Eren Yeager and the Idea of “Perfect Freedom”
The final season of Attack on Titan is about to air soon in the coming month of March. The anime has left us abuzz with speculation about what will become of the protagonist, Eren Yeager, the boy who once harbored a deep hatred for titans! His latest mission to eradicate humanity has viewers worldwide glued to their screens.
Sadly, this new arc also brought us heartbreaking losses, most notably Sasha Braus’s, our beloved ‘potato girl.’ In this article, we will go in-depth to explore Eren’s character and his unshakable pursuit for Eldian freedom.
The Idealistic Eldian Boy of Paradis
Right from the start, Eren Yeager proves himself to be a headstrong dreamer who is eager to break away from Paradis’s oppressive Titan curse. Throughout Season 1, we see his commitment and unwavering desire of joining the Survey Corps in order to protect humanity by overpowering titans as his only enemy.
Eren cherishes his relationships with Mikasa and Armin, holding tightly to the hope of venturing out into an unknown world beyond their walls. Yet as time passes, we watch Eren’s optimism slowly diminishing until only determination for freedom remains.
Our protagonist is forced to confront the heartbreaking consequences of war and unable to save his mother from Diana’s Titan form. This tragedy leads him toward a series of betrayals orchestrated by Marleyan undercover troops.
At this point in the anime, we can keenly observe Eren’s emotional and mental status, his rage, and anger. We can also understand his comprehension of the titan powers and how Ymir is connected to all of them. From this point on, Eren’s character starts transitioning as he follows a trail of memories that influenced his father and the Owl, “Eren Kruger”, in initiating the long-held Eldian freedom agenda.
By the end of this arc, we have an emotionally hardened, unavailable and completely damning Eren Yeager, who is striving for revenge against all who oppose him and his loved ones.
The Devil of Paradis and His “Rumbling”
In the Marleyan arc, we see Eren Yeager as a completely different man, fueled by the desire to protect Paradis from Marley. We see his complex confrontation with Reiner and how he is no longer holding a self-centered rage.
He acknowledges the burden that he will have on his shoulders by announcing an early war against Marley. We see Eren being completely aware of the innocent lives he has taken in Liberio and being numb from time to time.
One great example of this is when he was told about Sasha’s passing; his response was not as panicking as we thought it would be. His response was masked rage, a rage of losing someone from the small group he is sacrificing the whole world to save.
With all of this, we see Eren not relying on his friends, the Survey Corps, and all the people who fought with him in Liberio. Instead, he makes his enemies his allies and starts creating cults like the Yeagrists to create a pseudo agenda of protecting Paradis against enemies beyond the walls.
The Paradoxical Freedom of Eren Yeager
From the Marleyan arc, we see Eren Yeager plunging into a deeper despair. He is a more dangerous man, motivated by an agenda higher than himself, the Eldian race, and even humanity combined. We see a man who no longer cares for the lives he once deeply cared about.
Here we can easily understand Eren’s personality becoming an aversion to the extreme violence he went through, not just physical violence, but also emotional violence he experienced through memories of previous Attack Titans.
“Tata Kae! Tata Kae!” Those are the words he keeps telling himself, yet knowing completely well that there is no glory in what he is doing or plans to do for humanity beyond the walls. No matter how much we hate Eren for killing innocent people who have done absolutely no wrong to him, we cannot help but sympathize with the boy who once sought freedom.
Eren’s freedom has changed; now his lies in throwing the burden of Ymir’s Titan powers and ending them with what he believes will be true freedom for humanity: to end all enemies beyond the walls of Paradis and ensure that other humans no longer pose a threat to the people he will leave behind.
A Perfect Sacrifice of Eren Yeager for the Devils of Paradis
However, it is undeniable that Eren Yeager, the show’s protagonist/antagonist, has suffered the most than any other character on the show. Our “freedom boy” went through a series of traumas and committed massive war crimes along with killing 1/3 of humanity.
One crucial detail by the show’s creator is that Eren inherited the Attack Titan, who can go through different memories and has manipulated almost everyone on the show especially, Gresha and Zeke. Eren’s incredible sacrifice made it possible for all Eldians to live without fear, which required tremendous personal pain and suffering.
This indicates how deeply he cared about providing joy and security to his people. It is truly remarkable how Hajime Isayama has crafted such a powerful and beautiful story about a boy who once sought freedom.
If you like the journey we just went on, make sure to check out our deep dive on To Your Eternity and how it highlights the power of human connections.