Like a small fish growing into a formidable shark, Greg’s character undergoes a metamorphosis that challenges our initial perceptions and reveals the depths of his ambition and adaptability. In HBO’s Succession, Greg Hirsch presents himself as a somewhat naive and innocent character. Still, in the series finale, Matsson calls him Judas, and he has a strong reason to do it. As the series progressed, the truth is that Greg unveiled a remarkable set of skills that mirror the cunning and manipulative traits of two iconic literary figures: Richard III and Iago. By delving into key quotes from Shakespeare’s Richard III and Othello, we can draw fascinating parallels that shed light on Greg’s enigmatic journey within the cutthroat world of the Roy family.
You can watch HBO’s “Inside the episode” video for Succession‘s finale here on Youtube.
Greg Hirsch in Succession: from “Small Fish” to Judas
Indeed, the first time we see Greg, he appears harmless, like a cuddly puppy, a young and naive individual working inside a mascot costume. This image of him as a clumsy and somewhat comical character might lead us to believe that he lacks influence or ambitions within the story. However, as the series unfolds, we witness Greg’s development of various skills and his growing awareness of the power and opportunities present in the world of the Roys. This gradually transforms him into an ambitious individual willing to do whatever it takes to achieve his goals, even if it means betraying or jeopardizing other characters. Therefore, his transformation from an innocent young mascot to a Judas is a central part of his character’s evolution in the series Succession.
As the series unfolds, he reveals a hidden depth and strategic mindset that echoes the deceitful and conniving nature of Richard III and Iago.
Greg’s tendency to portray himself as profound or intellectual is reminiscent of Richard III’s manipulation and deception. Greg’s quote, “I’m like a philosopher in a lot of ways. I just don’t have the degree or knowledge or interest in philosophy,” exemplifies his inclination towards self-aggrandizement. Despite lacking genuine understanding or depth, he attempts to present himself as more knowledgeable and insightful.
“And thus I clothe my naked villainy with old odd ends stolen out of holy writ, and seem a saint when most I play the devil.”Richard III: Act I, Scene III
Just like Richard III, Greg manipulates perception and portrays himself as more intelligent and insightful than he truly is.
As the series progresses, it becomes evident that Greg’s primary motivation is self-interest and personal gain, echoing the manipulative nature of Iago. He navigates the complex dynamics of the Roy family with calculated moves, constantly seeking ways to advance his position and safeguard himself at the expense of others. This stark contrast to his initial claim of searching for a higher purpose showcases his transformation into a more opportunistic and Machiavellian figure.
Greg’s initial perception of himself as a “small fish” in the grand scheme of things evolves over time, paralleling Richard III’s rise to power. As Succession unfolds, Greg becomes increasingly aware of the power dynamics within the Roy family and the corporate world. He learns to manipulate situations to his advantage, forging alliances and leveraging his knowledge to secure his position. This transformation demonstrates his ability to adapt and thrive in the ruthless environment, contradicting his portrayal as a mere “small fish.” At the same time his quote “I’m just a small fish in a big pond, trying to learn how to swim.” reminds that famous Iago’s quote: “I am not what I am.” (Act I, Scene I); it encapsulates Iago’s duplicitous nature and his ability to manipulate others by presenting a false facade. Similar to Greg’s transformation in Succession, Iago’s quote highlights the deceptive and cunning qualities that drive his actions throughout the play.
Both Greg and Iago present themselves as unassuming and inconspicuous figures. They use this perception to their advantage, strategically positioning themselves within the intricate web of power and influence. They harness their seemingly insignificant status to manipulate situations and people, gradually ascending to positions of greater power and control.
In the end, Greg’s journey serves as a cautionary tale, reminding us that appearances can be deceiving and that those we least expect can wield the greatest influence. His transformation into Judas stands as a testament to the complex and multifaceted nature of human ambition and the unexpected ways it can shape the destiny of all involved.
Succession showcases the intricate dance between power, ambition, and betrayal, and Greg character exemplifies the show’s ability to surprise and challenge our perceptions. As we reflect on his journey, we are left pondering the depths of our own ambition and the potential consequences of our actions, for in the world of Succession, it is often the smallest fish that ultimately determine the fate of all.