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Bark Onslaught: theme of Unlimited Hype Dog

peachdoxie  asked:

Hello. This is an automated reminder from peachdoxie that you requested. The subject of this reminder is the line "But it's our duty to keep the peace!" said by Hiccup in How to Train Your Dragon 2. Thank you and have a nice day.

*slams hands down on table with great dramatic doom* 

ALRIGHT IT IS TIME TO TALK ABOUT IT AT LAST THANK YOU AND HAVE A NICE DAY TOO.


When Stoick decides to fortify the island and lock it down, we get this conversation between Hiccup and his father:

Stoick: No dragon or Viking sets foot off this island until I give the word!
Hiccup: Wait, because some guy you knew is stirring up trouble in some faraway land?
Stoick: Because Drago Bludvist is a madman, without conscious or mercy. And if he’s built a dragon army… gods help us all.
Hiccup: Then let’s ride back out there. We’ll follow those trappers to Drago and talk some sense into him.
Stoick: No. We fortify the island.
Hiccup: It’s our duty to keep the peace!
Stoick: Peace is over, Hiccup. I must prepare you for war.
Hiccup: War? Dad, if Drago’s coming for our dragons, we can’t wait around for him to get here. Let’s go find him and change his mind.
Stoick: Some minds won’t be changed, Hiccup. Berk is what you need to worry about. A chief protects his own.

I think what is going on in this scene is that Stoick and Hiccup want the same thing, but they have very different visions about how to accomplish it. Both Stoick and Hiccup want peace.

However, at this point in HTTYD 2, Stoick knows that the best way to find peace is by securing down Berk. The safest thing to do is to bunker down at Berk, hide in the caves with the dragon stalls, and prepare for Drago’s imminent arrival. Stoick knows that war has already unstoppably begun, so the quickest way to find peace for Berk is for them to prepare for war, perform successfully in this war, and drive Drago away. By winning the war against Drago, they will have their peace.

Hiccup, too, wants peace. Obviously. He protests, “But it’s our duty to keep the peace!” The thing is, Hiccup cannot see war as a means to peace. War is the opposite of peace: it’s violence and death and a bunch of horrible experiences. Hiccup has his eyes pinned on an even greater vision: stopping the war from happening at all. He believes the best route to peace is not by ending a war swiftly and soundly, but by ending a war before it begins.

All of this is rooted in Hiccup and Stoick’s past experiences. Stoick has encountered Drago before and knows that “unreasonable men cannot be reasoned with.” Hiccup’s experiences with conflict include more successful resolutions, such as stopping the dragons from fighting with humans, or, in the television series, seeing Alvin the Treacherous and Dagur the Deranged turn around. Hiccup even tells Stoick, later in the movie, that he believes he can change Drago’s mind because he has been able to change other peoples’ minds in the past, too.

So that is why Hiccup is upset with Daddy. “But it’s our duty to keep the peace!” he protests. Stoick responds, knowing that Drago is on the unstoppable warpath, “Peace is over, Hiccup. I must prepare you for war.”

The two big questions I want to raise are: what is the significance of the word “duty” and what is the significance of the word “our”?

Why does Hiccup say “It is OUR DUTY to keep the peace”?

The word “duty” implies “obligation.” It is not just a good optional thing to keep the peace, but it is morally imperative. For someone to fail their duty is a serious breach of honor, authority, and responsibility. The duty to keep peace is an extremely large burden, and it’s amazing that Hiccup brings it up as something so important. Honestly, even if Hiccup had said, “We should keep the peace,” it’s less impacting and sounds less obligatory than his actual word choice… “It is our duty.”

The word “our” is also an interesting choice. In that word, we know at least Stoick and Hiccup are people who share this “duty” of keeping peace. It means that Hiccup could be talking about a royal “our,” in which the chieftains and their lineage are required to keep the peace. Still, on a broader scale, the “our” could refer to the entire Hairy Hooligan tribe, or to every single human within the Barbaric Archipelago.

I wonder if some of Hiccup’s words at the end of the movie help us interpret this line at the beginning. There is another big instance in which Hiccup talks about the importance of “we” and “peace”…

“We are the voice of peace, and bit by bit, we will change this world.”

In the movie’s final “This is Berk” dialogue, Hiccup is also talking about the duty of a collective people group keeping peace. His mind is focusing on the same moral importance of being enactors of peace. Hiccup’s words here at the end of the movie, more apparently, apply to the entire Hairy Hooligan Tribe. He, as their chief, will represent an entire tribe of peacekeeping Vikings. Together, the Hairy Hooligans, bit by bit, will prove the importance of peace to change the world.

So I think that, at the start of HTTYD 2, when Hiccup says “our duty,” he is talking about the duty of more than just Stoick and him. He’s talking about the duty of at least the entire tribe.

Now why would it be everyone’s “duty” to keep peace? Are they supposed to be some Viking police force going about making sure everyone behaves? What is this about?

I think this line, “It is our duty to keep the peace” is a statement of Hiccup’s moral philosophical framework. Hiccup is speaking in a moral imperative that should apply to all of humanity: it is the moral obligation of a human being, it is their duty, to do the right action by keeping peace. It is morally incorrect to do anything else. War is wrong by a moral standpoint for anybody. Therefore, it is our duty, as responsible humans, to keep the peace.

Two years ago when HTTYD 2 first came out in theatres, I wanted to write an analysis of the philosophical ethics behind the movie. I never, ever, ever got around to it, but I’ll bring up some thoughts here: Hiccup and Stoick are clashing by different ethical frameworks.

Hiccup is being a bit of a deontological ethicist in this scene. This means Hiccup is saying actions are in and of themselves right or wrong. An action that is wrong is universally, always, no exceptions, wrong. To fight in a war and go against the peace is wrong. Stoick, meanwhile, is acting by a more teleological framework, meaning he is seeing the end of the goal as more important. The goal is for Berk to have peace in the end, which means it has to undergo some fighting in order to defend itself and turn away Drago. Hiccup is operating by an ideal that war has to be completely avoided for his “peace imperative” to be morally done right, but Stoick is operating by the idea that fortifying Berk for war is right because it will protect his people the best in the end.