Humans are inherently selfish, the moment a human is born they exist solely to meet their own needs. As a human grows they challenge this selfish instinct and, hopefully, begin to value selflessness. But what happens when this selfishness motivates our actions? What happens when those actions turn violent? To what extent is selflessness a justification for violence? These questions help to shape an age old utilitarian argument. This debate can be seen within Shakespear's play Macbeth. Through utilitarian ideas Macbeth distinguishes the line between legitimate and illegitimate use of force and effectively characterizes Macbeth as a monster.
Violence as a concept is highly controversial. Because violence is an ever-present force within the world, society as a whole is incessant upon finding situations in which it may be acceptable. The infatuation with the justification of violence is not a new concept, it spans generations and is constantly evolving. One way that society has approached this idea is the utilitarian rational. This idea was theorized early on by Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill (Anderson, 2004). Simply put, the idea of utilitarianism is the idea that the route that does the greatest good for the greatest number of people is the most ethical. This can be exemplified by the situation commonly presented during Marine training, the Trolley Dilemma. The scenario states: A trolley was on a set course to hit and kill 5 people on a track.