In our last article, we discussed about one of the three GTA 5 protagonists – Michael De Santa, the man who lives in fear. His story and his characteristics are indeed interesting to follow. Yet, he is not the most popular among the trio. Instead, Trevor Phillips is the fans’ most favorite and he is literally… the meme lord of Grand Theft Auto 5. So, who is exactly this guy? Why do so many people like this guy so much? Let’s find out!
*SPOILERS ALERT: The article will contain considerable amount of spoilers so consider carefully when you proceed*
GTA 5 Protagonists Series:
- Michael de Santa, the Man who lives in Anger and Fear
- Franklin Clinton – A Fine Grown Man or A Troubled Child?
For those who haven’t played GTA 5 yet, Trevor Phillips is one of the 3 protagonists of Grand Theft Auto 5 besides Michael De Santa and Franklin Clinton. When people describe Trevor, the most common word we often hear is “psychopath”. And well, in game Trevor is arguably the most insane character, even other characters like Michael “scared” of him.
Many people would argue that Trevor isn’t the best character in GTA franchise since he is a straight-forward lunatic. But from our perspective, he is actually more interesting than we may think. And so, this time, let’s try to find out the guy!
If you have already known Michael’s childhood, you will see that Trevor also shares similar backstory (and probably that childhood similarity is why Trevor and Michael quickly become friends). Like Michael, Trevor also had an extremely tough childhood. And considering his anger tendency, it’s safe to say his life is much, much tougher than Michael’s.
Trevor Phillips was born in Canada, near the Canada/United States border. To imagine how hard his life is, here’s what he described his life himself: “grew up in five states, two countries, fourteen different homes, eight fathers, three care homes, two correctional facilities, one beautiful, damaged flower of a mother”.
His father was physical abusive. While physical abuse was one thing, his mother was also emotionally abusive as she often deemed Trevor as an useless child who didn’t do anything to help his mom. To make things worse, his father abandoned him in a shopping mall and he even burned down that entire mall as a sign of rebellion. He also abandoned his school early, thus explaining why he lacked basic knowledge and had certain “language” issues. And of course as we know, such a harsh childhood led to his harsh criminal path today.
Though we already know Trevor as a crazy criminal, he actually did not fully commit to criminal career until he met Michael. Prior to their faithful encounter, Trevor joined the air force after realizing he had talent in flying jets. However, he was discharged after his training due to his “mental instability”.
After his discharge, he returned to his wanderer life around the border. He did commit crimes but they were just petty crimes. But as we all know, his “innocent” life did not last long when he finally met Michael. After their encounter during a cargo escorting work across the border, they maintained their relationship as criminal partners. When Michael fell in love with Amanda, their relationship started to have problem as Michael became… “soft”. Although they still worked with each other, Trevor gradually wanted to leave Michael out of his business.
This led to the beginning of GTA 5 when Michael, Trevor, and other partners conducted a bank heist in North Yankton. As we already knew, Michael faked his death, making Trevor believed that he was death. We then saw Trevor living in Sandy Shores, working with Ron Jakowski, Wade Hebert, and Chef in a small business called Trevor Phillips Enterprises. His business involved in arms dealing and selling crystal methamphetamine. When we got introduced to Trevor, we saw a crazy, lunatic Trevor who found out that Michael still alive. This is also the time we met the final member of the trio: Trevor Phillips – a so-called “psychopath”.
For most of the time, Trevor stuck with the title “psychopath” and even the characters in-game said the same thing. Players also get the same impression when they get their hands on playing as Trevor. But is he truly a psychopath? To answer this question, it’s probably the time to get into a bit more into real-life psychology.
In real life, psychopath is less obvious than we think. They do not simply act outrageously like Trevor in GTA 5; they are kind of more… secretive. Of course, a psychopath possesses many traits, but here we would like to share the two most prominent traits.
*Important Note: We are not experienced psychologists. Here we only share what we have read and known about this topic. And by all means, you should not base on what we share here to judge a person as a psychopath or not.
Normally a psychopath possesses these two traits: lack of conscience, and empathy.
Lack of Conscience
Conscience is an innate trait of a person. It basically tells us what’s right and what’s wrong. And when we do something bad (like intentionally injuring people), we have strong sense of guilt within us. So what happened if we don’t have conscience?
According to Robert D. Hare (Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us, 1993), lack of conscience can be understood as being unable to sense guilty. For example, a psychopath can intentionally (or unintentionally) injure a person and he won’t feel any sort of guilt or shame about it. He won’t feel it as a bad action. He basically can’t understand the meaning of such “bad behavior”.
Empathy is another innate trait of every single human being. It basically gives a person a sense of understanding other people’s emotion, including pain and sadness. For example, when we see a person feels painful because of some sort of a sad event, we also sense the similar pain rising within us. We feel like we can understand that person’s pain and we can share this emotion with them. So what about psychopath? The thing is, psychopath does have empathy and they are really good at that. They can even “switch” this empathy mode at will. This empathy ability allows them to approach a person and form a bond with him (or her). Naturally, this “targeted” person doesn’t have any idea about this psychopath, especially when this psychopath understands his/her emotion and feeling.
Combining these two traits, we have a “charming” psychopath who can sympathize with other people’s pain. Yet, this psychopath can be dangerous as he doesn’t understand nor realize how bad his influence can be to the people close to him. These psychopaths can easily form relationship with their “targets” and manipulate them. The typical situation is that the target will feel that he/she can’t live without the psychopath, but he/she also feels tremendous pain and displeasure when staying with the psychopath. As the results, the targets will no longer have a normal life, even if they successfully leave the psychopath’s side.
So, what about Trevor? How fit is he with these traits?
