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Character Analysis Teddy Daniels in Shutter Island

Teddy Daniels is the main subject of the 2010 film, “Shutter Island.” As one of the most unique films of the decade thus far, “Shutter Island” boasts mysteriousness, a flawless soundtrack and a flawless twist ending. It is no secret as to why the movie from Martin Scorsese was so well received. The story of Teddy Daniels is not one for the faint of hearted, or those with closed minds. Instead, only those with the willingness to learn should study the character portrayed to perfection by Leonardo DiCaprio. The story of Teddy Daniels begins in the opening of the film and progresses right to the very end. Before long, viewers realize that the island itself isn’t the subject; it is Teddy.

“Shutter Island” is a movie that is not only dedicated to delivering flawless scenery and a storyline about a mental institution locked away with a deep, dark secret away from civilization, but instead, the majority of  the film is actually a character study with Teddy Daniels as the main subject. Teddy Daniels has a troubled past that is reflected in flash backs and dream sequences. Teddy Daniels is now a U.S Marshall, but prior to that, he was a veteran of war, where he saw some of the most brutally horrific and mind-scarring scenes imaginable, the kind of things that could poison a man’s mind and leave him haunted by them for life.

Teddy is also a “retired alcoholic” as one of the doctor’s at Ashecliffe Hospital reveals stating that it is plainly obvious that he used to drink. The subject of alcoholism is later elaborated on in a flashback scene where his late wife asks him why he drinks. It appears that Teddy is not only haunted by the toils of war or his alcoholism, but also by the fact that a man who set fire to his home killed his wife and children. In short, Teddy’s life has been fuelled by mentally scarring events, that somehow lead him to Ashecliffe Hospital, in what he believes to be “fate” when he learns that the man who killed his family is actually a patient at the hospital; Andrew Laediss.

Before long, Teddy soon learns of the corruption on the island. Peculiar experiments are being carried out. These are later revealed to be lobotomies, which are used in order to settle the criminally insane for good. When Teddy uncovers the “truth”, he tries to leave the island to no avail. This is when the twist starts to become evident.

Teddy Daniels is not a U.S marshal at all, he is actually a patient at Ashecliffe Hospital, and he has been for several years. Mentally scarred by the issues in his life, which are revealed not only to be the toils of war, but also the fact that his wife also went insane and drowned their children, it was Daniels, actually revealed to be called Andrew Laediss, who killed his wife out of revenge. Throughout the film, Teddy suffers headaches. These headaches are actually from his withdrawals from his medication which he suffers when he creates his alternate personality and gives everyone “roles to play,” something that is also referenced earlier on in the film.

Teddy Daniels is criminally insane and he is permanently haunted by his past. He creates personalities for everyone at the hospital and he goes about his life pretending he is someone else as a method of “escapism” from reality. His story is incredible and the truth is actually hinted at throughout the film which will leave viewers simply needing to watch the film a second time because the hints are impossible to ignore once the twist is revealed. Needless to say. Leonardo DiCaprio plays the character to perfection and Teddy Daniels, still to this day, is undeniably one of the most in-depth, detailed and most developed film characters of the 2010 decade thus far.