Anton Chigurh

The most compelling character in 'No Country For Old Men.'


In my opinion, Anton Chigurh is one of the most compelling characters in ’No Country For Old Men’ by Cormac McCarthy.

Chigurh seems to have no regard for human life. He chokes a police officer to death, and shoots a man in the forehead before the first chapteris done. Although, Chigurh still has principals he lives by. The moral-less man still has morals. Chigurh gives everyone a chance to win their life, a fair chance, by flipping a coin. A man running a gas station that Chigurh thought was a loser won his life, and the bounty hunter Carson Wells lost his. This is unusual, because Chigurh gave both a chance to live even thought he didn’t have any reason to keep either alive. Neither would have had any chance of making it out alive if Chigurh tried to kill them. Before Chigurh flipped the coin, Chigurh was in complete control over the outcome. I think that Chigurh does this, because its more interesting for him, because he’s so good at killing people. Adds a little more excitement to his day. Also, unlike many “good” people, Chigurh doesn’t lie. When Chigurh came to kill Carla Jean Moss, he thought he had to kill her because“gave his word.”

Interestingly, Anton Chigurh isn’t unnecessarily cruel. He killed all of his victims quickly. Besides the Mexicans Chigurh gunned down and shooting Moss in the leg, Chigurh’s victims were shot in the head. Thought, even when mowing down a crowd of people Chigurh cares moreabout efficiency than a desire to see others suffer. Chigurh killed people with a bolt gun, to be even more humane and efficient. I lack real lifeexperience with murders, but from most movies I’ve seen, crazy killers usually like to draw out the execution of their victims for dramatic reasons and liking seeing their victims scared.

Additionally, Chigurh doesn’t seem to be motivated by anything. Chigurh’s a professionally hired killer, hired to retrieve the briefcase full of money, but if he wanted the money he could have just kept it. Chigurh roams around killing people, for a hired killer as skilled as he is, Chigurh doesn’t live in luxury. Chigurh isn’t emotionally motivated either.
He’s only interested in killing, and feels no remorse for it. This is in opposition to Sheriff Bell, who is haunted by leaving his fellow troops to die. (Personally, if everyone else in his squadron died I doubt that Sheriff Bell could’ve done anything.) There are many opposites betweenSheriff Bell and Anton Chigurh and I found that neat. Chigurh’s family isn’t talked about, while Sheriff Bell relies a lot on his wife for moral support. The man at the gas station asks about where Chigurh is from, and Chigurh is extremely disrespected. Chigurh doesn’t talk abouthimself, his opinion, or his identity. Meanwhile a large part of the novel is Sheriff Bell giving his every thought and feeling.
Furthermore, they are different in how they worship. Chigurh isn’t a religious man, he believes in fate and chance. Sheriff Bell is a man of faith. That ties into how Sheriff Bell and Chigurh are seen as moral opposites, good and evil. Chigurh has no conscience whatsoever, he kills his victims with a cattle gun because its efficient. Chigurh sees his victim as no different from cattle.

Next to Chigurh’s interesting personality comes his addition to the plot. Besides being the main antagonist, Chigurh brings a lot to the plot. Leaving out the symbolism, themes and all that, Chigurh’s character wasn’t really necessary. The plot have been about Moss being chased by the Mexicans who I assume killed him, but Chigurh’s actions were a lot more compelling to read about. Especially all the scenes where he killed people.

In my opinion, with his interesting personality and addition to the plot, Anton Chigurh really made ’No Country For Old Men a great novel.

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