What fictional characters do you relate to as an ESFP?
Just as we can describe real people using the Myers-Briggs® typology system, we can also type well-written fictional characters. Some of fiction’s most iconic and intriguing characters are ESFPs and today we’re going to talk about seven that I think real-life ESFPs will find relatable.
One great thing about looking at character personality types is that it helps us better understand people who have different types than we do. Fictional ESFPs can serve as examples for what real-life ESFPs might be like, and also show how much variation can exist between individuals with the same type.
The things that makes ESFPs such great fictional characters are much the same things that make them so magnetic in real-life. ESFPs are engaging, passionate people who love “tangible reality” (to quote Jung’s description of Sensation types). They’re charming, interested in other people, and often have a talent for entertaining. Plus, ESFPs also have a highly practical side. It’s no wonder the fictional versions of this type can make for such intriguing characters!
Like other EP types, Amelia Pond from Doctor Who thrives on new experiences. More specific to ESPs is the fact that Amy is very much in-tune with the physical world and finds ways (like modeling and working as a Kissogram) to engage with that world in sensual ways. She’s also easily bored when there aren’t new places to explore and experiences to be had (which is one reason she loves traveling with the Doctor).
Though a Feeling type, Amy is guarded with her emotions and often struggles with picking up on what other people are feeling. The Feeling side of her personality is turned inward, and mostly shows up as a strong desire to be true to her authentic self. She makes decisions based on what she believes is right. When she does share her thought processes, it’s mostly in a no-nonsense way that makes use of her tertiary Extroverted Thinking. She’s one of the fictional ESFPs that demonstrates this type has much more to offer than just being the life of the party. They can also be intelligent, stubborn, and principled people like Amy. Read more →
Even if you haven’t yet seen Avengers: Infinity War you’ve probably picked up on the vibe that not everything ends happy. Well before the film’s release there were charts out detailing which characters were safe, which ones in danger, and which ones we definitely expected to die. Even my cousin, who’s outside the MCU Fandom, wanted to see it because she had to find out who lived and who died.
Warning: Mild Spoilers Follow For Avengers: Infinity War
While the film has been well received overall, some are describing the deaths that do happen (and in some cases the whole movie) as pointless because we “know” pretty much how this is going to go. Coulson and Loki have already come back from death scenes in the MCU. It’s something we expect from the genre. And some of the characters that died at the end have sequel movies that are filming right now. We assume they won’t stay dead, and so might conclude that their deaths don’t matter.
It’s also been quite a shock to see earth’s and the galaxy’s mightiest heroes lose such an important battle. This isn’t the end of the story, since a sequel film is coming in May 2018, but the only one who gets a happy ending in this film is Thanos. This isn’t just the Empire scattered the rebellion and Han Solo is frozen in carbonite. This is Darth Vader got exactly what he wanted and retired to Mustafar to spend the rest of his life watching lava bubble.
Second Warning: Major Spoilers Follow For Avengers: Infinity War
I saw Black Panther yesterday, so naturally today’s post is a new installment in the superhero Myers-Briggs types series. I know I get pretty excited about most of the MCU films, but this one is seriously good. I love the hero characters and the principles they stand for like loyalty and peace. The acting is great, the plot’s tight, I love the music (I’m listening to the score as I type), and while it still has a superhero-movie feel it doesn’t shy away from digging into some really deep and difficult subjects.
T’Challa’s judging functions are pretty easy to pin-point: Fi/Te. But the fact that he uses Introverted Feeling and Extroverted Thinking when making decisions only tells us that he’s either a TJ or FP type. We’re going to need a little more to go on than just those two functions if we’re going to narrow-down a type for him. After Captain America: Civil War came out, most people typed T’Challa as an ISFP. However, a couple of the discussions I found online pointed out that he’s an ENTJ in the comics. I haven’t read the comics, though, so this typing is only going to focus on his film portrayal. From that, I ended up going with ISFP.
