The way morality is defined leads to the understanding of ethics. It can be viewed that morality is not a systematic law that everyone must obey but something that is flexible and relative. As Bernard Gert have made his point, morality is something that must be “rational” (Morality versus Slogans, 1989). In fact, he pointed out that “a good moral theory also shows how morality is related to our more general values and to impartiality and rationality. ” But what is morality?
He defines it as a “code of conduct that, given specified conditions, would be put forward by all rational persons. ” (The Definition of Morality, 2005) It is very interesting to know that in Gert’s view, one’s own interest is in accordance with his morality. “There is not necessarily a conflict between self-interest and morality” and his view that an act of evil, if justifiable enough, diminishes its evil character. To kill for self defense as to prevent someone from killing yourself is something justifiable according to Gert, and this idea of morality, is very agreeable.
In the film Broadway Danny Rose when Danny had to take his talent’s (Lou) mistress as if she is her own girlfriend, Danny committed an act that endangered himself. This is not in accordance to the rules that Gert has presented. However, Danny made this for his own interest as well, which, is to let Tina go with Lou in the latter’s concert. But the question of morality comes in as to the acts of Danny. Was the act of Danny moral? In Gert’s theory it can be derived that Danny had acted not in accordance with good moral by pretending to be the boyfriend of Tina..
Moral values is attained by a person who avoids evil, both for himself and for his friends, or anyone for that matter unless one has a “reason for not avoiding it” (Morality versus Slogans 1989). In the film Danny Rose, to identify his virtues and vices according to Gert’s theory, it is first important to go back to the basic rules. How a person can be morally virtuous? It is when, according to Gert, that person: 1. Does not Kill 2. Does not Cause Pain 3. Does not Disable 4. Does not Deprive of Freedom 5. Does not Deprive of Pleasure. 6. Doesn’t Deceive 7. Keeps His Promise 8.
Doesn’t Cheat 9. Obeys the Law and 10. Does His Duty–where Duty includes those actions that he is required to do by his job, his position, his family, his circumstances. Given the above criteria, Danny is half-way between a virtuous person and a person of vice: meaning, Danny is a normal human being, not very contented and not very happy, like the rest who has limitations and weaknesses fighting out the struggles of life. Danny’s strong virtues can be accounted for his helpful nature and friendliness to his talent persons, especially to Lou who became famous under his management.
Compared to Danny, Lou is much more a person of vice than of virtue committing “irrational” acts as Gert may call it. By having a mistress is one fatal attack to Lou’s morality as he does cheat and deceive, he did not keep the promise in his marriage vows as well as disobeying the law of marriage causing pain to his wife. Lou also failed to perform his duty as a husband. In the case of Tina, she can be viewed with almost similar character to that of Lou than that of Danny’s.
She has more weaknesses in her moral values making her not a very virtuous person. Tina has caused pain and danger to Danny and she also acted irrationally by becoming a mistress of a married person.. Moreover, she deceived both Lou’s wife and the public by being Lou’s mistress and by pretending to be the lover of Danny, respectively. However, the moral virtues of the three main characters in the film eventually made a better path when Lou and Tina stopped their illicit relationship and Danny became Tina’s lover instead.