Trevor: A GTA V Character Study
Depending on how you feel about him, Grand Theft Auto’s Trevor is either a disarming psychopath or the most dislikeable character in video game history. Either way, though, if you have played the Grand Theft Auto series, you feel some type of way towards Trevor Philips.
He has two distinct, almost bipolar, sides: on one end, he is the out-of-control, vengeful, reckless criminal. On the other end, Trevor displays a strange sense of morality. That is, Trevor is the only character in the game that shows any level of respect towards women. He is the only character in Grand Theft Auto V to fall in love, and, consequently show any level of vulnerability.
Trevor, The Vulnerable
Trevor shows his vulnerability once after Michael’s apparent death, too. Not only is there that reflective pause in the action as he recalls Michael’s life in Los Santos, but he also has a “R.I.P. Michael” tattoo. Furthermore, Trevor seems generally hurt by the rumors surrounding Mike’s alleged resurrection.
Our flawed hero also demonstrates many instances of protective behavior towards Michael’s family. There was the e-mail chat he had with Jimmy, when Trevor told Jimmy that he would not take him drinking because Jimmy is too young. There was also the time where Trevor forced Michael to protect his daughter’s dignity.
Trevor’s honesty, morality, and vulnerability stand in stark contrast to the personality attributes of GTA V’s other career criminals. Michael, for example, admits that he is a “terrific thief” but still thinks he is a good guy. One day, while on a bike ride to the beach, Michael’s son tells him that he is a “bad guy; a crook, a killer, a liar.” Michael’s response was one of genuine shock.
Franklin, much like his criminal cohort, makes serious attempts to call himself a good person. Early on in GTA V, Franklin tries to get straight by not getting involved in petty criminal disputes. At the same time, though, Franklin takes any opportunity he has to do something unlawful, so long as it is also lucrative.
“I am a Bad Man”
Despite these instances of caring behavior from Trevor, we know he is a ruthless and nasty criminal. And he knows it, too. Trevor lives to cause misery and harm, and wants pure anarchy. This supposition is further supported by looking at Trevor’s appearance and the clothes he wears. He is not clean-shaven, his flannel shirts and jeans are nowhere close to pristine.
No, Trevor is not a career criminal for the money. Instead, Trevor is a criminal because he enjoys the work of inflicting pain and causing damage. Trevor himself admits this in Grand Theft Auto V, when he plainly tells a celebrity he has kidnapped: “I am a bad man.”
He is Who He is
That plain-spokenness, that bluntness, is what makes Trevor the most honest character in Grand Theft Auto V. Unlike his criminal cronies, who believe they are good people, and unlike the other inhabitants of Los Santos, who adopt superficial poses to fit into a society that is itself superficial, Trevor is who he is, a criminal, a moralist, and a vulnerable romantic all at the same time.