Breaking Bad: The Transformation Of Walter White

3506 words - 14 pages

A dismal 1.4 million people tuned in to watch the pilot episode of Breaking Bad in January of 2008, but an astonishing 10.28 million viewers tuned in to watch the Breaking Bad finale (Kissell). This exponential increase in viewership can be attributed, partially, to the development of the characters in the show, especially Walter White. As fans of the show tune in each week to watch, they begin to see that Walter is not at all like the meek schoolteacher they initially thought he was. Truly, the story of Walter White is the story of change. Both loved and hated, Walter White went from pitiful sufferer, to ultimate villain. Walter began cooking meth as a means for extra income. After he was diagnosed with cancer, he realized that he needed another source of income to pay for his treatment and support his family. In two short years, Walter becomes the best meth cook in the nation, and arguably the world. To become so successful, Walter abandoned his morals by murdering, stealing, and lying his way to the top in what went from part-time job to lifetime commitment. While his reasons for entering the drug trade were heroic, Walter became blinded by greed and selfishness, and is undoubtedly a villain because of his egotistic pride, his selfishness, his greed, his ruthless ability to manipulate those around him, and his immoral choices. Ultimately, these qualities led him to his demise.
"You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain” (“Dark Knight Quotes”). This quote from The Dark Knight perfectly describes Walter’s career as a meth cook. Walter began cooking meth in order to provide for his family. However, Walter soon became obsessed with this career and decided to continue cooking meth well after collecting enough money for his family to be set for life. As Walter continued to build his drug empire, he committed many immoral acts to preserve himself and his way of life. While these acts were ultimately done for Walter’s own self-preservation, a majority of them were driven from Walter’s selfishness and greed. In order to be defined as a villain, I believe that one must be egotistical, greedy, selfish, and manipulative. Furthermore, some of these characteristics must cause the person to become a villain, and eventually lead them to their demise. Walter White fits all these categories, and is undoubtedly a villain.
It is good to be confident in one’s self, but it is dangerous to be too prideful. Walter White is an example of what happens when one is blinded by pride. After Walter announces that he has lung cancer, his former business associates from college, Gretchen and Elliot Schwartz, offer to pay for any cancer treatment that Walter may need (Season 1, episode 5). It is socially acceptable for Walter to accept their offer. Gretchen and Elliot are rich, and paying for Walter’s cancer treatment would not cause any financial burden on them. However, Walter declines...

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