Submitted by TheVideoGamHer 730d ago | opinion piece

The Last of Us: Is Joel an Angel or a Demon?

SheAttack: "I’ve noticed that the general consensus on the Last of Us among the gaming community is that Joel is the scum of the Earth for saving Ellie at the end. The prevailing thought seems to be that Joel was being selfish and that he should have offered Ellie as a sacrificial lamb for the greater good of the world. That would have been the noble choice, right? Although I may stand alone, I wholeheartedly disagree. I will tell you a two reasons why." (PS3, The Last Of Us)

PeEsFour  +   730d ago

You are not alone. In general, its stupid to sacrafice a person just to maybe safe other people. Why has Marlene never asked Joel and Ellie for perimssion? Why haven't they talked all together to find a result instead of doing it while Joel sleeps? Who says that the cure would have worked, or that they even find a cure? Who says that everything is going to get better with it? There would only be more war because everyone wants the cure. I would have done the same. That was not selfish, it was human.
#1 (Edited 730d ago ) | Agree(16) | Disagree(6) | Report | Reply
juliajuli   730d ago | Spam
Heisenburger  +   730d ago

I think it was incredibly selfish. Imo it's ridiculous to say otherwise.

Would I have done the same? YES.

Was I happy HE did it? Yes, but I felt terrible for it because I'm man enough to know it was a selfish thing to do.

ESPECIALLY since Ellie made it very clear that SHE wanted to see it through.

Yet I(he) murdered a dozen men because I(he) wanted to keep her, regardless of her wanting to attempt to save humanity.


Moral ambiguity is a fascinating thing.
BlackPrince 42  +   730d ago
***SPOILERS*** (seriously though why would one be here otherwise?)

Calling Joel and angel or a demon is more than a little hyperbolic. He's too well characterized to be categorized that way.

His choice at the end was selfish. Even if you want to rationalize it by pointing out what the Fireflies were doing was morally questionable, the fact of the matter is Joel didn't save Ellie because he was upset over the moral implications of sacrificing her, or because he had an honest doubt about whether the Fireflies could deliver a cure. He did it for himself, because he couldn't let go.

And then the lie at the end is the cherry on top.

When it comes down to it your opinion of Joel will depend on your own feelings about the needs of the many versus the needs of the one.

*begins 3rd playthrough*
brodychet  +   730d ago
Eh. I know what he did was morally wrong against the greater good.

But I still label him as an Angel.

..It wasn't even definite that it'd work.

No way I'd lose the only person I cared about for a "maybe".
miyamoto  +   730d ago
Joel is a human being.

No angel nor demon.

Ellie is a child. An innocent child.
Who has no sense of right nor wrong as far as those adults Joel has killed are concerned. Her decision to offer her life up was out of innocence.

No one in his right sense would want to let a innocent child die for what ever reason.
#1.2.3 (Edited 730d ago ) | Agree(2) | Disagree(3) | Report
Ult iMate  +   730d ago
**** SPOILERS ****

>>Ellie is a child. An innocent child.

That's why it was even more scarier to look how Ellie stabbed people to death, when she tried to save Joel and escape from the town on her own.
She's so young and she had to go through all that blood and gore and slaughter of other people with her own hands just to survive. I was really worried for her mind.
#1.2.4 (Edited 730d ago ) | Agree(1) | Disagree(2) | Report
dboyc310  +   730d ago
Joel is human and I'm positive that if anyone was in his shoes they would have done the same actions that he did.
miyamoto  +   730d ago
I agree with you. High Five!
PeEsFour  +   730d ago
Exactly. And Joel would probably die from deppression if he looses Ellie. She IS his daughter right now. My objectiv reasons above and the reason that he can't affort another loss makes the decision of him completely right. In this world you have to be human again, and not the savior of humanity.
#1.3.2 (Edited 730d ago ) | Agree(2) | Disagree(0) | Report
creatchee  +   730d ago

I think that Joel was humanity's last hope at saving itself - and he succeeded.

To allow a little girl to die, even at the expense of finding a cure or vaccine or whatever would be to cast away the last threads humanity had left. Look at the society they lived in. Murder was accepted as a means of survival. Stealing and shady business dealings were the norm. Segregation and rampant isolationism had taken over. Basically, everything the human race had worked thousands of years for had gone away for the sake of survival.

Letting Ellie die would have been the last straw, at least for Joel, but probably for humanity as well. The removal of somebody's right to live for the possibility of a greater good is romantic, but no less immoral than killing to prevent that loss of rights.

Angels and demons are defined by their absolute good and evil qualities and attributes. Humans can exhibit both, and only a human could make that decision as it was neither inherently good nor evil by definition.
ZombieGamerMan  +   730d ago
All true if Joel did it for those reasons but he didn't, what he did was out of a selfish desire to not lose her.

He would kill hundreds if it meant he wouldn't lose her.

Want to talk immoral well how about killing dozens of people merely fighting for a cause they believe in to save one girl's life.

