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Negan: A 'Walking Dead' Character Analysis

Updated on November 6, 2018
Kyle Atwood profile image

Kyle Atwood is a published author of horror who plays too many video games and watches too many horror movies to be of sound mind.

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Appearance

Negan is clad in a black, leather biker jacket with a number of zippers adorning its face. He wears a simple pair of jeans with boots and also occasionally wears a red scarf and leather gloves. In the comics, he is usually shown with a clean-shaven face, fairly short hair, and always seems to be smiling. In the television show, he is usually seen with a full beard and slicked back hair.

The most important feature is Lucille, a baseball bat wrapped in barbed wire, that is usually found resting on his shoulder.

It has been confirmed that Negan does enjoy dressing nicely, but requires it to also be effective for survival.

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Origin

Prior to reading the Here's Negan comics, I would have said he was a complete psychopath. Now I'm not so sure, I don't think he's a sociopath either and we'll get to why shortly.

Before the dead roamed the earth, Negan was a high school coach. He always wanted to be known as the 'cool teacher' and would often invite students over his home to hang out. He had a wife who, as I'm sure you probably know by now, was named Lucille and he loved her very much, despite having an affair with another woman. Fast-forward a bit and we find Lucille has been diagnosed with terminal cancer, fast-forward once more and Negan is in his wife's hospital room when the zombie outbreak occurs. Sometime later, Negan is discovered by a group of survivors whilst wandering by himself. This group was promptly killed as was the next few groups Negan joined. Eventually, Negan ran into Dwight and, before you know it, took over Dwight's group and renamed them the Saviors and thus began his reign of terror.

Personality

There are two types of people in the world when the apocalypse comes, there are those who want to work together to rebuild society and those that want the world for themselves and Negan is the latter. He is the bandit king of The Walking Dead and has held his boot on the neck of our beloved cast for almost three seasons before finally being overthrown and locked away.

Negan's behavior is erratic and is his most powerful tool. Being unpredictable means that any character in his presence could wind up dead or broken at the drop of a pen. He could take precious supplies, simply because he just wants that power, or he could order the Saviors to wipe out an entire settlement just because, once again, he felt like it. However, while he is unpredictable and ruthless, he also has a rather hidden and obscure, strict moral code, more namely against sexual crimes. For instance, he caught one of his men trying to rape a woman and Negan spared no time killing the man in brutal fashion.

With Negan's erratic behavior, he is also one of the most concise characters in a series where conversations can drag on and on, often times losing sight of the more important and interesting matters. This is a breath of fresh life to viewers and has made for some really fantastic dialogue since Negan made his first appearance on the show.

I would like to touch base with the fact that a lot of people blame Negan for the drop in viewership, which I can understand, considering he killed Glenn. The drop in viewership isn't due to the character, however, it was due to poor writing and politics interfering with the show. As I mentioned earlier, this show needed Negan's erratic and colorful attitude

When we look at Rick Grimes, we see that he just wants he and his people to survive, but with Negan, survival is nothing to him. He wants to win. He wants to rule the world and he is so good at it because of the picky way he chooses his army. He wants people strong enough to fight, but weaker than him so he can command them with ease and if they don't fit the bill, he disposes of them with no warning.

His need for control is a way of numbing his pain, however, and his power and the need for it is symbolized by his bat Lucille. With Lucille, he feels unstoppable; but once you strip him of that power, he is vulnerable. We see this when Maggie confronts him in the prison cell and throws him to the floor. At that moment, we saw a defeated man devoured by grief. This is how I'm not so sure about him being a psychopath and a sociopath, along with other things such as that strict, hidden moral code.

He is a man who thinks an iron fist will maintain order and save lives as if a violent tyrant or a stern dictator is what the world needs to be rebuilt. He's certainly a narcissist, but not a psychopath. He is the embodiment of how most of society would be if the zombie apocalypse did happen.


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