Spoiler warning: The following article contains revealing knowledge about Elizabeth from Bioshock Infinite. Said knowledge that could ruin the game's surprise ending....that she was a ghost the whole time! …..that Darth Vader is her father! .....that she IS Kira! (Ok, I'm done)
“Bring us the girl and wipe away the debt.” These are the words that first introduce us to the mystery that is Elizabeth. A girl with more secrets than Gretchen Weiners's hair, the story of Elizabeth is one that is not only central to the plot of 2K's masterpiece, Bioshock Infinite, but one that is also a journey of her own self-discovery. Starting as a mere distressed damsel locked away in a gigantic angel tower, she soon grows in character, becoming something more as the plot thickens and she is forced to change her perspective for the sake of progression. She learns about herself, the reality of the world and the depths of bonds she forges over time.
When we first come upon Elizabeth, we do so as the protagonist and rogue-extraordinaire, Booker DeWitt. A man of a shady past involving many people mysteriously dying at the end of his gun, Booker is the one tasked with the job to capture Elizabeth to bring her to New York, thus wiping away said debt previously mentioned. But Booker soon learns that kidnapping Elizabeth proves harder than expected when he is sent to her hometown of Columbia, a massive city floating in the sky.
Quickly making his way to Monument Island, Booker finds Elizabeth in her tower, where she has been locked away for protection her whole life. Isolated from the rest of the world, Elizabeth only had her books to keep her company, very a la Belle from Beauty and the Beast. Because of this, Elizabeth is very knowledgeable in many different subjects, from lock picking, medicine and quantum physics. But on the inverse of this, she first appears very naïve, instantly trusting of most people. This proves invaluable at first as Booker helps her escape the tower to get her to New York, all the while promising her that together they'll discover the truth about Columbia, like how they managed to float a city.
But along the way, we discover that Elizabeth is far from ordinary, possessing the innate ability to open “Tears.” These Tears allow Elizabeth the ability to see and pull things from parallel dimensions, where often everything is mostly the same except for one change that alters everything. This ability is useful to both the player and Booker as Elizabeth is able to pull needed supplies and constructions from other dimensions to aid them in combat. Using these portals, the dynamic duo manage to plow their way through Columbia while they sort through the lies, solve the puzzles of Elizabeth's past, and avoid a near all-present megalomaniac prophet just to ensure that by the end they're still alive.
Introduced to the outside world, Elizabeth learns that it is not like the romantic tales of adventure that she once thought it would be. Watching enemies die at Booker's hand and entrusting people that inevitably betray her, Elizabeth grows harder over the course of the game. She starts using her tear ability more intensely to further their goals, causing even greater changes that start to snowball near out of control. But all the while, Booker keeps a protective eye on her, at first protecting her out of obligation. However, this changes over the course of their adventure as Booker begins to genuinely care for Elizabeth, even as he learns the truth about her powers, her past and even her connection to him.
Building up to the climax of Bioshock Infinite, many mysteries are revealed that have been plaguing Elizabeth her whole life. These discoveries change Elizabeth, fulfilling her internally and bringing a new sense of meaning to her being. It is the culmination of her journey, both physically and metaphysically. Because of this path of self-discovery, Elizabeth is a powerful example of a video game character full of depth and dimension. This kind of character is a shining beacon not just to modern video game storytelling, but to all video gaming in general. A mysterious character such as Elizabeth who begins naïve and who grows over the course of the story is someone storytellers should aspire to write about if they wish their story to have meaning.
Header Image Source.