Villain protagonists are no strangers to otakus, from Itachi Uchiha to Lelouch there’s always been a debate on their true nature. Light Yagami is no different. The debate whether Light is a sociopath or a maniac who changed with power is hot even to this day. Hundreds and thousands of debates arise on this very topic on the interent. A single question with multiple answers, everything comes down to a single thing “perspective”
Was Light Yagami actually evil?”
Before you come up with weird conclusions, let’s analyse Light’s behavior and circumstances.
#1 Light was a good guy. Death Note made him evil.
Light Yagami was tall, popular and a school topper. He had everything except excitement in his life. When he first used Death Note, what he enjoyed the most wasn’t the killing, it was the anonymity that came with it. The ability to control things on your fingers without anyone having a clue. If he had received a superpower with the ability to knock anyone down, he would perhaps use it in a different way.
When Socrates told his students, people are generally good even without enforcement, Glaucon one of the elite aruged with the following tale. He told of a farmer named Gyges, who stumbled upon a ring in a corpse. When Gyges put on the ring, he found that it had super powers. It made him invisible. With invisibility comes freedom, and with no one to monitor his actions he went on to do woeful things- seduce the queen, kill the king, stealing gold and so on.
Glaucon’s action posed a serious question-
“Can any man resist the temptation of evil if he knew that there was no one watching him?”
Did the Death Note make Light evil?
Yes, it did! Everything changed when he received the Death Note.The ropes which kept him human to this day, were set free and he wasn’t bound by rules nor anyone’s eyes. This changed Light Yagami.
#2 Light was a Sociopath
One of things people buy into often is stereotypes. There is a difference between being called a sociopath and a real sociopath. Most sociopaths are generally good analysts.
One of the things most people say is, it’s okay to kill criminals. If I were to look at things from the inmate’s point of view, then there are reasons for their criminal behavior. It was maybe the society that turned into one. Just like how Light changed with the Death Note. Economically speaking, it costs atleast $50,000/yr on an average to keep a single inmate in jail. He did the right thing be removing them off the radar, improving the economic condition of the world.
But, everything has a limit!!
He crossed the line, when he killed his father. Killing strangers is one thing, but sacrificing your family that too his father, just to protect his interests. That definitely makes him an evil psychopath.
Was Light a sociopath? yes, as he crossed the line after killing his family.
#3 The interference of L changed Light!
At the start of the series, it was just Light against criminals. But, things changed with the arrival of L. He managed to track him down in a week, only to be bound by lack of evidence. Due to this, a battle ensured between both of them and this changed it all. In the start Light’s plan was to remove all the evil, but now he had focus all his attention on L as a single mistake would cost him dearly. To add to the woes, he was constantly monitored, leaving him almost no openings to do things which he initially planned out to do.
The interference of L definitely was the key to Light turning into a psychopath. With L concentrating all his energy on him, he didn’t have a moment to look the other way.
Was Light evil? I’ll let you decide. All I can say is this, Light Yagami was a victim of the circumstances and power. He started off with good intentions only to be bound by evil.