This post includes a character analysis of David, the protagonist of the film “The Lobster” (2015).
Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, the 2015 comedy-drama stars Colin Farrell as David.
In “The Lobster”, David is a recently divorced man who is forced to check into a hotel along with his brother, who is now a dog. At the hotel, David and the other guests have 45 days to match. Their partner needs to share a similar trait, such as a limp, a lisp, or frequent nosebleeds. During their stay, the guests also have to hunt down “loners”, a group of rebels who live in the woods and reject the rules of the hotel.
David’s plan to cozy up to a cold-hearted lady backfires when she sniffs out his deception. He bolts and joins a bunch of singletons who live in the woods. There, he clicks with a short-sighted woman who makes his heart skip a beat. But “the loners” are not cool with romance. They ban any kind of intimacy. Therefore, David and his crush communicate in secret using hand signals.
The leader of “the loners” is on to the couple, and she blinds the short-sighted woman. David tries to escape with her to the city, but then he realizes they are no longer the same. At the restaurant, David grabs a knife and heads to the bathroom. He is thinking about poking his own eyes out, but hesitates. It’s rather left to interpretation what David will do.
Note: For those who are interested, here is another article discussing the meaning behind the ending of “The Lobster”.
David (From “The Lobster”) Character Analysis
“The Lobster” presents David as a middle-aged man living in a society where it is not okay to be single. Just like many other single people, David is forced to find a romantic partner within 45 days or turn into an animal of their choice. The man does not stand out much among the other guests: he is out of shape, has a quiet demeanour, wears glasses and has a terrible moustache. Nonetheless, his choice of animal is very unique: a lobster.
In terms of personality, David is a very contradictory human being. On one hand, there is a side to him that is very passive and conformist. But then, on the other hand, David can also be rebellious and defiant when his survival instinct kicks in.
Just like many guests at “The Hotel”, David did not question the logic or morality of the system, he even participated in the hunting of “loners” in the woods. However, once his life was at risk, David did not hesitate and ran away from “The Hotel” to seek refuge in the woods. There he finds a new set of rules that are completely different, as the “loners” forbid any form of romance or intimacy.
Although David tries his best to survive, he does not fit in either group. Throughout “The Lobster”, David struggles to find his own identity and happiness. His short-lived romance with the short-sighted woman only cemented the idea that many romantic relationships are based on superficial foundations.
Why did David choose to become a lobster?
David chooses to become a lobster, because he admires the creatures’ regenerative abilities. Lobsters can live for a very long time (more than 100 years) and they remain fertile throughout their lives. David’s choice of animal reflects his desire to live longer, so he has more time to find a partner.
David (From “The Lobster”) and Character Evolution
David and his character go through significant changes in “The Lobster”. At first, he displayed a rather passive attitude towards his fate. But when David’s life was on the line, he became someone who was willing to take extreme measures to survive.
As mentioned before, David tried to adapt to the rules of “The Hotel”. He even tried to pretend to be someone he wasn’t. When David tried to partner up with the “heartless woman”, it was his last and desperate attempt to find a mate. Nevertheless, it didn’t work. The “heartless woman” quickly realized that David was faking his “coldness” and denounced him to “The Hotel”.
With the help of a maid, David escapes and hides in the woods. There, he finds a new world and falls in love with a short-sighted woman. Despite David’s desire to have someone in his life, the odds were against him. The leader of the “loners” breaks the couple apart by blinding the woman.
Fed up with the injustices, David decided to rebel against the leader of “the loners”. He seeks payback for what she did to his woman and meticulously plans her murder. Even though David and his partner successfully escaped the woods, there were still struggles ahead for the couple.
In the end, David had to face a difficult decision: becoming a lobster or blinding himself. Now that his partner is blind, they are no longer compatible. According to the rules of that society, couples must share a common trait. If David decides to stay with blind woman, he needs to blind himself. Otherwise, the staff members of “The Hotel” will catch him and transform him into a lobster.
David (From “The Lobster”) And Short-Sighted Woman (Relationship Analysis)
Throughout “The Lobster”, David and the short-sighted woman had an intense affair that could only be expressed in sign language. For the most part, they communicated through a secret code of hand gestures because their community did not allow its members to fall in love or have any type of close physical contact.
David’s relationship with the short-sighted woman has a lot of significance and symbolism behind it. The two found each other under unfortunate circumstances and bonded over their poor eyesight. As time passed, David and the short-sighted woman considered escaping the woods and moving to “The City” as a couple.
However, things didn’t turn out the way the two lovebirds intended. Their relationship is tested when the short-sighted woman loses her vision. The incident forced David to confront his own morals and values: blind himself as well, or leave her behind.
The relationship between David and the short-sighted woman conveys the message that love is not based on superficial similarities. It requires real compatibility and a deep understanding between the parties in the relationship. In addition, the couple’s fate serves as a reminder that love requires sacrifice, courage, trust and loyalty.
At first, it’s very easy to deem David a coward and a spineless man, and he is, in a certain way, but David is also extremely human. The man was just trying his best to survive in an insane world where single people have no place to exist.
Despite the questionable things he does in “The Lobster”, David is just a regular man trying to find a mate. On one hand, he craves companionship. Then, there is a more practical side behind his reasoning: David is trying to remain human, he has no intentions of becoming a lobster and living in a lawless place like “the woods”.
Although it was very cold of David to abandon his former lover, his feelings for her seemed genuine. Nevertheless, love was never his priority. David’s major plan was always to go back to “The City” and stay there at all costs.
Having said that, meeting short-sighted woman was like killing two birds with one stone. In that moment, David found someone he fancied who had the potential to be his golden ticket to return to “The City”.
In a very sad and twisted way, the loners’ leader was right about them: their love was not as strong as they thought because it ended the moment the short-sighted woman went blind. Compatibility does play a huge role and it’s very unfortunate that they couldn’t find other common traits that could bind them together.