Aassassin fantasy—the genre where characters dodge moral quandaries as skillfully as they dodge arrows.
These thrilling narratives might seem like mere escapism, perfect for drowning out the mundane existential crises that fill our lives, like whether to opt for almond or oat milk in your morning latte.
However, if you lift the veil of blood spatter and poisoned daggers, you’ll find a realm teeming with philosophical conundrums.
Who knew that the path to enlightenment could be soaked in the ichor of fictional deaths?
A Game of Morality Chess
Morality in assassin fantasy is as stable as a house of cards in a hurricane.
Our charismatic killers often live by a code, a self-prescribed ethical rulebook that justifies their actions.
Is this consequentialism in its most brutal form, where the end justifies the means, or is it a twisted form of deontological ethics, where actions are guided by set rules rather than their outcomes?
Kant would be turning in his grave, but probably also secretly binge-reading.
The Existentialism of Kill or Be Killed
Sartre had his “Hell is other people,” and assassin fantasy has its “Kill or be killed.”
Existentialism thrives in these perilous landscapes, posing questions of choice, freedom, and existence against a backdrop of constant life-and-death decisions.
When every choice could lead to either survival or a gruesome end, existential angst is a given, even if it’s cloaked in leather and armed with a crossbow.
The Nihilism of Death
For many an assassin, life is absurd and death is meaningless—an outlook that aligns perfectly with the principles of nihilism.
In a profession where lives are ended on a whim or for a purse of gold, can life hold intrinsic value?
It’s a slippery slope, and at the bottom, you’ll likely find Nietzsche sipping wine with a smirk.
The Social Contract, or Lack Thereof
Hobbes believed in the necessity of social contracts to escape the “state of nature,” which is nasty, brutish, and short.
Assassin protagonists are usually far removed from societal norms, either as outcasts, rebels, or agents of shadowy organizations.
They live in a perpetual state of nature, where the social contract is as binding as a cobweb in a gale.
It’s each for their own, and may the gods help anyone who gets in the way.
The Dualism of Good and Evil
Many assassin tales are woven around the dualistic struggle between good and evil.
However, these lines often blur, creating a moral grayscale where characters possess both virtuous and malicious traits.
This echoes the age-old philosophical debate on dualism and monism—concepts that question the very nature of good and evil, light and darkness, almond and oat milk.
Okay, maybe not the last one.
The Pursuit of Redemption
Finally, let’s talk about redemption.
It’s the light at the end of many a dark tunnel in assassin fantasy.
Characters strive for redemption as if it were a tangible goal, but what does it really mean to be redeemed?
Is it possible to wash away a lifetime of sins through a single act of goodness?
This taps into theories of justice and atonement that have perplexed philosophers for centuries.
So the next time you delve into an assassin fantasy novel, remember that beneath the action-packed surface lies a wellspring of philosophical thought.
You’re not just entertaining yourself; you’re also engaging with some of the most complex moral and existential questions ever posed.
How’s that for killing two birds with one, er, poisoned dart?