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Character Analysis: Christian Grey in ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’

Updated on April 21, 2016
Stella Kaye profile image

Stella is interested in famous literary and historical figures and has written a few brief biographies of some of them

Shades of Grey

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A Greek hero with a fatal flaw

Christian Grey, the intriguing male character central to the book: ‘Fifty Shades of Grey,’ is a shrewd business magnate and entrepreneur. At the age of twenty seven, he knows exactly what he wants and gets it. He has achieved remarkable success as a result of his own efforts with his business strategies even though he already enjoyed an affluent lifestyle for most of his life as a result of his adoption into a wealthy family as a young child.

Throughout the book, the first of a trilogy, Christian is portrayed as a man very much in control of every area of his life and this is perhaps what appeals to the female reader’s imagination. He has his own private helicopter is well educated and enjoys a lifestyle of unashamed luxury. He appears to be the very epitome of the handsome and wealthy typical ‘Mills and Boon’ hero. He is cool, altruistic, sophisticated and has an appreciation of fine things and an ear for good music - what a catch!

And there is a catch. Christian is like the traditional Greek hero with a fatal flaw; a darker side to his nature is soon revealed, emerging from his pre-adoption years when he experienced significant neglect and abuse whilst still in the care of his birth mother who was a crack whore. This trauma in his formative years affects his sexual preferences in adulthood. It’s a classic case of: I’m the way I am now because my childhood messed me up. He has difficulty in forging normal relationships, can’t bear to be touched and can only have a sexual encounter if he is the dominant partner rather than make love with someone as an equal. Again he knows exactly what he wants sexually and has even drawn up a contract for Anastasia - his potential submissive - to sign. He puts no pressure on her to commit to anything, doesn’t put a time limit on a decision and everything is consensual; he also treats her with the utmost courtesy and politeness at all times. There is never an argument between them.

Before twenty one year old Anastasia Steele falls for Christian, she is a virgin, incredibly naïve about all things sexual and in dire need of a man who can trigger emotions she has not yet felt and can initiate her into lovemaking. Christian is willing to show her the ropes in more ways than one, but it must be on his terms with his offer of sexual romps in his ‘Red room of pain.’

Nevertheless Christian shows ultimate respect and concern for Anastasia’s welfare throughout the book and this becomes apparent in his emails as well as his speech. He is honest about his needs and expectations from a sexual partner and is clear with Anastasia from the onset about his dominant deviations from the norm in matters of sexual pleasure but is less than forthcoming with the reason why. Really, he needs a good shrink, but Anastasia being analytical by nature does a splendid job in trying to fathom what makes him tick.

Christian has never met anyone like Anastasia before. Whereas previous ‘Submissives’ proved incompatible or headed for the hills, he now has to redefine his thinking in his relationship with Anastasia and admits to her that he is willing to try.

By the end of the book, the whole truth about Christian Grey’s character is still not revealed and this is valid enough reason to read the next book in the trilogy. There is no sting in the tale (unless you include Anastasia’s decidedly sore derrière that is). She and Christian Part Company after a session in the red room of pain where Anastasia realises she has agreed to more than she can handle. The couple don’t really want to sever their ties completely, but rational communication between them breaks down and there are many things left unsaid. The reader is by now every bit as enthralled with Christian as Anastasia is and more about his charismatic character will be revealed in the second book.

Order the 'Shades of Grey' trilogy now from Amazon.

© 2015 Stella Kaye

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