There are several schools of thought when it comes to morality and ethics. Virtue ethics, utilitarianism, and deontology are among some of the ethical systems that direct individuals to live rightly or wrongly. With the theory of virtue ethics one is focused on character traits and their development such as honesty or kindness. It is not concerned with duties or rules as in deontology. Virtue theorists believe that your moral character will guide you in making correct decisions throughout your life. Once you become the person you wish to be then making those moral decisions will happen organically. The challenge with this theory is that making moral decisions are not always black and white and may often require complex thinking and reasoning.
In contrast, the utilitarianism theory suggests that when an action produces more total utility for the entire group than that action is morally right (Boylan, 2009). That is achieving the greatest good for the greatest number. The essence of this theory lies in its concept of pleasure and pain. Utilitarianism makes the argument that the pleasure principle is the end to which all humans strive. If the outcome of an action results in increased pleasure and reduced pain then that action is deemed good. Bentham's principle equates good with the pleasure evil with pain and that these two are capable of measure by quantification.
Last, we have deontology where morality is based upon adherence to rules or duties. Thus, you have moral duties and obligations to govern your life regardless of the consequences the action may bring. For example, if you lie then that is wrong even if it may bring harm to others. Lying to a pedophile about where your child is would be considered wrong even though you'd be placing your child in harms way. In my personal experience with deontology was lying to my father about something I wasn't supposed to do. Although my father never noticed, and thus, never asked what I had done...