Analysis of Watchmen

July 19th, 2021


Watchmen is a popular American comic-book written and designed by Alan Moore, Dave Gibbons, and John Higgins. Creation of the original characters lies in the core of this comic-book which became an outstanding masterpiece of literature. It is worth reading Watchmen for several times to feel the initial ideas, which the authors thoughtfully put in the center of the story. A precise analysis of the main characters showed various psychological patterns in their behavior which had connection to their life experiences. A detailed evaluation of Silk Spectre II, Rorschach, Dr. Manhattan, and the Comedian prove that there are significant changes in their behavior during events depicted in the story, which emphasize the psychological background of their existence and possible personality disorders they could have.

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One of the main characters in the book is Silk Spectre II or Laurie Juspeczyk. Her mother, the first Silk Spectre, became the reason she forcefully started battle against injustice. In fact, Laurie’s mother became her agent and introduced her to the crime fighting mission during the Crimebusters’ meeting (Davis 117). At the beginning of the story the readers see a strong woman with feministic values and support of liberalism. Regardless of the forced selection of life occupation, Laurie realizes the importance of her career path. Nevertheless, she does not feel thankful to her mother who forcefully defined the destiny of her child. One of the first scenes with mother shows that Laurie loves her but feels unfairness of her life because of mother’s passionate desire to pass her the Silk Spectre duties (Moore and Gibbons). Regardless of the inner insecurities, Laurie is always willing to get into action and fight against injustice and crime and she, in fact, enjoys her profession. During the development of the book’s story, Laurie shows her readiness to follow the selected path though she feels emptiness, which she could have filled if she had a choice (Davis 116). As a result, she eagerly decides to distract her mind with relations with Dr. Manhattan. However, even these relations are not enough for her, since she later involves herself in the romantic connection with Nite Owl. At the end of the story, Laurie would have to choose whether to stay with Dr. Manhattan, who does not understand her anymore because of losing his human nature, or stay with Nite Owl, who has always been admiring her.

One of the biggest changes happens to Laurie’s behavior at the end of the story, when she discovers that the Comedian is her father. Regardless of external strength, which she has always considered a shield protecting her from the surrounding world, Laurie reveals her inner weakness and starts crying in front of insensible Dr. Manhattan. The irony of the scene is that Laurie denies it thinking it is a joke, as the Comedian has always been telling many (Moore and Gibbons). In addition, Laurie leaves Dr. Manhattan, who rejects to save the world from cataclysm, and joins Rorschach and Nite Owl in fighting against Ozymandias who has planned to kill people in masks from the beginning of the story (Davis 115). Finally, Laurie changes her attitude to Dr. Manhattan and has a fresh start with Nite Owl, which shows her readiness to change her life and continue fighting against crime with the feeling of thankfulness to her mother.

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Dr. Manhattan or Jon Osterman is a physicist who was lured in the Intrinsic Field Subtractor by his girlfriend in 1959, which led him to total transformation, after which he became the most powerful creature on Earth (Moore and Gibbons). The first mission of Dr. Manhattan started when he joined the Comedian in the Vietnam War (Moore and Gibbons). At the beginning of the story, the readers see a creature with person-like behavioral patterns; however, Dr. Manhattan experiences a lack of feelings, which could support human nature in him. The only things left from Jon Osterman are sheer interest for physics and continuous improvement of technologies. Dr. Manhattan became the only reason of technological progress in the story, which focuses on the outstanding power and abilities of the former physicist. In addition, Dr. Manhattan is the only hero with superpowers. He perceives time differently from humans and can see past, present, and future at the same time (Polley 602). Besides perception of time, Dr. Manhattan has supernatural strength, telekinesis, teleportation, and control over matter. The readers can see the way Dr. Manhattan celebrates and values his own superiority over humans and his ability to manipulate them. It alienates him from other characters, since it is difficult to understand his way of thinking. Laurie is the only character trying to become closer to Dr. Manhattan and understand him. Nevertheless, the story shows irreversible changes in the behavior of Jon Osterman, which make him less humane.

At the end of the story, the readers observe the breakpoint in the behavior of Dr. Manhattan, when he cannot answer the questions of journalists in the live TV session. As a result, Dr. Manhattan disappears and reaches Mars to find his inner balance and peace. Consequently, the readers understand the reasons for Dr. Manhattans disappearance: he did it with peaceful intentions to prevent the war between the Soviet Union and the United States of America (Moore and Gibbons). Dr. Manhattan intentionally created conflict on Earth and involved people in it to unite them, which emphasizes certain kind of humanity in his actions. The story makes it clear that there was no other choice but sacrificing, which helped to rally the enemies and prevent people from the war. Thanks to Dr. Manhattan’s cooperation with Ozymandias, it became possible for him to restore peace at the expense of personal reputation.


Rorschach or Walter Kovacs continuously strives for justice, which comprises his human nature. He is deeply worried with the murder of the Comedian and wants to find the man behind other murders. Additionally, he has quite a depressing past: when Walter was a child, his mother did not take care of him, which shaped his negative perception of women. Rorschach does not appreciate criminals and willingly fights against murderers, which the reader can find in the scene where Rorschach brutally kills the murderer of a young girl (Polley 599). Excessive brutality is the main characteristic feature of Rorschach, which makes the reader perceive him as an anti-hero at some point. Childhood experience and realization of the injustice in the contemporary society leads Walter to use Rorschach as the only identity (Moore and Gibbons). Walter consciously denies his nature and decides to dive in the destiny of Rorschach, which saves him from endless thoughts about his past. As a result, Rorschach’s tough nature does not allow Walter to compromise or find peaceful solutions.

