Monday, October 13, 2014

Walter White to Heisenberg. Descent of a tragic hero.

I enjoyed the TV series Breaking Bad and it's single minded protagonist, Walter White.

Walter White is a tragic hero. Some people think he's a monster.  He was never a monster, all his decisions were rational and for the greater good. He only deceived himself as to the depths he sunk to achieve his ends. What people forget is that Walter is doomed. His whole life is a suicide mission.

All humans decide to act in their own interest, even if they are sacrificing themselves. Heisenberg is a drug dealer persona. But Walter White is calling the shots.

Walter is smart enough to know that, right or wrong,  once you commit to an action there's no way to stop without more consequences. Every action is thought through. Every action is consistent. Does he kill Jesse when he gets the first chance?  No. He reasons he can turn him back over.

Does he call off the Aryan hit men when he knows Hank is there?  Yes. But only because he would rather go to jail than kill his family. There are moral lines he won't cross.

Does he save Jane when he can and risk Jesse's life overdosing?  He's not partners with Jane he's partnered with Jesse. He acts in his own interest keeping his friend and partner.

Does he allow Gus Fring's men to talk when their money supply runs out? No, he assassinates them.
Mike Ehrmentraut lures away Jesse so he tricks Jesse back to his cause.

Walter White is a tragic hero because he starts a one-way mission to help his family and he does not deviate despite the fortunes and losses he suffers on the way. His one mistake was to turn away the help he was offered out of pride. It was the admission of his one time partner of the debt he was owed.