Cloud’s Reaction to Aerith’s Death

Some people claim that Cloud shows little or no grief at the time of Aerith’s death. The symptoms of grief as given at a website which cites an article on grief by the American Medical Association will be used to examine whether or not Cloud actually showed grief at the time of her death.

* Text in this color is from the article by the American Medical Association, which is reprinted at the website given below.

* Text in white is discussion or observations by this author on whether Cloud demonstrated that symptom of grief when Aerith died.

 Symptoms of Grief

from: {http://www.zarcrom.com/users/alzheimers/e7b.html}

A person may experience each of the symptoms listed below or only a few. These symptoms do not necessarily occur in any particular order and will vary according to the individual and the nature of the death. Certain phases of grief could be worked through in a matter of hours, days or years. It is said that the grief process will take anywhere from 2 – 5 years, but a time limit can’t or shouldn’t be put on it. Grief is deeply personal and everyone experiences an occurrence in different ways.

We’ve established now that there are many symptoms of grief, that a person in grief can show some OR all of the following symptoms, that it is unique to each individual, that some symptoms may be worked through in a matter of hours, and that no time limit should be placed on it. Keep that in mind while we evaluate Cloud’s reactions. Now let’s look at the various symptoms of grief as described in an article by the American Medical Association, and see which symptoms were exhibited by Cloud during the Death Scene.

What Will I Experience?

SHOCK AND DENIAL
The first actual announcement that a death has occurred is often shocking. The impact of the tragedy may take a few minutes to a few weeks to be realized. The unreality of the death may even reoccur occasionally in the future.

Shock is exhibited by Cloud:
Cloud “…Aerith.”

(He gently shakes her body.)

Cloud “This can’t be real!”

Denial is exhibited by Cloud:
Cloud “…Aerith.”

(He gently shakes her body.)

Cloud “This can’t be real!”

EMOTIONAL RELEASE
Crying is a normal reaction to a death. Psychiatrists often emphasize it as a necessity to release tensions and feelings rather than lock them inside. The opportunity to express grief at the funeral with family and friends permits an emotional release, although the grief process takes longer.

Cloud exhibits emotional release:
Cloud “What is this pain?”

(He trembles.)

Cloud “My fingers are tingling. My mouth is dry. My eyes are burning!”

Although it is not specified in the dialogue, Cloud’s shoulders heave as though he is crying while holding her body close to him. However, those who do not believe Cloud is crying should remember that the initial description of symptoms said, “A person may experience each of the symptoms listed below or only a few. These symptoms do not necessarily occur in any particular order and will vary according to the individual and the nature of the death.”
LONELINESS
A feeling of emptiness may occur after the funeral as friends must return to their own activities. Therefore, the feelings of loneliness, isolation and depression become more intense. The thought that no one has ever suffered as much may exist. For some people the lonely feeling leaves suddenly. For others, it may take months to move to the next phase of grief.
Cloud exhibits loneliness/loss:
Cloud “What about us…… what are WE supposed to do?”
(He gently rests her on the floor.)
PAIN
Anxiety and loneliness can create emotional pain. This strain of grief can even cause physical distress. If the physical signs continue for a lengthy period of time, it is possible a healthy adjustment has not occurred.

Cloud exhibits pain:
(He slowly turns his head back to Aerith’s sleeping face.)
Cloud “Aerith is gone. Aerith will no longer talk, no longer laugh, cry…… or get angry……”
(He holds her body closer to his and bows his head forward.)
Cloud “What is this pain?”
(He trembles.)
Cloud “My fingers are tingling. My mouth is dry. My eyes are burning!”
PANIC
It may become difficult to concentrate on anything because of constant memories of the deceased. In fact, the continual preoccupation with the loss may cause a person to worry about his own stability. He may fear losing control. Not knowing what to do and not understanding what is happening can result in panic.

In one of the spiral shaped houses in the Forgotten City after the Death Scene, Cloud shows his fear of losing control:
Cloud “…There is a part of me that I don’t understand. That part that made me give the Black Materia to Sephiroth.” ‘
(He cringes away from… something)
Cloud “If you hadn’t stopped me, Aerith might’ve been… …There’s something inside of me. A person who is not really me.”
(He turns back and shakes his head.)
Cloud “That’s why I should quit this journey. Before I do something terrible.”

Cloud “…I have a favor to ask of you. Will you all come with me?”
(He looks up and shakes his head.)
Cloud “…to save me from doing something terrible.”
GUILT
Frequently survivors recall things that could have been done for the person who died. This realistic guilt is common. Sometimes, a person will experience unrealistic guilt stemming from a situation which was uncontrollable. This type of guilt is irrational and must be discussed. Unresolved guilt, whether, “normal” or “neurotic” may be harmful physically and mentally. Often, arranging a meaningful funeral can redirect the feelings of the grieving person into something positive and uplifting.

Cloud exhibits guilt:
Cloud “…To tell the truth, I’m afraid of myself.”
(He turns away.)
Cloud “…There is a part of me that I don’t understand. That part that made me give the Black Materia to Sephiroth.”
(He cringes away from… something)
Cloud “If you hadn’t stopped me, Aerith might’ve been… …There’s something inside of me. A person who is not really me.”
(He turns back and shakes his head.)
Cloud “That’s why I should quit this journey. Before I do something terrible.”
(He raises one fist. He is shaking.)

Guilt may be harmful physically and mentally. At the Reunion, Cloud essentially has a nervous breakdown not long after Aerith’s death. The “dark Cloud” and “normal Cloud” had been fighting one another all through Disk One. Although Sephiroth got through to the “dark Cloud” briefly at the Temple of the Ancients, Cloud actually succumbed totally to it at the Reunion.
ANGER
After dealing with personal guilt, it becomes natural to look for someone else to blame. There may be hostility toward the physician, nurses, persons surrounding the accident or anyone who seemingly could have prevented his/her death. These feelings of anger must be expressed. It is best to disclose them to a tolerant and sympathetic listener.

Cloud exhibits anger:
Cloud “…Shut up.”
(He bows his head closer to Aerith, trembling. He abruptly looks

up to Sephiroth.)
Cloud “The cycle of nature and your stupid plan don’t mean a thing.”
(Cloud quickly stands up to face Sephiroth.)
Cloud “Of course! Who do you think I am!?”

In one of the spiral shaped houses of the Forgotten City after the funeral:

Cloud “But I am going. He destroyed my hometown five years ago,

killed Aerith, and is now trying to destroy the Planet. I’ll never

forgive… Sephiroth.”
(He stops shaking but does not lower his fist.)
DEPRESSION
A feeling of weariness develops from depression and frustration. Sometimes, suffering in silence seems easier than socializing. Forcing yourself to get involved in activities will help relieve the depressed feelings. When the despair mounts, contact someone who will listen.

Cloud suffered in silence, which is the most contested part of his behavior. Suffering in silence can actually be a manifestation of depression.

Additional indications of grief:
(Sephiroth starts to laugh.)
Sephiroth “Ha, ha, ha…… Stop acting as if you were sad. There’s no need to act as though you’re angry either.”

Sephiroth’s statement confirms that Cloud exhibited sadness and anger at the time of Aerith’s death. This examination of the Death Scene shows that Cloud did indeed display the symptoms of grief as they are described by the American Medical Association.

The previews of Advent Children have also been giving indications of Cloud’s grief at the death of Aerith. A flashback of her funeral was shown in the second trailer, and it has been said that Cloud has been living alone for the last two years, rejecting the company of others. The December 2003 edition of the Japanese magazine Famitsu recently went so far as to say that Cloud has been living in grief.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.