Examination of Godot
Special thanks to Black Charizard, Porygon64, and PKMario.
If we had to pick a word to describe the characters in Phoenix Wright’s universe, it would probably be “human”. There’s no mighty heroes nor giant villains in PW; every single character has its own and unique way of thinking and acting, everybody has weaknesses and strong points, firm convictions and doubts, ups and downs. Behind every action you can see them feeling, thinking and finally reacting on a way that can go from killing an innocent victim to confessing a non-existent crime; this is one of the most brilliant aspects on the series, which makes Phoenix Wright different from the vast majority of games in the market. And the goal of this essay is to analyse one of –in our humble opinion- the most human characters in the series: the coffee-lover prosecutor Godot.
As stated before, in each one of the Phoenix Wright games the plot relies heavily on the characters’ ways of thinking. Every action is the result of an implied mental process, which justifies it in the eyes of the character who does it. That process can also work in a double way; we can actually be able to determine how a character thinks by analysing his actions and behaviour through the game.
On Godot’s particular case, where does this lead us to? The most important case here is 3-4 (“Turnabout beginnings”) since in it we get to see a glance of Godot’s personality before his “death” when he still calls himself Diego Armando; therefore, we are able to compare the two personalities, Godot’s and Diego’s, and determine which facts about him are innate, and which ones appeared only after his “death” and the subsequent shock (consequence of the physical pain and sequels, and also Mia’s death and the circumstances surrounding it).
What do we see if we look at the Diego of 3-4? First of all, he’s arrogant and self-confident, and treats everyone with a clear disdain (partially explained since everyone on court, except him, is a rookie) This is more blatant in the way he treats Mia; he address her as “kitty” and uses a generally condescending tone in his speeches.
That leads us to one of the most polemic facts about him; at the same time, here lies the key to explaining some of his posterior behaviour: Diego has probably some sexist traits in his way of thinking. This pretty much explains his reaction after finding out that Mia was killed: even if he’s denying the “truth” –as we’ll see later- he blames Phoenix for not protecting Mia. Note that he, in fact, does not blame Maya for the same subject even if she was at the crime scene and was initially accused of killing her sister; he gives Phoenix the role of defending Mia, therefore assuming that she’s not able to protect herself. There is a possible explanation for this: the attacker was actually a man and probably stronger than Mia, so Godot could have simply thought that only another man could have had enough strength to stop Redd from killing her. Both options have the same result; we’ll see it on detail later.
But that’s not the only fact about Godot we can explain from 3-4. We also get to see that Diego is really attached to his own rules (as Godot’s catchphrase stats, “That’s one of my rules”). He has a really strong set of morals, and he follows them even if he internally knows he’s wrong. Diego –and Godot- lives by and for rules. There is a clear example on 3-4: he barely shows any emotions on court, and he controls himself up to the point of accidentally breaking his coffee cup by squeezing it when he sees Mia crying. (On a side note, when someone is containing a lot of energy it tends to go out through the hands; that’s why sometimes, in inexperienced theatre actors, the hands and arms might look tense when the body, apparently, is not). Even at the end, when he breaks down, he has not thrown away his rules; after all, a lawyer can only cry when it’s all over.
All the facts we stated before can also be observed when we see him as Godot. But at this point, the past events have operated some deep changes in him; he was poisoned and in a coma for several years, and woke up with visible effects –he’s blind, and his nervous system has been damaged- just to discover that the person he most cared about, Mia, is long dead. It’s not hard to see the impact all those facts have over him; Godot is almost destroyed, both physically and emotionally. The pain caused from Mia’s death causes him to react in a self-destructive way, taking all the blame of the murder - in fact, he barely blames Redd for the crime, despite being the actual murderer. In his mind, it was his duty to protect Mia – but he failed. An external viewer can easily see the flaws of this reasoning, since it wasn’t Diego’s fault that he got poisoned, but from his point of view Godot is not able to see this from an impartial perspective.
