Author Topic: What are the themes/morals/messages behind Berserk?  (Read 18567 times)

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Offline Mad_Mengo

What are the themes/morals/messages behind Berserk?
« on: June 01, 2005, 02:51:49 AM »
What are the themes/morals/messages behind Berserk?

Hello all.   Iím new here.  Iíve been lurking around for quite some time now. 

Anyways all great stories have something to say through how characters interact within that story.  Miura obviously have some things he wants to say to us readers through Berserk.  Hereís what I got so farÖ

-Find/Pursue your dreams, but donít lose sight of whatís (values/people) really important.  (Guts in relations to Casca)

-If you do lose sight of them then you become a slave of your dream. (Griffith) 

-If you donít pursue your dreams, then you live the mediocre life, being more susceptible to become effected by those that are ambitious, but itís safer and less risky.  (Peasants, villagers, small-role characters)

-People who pursue bigger dreams can crush people with smaller ones.  (Griffith with the old school Band of the Hawks) 

-Evil comes from humans, not outside of them. (Apostles, Idea of Evil)

-Fate/destiny/free will - There are forces that are dictating how we live our lives.  (Causality, Idea of Evil)

-Meaning of life - Miuraís main characters question the meaning of their existence/wonder why they are doing the things they do and if they are worthwhile or not.  (Guts realizing that him hacking away at people with his big sword is a wasteful way of a living, thus he sets off to find his ďdreamĒ/something to give his life meaning.)

I believe Miura wants us readers to ask ourselves these philosophical/intellectual questions and come up with our own answers so that we donít waste our lives. 
 
Of course there are the smaller/less intellectual themes.  Every Berserk story arc has certain ďthemesĒ that it emphasizes on whether it is Miuraís views on war, political corruption, religion, survival of the fittest/smartest, etc.

But yeah these are what I believe are the main themes of Berserk so far.  What are your thoughts on this? 

Offline Sparnage

Re: What are the themes/morals/messages behind Berserk?
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2005, 05:40:59 AM »
Interesting thoughts, I agree with most of them.

For morals however, well there aren't too many morals in the story whatsoever. On that note messages like those related to Griffith when talks about what he believes a dream is, he speaks as if the ultimate thing a person can do is find what he wants to do no matter what and damn everyone else. Guts goes by this philosophy somewhat, though I guess now that Casca is in the picture it's changed a bit.

I think one fundamental concept in the story is to push as hard as you can, gain tremendous will power to do your best to pass your limits no matter how tough. Like most things different people will get different messages from it depending on how they think.

Another could be luck shown as some people are just lucky and others aren't. That is seeing they show some people to be in fortunate positions whereas others clearly aren't. Also people are shown to be very expendable concept in the story whether in a war, a disaster or wherever alot of people die and others get lucky, depending on who is in the right place at the right time.

Rickert was lucky that he wasn't at the Eclipse and that Skull knight came to save him at the right time. Isidro was lucky that Guts came in time to save him when they first met and also gave him a chance to train under a great warrior, where as the priest at the start along with his daughter were just flat out unlucky, and being good or ethical doesn't change a thing.
 
One that could be seen is the dark side in all humans showing them capable of doing terrible things which has been shown on countless occasions, also comparable to the Idea of evil concept.

Offline Walter

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Re: What are the themes/morals/messages behind Berserk?
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2005, 02:55:00 PM »
To struggle; to survive.
:femto: :slan: :ubik:

Offline Rage Incarnate

Re: What are the themes/morals/messages behind Berserk?
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2005, 03:08:50 PM »
-Find/Pursue your dreams, but donít lose sight of whatís (values/people) really important.† (Guts in relations to Casca)

-If you donít pursue your dreams, then you live the mediocre life, being more susceptible to become effected by those that are ambitious, but itís safer and less risky.† (Peasants, villagers, small-role characters)

I would translate it more as - Find your own dream and don't live in the dream or reality others create.  Find your own vision of the world and embrace it.  Also, never be satisfied with what you are and always strive to be something more.
There's one simple rule here, and it's universal: you shalt not be stupid. It really shouldn't be too hard to follow.† - Aazealh
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Offline Walter

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Re: What are the themes/morals/messages behind Berserk?
« Reply #4 on: June 02, 2005, 03:22:11 PM »
† Also, never be satisfied with what you are and always strive to be something more.
This doesn't strike me as a very positive moral.
:femto: :slan: :ubik:

Offline Rage Incarnate

Re: What are the themes/morals/messages behind Berserk?
« Reply #5 on: June 02, 2005, 03:28:55 PM »
This doesn't strike me as a very positive moral.

