Study Guide

Groundhog Day Morality and Ethics

Morality and Ethics

After he has lived the same day for over ten years, Phil Connors has tried out just about every moral approach to life that can be tried. He tries acting completely selfishly. Then he tries changing his behavior to be more moral. Then he finally tries changing his outlook altogether, and it's not until he does this that he makes a truly lasting change that allows him to move onto February 3rd.

Yup, Groundhog Day is definitely not afraid to shy away from moralizing. But it's so hilarious (and the moral is so good) that we totally forgive it.

Questions About Morality and Ethics

  1. When does Phil Connors first make the decision to act more morally? Why?
  2. How does Phil's morality change from the first time he tries to attract Rita to the last time? What's different?
  3. When does Phil fall into the deepest moral despair in this movie? What sorts of things does he do to show this despair?

Chew on This

Groundhog Day shows us that if we lived long enough, all of us would eventually choose to live more morally.

In Groundhog Day, we learn that there's no point worrying about the past or future. We should worry most about the present and how we treat other people in the moment.

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