The term hero and its entire connotation is a concept that often depends on the audience’s attitude towards the said character. Sometimes, depending on the perceptions and attitudes of people, certain figures or characters that have done things exceptionally, bravely, remarkably, or superbly for the sake of the society have been termed as heroes and heroines. However, because people may interpret certain actions differently – especially if the acts are not supernatural, and determine whether they are heroic differently, there may exist a contestation before one is regarded a hero. Notwithstanding, a hero is someone who does exceptional deeds of courage, one who ventures beyond the unthought-of, whether by means of death or any other course, for the sake of goodness, justice, and necessity.
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For example, the serial-killer known as Dexter Morgan in the Dexter series in my own opinion is a hero. Dexter is a killer who has specialized in killing killers (Waller 103). In examination of this premise, it follows necessarily that Dexter cannot kill if there are no killers. Simply, Dexter kills killers, but not innocent people (DePaulo 1). It is essential therefore, for one to examine why Dexter kills only killers but not innocent people. In implication, Dexter has decided to pursue an unthought-of course, to seek justice for the killed people, and to bravely devise exceptionally unthought-of skills to kill killers who kill other people wrongly. Conversely, Dexter is a hero, a model of logical and ethical pursuance who would have been admired by Kant himself because of his determination to fight vice in the only way possible that is vice, for the sake of justice and for the benefit of the entire society where anybody is a potential victim of the killers.
In order to understand why Dexter is a hero, it is essential to examine some of his deeds in a logical manner. To start with, having watched the series keenly, in describing Dexter’s character, I would say that Dexter is not very emotional, not too interested in sex, and harshly dispassionate about blood, a character that is not common in serial killers (DePaulo 2). Therefore, I wish to infer that, Dexter is really a killer, but he is a killer with cause. He does not kill for his own satisfaction, sexual, or any other craving, but he is doing it for the world. Unlike the delusional visionary killer acting on orders from a fantasy, Dexter would be classified as a particularly rare and exceptionally unique serial killer (Waller 103). Dexter watched his mother as she was brutally killed and dismembered before his eyes and was then put in a storage container with her corpse for three days (Brooks 96). This is a typical example of the depth to which killers who murder people innocently can go and it seems that Dexter was able to realize that, with the nature of the justice system, and the intricacy involved in finding serial killers, the only form of justice left is terminating the existence of such persons.
In the series, the code of Harry that indicates that killing must be purposeful so as not to be termed as murder provides Dexter with the moral righteousness and justification of his acts as noble, and indeed, they are noble (DePaulo 3). Dexter’s two most distinguishing characteristics are his extreme urges to kill killers and his strict moral policy (Waller 104). He kills for justice, killing only those who he believes will continue to kill others if they are left alone, making him an exceptional serial killer. Furthermore, he has a careful capacity for fairness that uses a code of conduct and endeavors to find guiltiness before he executes these beastly killers. Dexter is a hero. His underlying principle is that no innocent persons should be hurt, but if one is guilty of a crime of murder, one should face his own consequences, more so because, one has attempted to evade the legal and official system of justice. In assessment of this fact, a fundamental question arises. What is more logical and ethical to do, leave the killers free to endanger innocent victims and increase more deaths, or eliminate them if possible from the face of the earth? It seems that, only Dexter has the correct answer for this question, every person must take responsibility of own sins. Even if one was to follow a religious model of argument, it is often argued, known, and contended that, even God will judge people who have committed sins on others while on earth. God, the ultimate being has also provided people with a rationale to that can enable them live in the world peacefully. Why is it that there exists a concept of a just war? Similarly, killers such as the ones targeted by Dexter are utter aggressors. If we can justify course for a just war, why would we crucify Dexter for carrying out a just war, only as a single entity or person this time? Because we have failed to do something to provide justice to the victims of murder, Dexter has done it for us and truly, Dexter is a superhero.
Dexter’s first killing was that of a murderous nurse who was also attending Harry, Dexter’s foster father in hospital (DePaulo 3). In this scenario, Dexter was largely encouraged to kill the nurse by Harry his foster father. In this first killing, in an endeavor to prove that Dexter killed for a course, Dexter indicates that things were a little complicated in the beginning. In this scene, we see Dexter removing the gag and explaining to Mary why he killed her. Such was Dexter the hero. Furthermore, Dexter knows right from wrong, he volunteers to help out if someone needs assistance, he has a conscience, and even has moral values that were shared even with his adoptive sister Deb (Waller 111). Another victim was Mike Donovan, a director of a boy’s choir who had murdered at least three children. One can imagine this form of atrocity and rethink the role Dexter did in preventing further innocent deaths of children. If you fail to see the sense, it is because, maybe you think your child is not a potential victim of Mike Donavan, otherwise if you your child was a victim, you would have been the first to crown Dexter a hero (DePaulo 9). More significantly, in the killing of Donavan, Dexter dragged him into the cabin where the remains of the three young boys were displayed on a plastic wrap and forced him to look at the decaying bodies, admonishing him for what he had done to the boys. This is ultimately heroic, something that portrays the heartedness Dexter had for innocent people. It was even so sarcastic for Mike to have started crying for mercy, even when he did not have mercy for the little innocent children and as Dexter listened to him carefully to his pleas and justifications, not anybody sympathetic, logical, and even ethical could have wished for Dexter to leave the man free. As Dexter was improves his killing tactics in the subsequent incidents, it is indicative he was not someone who was interested to kill without a reason but rather killed purposefully in fight of evil, to extinguish evil acts, and surely for this course, Dexter is a hero.