I don't mean be greedy but instead be a better person, learn another language, improve your martial arts through more practice etc.  Humanity is imperfect strive for perfection knowing this.  That is what I think at least.  I get this reinforced via Miura occasionally.
There's one simple rule here, and it's universal: you shalt not be stupid. It really shouldn't be too hard to follow.† - Aazealh
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Offline Walter

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Re: What are the themes/morals/messages behind Berserk?
« Reply #6 on: June 02, 2005, 03:36:58 PM »
Well, I'd like to hear some examples of Miura enforcing insatiability as a moral.†

What about Guts and his revelation about his friendship with the raiding team?† What about Griffith and his seizing of Princess Charlote too early?† What about Morgan's story of his wasted life?†

With these and other examples, to me Miura is saying the exact opposite. Desiring more is a dangerous gamble. Every main character has been burned by it.† Be content with what you have.† You could lose it.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2005, 03:39:03 PM by Walter »
:femto: :slan: :ubik:

Offline xechnao

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Re: What are the themes/morals/messages behind Berserk?
« Reply #7 on: June 02, 2005, 04:30:29 PM »
-Evil comes from humans, not outside of them. (Apostles, Idea of Evil)

-Fate/destiny/free will - There are forces that are dictating how we live our lives.† (Causality, Idea of Evil)

 Yes, the way I see it, progress of humanity lies in understanding the world and controling it so that all the less life is affected by unperceived factors or "luck". Remember that humans make part of the world too. So there is a limit eventually. I wouldn't put evil over that limit. Just randomness.
 I don't think that evil is something supernatural or personal though. I think evil is a product of ignorance or false information.
« Last Edit: June 02, 2005, 04:43:42 PM by xechnao »
And the game plays on people's backs and they don't even have a clue about it, wasting their energy because their attention is distracted by the rulers' game itself.
Pay attention people. Watch your back!

Offline Rage Incarnate

Re: What are the themes/morals/messages behind Berserk?
« Reply #8 on: June 02, 2005, 05:14:34 PM »
With these and other examples, to me Miura is saying the exact opposite. Desiring more is a dangerous gamble. Every main character has been burned by it.† Be content with what you have.† You could lose it.

You're right. :P  I suppose I just saw what I wanted to see.  In the end the emphasis is on being satisfied with what you have.
There's one simple rule here, and it's universal: you shalt not be stupid. It really shouldn't be too hard to follow.† - Aazealh
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Offline Nox

Re: What are the themes/morals/messages behind Berserk?
« Reply #9 on: June 02, 2005, 08:15:24 PM »
-Fate/destiny/free will - There are forces that are dictating how we live our lives. (Causality, Idea of Evil)

but still you can be a jumping fish† ;D

I'm new too, hello all ^_^/

Offline Walter

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Re: What are the themes/morals/messages behind Berserk?
« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2005, 06:25:02 AM »
You're right. :P† I suppose I just saw what I wanted to see.† In the end the emphasis is on being satisfied with what you have.
No need to be appeasing. You weren't 100% wrong, it was just your phrasing. All you had to do was bring up Flora's speeches in ep. 201-202.

Flora says that the path of magic is in learning the true nature of the world through studying it objectively.  This is a form of self-improvement, but doesn't have the negative stigma of "never be satisfied."  Magicians such as Flora learned and studied for the good of the world, not to glorify themselves (I think...)
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Offline Smith

Re: What are the themes/morals/messages behind Berserk?
« Reply #11 on: June 04, 2005, 04:16:34 AM »
There seem to be a sort of Anti religion theme in Berserk... That is the god which you believe so much in may not be a good god at all...


The more you believe and pray for your god the more you will suffer (And the one who died eventually) ... This is obvious from Vol 21 when it was mentioned that those who survive the Albion incident are those who longer believe their god...


Or maybe this just me...  ;D
It piss me off when I see weaklings, it make me want to crush them

Offline Nox

Re: What are the themes/morals/messages behind Berserk?
« Reply #12 on: June 04, 2005, 08:14:51 PM »
But at the same time, after the troll attack Schierke talks about the angels she conjured as the same angels the church prays to, the difference is in the way they believe in them. I think Miura criticizes the way people manipulate religion for their benefit, because, since always, after religion hides political and financial interests.

After that the priest in the village allows people to build a small shinre for the spirit ^^

I don't know if i made myself clear............I'm just bad at English...... :(

Offline Trashcan

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Re: What are the themes/morals/messages behind Berserk?
« Reply #13 on: June 09, 2005, 07:11:07 PM »
The moral of Berserk is:

Read More Nietsche. Mein Kampf, too. :D
It's always the same. Now if you had the two eyes on the same side of the nose, for instance -- or the mouth at the top -- that would be some help.'

