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Life is Beautiful, a film by Roberto Benigni, is a two-part film, the first part was purely

comedy, the other brought smiles through tears (Ebert 1998). It is about a guy named Guido
Orefice, a Jew, who lived in Italy with his uncle during the time of the Nazis. He fell in love with
a girl named Dora, a Gentile, to whom he had his only son. He was a free-spirited man who
always has his way out of misery. He can always shed light to a very miserable experience. This
was specifically illustrated in the second part of the film wherein all the Jews, including Guido,
his uncle, and their five-year-old child Joshua, were taken by the Fascist and Nazis and were
brought in a concentration camp. So was Dora, who pleaded the officers to let her go with his
family so she also went aboard the train.

There, Guido was still able to make up a story in order for his son not to be terrified. He
told his son that they were just in a big competition and they must gain a thousand points in order
to win the first prize. He even went to the extremes by volunteering as a translator of the
Germans, just for his child to believe that what he was saying was true, because all he said was
about the competition since he really did not speak German. He also went through a lot of
sacrifices just to protect his family who was also there. He even became a waiter for the Nazi and
used the intercom to tell his wife at the other end of the camp that he loves him so much. He
risked his life because his wifes and childs life are more precious to him than his own.

So the main issue here that must be dealt with in relation to morality and peace is the very
act of Guido lying to his child just to protect his life and his innocence from the terror that the
concentration camps bring so that he will never lose hope that some day they will go out there as
victors. But the question remains whether it is right to lie just to save someone from the terrible
truth of life or not? Does it justify the act because it may lead to peace?

Having plotted the situation in the film and having rendered it noble for a man to do such
thing just to have his child protected, white lies would then be acceptable in the society despite
the fact that it still constitute lies. Lying is wrong, however, if these white lies, which aims to
salvage the other by not telling the truth, were acceptable now a days, would these then be
viewed as moral? But wouldnt this corrupt the peoples view regarding the evil of lies?

In light of the technical norm, which has to do with the matter of survival and thus of the
health and well being of human individual and the community (Reyes, Ground and Norm of
Morality 1989, 1), what Guido has done in order for his child to survive is right. His lies were
justified because those were for the good of his son and for him not to get killed in the
concentration camp. However, this act would run in conflict with the moral norm, which refers to
the dignity of the human person (Reyes, Ground and Norm of Morality 1989, 3). Lying, when
viewed in this aspect would be wrong despite the fact that it is for the benefit of another person
because the very act of not saying the truth entails deviation of man from the uncorrupted state of
not lying. Since there lies a violation of the dignity of man, the act is judged to be wrong.

Another way of looking at the act done of Guido is through the lens of Moral Dimension.
One of its features is the sense of obligation, which signifies imperative, something one must or
ought to do, or not in accordance with some rule or principle (Reyes, Ground and Norm of
Morality 1989, 93). In Guidos situation, what one ought to do as a father and a husband is
without a doubt to save his family from the horrors of the place they are in, so he lied to his son
for him not to be frightened because this is what he believed must be done. He believes that the
meaning of his existence is to be able to protect his family, especially his son. So he resulted into
lying, but he only did this with the purest intention and for the simple reason that he loves his
child so much. But when analyzed in view of the telos, which is the search for truth and meaning
of all things and the search in general for mutual recognition of consciousness referred to as love
(Reyes, Ground and Norm of Morality 1989, 89), it would certainly be an immoral act. Although
his acts were moved by love for his son, he stole the truth from his child by not telling him the
real reason why they were there. His act of lying is a clear deviation from the orientation toward
the telos, which is geared towards the ultimate meaning and communion of all consciousness
(Reyes, Ground and Norm of Morality 1989, 89), rendering his action to be bad.

The final article to be used in analyzing the issue at hand is Platos Euthyphro. Here
occurred the discussion of Socrates and Euthyphro about the holy. Socrates pointed out that not
all the just are holy, only part of the just is holy and the other is something else (Plato 2010, 13).
In light of this, one may infer that Guidos act could be just since it upholds the life of his child.
By lying and keeping him from the Nazis, he was able to protect his child and save him from the
possibility of early death. Although it would be rendered just, it could not be rendered holy. This
is so because According to Socrates, which was agreed by Euthyphro, an act, to be holy must
essentially be holy in whatever form and not merely because the gods loved it. Holiness must
come first before it is loved. Therefore, lying is not holy since goodness is not innate in the act
itself even if the end goal was good.

In conclusion, considering all the description of morality, lying itself is not in accordance
to what is moral in the eyes of man or of the gods. Yet, when the reason for his lies is taken into
further consideration, the act may seem justifiable, but it does not necessitate that it is already
morally right. Another thing worth noting is that morality is not judged only in accordance with
what one thinks is right or bad because this might result into one concluding that morality is
relative. This should not be the case because what is moral does not vary, what varies are the
lenses used in analyzing the act done. Therefore, one must be critical in the analysis of an act in
order not to render false judgment.

Ebert, Roger. "www.rogerebert.com." Roger Ebert.com. 10 30, 1998.
http://www.rogerebert.com/reviews/life-is-beautiful-1998 (accessed 07 27, 2014).
Reyes, Ramon Castillo. Ground and Norm of Morality. Manila: Ateneo de Davao University Press,
Plato. Plato's "Euthyphro" . Indiana: Indiana University, Early Chinese Thought, 2010.