Watchmen

Watchmen

by

Alan Moore

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Adrian Veidt, a brilliant businessman, operates as the vigilante hero Ozymandias for several years before announcing his retirement and publicly revealing his identity. As a young man, Veidt idolizes Alexander the Great but mourns the fact that he never succeeded in his ultimate goal of unifying all of humanity together. As a result, Veidt spends most of his life trying to fulfill Alexander’s ambition. Veidt realizes that as Ozymandias, he can only fight petty crime and have minimal impact on the world, so he quits to become a business magnate, using his incredible intellect to become an astute investor. Recognizing that America and Russia are racing towards mutual destruction with nuclear weapons, Veidt uses his massive wealth and intelligence to hatch an elaborate, though devastating, plot to save humanity from itself. He hires a cadre of artists and scientists to engineer a gigantic squid-like monster and teleports it into New York City, intentionally triggering a massive explosion that kills half of New York City and leaves survivors haunted by visions of an alien planet. Veidt correctly reasons that by convincingly faking an alien invasion, he can entice all the major world powers to end hostilities with each other and declare a unilateral peace, uniting themselves against a new existential threat. Veidt’s plan embodies a utilitarian ethic, since he murders millions of people to save the lives of billions. Although Veidt’s plan works in the short term, the novel leaves the ending ambiguous by hinting that Veidt’s plan may soon be discovered through the notes that Rorschach left after his death, thus breaking the illusion of alien invasion and threatening the world’s newfound peace. Depending on whether or not Veidt’s ruse is discovered, he is either the savior of the world or its greatest villain.

Adrian Veidt (Ozymandias) Quotes in Watchmen

The Watchmen quotes below are all either spoken by Adrian Veidt (Ozymandias) or refer to Adrian Veidt (Ozymandias). For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Heroes, Villains, and Vigilantes Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the DC Comics edition of Watchmen published in 1986.
Chapter 1: At Midnight, All the Agents… Quotes

Meeting with Veidt left a bad taste in my mouth. He is pampered and decadent, betraying even his own shallow, liberal affectations. Possibly homosexual? Must remember to investigate further.

Page Number: 27
Explanation and Analysis:

Because there is good and there is evil, and evil must be punished. Even in the face of Armageddon I shall not compromise on this. But there are so many deserving of retribution… and there is so little time.

Page Number: 32
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 11: Look on My Works, Ye Mighty… Quotes

Dreiberg: …And anyway, this is Adrian for God’s sake. We know him. He never killed anybody, ever. Why would he want to destroy the world?

Kovacs: Insanity, perhaps?

Dreiberg: Ha. Well that’s a tricky one… I mean, who’s qualified to judge someone like that? This is the world’s smartest man we’re talking about here, so how can you tell? How can anyone tell if he’s gone crazy?

Page Number: 349
Explanation and Analysis:

Teleported to New York, my creature’s death would trigger mechanisms within its massive brain, cloned from a human sensitive… the resultant psychic shockwave killing half the city.

Page Number: 374
Explanation and Analysis:

What does fighting crime mean, exactly? Does it mean upholding the law when a woman shoplifts to feed her children, or does it mean struggling to uncover the ones who, quite legally, have brought about her poverty?

Page Number: 389
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 12: A Stronger Loving World Quotes

Veidt: I did the right thing, didn’t I? It all worked out in the end.

Jon: “In the end”? Nothing ends, Adrian. Nothing ever ends.

Related Characters: Adrian Veidt (Ozymandias) (speaker), Jon Osterman (Dr. Manhattan) (speaker)
Page Number: 409
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Watchmen LitChart as a printable PDF.
Watchmen PDF

