The Sins Of Kratos – Analyzing The Titular God Of War Character
Hello there! Welcome to a relatively special post. With the next installment of the God Of War franchise nearly here, it helps to look back at what this character has gone through in the previous multitude of games.
However, this look at his past will not focus just on story elements (to an extent), but rather all the wrong-doings that have transpired by the rage and bleeding blades of this infamous ghost of sparta. While Kratos may not believe himself to be the villain of his own tale, he cannot deny that he has done far worse than most villains in media.
Keep in mind that this will include spoilers from the other God of War games, most particularly the trilogy numbered games, you have been warned…
Kratos is a tale inspired in the form of a Greek Tragedy, and easily comes off as such…
One important thing to understand about how his story is scripted is how it is heavily interpreted as a Greek Tragedy. A Greek tragedy is widely believed to be an extension of the ancient rites carried out in honor of Dionysus, and is heavily influenced by the theater of Ancient Rome and the Renaissance. Most of these tales are based primarily on mythological legends, which include gods/heroes and even monsters, but they could also be entirely unique by the narrations of both the actors and the creator(s). These plays and stories were the first foundations of structure for basic storytelling. These old plays would include a prologue, parodos (episodes in-between) as well as the occasional stasima (which is basically necessary exposition), and an exodus/epilogue. These were the basic structures followed by many creators, although some have made exceptions to this standardized formula. It is an actual mystery as to where the origin of the term “Tragedy” truly came from, with the only clues suggesting it is rooted in mythological tales of either the satyr dithyramb or Thespis, but today in modern culture it is used as a means of detailing a sad or overly-dramatic tale.
The term “tragedy” is also used to describe heroic characters, especially many of the Greek heroes of ancient times that have met a certain decline or downfall. While we may have our innocent interpretations of how many of these stories pan out, it’s important to know that the main hero protagonists of the original tales never really came back from the torments or suffering of their journeys. Many heroes like, Hercules, Perseus, and Odysseus just to name some, had to deal with either misery or hate to some capacity, some would even lose loved ones in either vengeful or accidental ways. The story of Kratos is designed in much of the same way, the only difference being that this style of telling a tragedy is overly exaggerated and, for lack of a better term, extreme (the violent nature of the gameplay as well as the designs of both the monsters and even gods, like Hades, are prime examples of that).
Ares was responsible for the death of Kratos’es wife and daughter, but so was Kratos…
God of War original is certainly dated at this point, being unable to the survive the passage of time like God of War II or III (just a personal opinion, no aggro), but it easily had the most structured and most basic understanding of how to set up a mythological Greek hero tale. The original game certainly had all the fundamentals of a play (like we talked about prior) and it even has a conclusion that you would actually expect to have happen in a tragic tale.
One of the beginning story elements explain the origins of Kratos and how he was set to embark on his mission for revenge on the previous god of war, Ares. It is said that Kratos allowed himself to become an agent of Ares, which granted him many victories in battle and even the blades of chaos, but of course the god wanted to further seal this loyalty Kratos had to him by removing any attachments. While attacking the city of Athens, Ares tricked Kratos into murdering his wife Lysandra and daughter Calliope in a temple dedicated to Athena, knowing that Kratos would enter the temple blindly killing all in his path. After this Kratos left his servitude to Ares and was soon “marked” as punishement for his actions by an oracle, lathering his skin in the white ashes of his family and therefore earning him the title of the Ghost of Sparta.
On the one hand Ares is certainly responsible for placing the wife and child inside the temple where they were certainly not suppose to be at, but on the other you would think that Kratos wouldn’t enter in a building blindly murdering without knowing who was actually in there. It is explained that through the servitude and prowess given by the god Ares, Kratos was apparently affected, nearly transformed, by the bloodshed of war to the point where he was entirely entranced by violence altogether. This could be an explanation for why Kratos would slash a victim without hesitation. However one could also see this as a stupid choice by Kratos who also followed Ares blindly (I’m using this word too much), believing that only good tithings can come from this decision.
