The Character Development of Eren Yeager

by Jessica Wang

The young warrior craves freedom, but at what cost?

Caution: This article contains spoilers for those who have not seen the anime.

“Attack on Titan” was the most popular show in the USA from January 31 to February 6, 2021 (Northern Star), after the first half of its season 4 aired. Now that season 4 is coming to an end, let’s evaluate the main protagonist, Eren Yeager, and his character development as it plays a vital role in what makes this a good story.

Going back to season 1 when Eren was a young boy (and before the colossal titan appeared), Eren was angry that people did not try to do anything about the titans roaming outside of the walls. To him, living inside these walls was no safer than living as livestock, cowering in an enclosed space, unable to go out. Eren wanted to be free and join the scouts because they represented the wings of freedom. They were able to go outside the 

walls. He and his childhood friend Armin would talk about life outside of the walls after learning more about it through Armin’s grandfather’s book. A

fter seeing his mom and the people of his hometown get eaten by titans, it triggered his ambition to “kill every last one of them,” With that, he, Armin, and another childhood friend Mikasa, enlisted to train in the military. It was during their first battle with the titans that it was shown Eren was not one to betray his friends as he risked his life to save Armin and did the same for Mikasa. After the battle, all three became scouts.

In season 4, most of the mystery about where the titans came from and their origins are revealed. Eren now holds more power, makes better strategic plans, and understands humankind more than before. Despite this, Eren’s desire for freedom has never changed. During his time wandering, reflecting on his father’s memory with his brother Zeke, Eren commented that he has always hated people who took his freedom away and would kill them without a second thought if they did. But as a result of the curse of Ymir, which shortens his life, Eren’s new wish is for his friends to be free. Knowing that people outside the walls want to get rid of the people on Paradis, who are the people inside the walls, Eren’s plan changed from wanting to kill titans to using titans to kill everyone outside of Paradis to protect his friends and the place he grew up. By doing this he can free his friends from the hate and racism of being thought of as the Devils of Paradis. Thus it’s inevitable that Eren is still loyal to his friends, and he is the same person he was from the start, and always has been.

About Jessica Wang

Jessica Wang is a first year business student at Bradley University. Born in New York and currently living in Peoria, she is a lover of making impactful storytelling, drawing, exploring Peoria, playing piano, and eating sushi. She has participated in activities like freshflim and has over 200 hours of volunteer work.

Art by Qaasaani Little

Qaasaani Little is a freshman at Richwoods High School. Little is a member of Student Leadership Team and Student Council. She has loved art for as long as she can remember, including painting and drawing. Little’s artwork is for sale. She also loves animals, after school activities, and is inspired by her mom for always pushing her to do my best.