This leads us to a person who has lost almost everything he had in life: he’s physically ill, emotionally damaged – and he thinks everything is his fault. When Godot finally reacts, he picks the wrong path; since he’s not able to deal with his own conscience, he enters on denial – he’ll only realise his mistake at the very end of 3-5. The only way he can survive is by convincing himself of his own innocence; he has to blame someone else, someone who was around Mia, to be finally free of his own internal demons. This person happens to be Phoenix. (Note the similarities between Godot’s situation and Edgeworth’s one on DL-6: both are convinced of their guilt on the death of a loved one. Edgeworth chooses to think Yogi was the killer and suppress his own memories; Godot does almost the same thing, but puts the blame on Phoenix)
From this point, Godot’s bitterness is not directed to himself. Having marked Phoenix as being responsible not only for Mia’s death, but also for hiding and destroying the crucial proof against the woman who poisoned him, now he lives for vengeance. He has one objective: defeating Phoenix in any way possible.
He joins the prosecutor’s office and starts being the mysterious, coffee-lover prosecutor Phoenix faces on 3-2 and 3-3. Godot retains most of his old personality; he does not openly show his hate for Phoenix, instead he treats him with disdain, not even bothering to pronounce his name correctly – while Mia’s nickname was somewhat affectionate, Phoenix’s only shows contempt.
Then 3-5 starts, and a fast succession of events leads to the climax of the story. Accidentally, Godot overhears Morgan Fey’s plan to kill Maya; he goes to Kurain and manages to find the letter before Pearl does. Then –inexplicably- he leaves it where he found it, allowing Pearl to carry out the plot. This action can be explained in two different ways: either Godot wanted Maya to be in danger, so he could save her and “redeem” himself; or he simply did not reason at this point, just saw the plan and the possibility of saving Maya before Phoenix does, and started planning the counter-attack without realising that he could have chosen an easier way. Either way, he contacts Misty Fey, and they set together a plan to stop Dahlia from killing Maya.
Needless to say, things end up really bad. When Godot faces Misty, who was at this moment summoning Dahlia, he’s facing the only person he hates even more than Phoenix. He’s facing the girl who destroyed his entire life, and he cannot get revenge on her, since she’s already dead. That’s too much for Godot’s mind; he loses control (later, he would say he does not know what was on his mind at this moment) and, even knowing the person in front of him is not Dahlia, he stabs her to death.
Godot has now crossed the line; he’s no longer only a broken man, but also a killer. Realising this, he starts to cover up his crime; he would later explain it was all for Maya’s sake. It’s hard to determine what his actual motivation at this point was, but obviously his cover-up is protecting himself rather than Maya. He clears the zone, and sends the body to the other side of the bridge with Iris’s help. But the burnt bridge has trapped him on the wrong side, and he can’t do anything to escape; the only option is to wait on there until the bridge is repaired.
The first part of 3-5 does not involve Godot on any way. With Edgeworth facing Franziska in one of the most memorable trials of the game, Godot’s alibi seems to work well. On the second day, however, the bridge has been finally fixed but everyone is around looking for Maya and Pearl; there’s no way Godot could go out without being noticed, so after talking with Pearl (apart from comforting her, this is a good way to create a witness to testify he wasn’t there during the crime, since Pearl never saw him) he chooses to say he just arrived at the place to carry on some investigation on his own.
When he meets Phoenix, his attitude towards him has changed; we can speculate he has now realised what he did and feels like he has nothing left to lose, or simply that he thinks Phoenix is now in a delicate situation (since everyone thinks Maya is trapped into the cave and maybe even dead) and wants to take advantage of it. Anyway, he’s now openly hostile, and accuses Phoenix of not being able to take care of Maya – just as he did with Mia. There are no subtleties this time; Godot wants Phoenix to break down and experience the pain and helplessness he had felt before. But Phoenix does not give up; he still thinks they can save Maya, and keeps working on it.
The last day of trial is probably the most intense of all the game. With Godot at the prosecution – since Franziska is helping with the locks on the cavern – and Phoenix back on the defence’s bench, there’s only one option – to uncover the truth, at any price. The trial begins with Iris’s cross-examination; strangely, she does not seem the same as always, and her testimony is plagued with contradictions – the explanation is simple, she’s actually Dahlia.