`It wouldn't look nice,' Alice objected. But Humpty Dumpty only shut his eyes, and said `Wait till you've tried.'

Offline Aazealh

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Re: What are the themes/morals/messages behind Berserk?
« Reply #14 on: June 12, 2005, 09:49:55 AM »
There seem to be a sort of Anti religion theme in Berserk... That is the god which you believe so much in may not be a good god at all...

There's not really an "anti-religion" theme in Berserk, it's just that the dominant religious institution and their doctrine are depicted as being extremists and intolerant. Yet we can see a few good sides too, when the priest in Enoch finally comes to accept what Schierke tells him for example.

As for their God, don't be mistaken, I doubt them to pray to the Idea of Evil.

The more you believe and pray for your god the more you will suffer (And the one who died eventually) ... This is obvious from Vol 21 when it was mentioned that those who survive the Albion incident are those who longer believe their god...

That's not really true, and that's also not the best example to take. Mozgus was crazy, and the people massed there had no chance of surviving anyway. It was just emphasised that Guts and the others survived because they weren't just passive and waiting for a deux ex machina to save them, but actively fought for their lives.

after the troll attack Schierke talks about the angels she conjured as the same angels the church prays to, the difference is in the way they believe in them.

Yes, she's referring to the four elemental kings.

I think Miura criticizes the way people manipulate religion for their benefit, because, since always, after religion hides political and financial interests.

Yes, it could be understood that way, among other things. In the case of Mozgus for example, it was just pure ideological fanatism.

I don't know if i made myself clear............I'm just bad at English...... :(

It's ok, don't worry. :)

Offline handsome rakshas

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Re: What are the themes/morals/messages behind Berserk?
« Reply #15 on: June 30, 2005, 01:13:53 AM »
Struggle to survive
wow! walter I was thinking the exact same thing

Offline willowhugger

Re: What are the themes/morals/messages behind Berserk?
« Reply #16 on: September 30, 2008, 04:28:53 AM »
Conan the Barbarian movie had the opening "What does not kill us, makes us stronger."

Which is straight from Old Frederick.

Guts really is a lesson in human endurance and the costs of what exactly that means.  His strength comes from his ability to endure pain and suffering on a near-supernatural level, but its really his will that is keeping him going and his unwillingness to be ground down underneath the Hand of God.  It's no coincidence that Fate is the fundamental enemy in Berserk.  The chief lesson, I feel is that if we can look at Guts and say that he keeps going, then we have no excuse.

Another related idea is that Idols are an inherently dangerous thing to hold up.  It's ironic that Christianity, the Idol hating religion to begin with, is the one that gets translated to the Holy See but that's just how things work out it seems.  There's a nasty undercurrent to the hero worship of Griffith that basically boils down to the fact that the people don't want to save themselves from the horrors of the world but instead want to turn to beings like the White Hawk in order to do it.  Berserk exposes that idea as an extremely selfish one in the context of the story.

Griffith works fairly well as an indictment of fascism in some respects as well.  Though the better term would just be "Cults of Personality."  Griffith appears superhuman but he's not and the realization of this drives him mad because if you're told enough times that you're a god then you're going to start believing it.  Guts exposes the lie that is Griffith to he, himself, and that's something that he can't deal with.  It, ultimately, drives him to become Femto.

To a lesser extent, Count Caterpillar and Roslin show the dangers of surrendering to pain and believing too much in a dream at the expense of the reality.  Guts lives a miserable life but he's a fundamentally decent man that has managed to maintain at least a small part of his integrity through the horrible things he's been through.  He's also a flawed man but that doesn't mean that he's a bad one, it just shows you that we should recognize flaws do not make a person worthless.  The Count is unable to deal with his wife cheating on him and Roslin would rather chase a fairy tale (literally) than cope with reality.

To an extent, all of Guts' Party embody people chasing dreams and choping with reality in a far healthier way than the Sheep and Black Sheep of Griffith's army.

Offline Jerk

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Re: What are the themes/morals/messages behind Berserk?
« Reply #17 on: October 28, 2008, 05:19:12 PM »
Awesome analysis willowhugger, couldn't have said it better myself.

I admire Guts' character a lot, he doesn't tuck his tail between his legs to anyone or anything and beg for mercy, even if they are hundreds of times more powerful then he is.  I go by that a lot, and Guts gives me more inspiration in that regard.

Offline Aazealh

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Re: What are the themes/morals/messages behind Berserk?
« Reply #18 on: November 11, 2008, 05:31:50 PM »
Griffith appears superhuman but he's not and the realization of this drives him mad because if you're told enough times that you're a god then you're going to start believing it.  Guts exposes the lie that is Griffith to he, himself, and that's something that he can't deal with.  It, ultimately, drives him to become Femto.

