the outcomes of both decisions, assuming the hunters stay true to their word and do not harm anyone inside when the hunted man is given up:

  1. Give up the hunted man
    1. 1 person dies: the hunted man
  2. Protect the hunted man
    1. 11 people die: the father of the family, the hunter leader killed by the hunted man, one of the family’s neighbours killed by the hunted man, 4 hunters killed by the father, another 4 hunters killed by the neighbours

Is it truly ridiculous to think that option 1 is by far the best option? I understand it’s a tense drama film and so it has to be option 2, but in a realistic scenario, which option would you choose….?

Peace, dj357

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