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Matter Of Perspective: God Of War

God or evil?

As long as there has been society there have been gods. Beliefs have shifted along with society, with ideas ranging from there being many gods, each controlling their own speciality, to a single entity that controls the fate of everything. There are gods that are benevolent and gods that are vengeful, with Kratos firmly in the latter category.

However, this article isn’t just about Kratos and his own need for vengeance. No, we’ve also got to look at rest of Olympus’ denizens, and the caretakers of the world. The gods of Olympus aren’t complete saints but they understand that there is an intricate balance to maintain between wielding their power and making sure the world doesn’t suffer too much.

The gods of Olympus each control certain functions of the Earth, like Poseidon who controls the waters or Hera whose field is plant life.


Kratos' goes from anti-hero to villain.
In the games these gods are portrayed as egotistical and only out for themselves; after all taking power from the Titans was no easy feat. However, if they were truly that self-centred then humanity would have perished long ago.

Perhaps it’s this perception of narcissism from the gods that causes Kratos to turn his rage on them when he decides that his slaying Ares isn’t enough to satisfy his grief, seemingly dooming humanity in the process. It’s at this point that you could argue that Kratos moves from anti-hero to fully blown villain.

You see, when his quest was focused on Ares it was easy to claim that his murderous intent was justified because it was Ares who caused Kratos to kill his own wife and child. The gods clearly agreed, as he wasn’t punished for this murder but instead rewarded with the power of a god. However, the destruction of the rest of the gods is a lot harder to justify for Kratos.

It’s undeniable that Kratos’ actions have far wider ramifications than simply killing the gods, with his decisions pretty much signing death warrant for the whole world. First it’s Poseidon who falls to Kratos’ wrath. In the immediate wake of his death water levels rise, burying whole cities and leaving countless thousands under the waves. Kratos’ rage has consumed him so much that he becomes something he once hated – a god who doesn’t care and only wants to satisfy his own needs.

After Poseidon’s death, other gods start to fall quickly. Hera is killed, which ends all plant life, while Helios’ death leaves behind only darkness and storms. Zeus is the obvious final target, but he’s aware of what Kratos’ madness is doing to him and tries to do whatever he can to stop him.

And yet still the narrative is presented from Kratos’ point of view. To him Zeus is a terrible being who doesn’t deserve to live. However is Zeus really that bad? He acknowledges his mistakes, realising that allowing Kratos to become a god was huge mistake on his part.

Instead let’s look at this as Zeus would. He raised Kratos, his son, to a position of power that many beings would love to occupy. Zeus probably has his reasons as to why he doesn’t announce he is Kratos’ father but he does his best to make sure his son is given everything he needs following the heartache he has suffered.¬†Of course this action also comes about because Zeus is scared that Kratos will end him, just like Zeus did to his own father, the Titan Kronos.


Zeus takes the only action left to try and stop Kratos' rampage.
Yet all that effort is for nothing. Kratos lets his anger just stew for ages, leading to the apocalypse.

Zeus sees all of this occurring and takes the only course of action he can – Kill Kratos. Though Zeus does have a selfish reason, one that appeared when he was infected by fear after Kratos opened Pandora’s Box, he still understands that a balance must be kept and Kratos is the main threat to that.

Although Kratos gets his revenge, he still falls by the end of the trilogy. The question is was it worth it? He destroys everything that ever wronged him, but in the process fails in his duty as a god to guide humanity and maintain the balance. Kratos’ selfish attitude leads to actions that are far worse than anything the other gods had done.

It’s saddening that he lost his family by his own hands but he then went on to wipe out whole other families because his blood lust extended further than his revenge required.

The story of the God of War series is a lot more complicated than a standard good versus evil struggle because the gods’ allegiances continuously shift during the course of the games. The only real constant is Kratos’ rage, which takes him from anti hero to the harbinger of the apocalypse.

6 Comments
  1. Taylor Made
    Member
    Since: Oct 2011

    Technically weather Kratos ended up being the bad guy the Gods was already the bad guys possed with something can’t remember, it get explained at the end. Kratos journey was more than just his family vengeance, through his journey to murder Aries, and after killing Aries, Kratos discovered new thing

    Comment posted on 17/06/2013 at 16:12.
    • Taylor Made
      Member
      Since: Oct 2011

      Stupid i

      Comment posted on 17/06/2013 at 16:13.
      • Taylor Made
        Member
        Since: Oct 2011

        iPhone lol Kratos actual journey was never about his daughter & wife but his brother, ghost of Sparta.

        Comment posted on 17/06/2013 at 16:14.
  2. Nate
    Member
    Since: Apr 2010

    Kratos was a shaky anti-hero at best, his grief fuelled rampage rapidly escalates to unbelievable proportions long before the end of the series. By the end he purposely and without remorse brings about the death of so many innocents that any hint of human emotion, such as the Pandora escapades, seem almost comically out of character.

    Fun to play, yes. Well constructed narrative, absolutely not.

    Comment posted on 17/06/2013 at 18:01.
  3. sabbat7001
    Member
    Since: Jun 2010

    I wrote a review for GOW3 for a website when it first came out and I basically said “Kratos’ unhinged fury and relentless quest for bloodsoaked vengeance makes this games hero darker, twisted and more insane than almost any other games actual villain”.

    This article reinforces my original feelings on the subject. Don’t get me wrong, Kratos is one of my favorite protagonists of all time but “hero” he is not and even anti-hero would be generous.

    Comment posted on 17/06/2013 at 18:58.
  4. Steelhead
    Member
    Since: Oct 2013

    It’s worth noting that Kratos is only a god for a short while before Zeus strips him of his powers. After tha Kratos is not actually obliged to protect humanity. Not that i’m justifing his actions of course, that guy has some serious anger management issues.

    Comment posted on 19/10/2013 at 18:17.

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