Chestertonian Musings: Natasha Romanoff in Endgame

First official Chestertonian Musings today! *throws confetti* 

And who better to devote it to than my all-time favorite Marvel character and role model Natasha Romanoff! 

*quietly excited screeching*

Okay, though, I'm sorry to do this to you guys, but...there are going to be MAJOR Endgame spoilers in this post. Like, you-might-not-even-want-to-watch-it-after-reading spoilers. Like, PLEASE STOP NOW spoilers.

Lemme just make that more clear.














Okay. I've done all I can at this point. 

So, as you may know, I cried copiously while watching Endgame. This is something that doesn't happen to me very often, let's be clear.

And the reason I cried copiously.

Was Natasha Romanoff's death. 

Yeah. So, that whole thing happened. The part where she sacrificed herself so that the Avengers could get the Soul Stone and bring back the dusted members of their party? The part where she fought Clint about who would get off the cliff faster? The part where she emphasized the fact that people are not judged based on their sins? The part where she forces Hawkeye to survive for his family? The part where I literally scared my family by crying so hard? Mhmm. That part.

That was...very painful.

And something that made it far more painful was the suggestion, by some people (not naming any names, because I honestly can't remember exactly at the moment) that her death might have been suicide.

Reader, I did not like that idea. Not even a tiny bit. In fact, I hated that idea. That would mean that her self-sacrifice wasn't self-sacrifice-y enough! That would mean that she wouldn't go to fictional-heaven! (I mean, heaven is real. I just am not expecting to see a fictional character in heaven, is all. Although that would be epic, just saying. *flashes innocent smile at God*)

But I also couldn't figure out why it felt so wrong

Why was I so convinced that, while a possible case could be made for suicide, it just didn't sit right?

I mean, the "obvious" grounds for non-suicide didn't seem sufficient for my certainty that she didn't commit suicide. The obvious grounds being the fact that, while she did kick the cliff, Clint was the one who let go of her hand, and so was responsible for her death. 

That seems a little suss in terms of means and ends and all that. I suppose it's an explanation that kinda sorta holds water (and is *highlight for Black Widow spoiler* What the post-credits scene of Black Widow suggests that Yelena/Yelena's handler thinks. *end spoiler*) But that doesn't sit quite right, either. Clint did literally everything he could to prevent Nat's death. Everything. 

But also, she doesn't go into the trip in a suicidal manner. She doesn't go into it planning to die. "See you in a minute," are not the words of a suicide. 

So...I'm left with a strong conviction that her death was not suicide, with a lack of evidence to back that up. Which is distressing, to say the least. 

Enter Chesterton.


As you probably know because I've only talked about it 57 times, Father DD did a talk series on Chesterton's Orthodoxy over the summer, and it was in my Very Favorite Chapter of Orthodoxy ("The Flag of the World", of course) that I found the solution to this conundrum.

He has a specific section on suicide vs. martyrdom, and the repercussions of both, from a 90% philosophical standpoint, and it Makes Me Happy, even independent of the obviously important applications of his principles. He says:

"Obviously a suicide is the opposite of a martyr. A martyr is a man who cares so much for something outside him, that he forgets his own personal life. A suicide is a man who cares so little for anything outside him, that he wants to see the last of everything. One wants something to begin: the other wants something to end. In other words, the martyr is noble, exactly because (however he renounces the world or execrates all humanity) he confesses the ultimate link with life; he sets his heart outside himself: he dies that something may live."

*mic drop*

(Chesterton ultimately goes on to talk about how the suicide is insulting all of creation with his death, because not even the trees, not the birds, not the stars, were enough reason for him to keep on living, and thus he has grossly offended them all. But that's not very much to the point, I just find it fascinating.)

Do I even need to explicate how this applies to Nat? Is it not glaringly obvious? ;)

She cares so much about things outside herself two-fold that she forgets her own life. And it is this two-fold caring that causes her death, her martyrdom. 

Fold 1: She cares for the other Avengers. As I've noted elsewhere, and Megan has noted as well, Nat is really the "mom" of the Avengers. And in that capacity, she cares for them, wants their good, and worries about them far more than the other Avengers do. She says it herself, they're her family. And when a bunch of her family gets killed/vanished...what's a good mom to do, but get them back? She's going on this mission in order to bring her family back, not for herself, selfishly, but for them.

Fold 2 (yes, I know that's not what two-fold means, but it makes me smile, so let me have it, if you please): Clint. Clint is Fold #2. She and he have been friends since before the Avengers were her family. Since Budapest (with a "sh") in fact. She was the only one who knew about his family, for a while. They saved each others' lives multiple times. She was the one who brought him back from the edge of destruction in the middle of the movie. And now, she wants to save his life. She wants to save his life so he can have his family back, per Fold #1, but also because she loves (philias) him. 

And, to quote someone far greater than I, "greater love hath no man [or woman, but that's implied] than to lay down his life for his friends."

Y'all, Chesterton agrees with me, and I think Jesus does, too. :)

A little bit of a short post today, but it's important to me, so I hope you enjoyed it! And now I'd love to hear your thoughts: Would you make the same choice as Nat? Had you ever thought about this before? Have you read any Orthodoxy yet? :)


  1. I really didn't want her to die, but I love that she did it for Clint. For everyone and that it was definitely more like a sacrifice than a suicide. And as much as I hate that as an end for her, it was a great one. Like Tony's.
    Fantastic post!