Adrian Veidt (Ozymandias) Character Timeline in Watchmen

The timeline below shows where the character Adrian Veidt (Ozymandias) appears in Watchmen. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: At Midnight, All the Agents…
Heroes, Villains, and Vigilantes Theme Icon
Moralist vs. Utilitarian Ethics Theme Icon
American Corruption and Patriotism Theme Icon
Rorschach speaks with Adrian Veidt in Veidt’s penthouse apartment. Veidt is surprised to hear of the Comedian’s death but... (full context)
Heroes, Villains, and Vigilantes Theme Icon
Moralist vs. Utilitarian Ethics Theme Icon
American Corruption and Patriotism Theme Icon
“Rorschach’s journal. October 13th, 1985. 8:30 p.m.” Rorschach feels disgusted after meeting with Veidt and thinks he is “pampered,” “liberal,” and “shallow,” perhaps a “homosexual.” He mentally runs through... (full context)
Chapter 2: Absent Friends
Heroes, Villains, and Vigilantes Theme Icon
Moralist vs. Utilitarian Ethics Theme Icon
Identity and Empowerment Theme Icon
American Corruption and Patriotism Theme Icon
Adrian Veidt stands at Edward Blake’s funeral. He flashes back to decades before, when Captain Metropolis... (full context)
Chapter 3: The Judge of All the Earth
Heroes, Villains, and Vigilantes Theme Icon
Identity and Empowerment Theme Icon
Nihilism and Meaning Theme Icon
American Corruption and Patriotism Theme Icon
...entire world, causing both fear and wonder that settle into a constant sense of unease. Ozymandias, with his “boundless and implacable intelligence,” seems almost superhuman as well. Hollis realizes that he... (full context)
Chapter 4: Watchmaker
Heroes, Villains, and Vigilantes Theme Icon
Nihilism and Meaning Theme Icon
American Corruption and Patriotism Theme Icon
...1975, President Nixon amends the constitution to allow himself to run for a third term. Ozymandias retires and reveals himself as the business magnate Adrian Veidt. Jon and Laurie meet with... (full context)
Chapter 5: Fearful Symmetry
Heroes, Villains, and Vigilantes Theme Icon
Moralist vs. Utilitarian Ethics Theme Icon
Elsewhere, Adrian Veidt and his assistant walk to a meeting with a toy manufacturer. A man with... (full context)
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Nihilism and Meaning Theme Icon
...that today’s headlines are horrific. A father butchered his children and someone tried to kill Adrian Veidt, the living “saint.” The news vendor thinks that if people are trying to kill... (full context)
Heroes, Villains, and Vigilantes Theme Icon
Moralist vs. Utilitarian Ethics Theme Icon
Identity and Empowerment Theme Icon
Nihilism and Meaning Theme Icon
“Rorschach’s journal. October 21st, 1985.” Veidt’s attempted murder confirms Rorschach’s suspicions about a “mask-killer” on the loose. He finds a note... (full context)
Chapter 7: A Brother to Dragons
Heroes, Villains, and Vigilantes Theme Icon
Identity and Empowerment Theme Icon
Nihilism and Meaning Theme Icon
...“ravishing” without them. She kisses him. They start to have sex on the couch, while Ozymandias performs a gymnastic routine on TV. However, Dan embarrassedly realizes he’s impotent. Laurie tells him... (full context)
Chapter 8: Old Ghosts
Heroes, Villains, and Vigilantes Theme Icon
Identity and Empowerment Theme Icon
...massive conspiracy, as if someone is trying to “trigger Armageddon.” Dan thinks they should contact Ozymandias, but not until after they break Rorschach loose, just in case he tries to stop... (full context)
Chapter 10: Two Riders Were Approaching
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Moralist vs. Utilitarian Ethics Theme Icon
Adrian Veidt lands at his base in Antarctica, met by Bubastis the lynx and his private... (full context)
Heroes, Villains, and Vigilantes Theme Icon
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Identity and Empowerment Theme Icon
Nihilism and Meaning Theme Icon
...Harry’s bar and find a man, Roy Chess, who delivered the envelope with instructions for Veidt’s attempted assassination. Rorschach tortures him by crushing a glass into his hand until Chess says... (full context)
Heroes, Villains, and Vigilantes Theme Icon
Moralist vs. Utilitarian Ethics Theme Icon
...Daniel visit Pyramid Delivery Company’s office, since the company seems tied to the attempt on Veidt’s life. The office is abandoned, but they find lots of Egyptian memorabilia on the walls... (full context)
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Moralist vs. Utilitarian Ethics Theme Icon
“Rorschach’s journal. November 1st, 1985.” Rorschach and Daniel are going to try to track down Veidt in his lair. Veidt is the most dangerous enemy Rorschach can imagine, and he does... (full context)
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Rorschach and Daniel fly the airship to Antarctica, where Veidt’s fortress lies. They try to come in low, but the cold air freezes the airship’s... (full context)
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Identity and Empowerment Theme Icon
A series of clippings and pamphlets shows an overview of Adrian Veidt’s various merchandizing schemes. In a letter to a toy manufacturer, he proposes changing out... (full context)
Chapter 11: Look on My Works, Ye Mighty…
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Moralist vs. Utilitarian Ethics Theme Icon
In his Antarctic fortress, Adrian Veidt voice-records a complex observation about changing perceptions and technological development. He watches Rorschach and... (full context)
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Moralist vs. Utilitarian Ethics Theme Icon
Identity and Empowerment Theme Icon
Veidt, dressed as Ozymandias, meets with his staff in the vivarium. He tells them about his... (full context)
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In his glass-walled vivarium, Veidt continues to recall his trek across the Middle East, through Egypt where Alexander was dubbed... (full context)
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Rorschach and Daniel find the entrance to Veidt’s vivarium and use it to enter his fortress. Daniel expresses some hesitation about killing Veidt,... (full context)
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While fending off Rorschach, Veidt explains that as a hero, he quickly realized that not all injustice is perpetrated by... (full context)
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In Veidt’s fortress, Adrian continues to recall his journey. After the Crimebusters meeting, Veidt studies the world... (full context)
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Veidt continues revealing his plan. He knows he needs to get rid of Jon, so his... (full context)
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With Jon and the Comedian neutralized, Veidt needed Rorschach taken care of as well to stop him from meddling. He frames Rorschach,... (full context)
In an article from 1975 called “After the Masquerade,” Doug Roth interviews Adrian Veidt in his base in Antarctica. Veidt expresses his belief that anyone can be heroic... (full context)
Chapter 12: A Stronger Loving World
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In Veidt’s base, Daniel says he doesn’t believe that Veidt actually carried out his plan. Veidt insists... (full context)
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Jon realizes that Veidt has been using tachyons to disrupt Jon’s ability to see the future. He walks into... (full context)
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Veidt stands and begins to announce his victory, but Jon’s massive arm smashes through the wall.... (full context)
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Veidt raises his arms in the air and declares, “I did it.” He announces that he... (full context)
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Daniel and Laurie walk to a quiet, luxurious indoor pool in Veidt’s fortress. Laurie feels confused after what she learned on Mars and all the carnage in... (full context)
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Identity and Empowerment Theme Icon
...the airship to return to America. Jon tells Rorschach he cannot allow him to reveal Veidt’s actions. Rorschach understands why Jon feels this way and tells him to go ahead and... (full context)
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...fortress, past Laurie and Dan sleeping naked together by the pool, and up to where Adrian sits, meditating. Veidt justifies his actions and hopes Jon will help him build a new... (full context)