In Regards to the Pandora’s Box Reveal…
So now instead of going through all the god killing and murders of the innocent (including things like shoving an innocent woman into some gears to keep a door open), I’ll just leap to God of War III’s reveal as to why this war against Zeus and the gods, essentially, happened. Back when Kratos opened Pandora’s box to gain the powers of a god to defeat Ares in the original God of War, a major moment happened that would result in the later sequels of the overall tragic story.
It becomes very apparent in the sequel games that the gods themselves come off as overly mean spirited and almost bully-esque, this is why I personally see the sequels, especially God of War III, being a big battle between an evil and a greater evil of which Kratos inevitably becomes the greater evil. It is also a story about a son getting revenge on his father (yep, Zeus is the father of Kratos). But it is revealed shortly after the official death of Zeus that the reason for the gods behaving in such a way was because of the evil’s that were uleashed by the box. These evils were absorbed by the other gods which resulted in their extreme backlash towards Kratos and eventual betrayal of Kratos’es trust in them. While these were absorbed by the gods, the power of hope which Athena personally placed in the box was actually absorbed by Kratos himself, which he could only unleash after he surpasses the guilt and hardships he has faced from all of his wrong-doings.
I guess it was a good act to unleash the power power of hope to the world for mankind’s use, possibly the best decision and morally good deed Kratos has ever done, but does this really excuse his brutal and horrific acts of violence? Do you forgive a psychopath that burned down your house if he baked you a delicious muffin? Heck, the death of the gods resulted in destroying the entire nation and country of Greece due to there no longer being a guide or controlling force for particular elements. Sure he gave hope to mankind so that the country can, possibly, be revived once more. But I sincerely doubt that this will ever excuse his initial actions in any way. Perhaps he was actually banished by the citizens of Greece and therefore he traveled to Norway?
Is Kratos Redeemable Though???
Kratos is certainly not a typical run-of-the-mill character, he is not entirely evil but is certainly not entirely good either. When it comes to my opinion of the character I honestly don’t hate the character. I actually do find the overarching story interesting and this does develop the character in a way, albeit while still not forgiving him of the actions he caused. And when it comes to whether or not he can be redeemed, I’m not the best person to answer that. Everyone should come to their own conclusions if this is a character worthy of being redeemed. I personally have no problem with people liking or enjoying the character, I don’t even care if they think he’s the best character in video games, but I do believe that you should not like him as a hero in any manner. Just imagine how dangerous a person like this would be in something like Game of Thrones, the Lannister’s would all be murdered before they even touched the iron throne!
Despite the characterization of the main character of these games, I do actually think the games are pretty fun, I really enjoyed how the story was in God of War II and I think the original gameplay is mastered in God of War III. And with this new one coming out that is entirely different in almost every aspect, I am very, very excited to get my hands on it and play it.
With the next installment’s story about the relationship between Kratos and his new son, Atreus, with an almost Last of Us vibe, I anticipate seeing how this relationship will turn out with an older and more mellow version of Kratos. And who knows, perhaps through the way Atreus turns out as son raised under his protection, perhaps we will see a strong and reasonable turnout for Kratos to be redeemed. While I doubt Kratos will ever be forgiven for his sins, perhaps his son can learn from the sins of the father and become a better demi-god and man for it.
Thanks to anyone who read this, it was probably riddled with bad writing and grammar problems but I had to write this one relatively fast. You can check out other posts on this site that explore many different topics and franchises, not just games. Also, you can give your thoughts on the character of Kratos as well if ya want. Again thanks for reading…
Posted on April 15, 2018, in GeekBeerz, PS4, Uncategorized and tagged editorials, geek, Geek Beerz, Geek Berz, geekbeer, geekbeerz, god, gow, of, opinions, playstation, PS4, reboot, santa monica, sequel, war. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.