    1. I know, that was beautiful that she did it for her friend! It was a great end, I agree, although I hated it, too. Exactly! Like Tony's! So much great self-sacrifice in that movie.
      Thanks so much!

  2. *happily waltzes into this post* *sees that some think of these events as suicide* *panics* *finishes reading post* *is happy once again*

    You scared me right there. But you saved it all by giving me a FABULOUS argument for anyone who brings this up! As you know, I LOVE Endgame because self-sacrifice is my absolute favorite part of a story. All of the points you brought up for it being FOR OTHER people as you have hope in the world? Whereas suicide is giving up and disgracing even the stars for not being enough to live? Goodness, I love that. Bravo!

    (I have to admit that yesterday I was telling my sister I don't think I'll like Chesterton *ducks from the ambush of tomatoes* BUT *clears throat* I LOVE THIS, so maybe I was wrong...)

    1. Panic is pretty much my reaction when I first heard the opinion that it was a suicide. XD

      Sorry I scared you, though! But I'm glad I made up for it with my argument. :) I was SO happy when I found that bit in Chesterton and connected it to Natasha and her self-sacrifice!

      (*eyes whoever was throwing tomatoes* No one is allowed to waste tomatoes in my blog, thank you. ANYWAYS, I think you might like Chesterton. This is going to sound weird, but you're an MBTI N which makes everything easier, because I think Chesterton was one, too, and his writing reflects that, so it makes it easier if you can easily follow his leaps of thought. XD And you're helps too. XD WAIT does the fact you were discussing this with your sister mean that you're considering starting a Chesterton soon? Which one??)

  3. *cries* NATASHA

    Also I agree wholeheartedly with Chesterton and you! The way suicide was explained to me was that it was wrong because it was despair/not believing that anyone, even God, could fix. I like the way it was explained here and the comparison between martyrdom and suicide.

    Oh! And in the "Mom of the group" sense, a mom who jumps between her kid and say, a bear, isn't committing suicide because that isn't her purpose. Her primary goal is to save her kid and while she realizes she will probably die, if she doesn't die she's not going to be upset that she lived.

    1. *sad puppy face*

      I'm glad you concur! :) Yeah, it stems from a lack of trust/hope & that's definitely not what Natasha had!

      Precisely! Her end goal is *protecting her child* not *dying*, and that makes all the difference. Intention is incredibly important!




    *squees quietly*

    College is evil and I'm annoyed not to have commented immediately, but it MAKES ME SO HAPPY TO SEE THE FIRST OFFICIAL CHESTERTONIAN MUSINGS. Ack so great. And everything you say here is SO GREAT--that bit in Orthodoxy really and truly does apply so well to Nat's death. Just...yeah. The self-centeredness of suicide is diametrically opposed to the selflessness of Natasha Romanoff.

    Man I need to reread Orthodoxy.

    1. MEGAN your comment literally made my day. :)

      I'm really excited for the first Chestertonian Musings, too!! I'm so glad you liked it, and also thought it was accurate. That's a great way to put it, too!

      (You really do. Everyone does. XD)

  5. People talking about characters that clearly mean so much to them never fails to make me happy. I love those characters and those moments that leave you feeling so attached and it hurts when they go. *Also looks slyly at God*

    1. Ah, well, I'm glad I could make you happy. :) (That makes me happy, too, tbh!) I know, those characters hurt so much, but it's so GOOD! (Maybe if enough people get on His case about it...XD jk)

  6. Your closing line made me smile so hard. :)

    Also, Chestertonian musings!!!! Yes!!!! I am so down for this!!!!!

    Anyway...this is a cool post. I love that part in Orthodoxy; it's one of the bits that sticks out most in my memory, from a book that's almost entirely comprised of stick-out-in-my-memory bits. And I was thinking about it recently, because By These Ten Bones actually tackled the topic - not in depth like Chesterton, and not really explaining it, but just...going into the difference between suicide and deliberate self-sacrifice. And it made me SO HAPPY. Because the difference is so extreme, and the end result is so different, even though the exact same thing happens. I can't think of anything sadder or more awful than suicide, and I can't think of anything more beautiful (or that I love more in stories) than self-sacrifice. And idk, I love this analysis of it. It makes self-sacrifice even more beautiful, y'know?

    1. Haha, I'm glad. :)

      Yay! I'm excited, so I'm happy you're excited!!

      Thank you! It's one of the bits that sticks out to me, too--which, as you say, is saying something when it comes to Orthodoxy! I'm now even more excited to read By These Ten Bones...

      The difference is so extreme, even if the the same thing happens, exactly. It's something that shows up in advanced morality, that the motive behind an action (depending on what the action is) is SO important. Extremely important. Which can be a bit of a tricky concept, and one that takes a while to grasp, I think. Or at least, has taken a while for me.

      Self-sacrifice is my favorite thing in stories, too! Who'd have thought? XD Chesterton definitely has a take on it that makes it even more beautiful...<3


Post a Comment

Hi! I'm so glad you are here and taking the time to comment. I love all comments, even ones on old posts! I just ask that you are respectful and keep the comments section clean. Thank you!