Character Analysis: Walter White AKA Heisenberg
Played By: Bryan Cranston
Show: Breaking Bad
Streaming On: Netflix
Walter White aka Heisenberg from Breaking Bad has to be one of the most iconic characters of world TV history. Despite being an extraordinary chemistry professor, he starts as an ordinary family man. Walter White has never lived for himself.
Despite working extra hard to make the ends meet, doing two jobs single-handedly, he is not a ‘man enough’. Even though he is loved and respected by his wife and son, his brother-in-law & DEA agent, Hank thinks he needs to ‘man up’.
There’s ego, pride and anger inside him which he has been successfully keeping under wraps until he comes to know that he is a ‘Cancer Man’ and won’t live for more than 2 years. This is when he decides to collaborate with his old student and drug addict Jessie Pinkman to cook and sale what happens to be ‘world-class blue meth’. He wants to leave enough money for his family before he dies and that’s why he chooses a profession which may be immoral and illegal but good enough to feed his family for a lifetime.
This is when Walter White’s alter ego Heisenberg overpowers him and he starts living a secret life. As he starts cooking meth, new layers of his character emerge. He is a new man now who is more dangerous than ever with each passing day. Even though he didn’t start the profession to hurt anyone, through his journey he becomes responsible for many murders directly and indirectly. Initially, he kills only bad guys which looks good on screen but as the time passes we see the darker side of him.
Not saving Jane when he could, poisoning Brock, planning Jessie’s murder, being a reason behind Hank’s killing, everything shows that he has become a mirror image of himself; a chemistry concept he is seen teaching his students during a lecture in the 1st season. He has also become an extremely manipulative person who has lost even a basic touch of morality. You feel totally disgusted when he puts all blame on Hank and calls him the mastermind of the whole game. Listening to the ‘confession tape’ makes you feel how much Walter White stinks as a character. It also makes you believe how far he can go to fulfil what he is set for.
As the show progresses, Walter White’s character gets eviler and it reaches a point where you start hating him. Even though it hurts a bit when his wife tells him that she wishes his Cancer comes back, we stop feeling for him towards the end. No wonder, even his son who once started fundraising for his cancer treatment asks him to go and die. His daughter no more feels comfortable in his lap.
His family refuses to take his money, something which he earned for them only. His business partner Jessie whom he considered as his son starts hating him. That’s when we realise the whole journey of Walter White was not just disgusting but also not worth anything for.
Walter White is a perfect example of The Dark Knight’s dialogue, “You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.”
But he is extremely smart! It is proved with the way he plans his operations. His intelligence lies in the details and he takes care of everything. The train heist plan is a brilliant example of his brain. Even in the most desperate situations, he manages to find a way out. Just before he manages to eliminate Gus Fring, he is convinced that it’s his end. But even in that situation, he carries potential to turn the table around. And till the end of the show, DEA is not able to catch him. Heisenberg kills himself after killing everyone he wanted to with an automated machine gun. Before dying, he even manages to create a successful path for his illegal money to reach his family.
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