Title

Watching Boardwalk Empire with Freud

Authors

Ron Hirschbein

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date

2013

Originally Published In

In R. Greene & R. Greene (Eds.), Boardwalk Empire and Philosophy. Chicago, Illinois: Open Press.

Page Numbers

35-45)

Abstract

From Machiavellian city officials to big-time mobsters, corrupt beat cops, and overzealous G-men, Boardwalk Empire is replete with philosophically compelling characters who find themselves in philosophically interesting situations. This book is directed at thoughtful fans of the show. Here, readers discover parallels between the events in Boardwalk Empire and contemporary political events. Twenty philosophers address issues in political philosophy, ethics, aesthetics, feminism, and metaphysics. Is Nucky Thomson a Machiavellian prince or a Nietzschean superman? Is Jimmy's resentment towards Nucky justified, given that Jimmy would never have come into existence had his parents not met? What can be said about the ethics of lying in the seedy world of bootlegging? Agent Van Alden’s unique religious attitudes bring a warped sense of morality to the Boardwalk universe. One chapter brings to light the moral character of Van Alden’s God. Other chapters explores the roles that storytelling, deception, and gender play in the show.