Deconstructing the Identity of a DC’s Green Lantern

Green Lanterns are chosen and defined by ‘will’. Green Lanterns are regarded as heroes. Green Lanterns are special because of this trait. According to Google, ‘will’ means “the faculty by which a person decides on and initiates action.” Kids want to become superheroes, just like Green Lanterns. I don’t know about you, but the word ‘will’ sounds a little too vague to be used as something to positively influence the audience. Not to mention, if everyone who has an iron will was accepted into the Lantern Corps, they would definitely not be seen as a positive police force. This article will attempt to take a much closer look at the basis of what it means to represent a Green Lantern by analysing their oaths. Hopefully also setting an attainable moral goal for people aside from just telling them to be immovable objects.

The Green Lantern Corps

“In brightest day, in blackest night,

No evil shall escape my sight.

Let those who worship evil’s might

Beware my power — Green Lantern’s light!”

If you are any bit of a fan of DC Comics, it’s likely to be assumed that you’ve heard this several times in the comics and in the singular movie released in 2011. Not to discount the various animated ventures also taken upon the most popular faction of the Lantern Corps.

In brightest day, in blackest night,” sets the scene for us. More specifically, it sets no scene at all, as it aims a similar objective as ‘24/7". That nothing matters, that throughout any scenario, any time, any where, the following words will be the code for all Green Lanterns. This already establishes consistency and adaptability into the identity matrix. The former due to the insistence that a Lantern will perform the same no matter other details. The latter because it implies that any Lantern will

Continuing on to “No evil shall escape my sight”, which brings determination in to the conversation by using a very definite ‘no’, leaving no possibility for failure. This persistence is probably the closest thing to using that one defining word of a Green Lantern, ‘will’. Along with this, accountability is another trait that stems from this line. The use of the word ‘my’ means that each Lantern knows that they are the ones responsible for their actions. The word ‘evil’ in this sentence also establishes a separate group, using conventionally negative things to strengthen the group of evil versus good (eg. saying that evil could ‘escape’ sight, that they have a reason to hide or they run like conventional cowards do). This strongly says that Green Lanterns are not regarded as ‘evil’ at all, meaning part of the identity, is a strong ethical code.

The third line, “Let those who worship evil’s might”, only adds on to the distinction of evil and good (or rather; evil and not-evil). Once again, it implies weakness is part of being evil (using the word ‘worship’), going hand in hand with the coward angle taken before. Since these are what a Green Lantern is fighting against, we can say that Lanterns are characterised by the antonyms of ‘coward’ and ‘weak’, which would be ‘brave’ and ‘strong’. This also says that the evil is powerful as it uses the word ‘might’, which means that a Lantern has to be resilient as it’s not an easy mission to achieve. Resilient can also be used as an umbrella term for ‘brave’ and ‘strong’, further signifying the trait.

Finally, the last line, “Beware my power — Green Lantern’s light!” ties it all together. ‘Power’ once again indicates strength, ‘my’ connects to that responsibility aspect and the ‘light’ used to describe Green Lanterns feeds into the good versus evil complex (other words for that are light versus dark).

To rehash, these are the traits that can be concluded; Adaptability, consistency, determination, responsibility, resilience (including courage and strength) and conventionally moral (though this can probably differ a bit). While still vague, this adds a lot more substance to what a superhero can possibly be. Green Lanterns are not just people with a lot of ‘will’, there is a reason why most of them tend to be a positive force and why despite their different personalities, they manage to work as a full Corps. Let’s hope this continues, and that maybe a few more people can be like our favourites of Hal Jordan or John Stewart!



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