A Personal Code
Everyone has and uses both a Thinking and a Feeling mental process as part of their personality type. They’re both a “Judging” function, which means you use them to make decisions and answer “should” questions. The one you’re most comfortable with is either your driver process or co-pilot, and then its opposite is either your inferior or tertiary process. Personality Hacker uses nicknames for the Jungian cognitive functions, and I think they make it easier to talk about exactly what I mean when saying T’Challa uses Fi/Te when making decisions.
Introverted Feeling is nicknamed “Authenticity” and it’s an ISFP’s primary function. It’s an internally focused, subjective process that mostly boils down to making decisions based on what “feels right” to you. Unlike the Extroverted Feeling process, it’s not primarily worried about what other people think. Authenticity is concerned with making a decisions that lines up with one’s own personal beliefs. And that’s what we see in T’Challa.
Though T’Challa certainly cares for other people, when he makes decisions they’re in line with what he believes is right rather than what will make the majority of the people around him happy. Fi is the mental process that drives his decision at the end of the film to share Wakanda’s resources with the world (see — I told you we were going to talk spoilers). And this personal code is also why he let his father’s killer live at the end of Civil War. He discovered that killing an unarmed man for revenge wasn’t in line with his moral compass (though making sure he faces justice is). Similarly in this new film, he offered to save his cousin’s life even after the man tried to kill him and steal Wakanda.
Extroverted Thinking, or “Effectiveness,” is a much more impersonal function than Introverted Feeling, though it’s still used for making decisions. It’s an ISFP’s fourth function — the one they’re least comfortable using.
Effectiveness users look for the most efficient answer to a question. In other words, this process makes decisions based on what’s going to work. This is why in Civil War T’Challa tells Natasha that he doesn’t approve of all the politics. It’s because a hundred people arguing in a room doesn’t seem like an effective or efficient way to actually get things done.
I also don’t think his decision to go after Bucky himself was just fueled by an emotional type of revenge. It was also a coldly logical assessment of the most efficient way to handle the problem since he knows that, as Black Panther, he can take down a super assassin. Since Te is where an ISFP goes when stressed, it makes sense that one of the times we most clearly see T’Challa using it is after his father’s murder.
Interacting With The Real World
SP types have a certain advantage in physically-demanding tasks since this mental process is so focused on real-time interaction with the outer world. While being the Black Panther certainly enhances T’Challa’s abilities as a warrior, this new film shows us that he’s quite capable without them. He displays the sort of “real-time kinetic” intelligence that Personality Hacker says characterizes types that use the Extroverted Sensing, or “Sensation,” process. On a side-note, the ritualistic combat you see in Black Panther is inspired by real-world African martial arts, which is pretty cool.
SP types thrive on being in the middle of the action. And since Sensation is their Learning/Perceiving function, this is also how they prefer to learn new information. The things they can experience and verify with their five senses are the things that seem most reliable. And they often use their skill for interacting with the real world in creative, productive ways, earning ISFPs nicknames like Artist, Composer, and Producer.
As an SP type, T’Challa isn’t content with delegating tasks and that he can do himself. He goes after his enemies personally, even when not required by tradition and ritual. And he doesn’t just want to read reports or have people come to him to say what’s going on in Wakanda. We see him visiting his people and interacting with their worlds first-hand. He’s also interactive when planing missions. For example, there’s an early scene in Black Panther where he’s watching a projection of a convoy he’s about to attack as part of a rescue mission and he picks up one of the projected trucks to move it around and get a closer look.
Possibilities and Patterns
As far as we know, T’Challa is the first Black Panther to reveal his powers to the world at large. And he’s certainly the first king of Wakanda to share their country’s secrets with the world. While there is a struggle between the part of him that believes in a vision for Wakanda’s future where they help the world and his duty as king to protect his own people above the others, the idealistic visionary side wins out.
