Character Study: Eddie Dombrowski (Silent Hill 2)

 

eddie 2

Eddie is, by today’s standards, a very classic and familiar “psycho” character. Eddie is introduced as a bit of a coward, but a dopey sweet one, running away from danger, even when a little girl is in trouble, and throwing up at the scene of a murder, however, as the story progresses Eddie admits to committing many murders just because people looked at him funny or called him names, and even admits to torturing and killing a dog. Eddie expresses that he has been constantly picked on his whole life and it is because of this that he has decided to take matters into his own hands, killing anyone who he thinks might be making fun of him.

Cynthia Erb, in her article “Have You Ever Seen the Inside of One of Those Places?”: Psycho, Foucault, and the Postwar Context of Madness discusses the trope of the psycho and the many ways in which it is prevalent in American society. The trope of the psycho involves a character who at first appears to be harmless, like someone you live next door to or grew up with, but is revealed to be violent and out to get you over the course of the narrative (Erb, 48). Eddie has certainly endured a great deal of trauma, but his murderous reaction to this trauma negates any sympathy that the player might have felt for him. It is perhaps one of the most common horror tropes, and Eddie is a perfect reflection of it. Towards the end of the game, the player must kill Eddie, when he turns on the player for being just like everyone else. The fight with Eddie takes place in a misty meat locker, meant to represent not only how Eddie sees the player, but also how the player now sees Eddie. He is no longer a sympathetic, if somewhat irritating character. He is reduced to any other boss fight, an enemy to be overcome in order to move on with the main story. Eddie’s transition from friendly to dangerous is not a graceful one. In one scene he is proclaims his innocence of a crime he was accused of, in the next, he sits next to an unnamed corpse and says to the player: “Killing a person ain’t no big deal. Just put the gun to their head…pow!”  then, immediately after saying this, once the playable character James expresses shock and horror, quickly adding “But it wasn’t my fault! He made me do it!” and finally, after admitting to two other murders, finishing with “I was just joking, James. He was dead when I got here, honest.”

Eddie is not visually threatening or scary, the player is meant to be afraid of Eddie’s insanity. The way he lies one moment, tells the truth the next, then lies again is where the fear begins. Despite Eddie having been bullied, the player is not meant to feel any sympathy for him, and by the end, the player is left feeling as though perhaps this bullying was well deserved, walking away from his body without a second thought.

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