Ethical Analysis Essay:
Analyze a film’s ethical dimensions that include its characters and the story.
First, select a film of available works.
Films for Ethical Analysis Essay:

Contagion (2011) (PG 13) - When Beth Emhoff returns to Minnesota from a Hong Kong business trip, she attributes the malaise she feels to jet lag. However, two days later, Beth is dead, and doctors tell her shocked husband that they have no idea what killed her. Soon, many others start to exhibit the same symptoms, and a global pandemic explodes. Doctors try to contain the lethal microbe, but society begins to collapse as a blogger (Jude Law) fans the flames of paranoia.

Next, view the film and then write a planning document using the following subheadings:
1) Introduction
2) Ethical Analysis.
The planning document should be a minimum of 250 words in length (excluding title and references pages).

Introduction (Film Synopsis) – Recommended one paragraph

Brief film synopsis in your own words that includes the medical ethical dilemma present in the film and what happens in the film, including the ending.

Ethical Analysis – Recommended one to two paragraphs

Identify the ethical theory you have chosen to apply to the film. Briefly explain how the theory you selected applies to the film. Select one:
Virtue Ethics – Core Principles – telos, virtue, eudaimonism
Kantian Ethics – Core Principles – duty, universality, impartiality, reciprocity
Utilitarian Ethics – Core Principles – welfare, impartiality, sum-ranking, consequences
Identify the core principles of the ethical theory that apply to a medical ethical issue present in the film. Briefly explain how at least one of these core principles applies to the medical ethical issue. (You will expand upon this in the final essay and incorporate all of the core principles for your selected theory.)

APA Formatting – Your planning document must be written using APA format (including APA-approved fonts – e.g., Calibri or Times New Roman 12-point fonts). It should be double-spaced and include a title page and references page. Include in-text citations and references as needed for sources that support your work.
Required Citations and References – You will need to provide in-text citation(s) and reference for the film you select as well as course materials (media or readings) you use to inform your planning document. (USLO 7.4)





Sample Answer

Sample Answer


Ethical Analysis Essay: Exploring the Ethics in “Contagion” (2011)


“Contagion” is a gripping film that delves into the ethical dilemmas surrounding a global pandemic. The story follows the rapid spread of a deadly virus that results in widespread panic and societal collapse. As doctors race against time to contain the outbreak, ethical questions arise regarding the prioritization of resources, the duty to inform the public, and the balance between individual rights and public health.

Ethical Analysis

For the ethical analysis of “Contagion,” I have chosen to apply Utilitarian Ethics. Utilitarianism focuses on maximizing overall welfare and emphasizes the importance of impartiality and considering the consequences of actions. In the context of the film, Utilitarian Ethics can be applied to the decisions made by various characters in response to the pandemic.

One core principle of Utilitarian Ethics that is relevant to the medical ethical issue presented in the film is the emphasis on maximizing welfare. Throughout “Contagion,” we see characters grappling with difficult decisions that have far-reaching consequences for the greater good. For example, healthcare professionals must decide how to allocate limited resources such as vaccines and medical supplies to maximize the number of lives saved.

Furthermore, the concept of impartiality is crucial in the ethical analysis of “Contagion.” As the pandemic spreads, policymakers and healthcare workers are faced with the challenge of making decisions that prioritize public health over individual interests. This raises questions about the ethical responsibility to act in a way that benefits the greatest number of people, even if it means sacrificing certain individual freedoms.

In conclusion, Utilitarian Ethics provides a valuable framework for analyzing the ethical dimensions of “Contagion.” By considering the core principles of welfare and impartiality, we can gain insights into the complex moral dilemmas faced by the characters in the film and reflect on how these issues resonate with real-world ethical challenges in public health crises.


Soderbergh, S. (Director). (2011). Contagion [Film]. Warner Bros.



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