So I received this message from Tumblr-User arimii.
Very good questions here! Let’s answer them first and then take a closer look at the manga to explain why.
Did Griffith genuinely love Guts and Casca?
Personally I doubt Golden Age Griffith is capable of voicing or acting on true love or friendship, but he may be able to feel/notice it. He was shown to value them at least, e.g. by insisting to go rescue them after both fell off a cliff. Part of this was because they were key in winning the battles required to end the war with Tudor. He couldn’t have his dream without Guts’ and Casca’s contributions. That being said, he may have valued both of them as friends, but never truly acted on it because 1) it was a very subconscious thing for him and 2) he is incapable of communication required for true friendship and intimacy.
Was Griffith jealous because Guts got Casca or the other way around?!
Honestly? I think Griffith was jealous of Guts being able to bond with Casca in a meaningful and emotional way, and Guts possibly was jealous of Griffith that Casca would look up to him in the way she did. However, Griffith’s relationships were always shallow and closely tied to whether a person is useful to his dream or not.
Was Griffith scared he might end up alone and abandoned?
Yes, he definitely was. He was scared that Casca – who was still loyal to the point of carrying on his dream – will end up abandoning him like Guts did. This is why he pushed himself onto her, while they were in the carriage alone. He didn’t want to be abandoned by someone he (subconsciously) thought of as friend (note: in my opinion, this contradicts his fountain speech and that contradiction is intended; detailing this more requires another article though!). It was also a good way to foreshadow the rape during the eclipse.
What about the imaginary scenery where he lived a calm life with Casca and a son?
I believe this was Griffith’s last resort plan or perhaps even a hallucination by the God Hand. If he cannot pursue his dream with Guts, he’s going to do it without him. But sadly, this is also when he realized he became a person that lives solely for the sake of living, the very thing he despises. This realization and despair that followed led to the events of the eclipse.
After becoming a demon, what might have brought Griffith to do that to Guts and Casca?!
The ultimate act of revenge from Griffith was raping Casca in front of Guts.
What he has done to Guts was a payback for abandoning him and sending his life into a downwards spiral (even though you can argue Griffith brought this upon himself).
What he has done to Casca was directed to Guts in order to harm him, but can also be seen as punishment for Casca who was considering to run off with him (and thus abandon Griffith as well).
What does the Manga Say
First off: Golden Age Griffith is very very unaware of his internal world, including his feelings, love or friendship.
Normally he is a very calculating manipulator, like a chess player carefully placing his pawns on the chess board. We see this when he crafted the intrigues to kill General Julius and the Queen of Midland. The thing is with him being utterly demobilized and unable to talk after being tortured, the chess player turned into a pawn. He is utterly helpless, and we see him picking up his sword but being unable to hold on to it. Because of his condition, Guts and Casca are now in control over him and his fate.
While Griffith was busy getting his throne, Guts and Casca bonded:
Rickert even notes that Griffith has drifted away from them!
Before the torture, Griffith was unreachable to Guts and Casca (including the Band of the Hawk as entirety).
Now, Griffith has become unreachable to them.
And suddenly, Griffith felt left out now that he has become observer rather than actor. With Griffith watching the comradeship, friendship and love that formed between them, for the first time he realizes what he has been missing out by relentlessly pursuing his dream. Of course he would be jealous of this. Maybe Griffith felt exactly like Guts here:
However, after Griffith pushed himself onto Casca, Casca and Guts have their discussion next to his carriage. Casca realized that it’d be selfish of her if she left Griffith behind in this state and is having a breakdown. May the Gods bless her precious soul.
Now: Guts has left the Hawks, with Griffith resorting to the knee-jerk reaction of sleeping with Charlotte. Fact.
The same happens when Griffith hears how Casca tells Guts to leave (note the parallels to the fountain-speech!). It’s basically reversed roles.
As Casca tells Guts: “You have to go, even if it’s alone”, it is Griffith who takes this advice to heart instead and runs off in the carriage! Again, note the parallels to Guts leaving the Hawks!
As the carriage crashes against a boulder, Griffith is being launched into the air and he has the dream with Casca taking care of him.
He has this dream because he realized he CANNOT do it alone. Which leaves the last resort that Casca would take care of him.
He is unable to move or speak.
He cannot pursue his dream in this state.
He has become a person that exists solely to survive.
He has become what he detested.
Continue to live like this would mean constant self-loathing in bitter remembrance of a broken dream for the rest of his life.
What makes his situation much worse now is that he also broke his arm during the fall. How is that ever going to heal properly with his tendons cut and almost no muscle to support…?
This is when he fully broke down and attempted to take his own life. But because he is so frail, he fails even doing that. He is so disabled and incapacitated, he cannot even decide over his own death. This is when he utterly lost control.
When Guts goes after him, he tells him to stay away. Griffith has disconnected himself from Guts and wants to focus on his dream. If Guts stays in his life it means that Griffith will continue to be unable to pursue his dream because Guts makes him forget it – or drive Casca away from Griffith.
Which is possibly also another convenient reason to sacrifice the Hawks: because it means getting rid of Guts too, AND obtaining ultimate power at the same time, so Griffith can regain all the might to pursue his dream.
So in summary, Griffith…
- is jealous of their bond since this isn’t something he could obtain for himself. This is the price of being consumed by your dream. Griffith has always used Casca, he was the one in control over her.
- with Guts and Casca having discovered their companionship and later love for each other, is afraid that Casca too slips out of his control.
- attempts to regain control over Casca in a rather desperate attempt (and succeeds doing so because she decided to stay).
I hope this clears up things. Thank you for the thought-provoking questions! Don’t hesitate to ask more if you have any. Berserk isn’t always obvious to the reader and it takes multiple reads to fully understand it.