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The Verdict screen-play - Research Paper Example

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It is in the first meeting with Galvin and the Bishop (who by way of his position as the head of the archdiocese, heads the hospital that mis-treated Kaye; the hospital is run by the archdiocese) that the audience clearly realizes that the major theme of the story is going to be what to choose- the so called greater good or the ethically, morally and politically right position. It is through the transformation of Galvin that this philosophical conflict unfolds. Galvin goes in to meet the Bishop with an inclination to get some compensatory amount for his client and through that acquire himself a decent commission on that. But even at that moment, it can be seen that the question that Dr. Gruber (the doctor who wanted to testify in favor of Kaye) had asked him was haunting him. After telling Galvin that he wanted to testify because he wanted “to do right”, Gruber had asked him, “Isn’t that why you’re doing it?”. This simple question was actually a leading question into the contradiction involved in making certain moral choices out of selfish motives or out of convenience. When the Bishop starts speaking to Galvin in their meeting next day, Galvin suddenly finds himself before the reality of the situation. The Bishop is seeking to settle the matter outside the court by giving compensation to Kaye, which he justifies in the greater good of preserving the reputation of his hospital. Two questions that Galvin asks are the keys to challenging the very notion of such a greater good as is presented by the Bishop. The first question is, “How did you settle on the amount?”, which actually is a pointer to the truth that nobody has the moral right to put a price on the life of a human being. The second question, though directly asked in the text, can be framed from the logic of the total situation as, ‘is it morally right to suppress truth?’, the truth being that a woman was killed by a mistake made by two doctors. There are several aspects of the story that has to be considered when the contradiction between the ‘greater good’ proposed by the Bishop and the pure moral truth or ‘good’ that is upheld by Galvin is examined. These aspects can be, 1) it is a Christian religious head who is proposing such a solution. But Christianity is a religion that claims to be morally upright and humane; 2) It is a Bishop who is expected to stand up for all such values, who is making this proposition; 3) what is being fashioned by the Bishop as greater good will actually subvert an existing legal system, ...Show more
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Summary

Sacrifice for the greater good is a concept that has emerged through centuries of human history. Any investigation of it from the contemporary realities cannot forget to take into account the statement of Umberto Eco (2001), “At times ethics itself can accept exceptions to the prohibition on killing, just as the collective sensibility can accept horrors and sacrifices that guarantee a greater good” (p.6)…
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