An ISFP has Introverted Intuition as their tertiary or “10-year-old” mental process. It’s also called “Perspectives” and it functions as a pattern-recognition system. ISFPs typically have conscious access to their Perspectives function, but it’s not always reliable. T’Challa is mature enough to recognize this and does not rely on his Ni too much or make a rash decision based on it.
However, he’s also comfortable enough with Intuition to not shy away from what his friend Nakia and sister Shuri have to say about considering a future where Wakanda and its technology play a larger role in the world. And as an Ni-user myself, I find it very satisfying that Wakanda’s first outreach center will be built in the location where T’Challa’s father killed his own brother and abandoned the brother’s son to protect Wakanda’s secret. It brings the pattern together in a way that feels right.
If you enjoyed this post, check out my other MCU typings:
With Thor: Ragnarok now out, it seemed like a good time for another Fictional MBTI post, especially since Ragnarok is so good. Who would have thought a film about the destruction of Asgard and fall of the gods (that’s not a spoiler — it’s Norse mythology) could be so light-hearted and fun?
I’ve been typing Thor as an ESTP since the first film came out, which I think is pretty much the standard typing for him (please note: I’m only typing the MCU version of Thor, not his character in the comics or mythology). Still, just because there’s not much debate about his type doesn’t mean we can’t give him his own post. There are several different nicknames for this type, and for Thor I decided to go with “Adventurer” rather than the more commonly used David Keirsey nickname “Promoter.”
A Man of Action
ESTP types lead with a mental process called Extroverted Sensing (Se). Fittingly, this is the most visible aspect of Thor’s character in the films. SP types are doers. They thrive on taking action in the real world and they’re good at it. Really good. In fact, I’d venture a guess that most action heroes in fiction are SP types, especially STP types. It’s not that they can’t pause for reflection or plan ahead. It’s that they don’t really see the need since things usually work out so well for them.
ESTPs have a reputation for being thrill-seekers, and it’s not hard to see why. Their dominant Se seeks variety and physical stimulation. They like to take risks, yet they are so aware of their physical surroundings and their limits that they are probably the smartest physical risk-takers around. They have a natural awareness for what their body can or can’t do, paired with quick reflexes, and an ability to keep their wits in a crisis.” — Susan Storm, Understanding ESTP Sensing
This side of Thor’s character is at the forefront in the new film as well as his past appearances. In Ragnarok’s opening scene, he even comments that fighting against overwhelming odds without a real plan seems to always work out for him. And not only does it work out, he’s clearly enjoying himself. He thrives on challenge and risk-taking.
I’m going to skip over an ESTP’s co-pilot process for now and talk about their tertiary side. It’s tempting for any type to bypass their secondary function and spend more time in their less-developed tertiary side because that lets them stay in their preference for introversion or extroversion. For example, an ESTP’s primary and tertiary functions are both extroverted, while their secondary one is introverted.
Extroverted Feeling (Fe) isn’t all that well-developed or reliable for ESTPs. It can lead to bad decisions based on doing things that will make them look good to or fit in with the people around them (Fe is a process focused on harmony in relationships). Thor is clearly enjoying his social position in the opening scenes of the first film and I suspect that a large part of how he acts is because “reckless military leader” is the persona people expect (though I doubt he’s analyzed it that much). We also see him using his Fe to connect with people on earth as the charming gentleman Jane Foster falls in love with.
Learning After Doing
ESTPs learn best by doing. They’re not the sort to listen to lectures or spend a lot of time planing. They’d rather do something and see how it works out, then adjust future actions accordingly. Until something doesn’t work out there’s not much of a reason for them to spend time figuring out why. Which leads us to a discussion of an ESTP’s secondary function, Introverted Thinking (Ti).
Most people start to develop their secondary function in their teens, but it’s not a comfortable process for people to be in so we don’t always focus on growing it until we have to. For ESTPs, this “co-pilot” is a judging function that they use when making decisions. Ti is concerned with figuring out what makes sense, aligning to personal convictions, and impartially looking at facts. Thor starts doing this when his exile from Asgard in his first film forces him to look at the sort of decisions he’s been making and re-think his actions.
