Griffith: The Antagonist and Antihero of Berserk


Berserk, created by Kentaro Miura, is a dark fantasy manga series that has captivated readers with its intricate storytelling, complex characters, and gritty artwork. Within the pages of Berserk, one character stands out as both the primary antagonist and a compelling antihero: Griffith. In this article, we will delve into the multifaceted nature of Griffith’s character, exploring his journey from a charismatic leader to a morally ambiguous figure, and the impact he has on the narrative of Berserk.

The Rise of Griffith

Griffith’s introduction in Berserk showcases his enigmatic charm and exceptional leadership skills. As the founder and leader of the Band of the Hawk, a mercenary group, Griffith possesses an uncanny ability to inspire loyalty and devotion among his subordinates. His tactical brilliance on the battlefield and his unwavering determination to achieve his dreams make him a charismatic figure.

The Eclipse and Transformation

However, Griffith’s seemingly flawless facade begins to crumble as the story progresses. The pivotal event that alters Griffith’s path is the infamous Eclipse, a cataclysmic event that forever changes the lives of the main characters. Captured and tortured by demonic entities known as the God Hand, Griffith reaches a breaking point and is offered a choice: sacrifice his comrades to become a member of the God Hand himself and attain his ultimate desire, or continue suffering.

Griffith as an Antagonist

Griffith’s transformation into Femto, a member of the God Hand, marks a turning point in Berserk, solidifying his role as the primary antagonist. As Femto, Griffith’s ambitions become grander and more sinister. He manipulates events from the shadows, using his newfound powers to shape the world to his liking. His actions lead to widespread destruction, suffering, and the destabilization of the once idyllic land of Midland.

The Moral Ambiguity of Griffith

While Griffith is undeniably the antagonist of Berserk, he also embodies elements of an antihero. Despite his heinous acts, his character is imbued with complex motivations and a tragic backstory. The Eclipse and the subsequent transformation into Femto not only mark the loss of his humanity but also the culmination of his deepest desires.

Griffith’s Desire for Power

Throughout Berserk, Griffith’s unwavering ambition and longing for power are recurring themes. His rise from a commoner to a powerful military commander is fueled by his relentless pursuit of his dream: to possess his own kingdom. This unyielding desire is what leads him to make the fateful decision that sets in motion the events of the Eclipse.

Sacrifice and Loss

Griffith’s transformation comes at a great cost. In order to become a member of the God Hand, he sacrifices his closest comrades, including his loyal lieutenant Guts. This act of betrayal not only fuels Guts’ quest for revenge but also serves as a catalyst for the anguish and suffering that permeate the world of Berserk. Griffith’s sacrifice highlights the tragic nature of his character, blurring the line between villainy and a deeper, more profound struggle.

Griffith’s Influence on the Narrative

Griffith’s actions reverberate throughout the narrative of Berserk, shaping the destinies of the remaining characters and the world they inhabit. His manipulation of events and his far-reaching influence contribute to the sense of despair and hopelessness that pervades the story. The consequences of his choices are felt by both the main characters and the innocent bystanders who suffer under his reign.

The Impact on Guts

Perhaps no character is more affected by Griffith’s transformation than Guts, the series’ protagonist. Guts’ quest for revenge against Griffith becomes the driving force behind his actions and shapes his entire existence. His personal vendetta against Griffith intertwines with the larger struggle against the demonic forces plaguing the world, making their conflict a central theme in Berserk.

The Corrupted Dream

Griffith’s rise to power and subsequent fall from grace also serves as a cautionary tale about the corrupting nature of one’s ambitions. His dream, once noble and inspiring, becomes distorted and twisted, leading to the suffering of countless individuals. Griffith’s story serves as a reflection of the potential consequences of unchecked ambition and the fragility of one’s moral compass.

The Symbolism of Griffith

Griffith’s character in Berserk is laden with symbolism, further adding depth and complexity to his role as both an antagonist and an antihero. One significant symbol associated with Griffith is the Hawk, which represents his charismatic leadership and the formation of his mercenary group, the Band of the Hawk. The Hawk symbolizes ambition, power, and grace, mirroring Griffith’s own aspirations and the allure he holds over his followers.

The Falcon of Light

Another symbol closely tied to Griffith is the Falcon of Light. This emblem represents his transformation into Femto and the embodiment of his darkest desires. The Falcon of Light represents Griffith’s immense power, cunning, and ability to manipulate events from behind the scenes. It serves as a visual reminder of the profound impact his actions have on the world of Berserk.

Griffith’s Psychological Complexity

Griffith’s character in Berserk delves into the depths of human psychology, showcasing the intricate layers that make up his persona. One psychological aspect worth exploring is Griffith’s narcissism. His unwavering belief in his own greatness and entitlement to power drives his actions, blinding him to the consequences of his choices. This narcissistic trait adds another dimension to his character, making him simultaneously captivating and repulsive.

Griffith’s Manipulation of Others

Griffith’s ability to manipulate those around him is a defining characteristic that amplifies his status as both an antagonist and an antihero. He possesses a profound understanding of human nature and uses it to his advantage. His charisma, charm, and strategic mind allow him to sway others to his cause, effectively creating a web of influence that spans across the world of Berserk.

The Emotional Impact on Casca

Casca, a key character in Berserk, is deeply affected by her involvement with Griffith. As a member of the Band of the Hawk, she develops a complex relationship with Griffith, filled with admiration, loyalty, and even romantic feelings. However, Griffith’s betrayal and subsequent transformation into Femto leave Casca traumatized and emotionally scarred. Her character arc showcases the devastating consequences of Griffith’s actions on those who were closest to him.

The Question of Redemption

One of the most intriguing aspects of Griffith’s character is the possibility of redemption. Despite his heinous acts, there are moments where hints of remorse and vulnerability surface. These glimpses of humanity in an otherwise monstrous figure raise questions about the potential for redemption and whether Griffith is truly beyond salvation. This moral ambiguity adds an extra layer of complexity to the narrative and invites readers to ponder the nature of forgiveness and redemption.


Griffith’s character in Berserk is a fascinating exploration of the antagonistic and antiheroic archetype. His rise to power, transformation into Femto, and the far-reaching impact of his actions make him a formidable antagonist. However, his complex motivations, psychological depth, and the potential for redemption add layers of complexity that challenge traditional notions of good and evil. Griffith’s character serves as a catalyst for the emotional journey of the other characters and the exploration of profound themes in Berserk.

In this article, we have delved into the symbolism and psychological aspects surrounding Griffith’s character, shedding light on his multifaceted nature. The world of Berserk is a dark and complex one, and Griffith’s presence as both an antagonist and an antihero is a driving force behind the narrative. His impact on the lives of the characters and the moral dilemmas he poses make him a compelling and controversial figure in the realm of manga.

As we conclude this analysis, we invite readers to reflect on the enigma that is Griffith and join us in further exploring the intricacies of his character in the world of Berserk.

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