Let's not start painting Joel as a morally righteous person or someone still holding on to values that have long been lost in their world.

Joel killed people so he wouldn't have to lose her, he made a choice of being selfish.
Muigi  +   730d ago
Very well said sir! Bubble vote from me.
Statix  +   730d ago
I don't think "angel" or "demon" would be apt descriptors for Joel.

Upon reaching the conclusion of the game, I think "borderline sociopath" would be a better label.
PeEsFour  +   730d ago
*And Joel would probably die from deppression if he looses Ellie. She IS his daughter right now. My objectiv reasons above and the reason that he can't affort another loss makes the decision of him completely right. If you want to safe this world, everyone has to act like a human again, instead of trying to be the savior of an already lost humanity.*
#1.6 (Edited 730d ago ) | Agree(0) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
quaneylfc  +   730d ago
I perceived Joel as mentally ill through the trauma induced by the death of his daughter, makes the story that more deep.
Statix  +   730d ago
Yes, my interpretation of the story and the character was that Joel was obviously deeply, mentally, and emotionally traumatized and scarred by the loss of his daughter. Hence, the somewhat irrational attachment (borderline obsession) to Ellie, and keeping her to himself no matter the potential cost to mankind or the greater good.

Him constantly calling Ellie "babygirl" throughout the latter parts of the game, for example, could be perceived by some as somewhat creepy and disturbing. "Babygirl" was what Joel called his biological daughter, and him referring to Ellie by that nickname basically signified that he had found a replacement for his daughter, despite having only having been acquainted with Ellie for a few months.
#2.1 (Edited 730d ago ) | Agree(1) | Disagree(0) | Report | Reply
quaneylfc  +   730d ago
yes and he WAS NOT being human. ellie was human, she was the last of us, more than one human at the end takes away the meaning

btw he is still a human, just not acting like one (for anyone that tries to catch me out)
yeahokchief  +   730d ago
Neither. He's a human!

DISAGREE WITH THAT! I dare you. Also please leave a detailed response on why he is not a human if you disagree. Thank you. Cuz im pretty sure he don't have wings like archangel from xmen or horns like bobby kotick.
#3 (Edited 730d ago ) | Agree(9) | Disagree(5) | Report | Reply
mattdillahunty  +   730d ago
you took the words out of my mouth. it's not about some simplified "good or bad" morality like a Bioware game. it's about real people making real choices and having to live with the consequences. trying to slap a label on the choices and the people who make them belittles what they had to go through.

now, did Joel make the best possible choice to save people? technically, no. he could have sacrificed one life to save thousands, or millions...hell to potentially save the entire human race for all we know.

but...Joel is human. he's also a man who's killed many without hesitation, and the game doesn't try to justify it. the game doesn't say, "here's your hero, you must worship him because he's perfect." but he's real. he has a past. he has feelings, as much as he tries to hide them. he has memories of his daughter, and we all know he sees so much of his daughter in Ellie that it haunts him at times. and that's why he throws the walls up that he does at the start, because he wants to keep the pain out. but when he finally lets Ellie in and accepts her, then he has to make a choice that would end up in her dying.

it's easy to sit in front of your keyboard and say that he made the right or wrong choice, or that he's a bad person. instead of judging him on him on choice, put yourself in his shoes. imagine that you held your daughter in your arms as she died, and then decades later, find a girl who reminds you so much of that daughter you lost that it's almost soul crushing. tell me...would you be able to sacrifice her at the end?

i don't think any of you would if you were in Joel's position.

one of the most beautiful aspects of this game's story and characters is that they're real people with real problems making real decisions. and the choices they make don't always turn out perfect, but neither do they in real life.
#3.1 (Edited 730d ago ) | Agree(5) | Disagree(3) | Report | Reply
JP1369  +   730d ago
People that may not have finished, or even played the game might have wandered in here so use spoiler tags. I know it's their fault, but it sucks to have the ending of something ruined for you.
yeahokchief  +   730d ago
Ace_Pheonix  +   730d ago
*SPOILERS, obviously*

I would have done the same thing Joel did. I took satisfaction in tearing the Fireflies apart, and chose to be the hunters in multiplayer because I didn't want to associate myself with them. They were beyond shady with the way they dealt with Joel, they didn't even let Ellie wake back up before filling her with drugs to kill her, nothing was going to be discussed. All for a hypothetical "cure". Honestly, I think the world rebuilding itself and overcoming the disease on it's own would be better in the long run. The story was excellent because it brought up a lot of questions in us. What level of evil will you commit to create a greater good? What level will you allow to happen? Will the evil nullify the better? And what evil will you commit to prevent a greater evil?
#4 (Edited 730d ago ) | Agree(6) | Disagree(1) | Report | Reply
this is what is so brilliant about it, we empathize with him, and understand why he did it, alot of us would have made the same choice.