We do also get glimpses of an ESTP’s healthy thinking side in Thor’s character. People of this type can be incredibly clever and intelligent, though they’re often underestimated because so many outsiders just see their action-oriented side. An example from the first film is when he’s explaining the science behind Bifrost travel to Jane. He makes it look easy, but he’s managing to translate two completely different cultural way to framing the world (science and magic) in a way that makes perfect sense to an earth scientist. And in Ragnarok, we get a conversation between him and Bruce Banner where Thor effortlessly keeps up with and understands the scientific terminology used by a man with multiple PhDs.
Stress And The ESTP
Being cast out of Asgard in the first film, and especially learning that Mjölnir doesn’t see him as worthy anymore, pushes Thor into his least developed function. For ESTPs, that’s Introverted Intuition (Ni). When intuition is a type’s stress function, stressful situations tends to confuse their normally clear thought process and they may become angry, paranoid, or feel hopeless. It typically doesn’t take ESTPs long to bounce back, though, which helps explain why Thor’s despondency only lasts until he’s given a chance to take action and fight back.
What’s really interesting about Thor of the MCU films is that this version of his brother Loki is an INFJ type. Making Loki and Thor complete opposites in their personalities means they use the exact same mental functions in the opposite order. Thor’s weakest mental process is Loki’s strongest (INFJs lead with Ni), and vice-versa. No wonder they’re constantly butting heads and struggling to understand each other.
If you enjoyed this post, check out my other MCU typings:
It always intrigues me how certain characters attract so much investment from viewers. Browsing Pinterest lately, it seems like Bucky is the new Loki — the Marvel fandom’s dark, mistreated character who just needs a hug because we love him soooooo much. In Bucky’s case, the reasons why we find his character compelling aren’t too hard to find. He’s a good man who was forced to do terrible things and is now constantly fighting a battle to be himself. Sebastian Stan’s portrayal allows audiences to glimpse Bucky’s human side under the soldier persona he wears and the assassin role he’s forced to adopt, and audiences are drawn in by a realistic, sensitive portrayal of a compelling character.
Most people type James “Bucky” Buchanan Barnes as an ESTP, and I’m inclined to agree with them. Operating under the assumption that MBTI type doesn’t change, when we see him as Bucky in Captain America: First Avenger he’s a healthy, stable version of his MBTI type. The version of Bucky we see later in Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a severely stressed and traumatized man of the same MBTI type. Bucky in Captain America: Civil War is still dealing with the fall-out of all he went through, but he’s more recognizable as an ESTP.
Typing Bucky Barnes
We only get about 13 minutes of footage with Bucky in the first Captain America film, but those scenes reveal a character in line with type descriptions of ESTPs as people characterized by decisive action, contagious energy, and enjoyment of being in the moment. They are “thrillseekers who are at their best when putting out fires, whether literal or metaphorical. … They assess situations quickly and move adeptly to respond to immediate problems with practical solutions” (Truity.com description). David Keirsey writes that ESTPs (whom he nick-names Promoters) “live with a theatrical flourish which makes even the most routine events seem exciting. … Promoters demand new activities and new challenges. Bold and daring at heart, and ever-optimistic that things will go their way, Promoters will take tremendous risks to get what they want, and seem exhilarated by walking close to the edge of disaster.” Other nicknames for ESTPs include “problem solver” and “realist.”
ESTPs lead with a mental process called Extroverted Sensing, or “Sensation.” This process “can get into the action in the moment. Think of it as ‘real-time kinetic’” (from Personality Hacker). It’s a fun-loving function that delights in sensory experiences, such as Bucky spending his last night in New York dancing with girls he probably doesn’t care whether or not he ever sees again. On that same night, he and Steve are talking about Steve’s inability to enlist and he says, “I don’t see what the problem is. You’re about to be the last eligible man in New York.” He’s trying to make Steve feel better with joking and doesn’t really ‘get’ the duty-fulfilling and self-sacrificing aspect of Steve’s character. It’s not a deeply ingrained aspect of his personality type (like it is for ISFJ Steve), though in practice he still does his duty and sacrifices himself because he’s a loyal friend and a good man.
