Eren Yeager is, arguably, the most important character in the whole Attack on Titan saga. Okay, who are we kidding – he is the most important in the franchise. Eren’s workings have shaped the story of Attack on Titan from the very beginning and what began with Eren’s wrath ended with Eren’s demise. In the meantime, we followed Eren’s rise and fall from hero to anti-hero. In this article, we are going to explain why Eren Yeager actually wanted to destroy the world in Attack on Titan.
Eren Yeager doesn’t actually want to destroy the world, although it seems like he does and he does destroy a large chunk of the population. Namely, as someone who swore to protect his friends and the Eldians, he realized that the humans living across the sea were a threat to the Eldians so he opted to destroy them, knowing it was the only way to save Paradis Island. Ultimately, it seems that he knew he would fail in the end, but his failure would result in the peoples being free, just as he wanted.
The rest of this article is going to further elaborate on Eren’s motivations throughout the Attack on Titan saga. You’re going to find out his exact motives, as well as how his plan worked in the end. Eren’s plan was the most important segment of the Attack on Titan saga and in the end, it deserves a lot of attention, which is why we have collected everything you need to know in one place.
Why Does Eren Want to Destroy the World? Fully Explained
In order to fully understand why Eren wanted to destroy the world, we have to go back to Episode 56, “The Basement”, and the big revelation that happened when Eren entered Grisha’s basement. Mikasa examines Grisha’s desk, noticing a small keyhole in a drawer. Eren tries his key and indeed the drawer can be opened. It’s empty, but Levi quickly finds a false floor with three notebooks under it.
They are spread out on the table and as Eren and Mikasa open the first book together, an image catches their eye. The group marvels at the picture, thinking it is a drawing but concludes that the picture is far too detailed to have been drawn by human hands. Mikasa discovers a note on the back explaining in Grisha’s handwriting that the picture is a photograph.
Further, he explains that he is from outside the Walls where mankind leads a fine life, and states that mankind was not exterminated. With the words that he hopes that the finder of the book is a like-minded person, the episode ends and the credits begin.
This revelation was a complete shock for Eren. As a child, he had sworn to kill the Titans thinking that he and his allies were the only remaining humans. He did not know the truth about their heritage nor the truth about the Titans, which is why this revelation was such a shock. He realized that humans were fighting humans and that his friends were threatened by – humans.
Eren then vowed to free his home from their true enemy: the rest of humanity that lives across the sea. He collected the Titans he had and then set out to destroy Marley, ultimately killing most of its people. At one point, Eren clashed with his half-brother Zeke, who wanted to destroy Paradis.
Now, this was a big conflict for Eren – on the one hand, he initially thought that he needed to protect the humans from the Titans, believing that the humans of Paradis were the only surviving humans. On the other hand, the realization that he was actually fighting the humans of Marley came as a shock so he actually betrayed his initial stance – he wasn’t fighting to defend humans anymore, he was now fighting to defend Paradis.
Seeing how the humans of Marley were now his enemies, Eren set out to destroy the world because he did not want to live in a world where humans wanted to eradicate other humans. Now, by this moment, Eren’s psyche was pretty unstable, which is a relevant factor, which explains why he opted for a completely destructive plan rather than something more rational.
For him, it was – kill or be killed – and since he wanted to protect the people he cared about, regardless of the paradox that had arisen in the meantime, he chose to kill.
Now, Eren’s plan ultimately failed. Some fans speculate that he knew that would happen and that he intentionally chose this path, knowing that it would ultimately reconcile Paradis and what remained of Marley. As the possessor of the Attack Titan, Eren could see into the future and there is a possibility that he had anticipated his end and that he knew his demise would result in peace, which is why he chose this option.
So, Eren didn’t exactly want to destroy the world. He did, but if he knew that his chaos would result in peace, he really didn’t, right? We’ll elaborate on some of these aspects in the paragraphs that follow.
Why Did Eren Betray Humanity?
Eren Yeager’s betrayal of humanity is a very controversial topic. Eren started off his story by swearing revenge against the Titans and vowing to protect the remains of humanity within the three Walls. And for years, he has done everything in his power to save the humans. Until one point, when he realized that the ones he’s saving the humans from are – also humans.
This made Eren’s position very, very difficult and he had to make the difficult choice of sticking by his friends on Paradis and betraying the humans of Marley. He didn’t actually betray humanity in the literal sense, he just betrayed a (larger) portion of humanity that he saw as the enemies of his allies, his friends, and his people.
Why Did Eren Become Evil?
Finally, the answer to this question is related to two things, but both of them stem from the mystery of Grisha’s basement. The realization that his whole life had been a lie left a toll on Eren. He was disappointed, he felt betrayed and he lost a precise goal in life, something he had had before that realization. This is the first reason.
The second reason is related to Eren’s fragile psyche, which had been fracturing for a while. Faced with all the truths and the inevitable choices, Eren’s psyche ultimately fractured completely and that is the second reason because of which he turned evil.
Does Eren Want to Be Stopped?
This is a theory that we have discussed above and this is a theory that might be correct, although we don’t have any official confirmation of that fact and since the manga is over, we will never get it. Namely, the theory relies on the fact that Eren Yeager used the Attacking Titan’s abilities to see the future and saw his demise. How far into the future the Attack Titan can see is a mystery but it is a possibility that Eren saw the future that happened.
In that aspect, Eren knew the consequences of his actions. He knew that letting Zeke go through with his plan would result in a complete catastrophe with his friends and allies being killed, so he knew he had to stop Zeke regardless of the casualties. He also knew that if he were to live, people would regard him as a leader and that he would ultimately live for a long time, meaning that his successor would be uncertain, as he could not predict how different characters would react.
This is why he had to turn himself into a villain and allow Mikasa to kill him, since that was the only way to achieve peace. According to this unconfirmed theory, Eren ultimately wanted to be stopped since that would serve a greater purpose.
Will Eren Succeed in Destroying the World?
We won’t spoil much ahead of the Season 4 finale, but Eren ultimately fails in his attempt. Now, we have already discussed the possibility that it was all pre-planned, as Eren might have known how he would end up due to the abilities of the Attacking Titan, but that was never actually confirmed in the manga.
Be that as it may, his plan ultimately failed, but only if we take it as a fact that his plan was to destroy the world. If we take it as a fact that Eren actually just wanted peace, then his plan ultimately succeeded, albeit with a lot of casualties.