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5 reasons why Michael is the most complete character in the GTA 5 storyline

Michael is the most interesting protagonist in GTA 5 (Image via Rockstar Games)
Michael is the most interesting protagonist in GTA 5 (Image via Rockstar Games)
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Rajarshi Acharya

GTA 5 was the first game in the series to have multiple playable protagonists: Michael, Franklin and Trevor. Michael stands out among the three to become the central character in the game's storyline.

GTA fans have been divided over the idea of multiple protagonists in GTA 5. Many felt that the story suffered from this constant juggling between the three characters and their backstories. Even their character development didn't get equal treatment in the game.

Franklin seemed quite underdeveloped, with much ground for potential. Trevor seemed unconvincing with his exaggerated antics. Where some players thought Franklin was forgettable, others felt Trevor was annoying.


GTA 5: 5 reasons why Michael is the best character in the game

1) He takes the central stage in the plot

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The central plot of GTA 5 begins when Michael catches his wife cheating on him with her tennis coach. It also takes a major turn when the mystery of the prologue mission is revealed. Both these incidents revolve around Michael, and his family is a major part of the story.

Franklin's identity in the game can be described as Michael's protege, while Trevor can be called Michael's crazy friend. Players basically view the whole story through Michael, despite the ability to play as three characters.


2) A unique character who breaks stereotypes

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GTA's protagonists are usually portrayed as young opportunists ready to take on the criminal world. They can also come off as a tough-as-nails action hero who stops at nothing. However, in Michael, we see a shell of a man, an old, retired criminal who just wants to be left alone.

This doesn't imply that he is weak or spineless in any way. Throughout the story, players get to see his character develop amidst all the trouble he gets into.

This is why Michael felt much more human than the rest of the characters in the game. It seemed as if GTA 5 intentionally wanted to break their previous stereotypes with his character.


3) Michael is morally gray

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Most of GTA's protagonists have been somewhat morally ambiguous but not as much as Michael in GTA 5. Most of them show some degree of greed and ambition but are exceptionally loyal to their own friends and allies.

Michael, however, chose to betray his ally when it came to safeguarding his family. Dave devised a devious scheme that included killing Trevor, but it was Brad who died in the end. Despite this, Michael shows little remorse or guilt, because he had to choose between his family and a deranged criminal.


4) The ending where Michael dies feels more jarring

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If players select Ending B (in which Franklin kills Michael), it seems as if the game tries to make the player feel bad. The dialog between Michael and Franklin indicates a terrible betrayal. If players hesitate in killing him, Michael does so himself, thereby making it impossible to think it through after deciding on the outcome.

Trevor's death in Ending A is quite unnerving and doesn't seem right either. But Michael's death feels more unnatural and tragic, as if the whole story came to an unlikely end.


5) He is not a criminal at heart

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Michael always feels like someone who is in a tug-of-war between two kinds of lives. On the one hand, he misses the excitement of his criminal career, but on the other hand, he wishes to live a quiet life.

He feels asphyxiated living with his family, but when they move out, he wants to reconcile and get back together. Sometimes it feels as if he wants out of the life of crime but is hopelessly trapped in it. Michael has an innate desire for fame and recognition, which is why he looks forward to the movie industry.

It is this contradictory nature in him that makes Michael the most complex GTA protagonist ever made.


Disclaimer: This article is subjective and reflects the opinions of the writer.


For comprehensive guides and walkthroughs, check out SK GTA Wiki

Edited by Sabine Algur
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