We also see Bucky demonstrate sensory skills in more serious situations. Even post-experimentation and groggy when escaping Redscull’s prison, Bucky could walk across that metal girder with coordination, balance, and no hints of fear other than a healthy caution. As a Howling Commando, we see him as a sniper (which requires skills that come naturally to SP types) and making split-second sensory decisions with ease in the final train fight.
ESTP types support their Sensation function secondary with Introverted Thinking (or “Accuracy”) and then tertiary Extroverted Feeling (or “Harmony”). These mental processes describe how ESTPs, like Bucky, make decisions. First he’s using impersonal criteria to evaluate information and make decisions that are motivated by his own understanding of how the world works. Extroverted Feeling gives ESTPs an insight into other people that they stereotypicaly use to be charming and get people to do what they want. When he tries to ask Peggy to dance, he’s clearly not used to being ignored in favor of his friend (or any other guy). ESTPs are not primarily an emotional sort of people, though. In an early scene, Bucky had just had an argument with his best friend and turns that emotionally invested side of himself ‘off’ to take the girls dancing and enjoy himself.
The Winter Soldier
Once Hydra turns Bucky into the Winter Soldier, it’s difficult to use any scenes to get a clear picture of his personality type. In Captain America: The Winter Soldier we see a few glimpses of the real Bucky trying to get out, but not really anything to help with typing him. In Civil War, however, his own mind is starting to reassert itself and we can talk about his personality type in that film.
When ESTPs are stressed, one of the most common things they experience is internal confusion. They feel out of control, forget details, and become paranoid. Their inferior, or 3-year-old, function is Introverted Intuition (also called “Perspectives”). It’s a mental process that speculates on things that cannot be known, which is great for creativity and insight if you’re using it as a driver process but not so good if it’s an underdeveloped function that comes out when you’re stressed. Most ESTPs snap out of what Naomi Quenk calls a “Grip experience” (where stress causes your inferior function to assert itself) fairly quickly, but “Chronic grip behavior can lead the individual and others to believe that he or she is typically negative, pessimistic, and worried about both the present and the future” (Was That Really Me? p.180). Add to that all the torture and brainwashing used to turn Bucky into the Winter Soldier, and you have the Bucky who’s fighting alongside Cap in Civil War.
Here, we see a man who is not only fighting physical battles (and with extraordinary skill now that super-soldier enhancements have been added to his natural sensory abilities), but who is also fighting a mental battle. As extroverts, ESTPs tend to focus more on the external. Bucky’s experiences have turned him inward, making him more serious and forcing him to develop his Introverted Thinking side. Though type theory holds that your base personality doesn’t change, Bucky is in many ways a different person than the one we see in The First Avenger. He’s burdened with the weight of what he’s done and his friend Steve is now his only real connection with another human being.
In some ways, Bucky’s joking remark from the first Captain America movie “I’m turning into you” has come true. He’s become much more introspective and aware of the weight of his actions. Yet he’s also still thoroughly himself. We have a scene where he and Cap are reminiscing about fun times they had and a girl Bucky tried to impress, and he’s really Bucky against instead of the Winter Soldier. The fun-loving young ESTP is still in there, just buried deeply under the weight of all he’s been though.
In The First Avenger, we see Bucky fighting to protect his best friend and giving his life for his country. Now in Civil War, he trusts his best friend to help him through and gives up his freedom by going into cryostasis so he’s can’t be used to hurt others. Bucky’s decision to enter cryostasis at the end of the movie is also an intensely individualistic move that’s characteristic of SP types. If he can’t guarantee he can control himself, then at least he can make sure no one else can take control of him either.
