Eren Yeager is the most important character in Hajime Isayama’s Attack on Titan. The guy went from being the series’ principal protagonist to being its most dangerous antagonist, and despite that, the fandom is still unsure as to his role in the story. For some, he is a hero who sacrificed everything to achieve the peace he so desperately wanted, while for others, he is a mentally ill tyrant who betrayed everything he stood for because of his break. In this article, we are going to tell you whether Eren is really evil in Attack on Titan or not.
From one perspective, he is an idealist who became a monster so he could sacrifice himself for the peace of everyone else, while from the other, he is a deranged, genocidal tyrant who simply lost it and wanted to destroy the whole world. The question of whether Eren is evil does not have a single, straightforward answer.
Analyzing the true nature of Eren Yeager and his role in the Attack on Titan storyline is quite intriguing. We are going to do our best to portray Eren from both points of view and to show his true nature, using that analysis to give you all the answers you need. We have collected a lot of information on Eren’s story and gathered them all in one place so that you can enjoy them fully and understand why our answer to this question is like it is.
Is Eren Evil in Attack on Titan?
This is one of the most relevant questions in the whole Attack on Titan saga. Eren Yeager is the protagonist of the show and one of the show’s most divisive characters. He started off as a hero, and a noble one at that. He was a boy when he witnessed his mother being devoured by a Titan, leaving him an orphan. He then swore to wipe out the Titans, not knowing the truth behind them.
This initial aspect made Eren Yeager a great hero. He had a proper tragic background, he was determined and he fought for a noble cause, as the Titans were, indeed, perceived as the villains in the initial phase of the narrative. He was also quite loyal and, with his friends and allies, you couldn’t cheer for the Survey Corps.
But, as he found out the truth behind the Titans and the humans (see below), Eren simply broke under the pressure. Faced with the fact that humans have actually been wiping out humans and that he is now in the same position – in order to save “his” people, he had to eradicate “the other” people – Eren lost it and became a tyrant set upon destroying more than half of humanity. Although his rampage did result in casualties, it was ultimately stopped before fully materializing.
As you can see, the story of Eren Yeager is a complex transformation from hero to villain, while, at the same time, retaining the facts that make Eren so special. This is why there are two sides from which you can approach this question.
On one hand, Eren is viewed as being infallible by some fans. Despite his break, they still view Eren as the best and noblest character in the franchise, and they even interpret his later actions as proof of his unyielding idealism, as Eren simply wanted to protect his friends and allies, no matter the cost. These fans love Eren no matter what and there is nothing he could do to change their mind.
On the other hand, some of the other fans are more realistic and tend to approach Eren’s situation more objectively. While acknowledging Eren’s importance and the nobility of his cause in the beginning, these fans acknowledge that Eren had a complete breakdown, which ultimately led him to become a tyrant and the show’s most dangerous villain.
In the end, the answer to this question depends on the point of view you take. If you love Eren without questions, Eren is not a villain of the series and you’ll have to find another villain among a plethora of candidates. On the other hand, if you’re more realistic, Eren will probably be the most perilous villain in the whole series, and a character that threatened to destroy the world on a whim.
Why Did Eren Turn Evil?
In order to fully understand Eren’s transformation from hero to villain, we have to go back to Episode 56, “The Basement”, and the big revelation that came forth when Eren entered Grisha’s basement. In the episode, Mikasa examines Grisha’s desk, noticing a small keyhole in a drawer. Eren tries his key and the drawer does, indeed, open, surprising the party present. It actually seems empty, but Levi quickly finds a false floor with three notebooks under it.
The notebooks are spread out on the table and as Eren and Mikasa open the first book together, an image catches their eye. The group is amazed by the picture, thinking it is a very realistic drawing, but ultimately concludes that the picture is far too detailed to have been drawn by a human hand. Mikasa discovers a note on the back explaining in Grisha’s handwriting that the picture is actually a photograph.
Further, he explains that he is from outside the Walls where mankind leads a fine life, and states that mankind was not exterminated. With the words that he hopes that the finder of the book is a like-minded person, the episode ends and the credits begin.
As you can understand, this revelation was a complete shock for Eren. As a child, he had sworn to kill the Titans thinking that he and his allies were the only remaining humans; a Titan killed and ate his mother in front of his eyes, which explains his bloodlust. He did not know the truth about their heritage nor the truth about the Titans, which is why this revelation was such a shock. He realized that humans were fighting humans and that his friends were threatened by – humans.
Now, this was a big conflict for Eren – on the one hand, he initially thought that he needed to protect the humans from the Titans, believing that the humans of Paradis were the only remaining humans. On the other hand, the realization that he was actually fighting the humans of Marley came as a complete shock so he actually betrayed his initial stance – he wasn’t fighting to defend humans anymore, he was now fighting to defend Paradis.
Seeing how the humans of Marley were now his enemies, Eren decided to fight Marley because he did not want to live in a world where humans wanted to eradicate other humans. Now, by this moment, Eren’s psyche was pretty unstable, which is a relevant factor, which explains why he opted for a completely destructive plan rather than something more rational.
How Did Eren Become the Evil Guy?
Well, when you turn on humanity and want to wipe out a whole nation, you do tend to become a bad guy, right? The thing with Eren is that he started off as a protagonist and one of the series’ biggest and noblest heroes. He was a victim of a tragedy, an orphan who witnessed his mother being eaten by a Titan, and someone who swore revenge on the monstrosities and someone who promised peace to humans.
And yet that same hero, faced with the truths he was not aware of and his own fracturing psyche, simply broke and became a monstrous tyrant. From someone who cherished freedom above all, Eren became overly controlling and set his eyes on wiping out a large chunk of humanity without a truly valid reason, save for his personal preferences. This is enough to turn you into a bad guy regardless of how noble you were in the beginning.
Why Does Eren Want to Destroy the World?
Well, the real question here is whether Eren actually does want to destroy the world or not. As far as we’ve come to understand, Eren Yeager doesn’t really want to destroy the whole world, although it seems like he does want to destroy a large chunk of the population, which is what he ultimately does during his rampage.
Namely, as someone who swore to protect his friends and the Eldians, Eren, as we have said, realized that the humans living across the sea were a threat to the Eldians so he opted to destroy them, knowing it was the only way to save Paradis Island. Ultimately, it seems that he knew he would fail in the end, but his failure would result in the people being free, just as he wanted.
Does Eren Turn Good Again?
Ultimately, Eren’s fate is sealed when he turns on the world and becomes a monster. Regardless of the reasons that drove him to such behavior, Eren’s behavior was actually inexcusable. Even his closest allies turned on him at the moment when he decided it was better to destroy most of humanity for his own goal.
Eren eventually dies at the hands of Mikasa Ackerman, who decapitates him in order to stop his genocidal actions. He himself wouldn’t have stopped, which is why killing him was a necessity. This, in turn, means that Eren did not become good again and that he remained a villain until his death, which also answers the main question of this section.