Caretaker Chara and their love for monsters
butterflygon submitted: Heya! So… after seeing people questioning Chara’s care for monsterkind, I wanted to try and make an analysis of my own.
Okay, for starters, let’s look at all the interactions Chara has had with the rest of the cast. So far, Chara has interacted with, in order of story appearance: Frisk, Asriel, the Riverperson, Dogamy and Dogaressa, one unnamed background monster on the way to the castle, Asgore and Toriel, Gaster, Thess and Sessi, and Officer Fien. Keep in mind that all these are characters that Chara has interacted with directly, so let’s break ‘em down:
Frisk- It’s very darn obvious by now that Chara and Frisk don’t like each other in the slightest because the former wants the latter dead, and it certainly doesn’t help that Frisk is a human and Chara absolutely hates humans. However, it’s interesting to note that when Frisk and Chara first met, Chara was very polite, almost kindly, towards Frisk, and didn’t immediately act with hostility as soon as they saw the kid, even though as far as Chara knew, it would have probably been perfectly safe to attack Frisk right then and there; there were no monsters nearby to witness the prince going stab crazy on a helpless child, and yet, Chara chose to act as a kindly guide and have the puzzles of the Ruins do the dirty work for them. It wasn’t until Frisk and Chara reached the end of the Ruins that Chara decided to finally drop the act and go for the direct approach, and even then Chara still offered Frisk some pie as a reward and talked a little with them before the stabbing occurred. I think this is important to consider because it indicates that Chara is perfectly capable of acting nice and friendly even towards people that they despise, although Chara will still reveal their true feelings eventually.
Asriel- Chara’s interactions with Asriel are probably the most enigmatic and ambiguous in the story: there’s plenty of evidence that Chara does love for Asriel, and Asriel loves Chara back. I mean, the two have known each other since they were young teens, and they have been married for a little over a decade. And it should be noted that Chara has shown genuine concern for Asriel’s wellbeing, such as when they warned Asriel to not get too close to Frisk (monsters are physically weaker than humans, and Frisk had already proven that they aren’t shy of defending themselves with physical force if it is needed, so Chara had a very good reason to be worried). Chara also seemed to be sad at having to kill Frisk in front of their husband, whom Chara knows is very sensitive, even telling him not to look. Heck, Asriel is even able to convince Chara not to kill Frisk for the time being, so in a way he could be considered Chara’s moral compass. Granted, it is made clear that Frisk’s execution was merely postponed, not cancelled, which is probably what facilitated Chara agreeing to imprison Frisk. But on the other hand, several people have already noticed several subtle but concerning red flags in the way Chara behaves towards Asriel: Chara seems to be somewhat controlling of Asriel, giving the latter little to no say in most things, and sometimes the way Chara talks to Asriel seems less like they’re addressing a friend/spouse and equal and more like they’re talking to a subordinate, and there have been a couple of times where Chara seemingly threatened Asriel. The first time was at the prison, when Asriel hit his head on the doorframe and Chara used this as an excuse for him to stay outside, but when Asriel tried to refuse Chara glared at him with a very forced smile that clearly startled Asriel into complying. The second time is at Asgore and Toriel’s home, where Chara accidentally reveals too much about their plan; Asriel tries to prevent Chara from storming out of the house and wants them to explain themself, but Chara just screams at him to get out of the way, which Asriel promptly does. Finally, we have the interaction in Memory: Bonds, where two monsters refer to Chara and Asriel’s bond as a bond of siblings, something that Chara seems to take a lot of offense to, leading them to accidentally hurt Asriel’s feelings, causing him to cry and try to leave. What’s interesting is that Chara’s reaction to seeing Asriel in this state is not one of concern, but of frustration: Chara doesn’t see how their words could have possibly hurt their best friend. Chara does reassure and comfort Asriel, but doesn’t apologize for hurting his feelings, and instead makes an appeal to their status as Asriel’s best friend. I mean, yes, Chara didn’t intend to make Asriel feel bad, but they could have said something like “Sorry Asriel, that’s not what I meant when I said you are nothing like my brother, I should have been clearer”. This is all very subtle, but it shows signs of possible emotional abuse and manipulation from Chara to Asriel, as the way Chara behaves is very reminiscent of how emotionally abusive partners behave in real life. Now, this doesn’t mean that Chara’s love for Asriel isn’t genuine; after all, it’s not uncommon for abusive romantic partners to justify their own behavior towards their loved ones and even themselves (i.e. saying things like “it’s not that big a deal” or “I only do this because I care about you”). And we should also keep in mind that Chara’s past on the surface, which obviously played a huge role in shaping Chara’s current persona, is still largely a mystery, so for all we know the reason Chara behaves the way they do is because they genuinely don’t realize that the way they treat Asriel is wrong.
The Riverperson- Chara only talked to the Riverperson to get a ride to the New Home Prison, and giving rides to people is literally Riverperson’s job. There’s really nothing of significance here.
Dogamy and Dogaressa- These two are the guards that Asriel called to prepare Frisk’s prison cell. And Interlude: Patience also shows that Chara called them to pick up a sleepy Asriel and escort him home. On both occasions, Chara was reasonably polite towards them, and seems to find them reliable.