If you enjoyed this post, check out my other MCU typings:
Before Daredevil premiered on Netflix in April of last year, the closest Marvel’s Cinematic Universe came to portraying a superhero of faith was Captain America’s line, “There’s only one God, ma’am, and I’m pretty sure he doesn’t dress like that” in The Avengers three years earlier. As much as I like and admire Steve Rogers as a character, however, I’m not sure I’d describe him as a man of faith. Certainly he’s a moral man who believes in God, but his faith doesn’t play a major role that we can see on-screen.
Matt Murdock (played by Charlie Cox), on the other hand, is a character defined by his faith. The way he’s portrayed in the Netflix series leaves no doubt that Matt is a staunch Catholic and that his faith influences every decision he makes. The religious elements don’t make Daredevil any less violent (this is not a show for children or squeamish adults), but the series’ engagement with religious themes does make it one of the most intriguing things on screen right now.
It’s rare to see a character portrayed as unabashedly Christian in today’s culture, at least outside of films produced by a faith-based group such as Sherwood Pictures. It’s even rarer to see a man of faith cast as the hero of a gritty drama. Yet Matt Murdock is a practicing Catholic who proclaims his belief on-screen, as well as a seriously impressive superhero.
Quick note: I’ll be honest, I don’t know all that much about Catholicism. I’ve known Catholics and counted several my friends, read a few books written by Catholic authors (both fiction and non-fiction), and encountered some facts about Catholicism in studying British history, but I wouldn’t really consider myself knowledgeable on the subject. If you’re reading this as a Catholic and I say something stupid, please correct me with love in the comments 🙂
Quicker note: this article contains spoilers for both seasons of Daredevil. Spoilers for Season 2 will be clearly noted.
To Kill, or Not To Kill
Everything about Matt’s choices is influenced by his Catholicism. He won’t kill because he firmly believes it is morally wrong. That is explored strongly in the first season, when we learn Matt refuses to kill his enemies and tries his best to prevent others, including his allies, from killing as well. It’s back again in the second season when
we learn in flashbacks that Matt’s college romance with Electra ended after she asked him to kill the man who murdered his father. A few episodes later, we find out that she has a mission to pull Matt away from the faith that was, in part,why he’s not still fighting alongside Stick. It didn’t work. Matt wasn’t a perfect enough Christian to say no to premarital sex or to leave Electra when she was stealing cars and breaking into people’s houses, but his faith runs too deep for the possibility of murder to not act as a wake-up call.
Unlike Batman, who doesn’t (typically) kill because it’s part of his crime-fighting code, Daredevil doesn’t kill because it’s part of his faith. The only way he would consider breaking the law of God that prohibits murder is if he thinks sacrificing his soul would save enough people to make it worthwhile. That’s why he considers killing Wilson Fisk near the end of Season 1. “I know my soul is damned if I take his life,” Matthew says, “But if I stand idle” people “will suffer and die.”
For most action heroes, there wouldn’t even be a question of what to do — you just go out and kill the bad guys. Matt, however, cares about what taking another person’s life says about him. He doesn’t take this question to his bartender or girlfriend though (as an equally introspective but less religious character might). He takes it to his faith in the form of his priest, Father Lantom, who reminds him, “There is a wide gulf between inaction and murder, Matthew. Another man’s evil does not make you good. … the question you have to ask yourself is are you struggling with the fact that you don’t want to kill this man, but have to? Or that you don’t have to kill him, but want to?”
A Question of Motive
In the same conversation where Father Lantom talks with Matt about whether or not Matt should kill Fisk, he also says, “Few things are absolute, Matthew. Even Lucifer was once an angel. It’s why judgment and vengeance… are best left to God. Especially when murder is not in your heart.” When Matt asks how Lantom can know what’s in his heart, the priest responds, “You’re here, aren’t you?” The fact that Matt wrestles with how his faith fits into his mission to fight for justice is one thing that proves he’s a good man. Our motivations matter.