Let’s return to what we know about Trevor: he is a man with unstable mind and an unhappy childhood. He can easily get mad and kill people with no problem. He does know about his killing and criminal actions but he seems not to have any problem with those. However, he is quite loyal to his friend Michael and he even shows a great care for Michael’s family. With all this set, let’s see how well he matches with the 2 traits above!
Lack of Conscience
In terms of lacking conscience, Trevor is definitely fit in this trait. And we believe Rock Star already has this in mind when they develop this character. Trevor is like a killing machine who shows no regret, no guilt, nothing. As we see right at the beginning of the game, he outrageously “messed up” with Johnny’s girlfriend Ashley like no problem. When Johnny was extremely pissed off by Trevor’s attitude, Trevor even killed that guy and shown no remorse.
Of course this was not the first time Trevor killed people. Based on his background, we can sure that he killed tons of people before the beginning of GTA 5. And throughout the game, we see he kills numerous people and still, has no regret. In the infamous torture scene, we also see Trevor had no problem in torturing. It’s hard to say whether he took delight with these actions, but one thing we can be sure: Trevor fully knows his actions are bad, but he doesn’t give a… thing (well, it’s hard to talk about Trevor without cursing).
And as we mentioned, this fits the trait of a psychopath and Rock Star probably thought about this. Next, what about the empathy trait?
Those who haven’t paid much attention may not see this coming. But yes, Trevor is capable of showing sympathy. If we just focus on his killing and torturing actions, we will never see this side of him. The most notable event showing his empathy is when he arrived at Michael’s house. He clearly showed his concern about Michael’s family. When he knew that Tracey was joining audition of the show Shame or Fame, he extremely urged Michael to go and “rescue” her. When the show’s MC Lazlow Jones started “sexual harassing” Tracey. Not only Michael got mad, Trevor was also mad and somehow, he seemed to be even madder than Michael.
In addition, during their “business” with a Mexican cartel leader – Martin Madrazo, Trevor also shown tremendous rage when he found out that Madrazo’s wife – Patricia was abused. Trevor even “stole” Patricia and when he “returned” her back, he threatened Madrazo to kill him if he dared to abuse his wife again.
Loyalty is another big point here. Trevor can be aggressive towards other people, but he highly respected Michael and later on, Franklin. He gave players a sense that “this guy is actually a nice bro!”, despite knowing his absurd actions.
Trevor, A Psychopath or Not?
So according to what we’ve seen so far, Trevor is capable of showing empathy. And this trait of his really fits psychopath in real life. But there is something bugging us… If Trevor is truly psychopath, why he still has certain moral codes? Typically, there is an ending in which Franklin asked Trevor to help him killing Michael. Trevor refused and said that he was done with betrayal. He believed Franklin and Michael would make a fine duo. Afterwards, he left and cut his connection with Franklin. This exact ending really makes us feel confused about Trevor. If he is truly a psychopath, will he have such a moral code of not betraying his friends?
In addition, in the “best ending“: Michael, Trevor, and Franklin decided to put away all of their past conflicts. Together, they dealt with the Merryweather and the FIB. In the final scenes, the trio decided not to maintain as criminal partners, but just simply as friends. This notion even leaves more confuses since initially Michael was the one betrayed Trevor. From Trevor’s perspective, he had good reason to kill Michael for vengeance. Yet he didn’t do anything to Michael. And as mentioned, even when Franklin asked him about killing Michael, he refused. And let say even if Michael and Trevor maintain as friends, personally we don’t believe he will try to kill Michael or make him suffer to revenge. Therefore, can we truly consider Trevor as an all-out psychopath?
In the end, we partly agree that Trevor is a psychopath as he easily kills many, many other people with no problem. But for people he truly cares about, it doesn’t seem like he has the “heartless” vibe of a real-life psychopath. He cares for his friends and his friend’s families. He does have moral codes like no torturing towards women (as in Patricia’s case) and he doesn’t like betraying his friends (as in Michael’s case). To be honest, we are not so sure by ourselves but one thing to be clear: Trevor isn’t a simple character, a straight-forward heartless killer. His personality and story are actually intriguing and there are a lot in it, not just killing things.
First and foremost, gamers and GTA 5 players do not love this guy just because of psychopath. True, many people like the character but this absolutely doesn’t mean they like psychopath and killing stuffs. Let’s be real, we can’t deny that all of his actions are… incomprehensible in real life.
But back to our main idea, many people express that they like the character (obviously not because they like killing) because he is a straight-forward guy. To some extent, he is an honest guy. Unlike other characters like Michael, Trevor doesn’t pretend or think of himself as something else. He fully admitted that “I’m a bad person”. He fully knows what his personality is but he doesn’t care. Playing Trevor giving us the feeling of him saying: “That’s who I am! If you don’t like it? Then get the hell out!” Interesting enough, this exact honesty makes Trevor interesting to many players.
Some other players also said that Trevor represents the chaotic fun element of Grand Theft Auto. While Michael and Franklin create a certain moral sense, Trevor doesn’t give a *&*%! (Sorry, again it’s hard to talk about Trevor without truly cursing). Playing Trevor allows players to enjoy the true chaotic aspect of GTA without feeling awkward with the character (And by the way, Trevor is also the true meme lord of Los Santos!).
But hey! While we are fascinating about GTA 5 Trevor Phillips, don’t forget about the man behind this awesome character: Steven Ogg! Without him, Trevor won’t become alive as we see enjoy today. If you enjoy the character, we would highly recommend this special video by the team of Corridor:
And that’s it folk! What do you think about GTA 5 Trevor Phillips and his actor – Steven Ogg? Feel free to share with us and for now, thank you and stay tune for more news in the future!
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