Throughout the story, it is possible to trace the changes in the violent and aggressive behavior of Rorschach through the sudden reveal of inner motivations. Nevertheless, the background of his cruelty lies in the increase of murders associated with emergence of heroes of that time, namely people wearing masks. The society started denying the beneficial roles of heroes, which became the main reason of their secretive lifestyle (Polley 596). Significantly, Rorschach’s behavior throughout the story is full of dedication and loyalty to his friends. His friendship with Nite Owl and opinion about the Comedian in his diary prove that Rorschach did not lose his human nature (Moore and Gibbons). Nevertheless, unprecedented willingness to stand for truth and justice lead Rorschach to death, since he does not want to save the world from the war by hiding the truth. It proves that Rorschach did not want to deny his life values, even though he knew it would lead to death. At the beginning of the story, he was an anti-hero but at the end of the story, readers saw a real hero who has been hiding inside of Rorschach’s identity.


The irony of the book lies in the fact that the Comedian, or Edward Blake, is the saddest character with the depressive state of mind which he had to hide behind antisocial intentions. The major beliefs, which support actions of the Comedian, lie in the idea that civilization does not make people civilized. The Comedian does not see human qualities in violent people and criminal, which makes him kill and treat them without respect, considering justice as the main driving force of the Comedian’s actions (Moore and Gibbons). The Comedian is insensitive to people and his partners fighting for justice. At the beginning of the story the Comedian is tough, cruel, and inhuman, which makes the reader alienated from him because of antisocial intentions. Nevertheless, the Comedian performs every action with absolute confidence and realization of the consequences. He was the only one to choose the lifestyle he was living, which made him a sort of maniacal person.

Transformation of the Comedian starts at the middle of the story, when he approaches Laurie to talk to her and when Laurie’s mother commands her to sit into the car. The scene reveals the first inner weakness of the Comedian – his daughter. Regardless of the endless fight against injustice, the Comedian secretly admires his daughter who does not know about her father (Polley 599). The book started from the murder of the Comedian, and showed events involving him in retro spectrum. The authors intentionally emphasized the book with dramatic side of the Comedian’s destiny, which no one could change under the influence of further events involving other characters. In addition, the readers understand that the Comedian was the first one to know about the evil plan of Ozymandias, which made him cry in front of his biggest enemy (Moore and Gibbons). This scene emphasizes the Comedian’s inner sensitivity and sorrow for personal actions, which made him outrageous, savage, and ruthless. A deep regret for personal cruelty became the result of realizing the massive consequence of the evil plot created by Ozymandias. Still, the Comedian fought for a better world, which could help people to live in a better place without criminals and injustice.


Psychological analysis of the main characters revealed not only differences in the behavioral patterns but also traces of personality disorders. Silk Spectre II could have Histrionic Personality Disorder, since she endlessly tried to find attention from other people. Regardless of the fact that Laurie was emotionally stable compared to other Watchmen, she could not resist her dramatic, flirtatious, and enthusiastic nature (Egan, Haley and Rees 176). In addition, others could easily influence Laurie by encouraging her to use her sexually provocative behavioral patterns to attract attention of others.

Rorschach, in his turn, could have a Paranoid Personality Disorder due to the traumatic experience in childhood. Rorschach was full of prejudicial ideas, which inspired him to continuously look for the ways to meet personal goals in the surrounding environment in order to feel inner comfort and satisfaction (Egan, Haley, and Rees 177). Fighting against injustice became the main prejudicial idea, which led him to isolation from the rest of the world, hideous lifestyle, and denial of his main identity.

Since Dr. Manhattan, a godly creature, does not have any interest in feelings and emotions, it certainly suggests some abnormality from the human perspective (Egan, Haley, and Rees 179). Consideration of the world at the quantum level is the sense of existence for Dr. Manhattan, since time is the only way to see possibilities. Emotional coldness, secretive lifestyle, and lack of interest in the society are the main characteristics of Dr. Manhattan’s behavior emphasizing the presence of the Schizoid Personality Disorder.

Finally, the Comedian is a nihilistic person feeling the right to violate rights of others in the name of justice supported by personal cynicism and cruelty. He could suffer from Antisocial Personality Disorder, which characterizes his actions. The Comedian fought for justice in the abusive way, which did not respect the feelings of others. At some points in the story, the Comedian behaves as a psychopath, when he intentionally killed a pregnant woman and tried to rape Silk Spectre.


After analysis of the main characters of the book, it became possible to conclude that every personage has specific individual lifestyle background supported by corresponding actions. The book is informative and vivid enough to show inner weaknesses of Laurie and the background behind her endless desire to find attention from others. Rorschach experienced significant stress and trauma in his childhood, which resulted in his dedication to justice without compromise. Dr. Manhattan had to change his nature because of unfortunate obstacles transforming his form of being, which resulted in the loss of interest in human feelings and emotions. Finally, the Comedian became the main irony of the book, since he is the saddest character despite his name. Regardless of personal cynicism and tough character, the Comedian is a sensitive personage who masterfully hides his sorrow and depressive state of mind. All these characteristic features resulted in the establishment of possible personality disorders, which the analyzed characters could have.

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