Essay Sample on Analysis of "What About Bob"

Published: 2023-08-27
Essay Sample on Analysis of "What About Bob"
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Analysis Movie Ethical dilemma Essays by wordcount
Pages: 4
Wordcount: 966 words
9 min read

The movie presents numerous occasions of moral lessons and codes of conduct. The roles played by various authors similarly proves the instances of the ethical dilemma throughout the film. Typically, ethics is a humanitarian branch, that attempts to answer particular questions between evil and good, or right and wrong. Consequently, an ethical dilemma is a scenario that is faced with two options that need the right choice using an informed decision-making tool or skills. It is, therefore, imperative that understanding how ethics is displayed in the movie directly helps in managing the ethical dilemma by making morally upright decisions and follows the guidelines presented by fundamental principles of ethics.

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Ethical and Moral Dilemmas from the Film

The first occasion of ethics is shown when Bob Whiley, who is hospitalized with psychological problems, forms close bondage of friendship with Dr. Leo, a psychoanalyst doctor who is attending to him. However, Dr. Leo decided to take a vacation or leave for his home, which is situated on the sides of Lake Winnipesaukee. Eventually, Bob becomes uncomfortable and seeks to follow Dr. Leo to his house, where he thinks that the quality of his health will significantly improve (Oz, 1991). Meanwhile, the scenario poses the first ethical dilemma, as Dr. Leo is disturbed on whether to accept Bob or not because he does not like to interact with patients, especially while on vacations. In that case, he applies his moral skills to decide that he will stay with Bob occasionally. Also, Dr. Leo faced the challenge of deciding on whether to accept Bob's friendship request because guidelines for ethics at work depict that a doctor should not make friendship with a patient (Oz, 1991). Morally, it is believed that accepting the request would free up Bob, and probably reduce the seriousness of his severe multiple phobias. Fortunately, Dr. Leo made a moral decision to become Bob’s friend.

The second ethical case in the movie is also visible from the instance where a couple who owned a coffee shop agreed to receive Bob as their guest peacefully. Meanwhile, dilemma equally protrudes in that the couple holds a grudge with Dr. Leo, who bought land at the lakeside, that they had intended to buy (Oz, 1991). Meanwhile, the family makes a moral decision and decides to bracket Bob out of the grudge, since they believe that Bob had nothing to relate with the land, although Dr. Leo is his close ally and doctor too. Nevertheless, Dr. Leo acts in an unethical way, by intentionally pushing Bob into the Lake. From the play, the audience expects that Bob begins a fight, or tell Bob that the act is wrong, but instead, understands that the same person hosts him, thus remains calm despite the incidence. Of course, there were possibilities that, Bob's attempt to fight the doctor could lead to his death because Dr. Leo's central intention was to do away with him. He was unhappy with the way; Bob was forming a positive relationship with the family at large. The doctor's family, headed by his family, also acted ethically, by accepting Bob despite being psychiatric.

Ethical Principles on the Movie

At one point in the scenes, Dr. Leo points a gun at Bob, after the kidnapping, but later baptizes the incidence as death therapy. Also, Dr. Leo attempted to kill Bob at the lake when he intentionally pushed him. On these two occasions, the moral and ethical principle of nonmaleficence in nursing is undermined. The principle states that any decision by a nurse or doctor should not harm the patient (McDermott-Levy et al., 2018). Besides, strapping explosives to Bob and calling it the death penalty is inhuman and threatens the life of Bob. This is in contrast to the guideline of the beneficence principle, which dictates that doctors should aim to make their patients happy, by doing them good at all times (McDermott-Levy et al., 2018). However, the welcoming by the couple, invitation by Fay for dinner, and Dr. Leo's decision to make friends with Bob, all show a positive practice of beneficence.

Furthermore, Dr.Leo acts in contrast to the ethical principle of justice, which requires that doctors make decisions strictly based on the acceptable codes of conduct, laws, and nursing legislations. In the movie, Dr. Leo makes furious decisions against Bob. For instance, he wanted to kill Bob, with the view that he denied him the opportunity to enjoy the vacation to Lake Winnipesaukee with the family members in peace. He, therefore, fails to treat Bob with fairness as he does to other family members (Oz, 1991). Besides, the principles of autonomy and veracity present throughout the movie. In a nutshell, autonomy, sometimes referred to as human dignity, states that nurses should be allowed to make their own decisions freely, that best suits their needs or demands (McDermott-Levy et al., 2018).

On the other hand, veracity requires patients to apply their power of autonomy to make honest and truthful decisions. In the movie, Bob is mistreated on several occasions by Dr. Leo but instead makes very critical decisions, in favor of Dr. Leo. Whether his decisions were right or wrong, these principles outline that a patient should have the power to make his own decisions based on their interest. Finally, the principle of fidelity is profoundly undermined by Dr. Leo, who works out of the standards of practice SOP in nursing, and acts unprofessionally on the patient. The principle of fidelity outlines that, a doctor should act professionally and be faithful while undertaking his/her responsibilities, to ensure that a high quality of health outcome is delivered (McDermott-Levy et al., 2018).


McDermott-Levy, R., Leffers, J., & Mayaka, J. (2018). Ethical principles and guidelines of global health nursing practice. Nursing Outlook, 66(5), 473-481.

Oz, F. (1991). What about bob? [Film]. America: Laura Ziskin.

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