Author Topic: Corkus Analysis: The Poor, Bitter Bastard  (Read 1979 times)

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Offline Sado

Corkus Analysis: The Poor, Bitter Bastard
« on: August 29, 2016, 05:40:45 AM »
My take on one of my favorite characters from the series. Highly underappreciated.

“If wanting was enough to make something happen then we’d all be kings. Listen! A real man has a responsibility to face up to reality, recognize his limitations and to make compromises. But you’re just too damn weak to admit that you’ve already exceeded your station and you look to the horizon, praying for what would never be because you’re just a coward!” Corkus, Season 1, Episode 19

Corkus operated mainly as a foil to Guts. Both were defeated by Griffith before joining him, were fiercely loyal to the Falcons and were, on the surface at least, ornery men. Other than this, Corkus and Guts were worlds apart. He was the selfish, materialistic counterpart to Guts’ selfless man who aches for meaning. Corkus’ cowardice also acted as a foil to Guts’ immense will-power and courage.

More importantly, Corkus’ view of Griffith was absolute: Griffith is the untouchable, the epitome of a kind of god given talent and fortune. While all members of the Falcons shared this view, Corkus is second only to Casca when it comes to worshipping Griffith. For him, even considering being an equal to Griffith was ludicrous and so being enveloped in Griffith’s dream was a prestige enough. Like all members of the Falcons, he defined himself through his association with Griffith and was content in riding his coattails to the top.

Yet, the tragic fact is Corkus was once a leader of thieves who abandoned his own dreams to join the Falcons. By following Griffith, Corkus sought to achieve grandeur and wealth but at the cost of doing so on his own. That is, he was attaining his dreams vicariously through Griffith and settling for scraps instead of the lion’s share he would have earned had he the resolve to truly chase his dreams. That was his compromise: give up on his real dream for a sure-fire chance to have a portion of it.

As such, Corkus is the best example of the Bonfire of Dreams mentality that virtually members of the Band of Falcons had. They all lacked either the strength of character (Corkus) or ambition (Jude) or vision (Casca) or charisma (Pippin) or self-determination (pre-departure Guts) to achieve their own dreams and so latched on to someone who embodied all the missing qualities that they perceived to be holding them back. Corkus’ tragic flaw was that, much like Jesse Pinkman from Breaking Bad, he was a leader who settled for being a follower. In contrast, Guts starts off as a follower who becomes, if not a leader, then at least his own man. He was willing to step off Griffith’s coattails and carve out his own path. This was the main point of contention between the two men as far as character arcs go.

This is best captured in the scene prior to Guts leaving the Falcons. Corkus lambasted Guts about impossible dreams and having the audacity to leave Griffith’s side. In particular he talks about realizing one’s limitations and compromising. When Guts asked if he ever even had a dream of his own, Corkus was visibly shaken. After all, it was a cruel reminder to a man who had settled for scraps instead of the lion’s share. His highly vitriolic goodbye speech to Guts was a repeat of his earlier point: Guts is not special like Griffith. Witnessing Griffith’s defeat only moments later must have made it all the more bitter because Guts proved that a) Griffith was very much flesh and blood, and b) maybe Corkus’ dreams were attainable after all had he not quit on them to join Griffith.

It is important to notice that Corkus’ attitude towards Guts following Griffith’s defeat and the fall of the Falcons is passive aggressive instead of overt hostility like before. The only time we see him interacting with Guts is when insists a little too much that Griffith’s fall was not because of him. It seems like a desperate attempt at denying reality and one wonders if he convinced anyone, least of all himself. For Corkus’ dreams to come tumbling down on account of a man he considered nothing special was a terribly bitter pill to swallow. As Casca so viciously laments to Guts, “you destroyed everything!”

One can argue that Corkus’ downward spiral into insanity during the Eclipse began on the night Guts defeated Griffith. After all, no one took the fall of the Falcons worse than Corkus. The image of Griffith as special was shattered and along with it Corkus’ remorse over his own failed dreams. He had spent the last few years of his life placing his ambition on the backburner on the premise that he could attain a measure of it through Griffith. But even the hope of even that ended once Griffith returned as an utterly broken man—a revelation the crushes Corkus more than any other member of the Falcons. While many view the Eclipse as the event that shattered Corkus’ sanity, in truth, it was simply the last straw for his mind.

Yet, one wonders how Corkus truly felt about Guts. Though he remained outwardly hostile to him, Corkus showed marked concern of his brother-in-arms on several occasions. During the latter’s nail-biting duel with Boscogne, Corkus was visibly worried when Guts’ sword broke. When Guts eventually does slay his foe, Corkus is the first person to express relief. Later in Volume 11, as Guts was getting absolutely brutalized by Wyald in battle, Corkus again is vocal about his concern for his brother-in-arms. One could even argue that his overly belligerent farewell to Guts was him masking his own feelings of abandonment at the loss of a comrade. Guts, too, clearly considers him a valuable member of the Falcons, with Corkus being one of the people he calls out for during the Eclipse. The fact that Corkus got to spout all his hateful gibberish without getting his jaw broken is also a testament to this fact.

Which brings me to my next point: why did Guts tolerate so much of the latter’s vitriol? I have already discussed how the rowdy soldier was akin to a drunken uncle to Guts, an unpleasant relative but a relative nonetheless. Yet, his caustic, hostile and often inebriated nature is also reminiscent of Gambino. Gambino too was frequently hostile to Guts, held conflicted feelings towards the boy, was often seen drinking or hung-over and also seemed to have dedicated his whole life to monetary gain. Both men were also driven insane with grief towards the end of their lives, laughing bitterly at the “joke” that their lives had become. But most importantly, Guts was held responsible for the ruination of both men: Gambino viewed him as the bad omen that destroyed everything he had wrought while Corkus (at least privately) blamed Guts for the Falcons’ fall from grace. In that regard, Guts patience with Corkus may very well be akin to his patience and forgiveness that he showered upon Gambino despite the man’s glaring flaws.

For what it’s worth, Farnese’s bumbling greedy brother, Magnifico, succeeds Corkus in the New Party, displaying a similar comedic sense of grandeur and prestige that the late mercenary tried so hard to cultivate.

P.S. let the storm begin...

Offline Rupert Sinclair

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Offline Sado

Re: Corkus Analysis: The Poor, Bitter Bastard
« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2016, 05:09:25 PM »
lol explains why I apologized in the other group so that we could all move on :p

Offline Aazealh

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Re: Corkus Analysis: The Poor, Bitter Bastard
« Reply #4 on: August 30, 2016, 05:22:27 PM »
lol explains why I apologized in the other group so that we could all move on :p

Move on from what? You posted a bad analysis and were given more feedback than you deserved for it. You then mostly ignored the feedback in question.
Obviously people aren't going to bother themselves repeating this process indefinitely.

But when you got no response to your new thread (created right after you bailed out of the previous one) within the first day of posting it, you doubled down with a picture that I assume you meant to be inflammatory in a passive-aggressive way. And now you're playing innocent. Maybe you were referring to your own feelings with that picture? You're disappointed that no "storm" took place? Truth is, no one cares.

Either way, since you're asking, that piece on Corcas oscillates between mediocre and plain bad. Most of it simply describes what goes on in the manga (that's not "analyzing") with passing accuracy, but then you draw a few strange and misguided conclusions from it. I give you E for Effort.