Griffith had doubts and insecurities in the first place, that's why he felt he needed Guts so much. You're taking a hell of a shortcut with what you're saying here. Many things led to his choice to sacrifice his men, and I don't think they should all be reduced to a disenchantment of "not being superhuman".

Count Caterpillar and Roslin

The count was based on a slug, not a caterpillar. :schierke: And there are several possible ways to spell "ロシーヌ" in English, but "Roslin" definitely isn't one of them.

The Count is unable to deal with his wife cheating on him

There was a little more than that going on...

Offline Locus of Agony

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Re: What are the themes/morals/messages behind Berserk?
« Reply #19 on: January 21, 2010, 05:13:32 AM »
I know nobody posted here in a while but I was just going over all the thoughts here...Is it outright bizarre of me to think one of the major themes in Berserk is the beauty of life? or more precisely the beauty of the human spirit?

Let me expound, I mean horrible, terrible things happen, dreams shatter, loved ones die, life grows dark. But really, am I nuts or do I see a optimistic subtext to the suffering? I'm thinking about how the little girl gained strength to move on (despite her abusive parents) after the battle with the Elf apostle. About how the prostitutes survive the horror at the tower and go on, Luca feeling empowered and happy. There are many other examples, but despite how much I hear about how depressing Berserk is, I've always found its conflict to have a silver lining, and out of the great evils, some truly noteworthy good is often born.

Am I looking at life through rose tinted glasses here?
For every single day you lived, for every fragment of your broken dream, the night is so evanescing.
Don't let anyone walk over your dreams, don't let them fall on the path.
If they do, I will be one meter behind you, I'll pick up and clean them for you.

Offline Riastrathe

Re: What are the themes/morals/messages behind Berserk?
« Reply #20 on: January 21, 2010, 06:27:26 PM »
I wouldn't word it as the beauty of life or the human spirit, but maybe just "To struggle; to survive." Or at least I don't get the sense Miura is trying to display Berserk in such a fashion.

I could see an optimistic subtext but mostly in Guts' band. The optimism of them getting the opportunity to come together and help one another. (obviously too saving the world, maybe) Maybe the moral is life goes on and you can still get some pleasure or meaning, (so don't off yourself). I guess too I don't see too much optimism in your examples. More like renewed energy to keep living and growing and struggling. Jill still has to go back to rapists/pedophiles and an abusive dad and a mom broken by life. Then not to mention the abundance of beasts that now occupy the land.  With Jill, she got some motivation from the incident and Guts.

I'm just not so sure about how beauteous it is. More like broken objects that choose to fight/struggle/survive. I guess the beauty could be some of the people we are allowed to see such as Jill and their personalities or traits that we like. I guess berserk would be depressing to those that don't wont to think about certain topics. (Hopefully they never hear of the Democratic Republic of Congo :sarcasm: But Miura is very good at showing characters fully dimensionalized. He reflects life well and even with all the bad stuff there are still people trying to help.

But I don't think your wearing rose tinted glasses, but I don't know my glasses might be tinted too.

Offline Aphasia

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Re: What are the themes/morals/messages behind Berserk?
« Reply #21 on: January 23, 2010, 02:19:34 AM »
I wouldn't say you guys are looking through rosey colored glasses.  I've always felt in a similar way about berserk; despite
all the terrible pain and suffering and bloodshed, that there's a positive message one can derive from it.  I'm of the personal opinion that
almost anything that is bad, or evil, and painful in our lives can impact us in positive ways too, although they often go unseen or unfelt. 

It's refreshing in a way to see characters who's lives are so very different and conflicting (very much like our own) struggle to survive and live
in a world that is cruel.  Seeing guts stand up for what he believes and come to the realization that he can't be a follower of someone else's dreams
fills me with a wholesome sense of goodness.  In this way, via conflict and resolution, the story may give us faith that we can do just that in our
own lives.  There is no reason I can't take control of my life and get through anything that comes my way.  Of course, berserk is riddled with tons of
stories that could evoke any number of messages.  In fact, I think I may start from the beginning tonight. : D Whoopee!

Offline Riastrathe

Re: What are the themes/morals/messages behind Berserk?
« Reply #22 on: January 23, 2010, 08:30:27 PM »
I wouldn't say you guys are looking through rosey colored glasses.
I'm not, probably brown or lilac tinted but I'm sure there tinted in some fashion.

In fact, I think I may start from the beginning tonight.
Sweetness!

Offline billdog

Re: What are the themes/morals/messages behind Berserk?
« Reply #23 on: January 24, 2010, 05:34:42 AM »
that being in the heat of a fight is one of the greatest feelings in the world  :mozgus: :mozgus:
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