Underneath the MaskThough appearing cold and heartless, Kratos actually has very strong emotions underneath his mask. The three strongest emotions that show through his masquerade are compassion for Lloyd, anger at Kvar and a heavy guilt that he carries on his shoulders.
Much to Lloyd’s disbelief, Kratos is actually incredibly caring and considerate. He is constantly looking out for Lloyd, even during the time period where he could not choose between his son and Mithos. He seems to be harsh and strict with Lloyd, but the only reason he does that is in order to make sure Lloyd can look out for himself when he’s not there to protect him. The moment he realized Lloyd was his son, his face remained calm as always, but he thought to himself with excitement. His boy was alive! Though Kratos sways back and forth in terms of loyalty, I believe that his heart was always set on being by Lloyd’s side, but his mind got in the way because of his friendship with Mithos. So, even though Kratos denies it when talking with Kate, his acts of leaking information to Lloyd about Colette’s, not actually harming him in their battles and even simply not having 100% full allegiance to Mithos are acts of love and compassion for Lloyd. The Elf Elder in Heimdall eventually tells the group that Kratos begged him to give Lloyd the Mana Leaf Herb which they needed to cure Colette’s illness. He is well aware of Lloyd’s feelings for Colette, and imagining Kratos beg for anything is pretty much out of my range of imagination. The fact that he went out of his way numerous times to help Lloyd despite being tied to Mithos shows a strong loyalty to me, though Kratos thinks otherwise since he is hard on himself. Sure, Kratos is not a perfect father by any means, but part of the reason he is so confused and tormented is because he loves Lloyd greatly and wants to be able to be there for him. Simply being separated from Lloyd in one of the human ranches worries him so much that he accidentally voices it, surprising Sheena. Naturally, he tries to cover it up, but it’s obvious he’s worried for Lloyd’s safety. Raine, who never really trusted Kratos to begin with, tells Lloyd after he betrays them that she sensed gentleness in the words that Kratos spoke to him. That gentleness may have been subtle, but it was noticeable. Being able to get through Kratos’ masquerade is proof of how great his compassion for Lloyd really is. And here Lloyd thought that Kratos was heartless!
Second to his feelings for Lloyd, Kratos’ anger is the next emotion that flares up occasionally. He is extremely furious with Kvar for creating the situation in which he was forced to kill Anna. So much so, he begins to not act like himself and the others notice rather quickly. While the group is trying to reach Kvar in his human ranch, it is easy to see Kratos’ irritation because he starts acting like Lloyd.
LLOYD: Man, why do these ranches have so many weird systems?Seeing Kratos being so agitated to the point where he stops being logical and the voice of reason is definitely evidence of his anger. Raine yells at them both to settle down and comments that Kratos is acting strange, because that is not like him at all. She was actually concerned that Kratos may do something rash. His blood was probably boiling with rage knowing that the man that ruined everything for him was moments away. Regardless of the reason, as that is for another page, the point is that he couldn’t contain his anger. Kratos is all about concealing his emotions and holding them inside, but this intense emotion would not stay down. Another time after there was mention of something relating to Anna, Kratos apparently gets a scary look on his face because Colette, Raine and Genis comment. They ask him if there’s something wrong, which he denies, but they keep pressing it. Kratos then snaps and yells, “I’m not angry!” He barely speaks most of the time, much less raises his voice. Despite being overly calm and apathetic, Kratos has a sea of raging anger inside of him that only needs a little provoking to lash out.
KRATOS: It feels like this one has even more annoying ones than the others.
RAINE: It’s to prevent intruders. It’s only natural that it’s designed to prevent easy access.
LLOYD: But we don’t have time to be goofing around here!
KRATOS: True. If we could simply fight our way through…
Lastly, though less obvious in the game, is the heavy amount of guilt that Kratos is carrying with him. He makes numerous comments that you may not piece together unless you were told about the guilt ahead of time, such as when he tells Lloyd how he made a terrible mistake. But putting words aside for a moment, what really hit me about how heavy the guilt he carried was his expressions in the Tales of Symphonia OVA. His hair is often covering both of his eyes, which helps convey some of his feelings, but I’m not quite sure what actually does it. Just watching the opening sequence of the first OVA made my heart clench like I could feel the guilt racking up on my shoulders and how pointless life was to him before he met Lloyd again. Kratos’ conversation with Kate in Tales of Fandom 2 also gives more insight to just how badly Kratos feels. He couldn’t save Mithos from despair, he was partially responsible for thousands of massacres, he killed the woman he loved, he lost his son, he betrayed his son and took a half-hearted stance for the longest time until he reached a conclusion that his own son showed him and even tried to face all of that guilt by fighting his own son and having Lloyd kill him. He feels absolutely terrible about himself, calling his story “pathetic.” He feels like a failure as a father. Kratos’ guilt makes him build a wall around his heart because he can’t bear it. He even tries to run away from it as well as turn a blind eye to everything he’s done.
Which brings me to the next part of analyzing Kratos’ personality…his cowardice and fatalistic approach to life.