Matt works as a lawyer by day trying to right wrongs within the system, then goes out at night as Daredevil trying to bring justice to the people who were overlooked by the law. In the first episode of Season 2, Matt tells Foggy that the woman they helped as lawyers by recommending a battered women’s shelter would have been murdered by her husband before her escape if Daredevil hadn’t put the man in a hospital. Daredevil goes around fixing the problems that Matt Murdock can’t.
An article that appeared on Slade.com last year said Netflix’s Daredevil understands that Matt’s religion is “essential to his identity … which is what makes the show work.” The article continues, “Murdock’s brutal justice is more than his way of taking personal responsibility for the sins of others; it’s his way of atoning for his own. Murdock’s real superpower, and also his biggest foe, is his Catholicism” (from “Daredevil’s Greatest Superpower Is His Catholicism“). Matt’s religion is what drives him to fight for justice, yet it’s also what makes him question himself at every turn.
Guilt and Redemption
Throughout his crusade, Matt punishes himself as much as the people he’s after. In “Daredevil, Catholicism, and the Marvel Moral Universe,” Leah Schnelbach connects this with “mortification of the flesh.”While Matt Murdock does qualify as a powered-person in the MCU, his powers don’t give him fast healing or make him invincible. To fight evil, “He has to keep getting hit, keep getting wounded. Over the course of the show, we see this process–old wounds reopen, cuts heal slowly, bruises linger, and each fight seems more labored. … The point is that he keeps going anyway” (click here to read the full article). Matt’s only partly joking when he responds to Claire describing him as “blind vigilante who … can take an unbelievable amount of punishment without one damn complaint” by saying, “The last part’s the Catholicism.”
Mortification of the flesh is a concept very much tied to penance in the Catholic version of Christianity. It’s referenced even more clearly into Daredevil in Season 2, again by Claire (mild spoiler warning). Matt’s beating himself up (metaphorically, this time) for not saving a group of people soon enough. She suggest he take off his “hair shirt” and “start thinking about climbing down off that cross of yours and spending some time with us normal people for a change.” The idea of Matt martyring himself is a theme throughout both seasons.
MAJOR SPOILER WARNING
One of the aspects of Season 2 I found most interesting was the association of Matt with Jesus Christ. He’s not portrayed as a “Christ-figure” per say, but there’s more going on here than just Claire’s overt reference to Matt crucifying himself. Much like I argued when talking about Luke and Vader in Star Wars, we can compare Matt’s insistence that redemption is possible for Electra to God “not wishing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9, ASV). While Matt is willing to die for her, what’s more poignant is that he’s willing to sacrifice himself by living for her.
I struggled with this scene in the final episode. Why would Matt give up everything he’s working for in Hell’s Kitchen to run away with such a morally dark character as Electra? Upon further reflection, I realized he didn’t intend to abandon his faith by offering to take this action. While being with Electra does bring out the “devil” side of him, he’s not offering to run off with Electra just so he can be free of responsibility or guilt. He wants to do this because of his stated reason — that she “gets” the part of him that no one else understands — and because of the redemption theme running through this season. He has to believe Electra can be good and he’ll give up his own life to help make that possible.
Matt’s not a perfect Christian or a perfect Catholic. Some might even question whether or not he qualifies as a “good man” after putting so many people (criminals, yes, but still people) in the hospital. Where do we draw the line? and what is the responsibility of a moral man confronted with evils that he can fight, but isn’t sure at what cost? Those are the sort of questions that Marvel’s Daredevil offers for our consideration. It’s not interested in a sanitized version of Christianity that focuses on faultless people living lives of bliss and, quite frankly, I’m not either. And neither’s the Bible, if the struggles of David, Peter, Paul and so many others are any indication. God never tells us our walk with Him will be without wrestling. It’s how we respond to the crises of faith — the moments where we wonder if all this is worth it — that count.