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."

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PeEsFour1756d ago (Edited 1756d 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.

1756d ago
Heisenburger1756d 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 421756d 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*

brodychet1756d 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".

miyamoto1756d ago (Edited 1756d 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.

Ult iMate1756d ago (Edited 1756d 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.

+ Show (1) more replyLast reply 1756d ago
Thatguy-3101756d 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.

miyamoto1756d ago

I agree with you. High Five!

PeEsFour1756d ago (Edited 1756d 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.

creatchee1756d 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.

ZombieGamerMan1756d 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.

Muigi1755d ago

Very well said sir! Bubble vote from me.

Statix1756d 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.

PeEsFour1756d ago (Edited 1756d 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.*

+ Show (3) more repliesLast reply 1755d ago
quaneylfc1756d ago

I perceived Joel as mentally ill through the trauma induced by the death of his daughter, makes the story that more deep.

Statix1756d ago (Edited 1756d 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.

quaneylfc1755d 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)

yeahokchief1756d ago (Edited 1756d 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.

mattdillahunty1756d ago (Edited 1756d 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.

JP13691756d 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.

Ace_Pheonix1756d ago (Edited 1756d 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?

GUYwhoPLAYSvideoGAME1756d ago (Edited 1756d ago )

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

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