Off course, people may rush to call Dexter a psychopath, using the term just about anyone who has committed some heinously violent crime (DePaulo 20). However, psychopath is not just about the bad things people do, but is also about a particular set of personality traits that includes emotional superficiality, impulsivity with poor judgment, unreliability, manipulation, deceitfulness, and disregard for the feelings of others (DePaulo 20). Dexter does not characterize any of the mentioned set of personality traits. A fundamental question arises, should we think of Dexter as evil because he kills people, or is he redeemed by his choice of victims? Congruently, Dexter chooses his victims, people who are guilty of some crime but have managed to beat the official system of justice, and as such, he makes sure they are guilty before he executes them. In his job as a detective, he is part of an investigative team who are tracking key serial killers using collection of DNA samples, interviews with witnesses, and his analysis of blood patterns (Brooks 95). Dexter is an organized killer who can appreciate a clean crime scene, knowledgeable about law enforcement procedures and often pays attention to the details, putting a premium on cleanliness. Dexter’s attachment to Rita and his children during the show has provided further evidence that he is not truly a psychopath. The development of these relationships is a deviation from the typical mold of a psychopath and indicates a trait that most psychopaths cannot possess, the element of caring. His actions throughout every season have indicated a deepening emotional investment in not only Rita and his children but also his sister Deb. His ability to develop these attachments even if they lack serious emotional depth is a sign that Dexter himself is not a lost cause. He does not worry much about being caught, the way other humans do, because he is aware that his endeavors to get rid of criminals in Miami who have escaped police justice is a just cause (DePaulo 6).
Further, Dexter is exceptionally charming, bringing donuts, is quick with compliment, and lends a sympathetic ear to others. His charms also work on us as viewers, being not only a likable character, but one we feel sympathy for and even cheer on to evade capture. Killing people and keeping his job is not an easy task for many. These things take forethought, planning, and organization and as a forensic expert, Dexter knows that it is all about the details unlike most serial killers in most times are disorganized (Waller 105). Dexter is a hero who avenges crime, lives by a code of conduct, and expends considerable effort keeping his secrets. Dexter is seen even dreaming himself a hero in preventing his mother’s murder in the ‘dark defender’ episode. Therefore, in as much as many people claim that his acts were motivated by his traumatic life experience as a child, and particularly having witnessed his mother’s death, Dexter has a good reason to avenge such brutality. Note that, most victims of Dexter were not only onetime killers but killed frequently. Therefore, Dexter played a fundamental role in preventing more innocent deaths in the society. Whether he did that by committing other deaths is not a question of contention, but the truth is that, its not only Dexter who brings killers into justice by killing them, but even governments do that. Only that in his case, he does it as a sole entity, making him more heroic.
Inasmuch as people may see evil in him, it is difficult to stop liking him, and as such, the conflicting feelings that people have make him more heroic. The complexity lies on the fact that Dexter helps to save innocent lives, and assessing the morality of this is a tremendously debatable subject. Therefore, if you think that Dexter is a moral pervert, you ought to realize that you are just in a different school of thought, as such, your ideas can be as well disputed. Note that, every human person has a human weakness, but what matters is the extensity of the weakness, and the final cause of the weaknesses. Dexter’s true nature is a representation of heroism. The manner in which Dexter is able to balance his job, family, friends, and his killing acts without raising alarm is a unique way that only someone with heroic characters can do that. Notwithstanding, the ability for Dexter to realize that killers often kill without being caught and continue to harm other people innocently is also heroic. Moreover, offering himself to defend the justice of the killed and the potential victims of murder is equally heroic. One can contend that there is a reason why Dexter makes his killers see photographs of his victims before they are killed. Conversely, Dexter represents a way of life and is a superhero. He is a logician, ethicist, and a philosophical psychologist who indicates to us the real relationship between emotions and thought.
Brooks, Larry. Story Engineering. Ontario: Writer’s Digest Books, 2011. Print.
DePaulo, Bella. The Psychology of Dexter. Dallas: BenBella Books, 2010. Print.
Waller, S. Serial Killers – Philosophy for Everyone: Being and Killing. West Sussex: John Wiley
& Sons, 2010. Print.