Attack On Titan: Eren's Actions Have The Fandom Questioning If He's Really Evil

Due to its thought-provoking nature, "Attack on Titan" has been a source of endless discussion amongst the fanbase. One of these discussions concerns the latter part of the final season and the last arc in the manga, as fans wonder if Eren Jaeger, the protagonist we've followed since the start, is evil. As Hajime Isayama is trying to tell his audience with his masterfully-crafted narrative, things aren't so black or white, or as Armin tells Annie in the first of two one-hour special final episodes, the phrase "good person" holds little to no weight in this world, as good and evil are subjective notions. "Is Eren a bad person?" a fan, u/Zestyclose-Honey2082, rhetorically asks. "Depends on your perception, no definite answer."

Fans can count on "Attack on Titan" to introduce its themes early on and carry them all the way to the end. The very essence of some of the series' themes are reflected in the fandom's debate over Eren's actions and morality. This debate is unquestionably unavoidable due to the nature of the story. So is Eren the bad guy? The answer, according to u/krufarong and others is: "No if you're an Eldian living in the walls. Yes to everybody else."

'Is this the creator or the destroyer?'

No matter where one stands on the good versus evil debate, there is no doubt that Eren is a highly complex character. In fact, one of the biggest mysteries in Season 4 is what might be going on inside his head. His destructive actions have caused the demise of countless people, which without a doubt be considered evil. His psyche, however, is not necessarily motivated by any type of malice, and the validity of his reason to commit to a full-scale Rumbling is a discussion that has became prevalent in the "Attack on Titan" fandom ever since the final manga chapters were released. 

In this Reddit post, the OP believes Eren has done nothing wrong. One can see from the comments on the thread that people have many different points of view. The answers range from Eren being right and justified to Eren being downright villainous. 

"Eren's actions aren't wrong at all," wrote u/ Apocryphon777. "He's a Jew killing Nazis." Redditor u/HeNeedSomeSoyMilk goes further by arguing that it is impossible to arrive at a single truth if one evaluates Eren's decisions through the lens of a privileged 21st-century First World mentality: "Eren is a teenager with the weight of the world crushing his shoulders while having his mind ripped apart by cryptic, vivid memories of the future. Can we please stop trying to judge him with basic morality??"

A matter of perspective

One of the top commentators on the "Attack on Titan" Reddit thread, u/Yutanox, said that whether Eren is seen as "good" or "evil" is really a matter of perspective, especially given the context of the series' final season. "I do believe that the entire story intended to make you question how you view people you label as good or evil," u/missingjimmies argued. 

Indeed, this sentiment harkens back to Armin's conversation with Annie, which is a canonically-expressed manifestation of the ethical question the author is trying to ask his audience. If one believes this query has an easy, straightforward answer, one has missed the point of what Hajime Isayama is positing.

"The entirety of the show boils down to the question of if the entire world wants to kill your people, is it better to kill the world or let them kill you?" u/L0b0t0my wrote in a different post. "I don't think there's a right or wrong answer, but it does make for some extremely entertaining writing/media." As this Redditor continued to say, what truly matters is not the answer but the question and its thought-provoking nature. Trying to arrive at a single truth can sometimes lead people to become blinded to all the other legitimate possibilities and interpretations.