If during the first part of the trial Godot is fighting against Phoenix as usual, it’s interesting to see what happens when Iris reveals himself as Dahlia. While Godot’s expression does not change (let’s take into account he’s facing the sprit of the woman who poisoned him!) we now see how he acts a bit differently; for example, he helps Phoenix when Dahlia says Maya committed suicide, by pointing out that this could not be the truth when Phoenix already thinks it is. Godot, who knew the truth from the first moment, has nothing to gain with Maya being alive (remember, he wanted Phoenix to feel guilty for her) but he cannot let Dahlia’s spirit get away with this. Right now, he has the opportunity to finally punish her, even if the punishment is only the knowledge that she has –again- failed.
Mia’s apparition, channelled by Pearl, puts the final nail on Dahlia’s coffin. Now we get to see how this entire case pivots around Mia: apart from Godot’s motives, Dahlia wanted to get revenge on her by killing Maya; revenge for having sent her to the death corridor for Doug’s death, and, more importantly, for Diego’s one too! Mia remarks how Dahlia keeps failing over and over again, and promises to never let her win, alive or dead. After that scene, Dahlia lefts Maya’s body and she fells to the ground.
The judge is prepared to hand a veredict, and then, something strange happens: Godot objects, saying they still don’t know who the real killer was, and wants to call Maya to the witness stand. There’s no apparently point to this action, since the killer was, in fact, Godot. He could have left the trial end and go away without getting involved, but strangely, he chooses not to do so. It has been said that at this point, Godot wants to be found guilty of Misty Fey’s killing, even if that means, in fact, the death penalty. He engages himself on a battle he can only lose. Why? Maybe he actually wanted to die so he could meet Mia again, or maybe he was challenging Phoenix to go ahead as Mia did with Dahlia, we don’t know.
Maya’s testimony is filled with flaws. She’s covering Godot; she knows what he did, and how he manipulated the crime scene to avoid her (or himself?) from being suspicious. But he couldn’t see the bloody letters on the lantern nor the blood on the ground, so he left a lot of traces.
Godot’s attitude starts to crack, but he does not give up by now. He admits knowing Morgan Fey’s plan, and explains his connection to the case from Dahlia’s trial to Mia’s death. But here he stops; he still denies the fact that he killed Misty Fey. Now Godot has taken the trail to a personal ground by admitting he hates Phoenix, and wants him to uncover the truth by himself.
But Maya’s efforts are in vain. By now, Phoenix knows everything that happened at Hazakura temple, and he can prove it. Godot’s cornered; it’s only a matter of time for him to be convicted. As Phoenix shows the last piece of evidence –Godot’s own portrait- Godot sees Mia –not the Mia we know, but the young one he loved- behind Phoenix, pointing to him. That’s the end. Godot breaks down.
He admits his guilt and explains the whole situation. Note that he’s not only giving up to the court; he also gives up to himself by recognising he –and not Phoenix- was the one who was wrong, that he chased a fantasy all the time just to avoid the hard, painful truth.
Now it’s the first time he addresses Phoenix as an equal. Having reached the truth, he admires him; Phoenix did not only choose to face the truth, but also followed Mia’s steps and became what she wanted him to be: a defence attorney.
Godot throws out his fake identity; from now on, he’s Diego Armando again, back from the dead, finally free of his own internal demons. When Maya assures she believed on him all the time, Godot starts bleeding. He’s crying. Pain, desperation… or relief? We don’t know. But as he states again, a lawyer can only cry when it’s all over.
And so ends Godot’s story. We don’t know what happens to him after the trial. But we can be sure he dies, on one way or another, since he’s depicted on the credits screen with Mia and Misty Fey on the upper half of Larry’s picture. After the trial, Phoenix complains about not having been able to save Godot too, but Mia assures him he did; there was no other way on which Godot’s story could have ended.
As we have seen, Godot is such a complex character that he does not fit on the usual categories of “Hero” or “Villain”. Some people claim he’s a great guy who fought until the end for the woman he loved; for others, he’s just an arrogant idiot who can’t stand the truth. This only fact is enough to prove that he cannot be described with a single word, except, probably, human.
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