Rorschach’s mask symbolizes his view of ethics and morality, as well as his use of a constructed identity to hide his vulnerable true self, Walter Kovacs. Rorschach’s mask is white with shifting black shapes on it, resembling a moving Rorschach blot test (a tool once used in psychology to assess a person’s thoughts and emotions). The shapes are either completely white or completely black; there is no gray. This reflects Rorschach’s view of reality, since he believes that the world divides clearly and easily into good and evil people; he leaves no room for moral ambiguity or gray areas. However, the fact that the shapes on his mask constantly move and morph symbolize how Rorschach’s judgments of what is good and what is evil are inconsistent, constantly changing. He hates evil people, for instance, yet commits torture and murder and still sees himself as a good person. Rorschach’s mask also represents his constructed identity as a whole, which he assumes as his true identity in order to gain a sense of control over the world. Rorschach calls his mask his “face” and remarks that he only feels like himself when he wears it. Although his costume and identity consist of trench coat, gloves, and a fedora as well, the thing that truly makes him Rorschach rather than Walter Kovacs is his mask.
Rorschach’s Mask Quotes in Watchmen
My things were where I’d left them, waiting for me. Putting them on, I abandoned my disguise and became myself, free from fear or weakness or lust. My coat, my shoes, my spotless gloves. My face.