Manipulation In Ender's Game

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Everyday, people manipulate and are manipulated, whether it is a small matter or life-changing. Many question the ethics behind manipulation, but in some circumstances, the use of manipulation is considered to be more morally okay. In the novel Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, manipulation is used to prevent many issues, mainly a war between humankind and an alien race called buggers, and a war between countries on earth. A recurring theme of Ender’s Game is that manipulation is justified if it is for the common good. Firstly, Ender, who does not wish to hurt anyone, is manipulated to unknowingly fight as a commander in the bugger war by the Battle School teachers. Though Colonel Graff does not want to put this pressure and lie to Ender, he…show more content…
After Ender destroys the bugger planet in the final simulation, Graff tells him the truth, that he has been killing real buggers, that the simulated games are not actually simulations. Graff’s reasoning is this: “Of course we tricked you into it. That’s the whole point, [...] It had to be a trick or you couldn’t have done it. We had to have a commander with so much empathy that he would think like the buggers, [...] So much compassion that he could win the love of his underlings [...] But somebody with that much compassion could never be the killer we needed.” (Scott Card, 342) His explanation demonstrates how he believes that sacrificing Ender’s feelings by lying to him is necessary to defeat the buggers to save humanity from possible destruction, emphasizing the theme of manipulation for the common good. They make Ender do what he hates most, hurting others, by isolating him into not trusting anybody, moulding him to the perfect commander, then tricking him into believing he was only battling simulations. In this case, even though Graff detests manipulating and lying to Ender, he feels it is ultimately okay because the outcome of exploiting Ender is saving humankind. One person is manipulated for the greater common good of humanity as a whole. While Graff and other adults manipulate Ender, Peter and Valentine…show more content…
When Peter tells Valentine about his plan to have them take on false identities and slowly become respected political figures he says: “I’m going to have control of something. But I want it to be something worth ruling. I want to accomplish something worthwhile. [...] So that when somebody else comes, after we beat the buggers, when somebody else comes here to defeat us, they’ll find we’ve already spread over a thousand worlds, we’re at peace with ourselves and impossible to destroy. [...] I want to save mankind from self-destruction.” (167) Peter’s reasoning behind his plan is that manipulating the adults to believe the political views they have is worth it because it means that Peter’s hunger for power and control will be satiated and a potential war will be avoided. This illustrates how manipulation is condoned if it is for the greater common good because the outcome of humankind being at peace under Peter’s rule is considered to be more significant than lying to people and adopting false
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