Religion and Morality in Woody Allen’s Crimes and Misdemeanors

Published: 2021-07-06 06:36:16
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Category: Criminology

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In many of Woody Allen films, he always try to explore the themes of God, religion and morality in an in-depth manner and Crimes and Misdemeanors was no different. In this film, Allen’s exploration of themes of religion assumes a rather sinister turn through the wicked life of Judah Rosenthal who kills her mistress and end up getting away with it. It becomes very clear in this film that good will always suffer, the bad prosper, and that no greater power will correct the system. Allen, through the actors, askes the questions why should human beings act morally? Would one chose to get something dear to him by committing an unethical act? At the end of the film, the different actors proceeds to demonstrate through their actions and words, how their own different systems of ethics affects the choices they make in life.The first to the scene is Judah who faces the greatest moral decision of his life. Dolores, her mistress, insist that she has to divorce her wife Miriam, or she will go ahead and expose him for who we is. In order to put an end at her mistress’s threat, he decides to use the criminal talents of his brother jack, which he end up doing. The killing of her mistress makes him to question morality as he is not sure if God will punish him. He tells Rabbi Ben, “What good is the law if it prevents me from receiving justice? Is what she’s doing to me just? Is this what I deserve?” this words came directly due to the choices that he made and without knowing it, it had an implication for his future. Through Judah, Allen makes the viewers to ask the question whether or not Judah could be hold morally responsible for creating his own situation?Rabbi Ben is used a representative of religion but with him being blind, Allen portrays God’s lack of vision to any sense of justice. In fact, it is only ben who tries to see God’s role and wisdom in whatever is happening making one to ask the question, does one need to be blind to see God’s part? All other characters such as Judah gets away with murder not to mention that the immoral acts of Lester all go unpunished. Why then should a moral upright man as ben be punished? Interestingly also, at the climax of the film, Judah makes the conclusion that “God is a luxury I can’t afford.” He end up having an imagine conversation between his aunt and religious father with demonstrate a relationship between god and morality. Her aunt paints a picture of a cruel and godless world with no stipulated standards of what is good and what is evil. For her, and something that Judah seem to agree with, individuals in the cruel world end up creating meaning and justifying their actions as they wish. At one point she says, “And I say if he can do it and get away with it, and he chooses not to be bothered by the ethics, then he’s home free.” While Sol tries to bring the role of God in the debate, Allen ensures that it is the part of her aunt and Judah parts that appeals most to the viewers.At the end of the film, Allen’s religious beliefs comes out very strong where he sees the universe as being godless and thus meaningless. Through the various questions that the characters asked as well as analysis of other themes such as death, meaning of life, it comes very clear that Allen was reiterating his view on religion and morality as he understood it. This is seen when the wicked people end up getting away with their crimes while the religious people such as Ben are punished and never seem to enjoy their lives here on earth.Work CitedCrimes and Misdemeanors. Jack Rollins & Charles H. Joffe Productions: Woody Allen, 1989. Film.

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