Unnamed Background Monster- It’s very brief, but in page 63, when Chara and Asriel are on the way to the castle, the first panel shows Chara waving to a black, octopuslike one-eyed monster, who is also waving. Presumably, the monster is the one who waved first and Chara simply returned the greeting. There’s not much else to say here, really, but I wanted to cover all the bases. It does show that the monsters do hold Chara in high esteem.
Asgore and Toriel- the first time we see Chara interact with the king and queen of the Underground is during Interlude: Patience, at the Old Home Hospital. Toriel and Asgore are concerned for Ribbon Kid’s safety and hope to save the child’s life, Toriel asks Chara for help, but of course Chara knows nothing about medicine, so it’s not like they could do much even if they wanted to. But then Chara asks about Ribbon Kid’s soul, which visibly makes everyone in the room uncomfortable, and Chara has a small argument with Toriel due to both having different priorities; Toriel is more concerned about saving Ribbon Kid’s life, while Chara only cares about their soul. Asgore tries to put Chara’s mind at ease by telling them that a plan has already been made, but Chara continues trying to press the discussion further, which leads to a harsh reprimand from Toriel. At this point the interaction between Chara and the monarchs seems very much like that of a child with their guardians, with the scenario here being that of parents trying to deal with a stubborn and somewhat insensitive child. Flash forward 21-ish years later and we see that Chara is nervous about having to tell Asgore and Toriel about Frisk, fearing that “their emotions will dominate their senses”, immediately followed by Chara offhandedly calling Toriel “stubborn”. When the princes finally arrive to the castle it is Chara who tells the news of the captive human, though the way they reveal this is what is interesting: it seemed that Asriel was going to deliver this news first, but Chara stops him and asks for ice and a first aid kit, and then reveals the wound Frisk inflicted on them. Next Chara recounts how they met Frisk, but they twist or leave out numerous details to make it seem like Frisk was a deliberately malicious intruder who attacked Chara unprovoked instead of a confused and scared kid who only attacked Chara in an act of self-defense. This is another example of Chara being manipulative, and in addition an example of Chara being insincere. Chara probably does care about Toriel and Asgore, but the events of chapter 3 prove that Chara isn’t above lying to them.
Gaster- The first and last time we saw Gaster was in Interlude: Patience. It was from him that Chara learned what Asgore and Toriel’s plan for Ribbon Kid’s soul was. Gaster also offered Chara to assist him, to which Chara agreed to after brief hesitation. But what is more interesting is what happened after Gaster’s accident: the lab is destroyed, Gaster is missing, and the one human soul the monsters had is also gone forever. Chara is notably less concerned about Gaster’s wellbeing than they are about the fact that Ribbon Kid’s soul is gone, heck, Chara even calls Gaster a failure for losing the soul. And later, Chara saves right before talking to Asriel, and many have noted that that save looked very deliberate, and an indication that by this point in time, Chara is aware of their determination and what it can do. It’s not confirmed yet, but if that is indeed the case, then it’s extremely worrying that Chara would chose not to save Gaster (even if only for the sake of also saving the human soul) despite having the power to do so.
Thess and Sessi (god I hope I’m spelling these correctly…)- These two did a pretty good job of ticking Chara off; their innocent comment about Chara and Asriel being like siblings accidentally offended Chara, which earned them an angry spiel, leading the two to quietly leave. Chara was rude to these gals, but that’s most likely just because they accidentally pushed the wrong button, so to speak.
Officer Fien- A very quick interaction, occurring at the start of Interlude: Power. The good officer tries to stop Chara and Asriel from entering a quarantined area, but Chara simply shows her their badge and carries on, even though she still warned them that it wasn’t safe.
And that just about covers it. These are all the interactions Chara has had as of this writing. So, what can we gather from all these? Well, as you can see, most of Chara’s interactions with other characters have some degree of negativity to them. Frisk’s case is self-evident, but even Chara’s behavior towards monsters is kinda worrying: they manipulate towards Asriel and his parents, they get outraged at Thess and Sessi’s comments, and they didn’t even attempt to save Gaster despite having the ability to do so. Now, what is interesting about the negative interactions with the monsters is that almost all of them involve humans to some degree: Chara tries to manipulate Asgore and Toriel, but it’s for the purpose of getting Frisk executed; they get outraged at Thess and Sessi’s comments, but it’s implied that it’s because Chara doesn’t see sibling relationships as positive, which could be a hint of what happened to them on the surface that lead them to become a misanthrope; and finally we have poor Doctor Gaster, who was done in by his own experiments and took a soul with him, and whom Chara does not even seem to contemplate saving, presumably because they don’t want to risk Gaster being a “failure” again.
Based on this, my conclusion is that Chara probably does care about monsters and has an unhealthy way of showing it. But beyond that, it seems that Chara could very well care less about monsters than they do about hurting humans. Chara has some really messed up priorities if that’s the case.
Well, I hope you enjoyed this analysis, and sorry for the wall of text!