The philosophy of the Eternals (part two)

We can now move on to our favorite couple, Makkari and Druig. But, Magali, I hear you shout to your computer, how can Makkari represent anything when she barely had any screen time? Well, I propose that Makkari represents human duality with her powers and within the narrative. Her speed contrasts with the static nature of Eternals and her choice to be the only Eterla who waited in the spaceship and didn’t create a life for herself in the human world. Her relationship with humans is coded as both good and bad, saving them from peril while also stealing from them constantly. Our girl Makkari is full of duality and this helps challenge what Druig represents.

Druig’s vision of humanity is pretty clear from the get-go as he struggles more and more to accept their violence until he can’t take it anymore. His solution is to create a commune in the Amazon and use his mind control power to keep them from violence. It’s to no surprise that our boy Druig represents the Hobbes and Rousseau view that humans are inherently selfish and violent and civilization is the only reason humans care for one another (I’m simplifying it, don’t crucify me, this isn’t an essay). Druig’s choice to leave the humans he’s mind controlled to save the entire planet as a whole represents that despite believing humans to be so cruel, Druig does think they have good qualities that make them worth saving.

Phastos represents a theory closer to this idea of duality as his relationship with humanity represents the persevering kindness of ordinary humans. Phastos’s disillusionment with the human authorities who caused deaths in Hiroshima and Nagasaki doesn’t stop him from falling in love with a human. It’s truly telling that Phastos’s power is technology, something exploited by those in power, but still used to make the world better by scientists and ordinary folk. Phastos’s final showdown with Ikarus where he restrains the most powerful of the Eternals can also be seen as a narrative representation of Phastos taking down those in power as he’s taking down the Celestial about to be born as well so the less powerful humans can live.

Gilgamesh represents the adage he himself inspires: “we protect that we love”. His power of strength makes him the ideal protector and his relationship with humanity shows this as when he chooses to watch over Thena, he not only protects her, but humanity and the rest of the Eternals. He chooses to look after his disabled friend despite it not being beneficial to him in the slightest, a quality humanity has had since the beginning, looking after the sick and the old even when they were no longer useful.

It seems right then that Thena represents the idea that human identity is shaped socially. Many theories explain how humans shape their own identity by comparing themselves to other humans, finding differences and similarities. Thena is the perfect example of this as her own brain is her enemy, slowly erasing her personality and twisting her powers into something dangerous instead of a force she uses to protect others. It is then incredibly poignant that Gilgamesh and her other friends are the ones who remind her who she is.

Her confrontation with the Deviant then becomes even more significant as the Deviant attempts to imitate Gilgamesh and take advantage of Thena’s memory loss. However, Thena is able to remember who she is through identifying the difference between the Deviant and Gilgamesh. The lack of her friend is enough to trigger her realizing she is in danger of losing herself, both literally and metaphorically. This defeat of a monster who imitates others rather than creating its own identity helps reinforce this idea of identity Thena represents.

It is now, however, that we come to Kingo who represents the human ability to create extraordinary art. His fascination with human art and Bollywood as well as Sprite’s stories creates enough of a link already, but his powers are also fantastical and showy. Having fire, a discovery as old as human art, be his power also reinforces how essential and ancient what he represents is. Despite his interest in art, however, Kingo is forever in the position of artist or audience, never truly in the story. The narrative reflects this as he refuses to participate in the conflict and watches from the sidelines.

Image: Mario Jr. Nicorelli on Flickr.

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