Sophie’s choice

The story “Sophie’s choice” is of a moral dilemma in which sepia Zawistowski, a Polish catholic immigrant, and a mother is forced to choose between on of hr two children. In the movie, Sophia arrives in Auschwitz with her son a ten year old boy and her daughter. They are just ten and seven years old respectively. However, doctor Mengele informs her that she has to choose between the daughter and her son as on has to be killed in order for the other to be allowed to live. Therefore, while adoring both her chider, she agonizes over this dilemma. However, because she is torn between the two, she delays till the soldiers arrives and forcefully tear the doughtier from her.

The movie tells a gripping story of symmetric dilemma in the concentration camp and the post Nazi world where both Auschwitz concentration camp and Brooklyn are no better alternatives. After Sophie had been forced to condemn her daughter to death and her son to the children’s campy, Sophia is seen sliding slowly into a dark abyss of love, hatred, jealousy, and final her suicidal tendencies are exposed when she finally takes cyanide with her lover Nathan Landau to commit suicide.

The film takes the moral dilemma as a case of evil and bad. The plot develop into a prohibition dilemma as she has to chose between one of her children, one of her lovers, or to interpret the document provided by the Gestapo or risk her life and that of the children. In the movie, the plots developed into an inherently guilty till her grave. Her moral emotions turn into glut and regret. How could she have lived with the thought of condemning her children? When she finally chose to give away her daughter to death in the hands of the soldiers, it became clear that both the remorse and guilt she experienced were actually called for. Her moral obligations can be considered symmetrical because both the children had equal chances of survival.

The power of life and death were practically in her hands. However, as a Jewish catholic, was she justified to give in to evil in order to save one child? As she continues to reconcile herself to the moral reactive attitude, it is the guilt and not the remorse that drives her to commit suicide. It is healthy to argue that Sophie made a very wrong choice not because of the situation at Auschwitz, but because she consented to the agents of evil, the captors. As a mother, she has a moral obligation to take care of her children. She could have sacrificed herself for the children to live. The moral permissibility of her choices makes her responsible for the death of either riff her children.


The symmetry of the dilemma only points at moral permissibility and responsibility. Therefore while she failed morally both by commission and minimizing, she practically had no moral luck to choose any of the children. The children were innocent, and she had not choice or chances at maximizing her options. Additionally, she could not maximize the rationality in her chokes. There was not room to determine the potential good or bad of any of her children. She wanes forced to make quick decision or lose both of them. Therefore, while the film treats Sophie’s case as a moral dilemma, Sophie’s case was complex in many levels and no amount of rationality could justify her choice. Given a chance to make such choices, it would be advisable for Sophie to either allow the army to take their pick or commit suicide to forego the guilt and remorse associated with any of the potential choices. In conclusion, Sophie made a very bad choice


Anderson, J. P. (1997), Sophie’s Choice. The Southern Journal of Philosophy, 35: 439–450. doi: 10.1111/j.2041-6962.1997.tb00846.x


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