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GTA 5's Trevor Phillips: A deep analysis of the character

Trevor Phillips in GTA 5
Trevor Phillips in GTA 5
Rahul Bhushan

Trevor Phillips. The name alone brings back memories not only of vicious brutality and unbridled chaos, but quite surprisingly of a much softer and compassionate man on the inside. The GTA franchise has created many colorful characters, but perhaps no other character has captivated the player's mind more than him.

Trevor should scare you, even at his most lighthearted, as he is a scary individual. The first scene in which we are introduced to Trevor is where he brutally murders Johnny, the protagonist from the GTA IV: The Lost and Damned expansion.

Also read: GTA Online: How to take part in a race

That incident is swiftly followed by a rage-filled assault on every enemy Trevor has in Sandy Shores. Those sequence of events is possibly the greatest introduction to a character in any video game ever.

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Hardcore Punk Rock music plays over the radio as you, playing as Trevor, mercilessly mow down the Damned MC. All the while, Trevor lets out profanity-laden rants about the MC and the state of affairs in Sandy Shores.

Picture credits: thegamer
Picture credits: thegamer

Trevor Phillips: A surface-level raging psychopath or the most meta character of the GTA franchise?

Picture credits: artstation
Picture credits: artstation

From the moment we take control of Trevor, we are thrust into the shoes of an absolute lunatic. Trevor makes no excuses for his violence, and the complete lack of pretense surrounding his violence is somewhat endearing.

The GTA franchise has always had violent characters, but they have all had a purpose, and justified violence as a means to an end.

Also read: How to increase strength in GTA: Online

For example, Michael resorts to violence and thievery to provide for his family and live a comfortable life. Franklin wishes to escape gang violence and make a better life for himself out of his neighborhood. Yet, Trevor is simply violent for the violence itself, it is not a means to an end.

This conflict with the complete honesty of the violence in his life is best portrayed in an argument Michael and Trevor have at the latter's meth lab. Trevor explains how Michael is a hypocrite for giving him grief about his way of life when Michael himself causes so much violence.

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This perhaps suggested that Michael has always resorted to his criminal ways not just for his family, but also for himself, as he cannot be satisfied living a normal life.

According to Trevor, he has accepted the fact that his path in life is to be a violent, murdering psychopath. That makes him more honest with himself than any other GTA character, as they always justify violence as a means to an end.

Trevor getting upset when his Canadian accent is made fun of
Trevor getting upset when his Canadian accent is made fun of

How is Trevor representative of the average GTA Player?

The three character of GTA 5 might be a representative of the human personality
The three character of GTA 5 might be a representative of the human personality

GTA is simply one of the most expansive virtual playgrounds for any player, as it allows them to live out their violent fantasies without causing harm in the real world.

GTA has always received much backlash and criticism from the media regarding its content, and that no amount of "artistic liberty" justifies the levels of violence in the game.

There are far more violent games than GTA, but because the GTA games are so close to reality in terms of their game worlds and characters, they are that much more authentic.

The major theory regarding Trevor's presence in GTA is that Rockstar created a character that was representative of their players' game personalities.

In the game, no player chooses to obey the rules of the traffic or to never shoot at another human being. In GTA 5, the game gives you plenty of options to engage in non-violent activities such as golf, triathlons and tennis.

Picture credits: ign
Picture credits: ign

But more often than not, players will choose to go on a rage-filled rampage against their enemies in a large variety of vehicles, using every gun in their arsenal.

That is the kind of energy Rockstar tapped into with Trevor, giving the players a character that is reminiscent of the their own personality.

Picture credits: xpert thief
Picture credits: xpert thief

Does Trevor also have a softer side to him?

Trevor breaks down at the sight of his mother
Trevor breaks down at the sight of his mother

It is suggested that Trevor went through some pretty serious childhood trauma, as evidenced by the cutscene during the "Mrs Phillips" missions.

There are a lot of instances that suggest that Trevor has a softer side, even showing compassion for Michael by fixing up lunch for the latter because he had not eaten. Never mind what he actually cooked up for him to eat.

Trevor often wants to hide his Canadian origins and quickly dismisses any indication towards his country of origin. Perhaps this is because Trevor does not identify with his country's more liberal identity, which is at conflict with his own.

Is Trevor Phillips also a hypocrite?

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Ultimately, Trevor Phillips is a lot of things, but he is not a hypocrite. Or is he?

After the infamous torture sequence, Trevor takes the prisoner to the airport instead of shooting him like he was told to do by Steve Haines.

He explains along the way to Mr K (the prisoner) that he must be vocal about the injustices he faced in Los Santos, and that his struggle is important.

This seems almost hypocritical, as Trevor was the one torturing him, and now he's explaining why torture is unethical and needless.

This might paint Trevor as a hypocrite as well, much like the rest of the characters. But, if you read further into his character, you'll know that the information that was extracted (or not) through torture was not important for Trevor.

Trevor explains his stance on torture
Trevor explains his stance on torture

He simply tortured Mr K for the sake of torture, this makes him extremely despicable, deranged and villainous, but not a hypocrite. This is the level of depth Rockstar created the character of Trevor with, and it is what makes him such an intriguing character in GTA V.


Edited by Ravi Iyer

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