however it was still the wrong thing even though it was understandable and human
#5 (Edited 730d ago ) | Agree(1) | Disagree(2) | Report | Reply
Williamson  +   730d ago
I say he was a survivor...SPOILERS*but imo he made the right decision at the end. Was the human race worth saving by giving up somemone dear to him(wasnt 100% theyd find a cure too), Id say not.
dboyc310  +   730d ago
Heck the way things are now a days I would have done the same thing. Humanity isn't worth saving when it involves someone you love. Survival of the fittest and like Joel says "You always keep finding something to fight for".
Williamson  +   730d ago
10x better than my comment, Well said!
JP1369  +   730d ago
Really? You would sacrifice the lives of countless other children (babies even) to satisfy a personal connection? Even if you knew the person you were trying to save would have wanted to make that sacrifice?
Williamson  +   730d ago
I guess I would, but thankfully I dont/wont ever have to make a decision like that. In the game if humans spotted other humans it was more shoot first ask questions later, not sure Id wanna help others who would kill too easily(I know you cant assume every human would fall into a category like that)
JP1369  +   730d ago
The world humanity occupied before civilizations came to be was turbulent and incredibly violent as well. However, people eventually learned of the mutual benefits associated with working together and forming communities based upon this idea. If the Fireflys found a cure, humanity could go about the business of restoring civilization. You'd not only be saving lives, but dramatically increasing the quality of life of those that survived. Just the chance to once again push the world toward a more empathetic existence is worth the cost, as far as I'm concerned.
yewles1  +   730d ago
Human, end of story.
SynestheticRoar  +   730d ago
A kool Mother ________. Well you get it.
SquareEnixFan  +   730d ago
I think he is a selfish jerk. I am not saying many people wouldn't make the same choice but I was so frustrated that I had to play as this villain. You know a game is great when you hate the main character's guts but still play through it multiple times.
BLKxSEPTEMBER  +   730d ago
And this is why there doesn't need to be a sequel. The story was as flawless as a video game can be. Weather he was right or wrong doesn't matter. What does matter is that a video game can bring out real emotions in so many people. Best game this gen
RM-TatoTiburon  +   730d ago
he was mad after loosing his daughter he didn't want to repeat the same sadness with Ellie
Neo-Axl  +   730d ago
Games these days make you play as the squeaky clean good guy, The Last of Us took games back into reality. neither Angel nor Demon, only human.
That_Ninja_Gray_Fox  +   730d ago
No what Joel did at the end just re-iterated what he really is.A straight up badass.A killer. But a good man.Just does what it takes to survive in the world as it is.Now you can go all sorts of ways if the want to make sequels.
cheameup  +   730d ago
I say he's bad. The lie at the End show's he doesn't care what Ellie thinks. He saved her purely for himself.

Maybe he is justified in seeing it that way but if he came clean at the end and she is thankful or not then at least he is showing he did it for her

He knows what her answer will be and he can't deal with it.

I think it's a great ending but I don't look on him as a good guy.
#14 (Edited 730d ago ) | Agree(1) | Disagree(4) | Report | Reply
thelaughingwiseman  +   730d ago
In all honesty, Joel is a punk dirt bag. And he is very selfish in his endeavors. He has murdered many people, and many because he deemed them "a way in his path" to where ever he goes. But that is the person Joel had to be. He had to be those things so that he'd be able to do the things he did in the story. Or else he would have failed... He had to be a demon in this story. WE basically played a guy who was on the wrong side of what civilization should strive for. We accepted that because in reality, we wouldn't do the things Joel has done. WE can't go that far. Would we really be so selfish, so self absorbed, that we believe we know what's best for both Ellie and the World? I don't think so.
AirJohnston  +   730d ago
I mean...most of the people he killed were trying to kill them first. I'm pretty sure Joel would've just walked to the Fireflies without shooting one bullet at someone if they weren't all a threat to his and Ellie's life, but he had to kill to do what he was told would save the world. He did go crazy at times, but I think that was just a circumstance of his surroundings.
thelaughingwiseman  +   730d ago
Just seeing what he did to those guys in his way...I wondered about what he said, "I've been on both sides" when he was talking about the ambushes. That meant that he had done bad things too, to "survive". And the other part when he was talking with Tommy, when they were talking about surviving; It didn't seem like he was the one who would be passive like he was in this story.
Limegreen  +   730d ago
A loved one > humanity
tarbis  +   730d ago
Angel or Demon?
The answer is: or
AirJohnston  +   730d ago
I honestly don't think you could call him either one. The only thing you can call him is human.

I'm on the side that he thinks he made the right decision. The Fireflies probably would've just used their cure as leverage against the government, judging off their actions pretty much the entire game (like hanging dead cops upside down in the middle of an alley). Joel saved the one good thing that was left. The Fireflies were bad, the hunters murdered and raped people, and the government was bad. The only good people left were Ellie and Tommy's place. He made the right decision
Weezin  +   730d ago
I feel like everyone is just answering the question in the title rather than reading the article :P
MikeyDucati1  +   729d ago
He's a human being...

womp womp wommmmmmmmp

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