Disney and Virtue Ethics: Understanding Disney Film through Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/undergraduate_thesis_or_projects/47429c20m

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  • The purpose of this thesis was to develop an analytical framework based in Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics and to apply this framework to Disney films in order to broaden the current discussion and analysis of Disney films. The first portion of this thesis was an overview of the most common critiques of Disney film, which includes a discussion of Disney’s portrayal of race, class, and gender. Next, the analytical framework was outlined to include the four main elements of Aristotelian virtue ethics: telos, moral agent, cultivation of virtue, and friendship. Then, the framework was applied to three Disney animated films: Pinocchio (1940), Hercules (1997), and Brave (2012). The results demonstrated that Pinocchio and Brave did not fully comply with the framework, while Hercules was perfectly described by the framework. However, this analysis revealed that Disney films present relevant modern moral dilemmas in spite of their problematic stereotypical representations of people of color, of lower classes, and of the female gender. It was concluded that Disney films included morally objectionable material, however, some Disney films were worthy of moral consideration due to their inclusion of moral narratives.
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