“Look on my works ye mighty and despair!” [Shelley]: A Comparison of Three Dystopian Novels.
“Brave New World”, “The Day of the Triffids” and “Watchmen” all use their dystopian worlds to engage in moral discussion, critically assessing the morals that the world deems to be ‘correct’. In the face of destruction, the characters in the novels must evaluate their morality, the right course of action that will sustain mankind is unclear. Aldous Huxley, John Wyndham and Alan Moore each invite us to examine how the world presently behaves in order to prevent devastation in the future. Their imagined post-apocalyptic realities attempt to prevent the vanity of mankind from steering into an abyss. If we scrutinise our views now, we can prevent, for instance, a possible controlling autocracy: no one will need to ask the question “Who watches the watchmen?” (Chapter 1, p.9, Panel 7)#. In each novel, mankind itself brings about the brink of extinction. The underlying cold war tensions of the Cold War in “Watchmen” and “The Day of the Triffids” show how the vanity of man and the tendency of individuals and nations to consider themselves ‘better’ or ‘more important’ than others creates the potential for disaster. As a consequence, man is reminded of his own contingency. Because of the arrogance of their creators, these empires of man...
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