Code Geass: The complexities of Lelouch

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Nevermore
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Code Geass: The complexities of Lelouch

Post by Nevermore » Wed Apr 22, 2020 1:08 pm

So I have been rewatching Code Geass and I am reminded of a few conversations I had about Lelouch. The common consensus was that he was evil by the end of the series which I disagree to, if you look at it from a chess games point of view. Honestly, even ignoring that, I would argue he was never evil at all. I likened him to Malcom X’s “by any means necessary” kind of person. That being said, I would like us to disseminate our opinions on his character and motivations.

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Re: Code Geass: The complexities of Lelouch

Post by Chris » Wed Apr 22, 2020 1:21 pm

From the beginning, Lelouch has always existed in a gray area. Even with the noble goal of taking down the oppressive Britannian Empire, he never shied away from manipulating or killing countless numbers of people. I think the most definitive proof that he wasn't "evil" was the Zero Requiem. The fact that he recognized he had to pay for his sins and arranged his own assassination and set up Suzaku to watch over the world proved he was not evil, because otherwise he would've just been a dictator taking his father's place.

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Re: Code Geass: The complexities of Lelouch

Post by Nevermore » Wed Apr 22, 2020 1:24 pm

I seen the beginning when he accidentally mind pooped Euphenia and then she had to be put down. There by making the only available move left to him to create this persona of evil so the world can hate him. But yeah, no lie, he was kind of a dick.

Edit: Mind Pooped? Really autocorrect? SPOOFED. MIND SPOOFED.
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Re: Code Geass: The complexities of Lelouch

Post by Seto Kaiba » Wed Apr 22, 2020 1:59 pm

Nevermore wrote:
Wed Apr 22, 2020 1:08 pm
So I have been rewatching Code Geass and I am reminded of a few conversations I had about Lelouch. The common consensus was that he was evil by the end of the series which I disagree to [...]
When all is said and done, whether or not Lelouch is "evil" is mainly dependent on the individual viewer's stance on whether or not The Ends Justify The Means.

Lelouch's final plan, the Zero Requiem, explicitly involved him behaving as hammily evil as possible in order to take the burden of Evil upon himself and become the focus of the world's hatred so that the world would unite to oppose him and he would take the world's hostility with him to the grave. Does world peace justify all of the betrayals, all the deaths of soldiers and civilians in wartime and in his earlier terrorist campaigns, his accidental incitement of an attempted genocide at the Special Administrative Zone of Japan, and using his geass power to trample on the free will of tens of thousands of people including his own family?

Is evil action or intent? Is a good result achieved by evil means a good deed or an evil one?
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Re: Code Geass: The complexities of Lelouch

Post by Nevermore » Wed Apr 22, 2020 2:15 pm

Seto Kaiba wrote:
Wed Apr 22, 2020 1:59 pm
Is evil action or intent? Is a good result achieved by evil means a good deed or an evil one?
And that is exactly what I want to discuss.
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Re: Code Geass: The complexities of Lelouch

Post by Dark Duel » Wed Apr 22, 2020 5:44 pm

I am firmly in the "action" camp. Noble intentions, in my personal view, do not justify evil actions.
By that metric, Lelouch, as charismatic and arguably sympathetic a character as he started out as, was no better than his half-brother(the competent one, I mean) or his father IMO.
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Re: Code Geass: The complexities of Lelouch

Post by Nevermore » Thu Apr 23, 2020 1:00 am

Dark Duel wrote:
Wed Apr 22, 2020 5:44 pm
I am firmly in the "action" camp. Noble intentions, in my personal view, do not justify evil actions.
By that metric, Lelouch, as charismatic and arguably sympathetic a character as he started out as, was no better than his half-brother(the competent one, I mean) or his father IMO.
I feel ya. What was the point where you felt he went off the rails?
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Re: Code Geass: The complexities of Lelouch

Post by Seto Kaiba » Thu Apr 23, 2020 12:26 pm

For what it's worth, my assessment of Lelouch is that he was probably evil... but definitely mentally ill.

Like most of the Holy Britannian Empire's royal family, Lelouch vi Britannia (alias Lelouch Lamperouge) shows a lot of the signs of classic sociopathy. The one area where he doesn't really fit the model for a classic sociopath is that he's got excellent impulse control most of the time. Otherwise, his obvious lack of empathy, exploitative tendencies, his use of cruelty to obtain power, defiance of authority at every level (incl. a disdain for his teachers at school), disdain for social attachments, high social assertiveness and obviously excessively low fear response make him appear to be an extremely capable high-functioning sociopath.

I think the most telling bit is that Lelouch shows surprisingly little fear despite being trapped aboard semi truck that was being driven by terrorists and fired on by the military. His reaction to an officer announcing his intention to just shoot him was principally outrage rather than fear, and after gaining the power of geass the first thing he did was to order the entire platoon to kill themselves in his name... after which he had a bout of insane laughter before using his geass to hijack Violetta's Sutherland and using it to manipulate Ogi's terrorist cell into attacking his half-brother's elite guard so that he could interrogate and then murder Clovis in cold blood.

I think his fine intentions are a lie he tells himself because his one and only social attachment at the time he started acting as Zero was his sister Nunnally. I think he's using Nunnally as an excuse to justify his power-mad excesses to himself for most of the series. Communing with the collective unconscious of humanity seems to have changed him dramatically, both dramatically powering up his geass and changing his goal from overthrowing Britannia to get his revenge on his neglectful parents to using Britannia as a (largely disposable) tool to secure world peace through his death once his primary goal evaporated.
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Re: Code Geass: The complexities of Lelouch

Post by Dark Duel » Thu Apr 23, 2020 3:43 pm

Nevermore wrote:
Thu Apr 23, 2020 1:00 am
I feel ya. What was the point where you felt he went off the rails?
It's really difficult to pin down a specific point for me, because Lelouch's actions leaned heavily into the "evil" side of the moral scale from a very early point even in S1, starting with the cold-blooded murder of his own half-brother.

I think I agree with Kaiba's assessment of Lelouch as an extremely high-functioning sociopath. But if you pressed me, I would have to say that if there's anything that truly pushed him over the edge into full-blown unjustifiably evil, it's either the Euphemia incident or Shirley's death. Though even before either of these, he did some pretty horrific stuff.
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Re: Code Geass: The complexities of Lelouch

Post by Nevermore » Sat Apr 25, 2020 5:00 am

Dark Duel wrote:
Thu Apr 23, 2020 3:43 pm
Nevermore wrote:
Thu Apr 23, 2020 1:00 am
I feel ya. What was the point where you felt he went off the rails?
It's really difficult to pin down a specific point for me, because Lelouch's actions leaned heavily into the "evil" side of the moral scale from a very early point even in S1, starting with the cold-blooded murder of his own half-brother.

I think I agree with Kaiba's assessment of Lelouch as an extremely high-functioning sociopath. But if you pressed me, I would have to say that if there's anything that truly pushed him over the edge into full-blown unjustifiably evil, it's either the Euphemia incident or Shirley's death. Though even before either of these, he did some pretty horrific stuff.
With regards to Euphemia, he had to pay the hand he was dealt. He did intend to work with her after all, but his accidental mind spoofing really ZOINKS things up.
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