Study Guide

Watchmen Lies and Deceit

By Alan Moore

Lies and Deceit

“Funny story. Sounds unbelievable. Probably true” (II.24.2).

Haha? Watchmen is the kind of book where nothing’s “funny” and everything’s “funny.” You see, we can invent paradoxes, too.

Could all be lies. Could all be part of revenge scheme, planned during his decade behind bars. But if true, then what? […] Never mind. Answers soon. Nothing is insoluble.” (II.25.5-6).

In the illustration for this panel, Rorschach is picking a lock. Interesting, no?

After that, things went bad. We had worms in the apple, eating it from inside (Chapter B.9).

Alan Moore is one slippery writer. What else might this image allude to?

“Jon, be one person again! […] Were you working in here at the same time as we were in bed? (III.4.5 - III.5.5).

In relationships, people can be two-faced. In Watchmen, they can even be three-faced and three-bodied, as long as we’re talking about Dr. Manhattan.

As I lie I hear her shouting at me in 1963; sobbing in 1966. My fingers open. The photograph is falling” (IV.11.9).

If Dr. Manhattan has almost unlimited power, why does he lie to Janey Slater?

“Down those stairs! I knew he had something hidden back there from his attitude” (VIII.24.5).

Perhaps Dan Dreiberg (Nite Owl 2.0) also keeps things hidden away in his subconscious.

Nelly called last night, upset over yet another tiff with H.J. Those two are getting worse. The more they row and act like an old married couple in public, the harder they are to cover for (Chapter I.3).

It’s hard even for superheroes to be honest with themselves and come out of the closet.

“To frighten governments into co-operation, I would convince them that Earth faced imminent attack by beings from another world” (XI.25.4).

Science fiction? Nope—science fact. If a sci-fi writer makes up events that turn out to be true fifty years later, is it still fiction?

“Hitler said people swallow lies easily, provided they’re big enough” (XI.26.3).

That is a scary thought, for sure. As is this one: in America we don’t call it propaganda, we call it public relations.

“People’s lives take them strange places. They do strange things, and well, sometimes they can’t talk about them” (XII.29.6).

There are the lies we tell, and the lies we keep inside.