An Ordinary Life  

“Oh, were you sleeping? ... Daydreaming again. Was it about the past?” Caska, Vol. 12 Ch. 3

As Griffith was catapulted out of the wagon he had another vision, this time about the future. He went from flying topsy turvy to sitting comfortably in a chair. Caska greeted him as if he was just dozing off. This sequence is important precisely because Griffith is made to believe it is real, and reality is the dream.

“A lot has happened. It's all memories now. I think I'm better suited to this lifestyle.” Caska, Vol. 12 Ch. 3

Yes, all that horrible stuff was in the past. He now had a quiet life with Caska, which isn't all that far-fetched since she was the one insistent on staying to take care of him anyway. The Hawks' memorabilia was on the walls, and they had a child named Guts and a dog named Pippin. Well, technically it would be Guts' illegitimate child. I mean, considering how much Griffith was mutilated in prison, thinking his reproductive organs were untouched would be rather naive.* But as fucked up as being stuck in a loveless relationship taking care of your rival's progeny would be, it didn't appear to bother Griffith at the time.

“That's true... This peace and quiet... Isn't so bad...” Griffith, Vol. 12 Ch. 3

What mattered was the peace and quiet. It might not be happiness, it might not be joy, but it was a kind of empty pleasantness, and that was a hell lot better than the nightmare he just came from. All the heart-rending pain and humiliation was behind him, and even though he was still crippled, he felt accepted. It was not pity that kept Caska at his side now, but the tranquil lifestyle they both shared. Their old comrades would come to visit once in a while, but any judgment they held towards him would have faded with time. Yes, an ordinary life. It was not a life he had envisioned for himself, but given his circumstances it was the best he could hope for. And, truthfully, it wasn't so bad... or so he told himself.

Hey, what's that in the soup? Crap...

Griffith was jerked out of the reverie and back to hurtling through the air. The intensity of such a sudden shift from contentment to crushing agony was too great. It made him unstable. The resolve he felt just a short while before was gone, replaced by the despair of a man broken in body and soul. He had always tried so hard to deny his weaknesses, to be his ideal of unwavering dedication to his dream, but that couldn't change the fact that he was still human. It was so tempting to believe the vision as a way to escape the gravity of his current situation.

But he didn't have a place with the Hawks anymore, he had been humiliated far too much in front of them. He couldn't handle waiting for that to wear off and become the peace and quiet of his vision, because he was stuck in the present right now, and it was unbearable. And while his heart was being ripped apart, his mind began to grasp some further implications of the dream.

“Ultimately, to be born, and to then simply live for no better reason... I can't abide such a lifestyle.” Griffith, Vol. 6 Ch. 6

Even if the vision of the future didn't lie, even if it was what he could look forward to if he waited, was that really the best he could hope for? A life devoid of direction or purpose? It might be fulfilling for Caska, but such a lifestyle went against all that Griffith stood for, against the self-image he was so desperately trying to cling to. It was the opposite of everything he ever wanted. And yet, while immersed in the vision, it was a lifestyle he was almost willing to settle for. Was this how far he'd fallen? Did he truly lose himself along the way? Was there nothing left for him at all?
* First heard that theory in hbi2k's Berserk: The Abridged Series Episode 23 commentary, so he deserves credit for it.

Berserk and all the characters, story, and art therein is copyright Kentaro Miura. No copyright infringement is intended, and I hope that this essay inspires more people to read/watch Berserk! Translation in the text is by Dark Horse, translation in the images is by The Band of the Hawk, unless otherwise specified.