EvolutionI used to be under the impression that Kratos was almost a completely static character. I now realize, however, that he definitely is a dynamic character. His evolution is not as drastic and noticeable as characters like Sheena, but it is there and it is important.
The most obvious change he undergoes is his will to live. For a good portion of the story in Tales of Symphonia Kratos implies that he is “tired” of living. (I don’t really blame him though, 4028 years is a long time to live!) When Colette has a hard time sleeping, Kratos suggests that she count the stars, but a human life is far too short to count them all. The way he said that seems to me that he was implying he has had the time to count them all, and using the amount of stars in the sky makes me feel like he’s simply tired of it all. When Kratos loses to Lloyd and releases Origin’s seal, it is apparent that he intends to die. Yuan saves him, and he simply says, “…looks like I failed to die once more.” He is tired of living with the pain and regret that he feels as though there is nothing that can be done to make up for it and just wishes for his death. Kratos thinks there are no second chances for people like him.
LLOYD: You stupid jerk! You can die at any time! But when you die, that’s the end!Thanks to Lloyd’s words, Kratos realizes that wanting to die was just taking the easy way out, and that he actually could do something if he chooses a path for himself. And even though he can’t erase Anna’s death or failing to save Mithos, he can live to atone for some of it. As long as he lives, he can have the second chance he believed didn’t exist for him before.
YUAN: You want him to live in eternal damnation?
LLOYD: Who said anything like that?! What will you accomplish by dying? Nothing! There is no meaning in dying!
KRATOS: …You’re…right. To think, I had to have my son teach me such an obvious lesson.
But Kratos knows better than anyone that simply coming to a realization and admitting it never got him anywhere. He had to make a decision and act on it by himself before he could truly claim to have changed. Luckily for his state of mind, his evolution is put to the test when he faces an illusion of Lloyd created by the Derris Emblem. It taunts him about the guilt that he still heavily feels, but the pain is even worse because it is “coming” from the person he wants to be accepted by the most. Kratos gets a little shaken up, but he knows that the Lloyd in front of him is simply the darkness that exists in his heart that tries to appease him for turning his back on reality by following Mithos. Once more, Kratos is faced with two decisions. He could either pledge his allegiance to Cruxis or keep his loyalty to his son. Ultimately, Kratos banishes the illusion because he knows Lloyd needs him and that he still has value as long as he can be of use to his son. Plus, he no longer wants to run from the sins of his past. He decides to work with Lloyd to atone for overlooking Mithos’ brutality, and falls back into the pit of darkness where it looks like there is a giant spider underneath.
This point not only shows that Kratos now believes he has some value and worth to someone, but also that he made a decision on his own. He even picked the choice that was harder! The “old” Kratos would have gone back to Mithos once more, just accepting the fact that he was a worthless traitor that his son would never want around after everything that had happened. But, Kratos was able to overcome the darkness in his heart and could now focus on what he must do instead of dwelling in the past. Kratos has evolved to not only recognize his mistakes and remember them to “take responsibility,” but to use them as motivation to keep living in order to atone for the past. Rather than wishing to die in order to run away from them, he now makes his own decisions. Kratos resolves to help Lloyd and the others defeat Mithos and then to remain with Derris-Kharlan as it travels into the depths to dispose of their supply of EXspheres into space. Though he ultimately cannot be by Lloyd’s side, Kratos decides to take action on his own and start walking his own path of redemption.