Horror Character Analysis [Protagonist] Claire Redfield As part of the Resident Evil [RE] franchise, Claire Redfield was introduced in Capcom’s Resident Evil 2. In the game, she arrives in ‘Raccoon City’ to search for her missing brother, Chris Redfield [who is one of the main characters in the previous game]. This image shows the artwork for Claire in RE 2 – she wears a black biker body-suit which covers her from her neck to her thighs, underneath pink denim shorts and a pink leather biker vest, the back of which reads ‘Made in Heaven’. She also wears brown knee-length boots, and black biker gloves. What may seem odd upon closer inspection, however, is that she has a knife sheath on her left shoulder – what need could she have for a knife? We do get told in the 2009 remake of the game [which is one of three scenarios playable in Resident Evil: The Darkside Chronicles for the Nintendo Wii] that the knife belonged to her brother, who was a member of the R.P.D.’s famous Special Tactics and Rescue Service [S.T.A.R.S.] – a fictional special forces division within the fictional police service. So far, there doesn’t seem to be anything particularly masculine about Claire, but I believe the term ‘androgynous’ fits her still. Although she wears relatively feminine clothing, a female biker is not something that we are necessarily familiar with. Her possession of a knife may also suggest that she is ready to fight if she needs to, which we would expect more from a male character than a female.
Despite this, Claire is not immediately able to defend herself. This image is from the original RE 2 from a cut scene in which Claire first encounters a zombie. She panics, and backs away
from the monster rather than fighting it, finding herself at a dead-end. Frantically searching for an escape, the door behind her flies open to reveal rookie cop Leon S. Kennedy, ready to fire his gun. Claire panics further, insisting that she is human and demands that he doesn’t shoot, to which he simply orders her to duck. Having saved her life, Leon assists Claire in her escape of the streets as they head to the police station. They find an abandoned police car and use it to their advantage. Little do they know, there is a zombie in the back seat of the vehicle, which attacks them and causes them to crash, killing the zombie and remarkably leaving both of the protagonists unharmed. Leon sees something in the mirror, and upon closer inspection the duo realise that it is a petrol tanker hurtling toward them at full speed – the driver infected, and dead. Barely escaping, the tanker crashes into the police car and causes a massive explosion, leaving the pair separated. From here, the pair must make their way to the police station separately. Or, in the remake The Darkside Chronicles, they assist one another throughout the game even from this point onwards, as the remake is created as a single/multi player rail-shooter as opposed to a single player survival horror. Throughout all of this, Claire hasn’t done anything to help herself – she has relied on Leon since his arrival on the scene. In the remake, however, Claire uses her brother’s knife and throws at a zombie, killing it. As the story continues, Claire becomes bolder, doing what she needs to in order to survive. She battles whatever comes at her, fighting her way through some disturbing scenarios. Although I still believe the term ‘androgynous’ fits Claire, she seems also to have a maternal instinct. In the story, 12 year old Sherry Birkin is separated from her parents, only to be found by Claire who loses her, but is determined to locate and protect her.
Claire also sees some major character development throughout the series. Her second appearance in the franchise was in Resident Evil Code: Veronica X, the events of which are set 3 months after the ‘Raccoon City’ incident. Once again she was searching for Chris, only to be captured and taken to ‘Rockfort Island’ where she would be held prisoner. This time Claire’s clothing is more toward what we might expect. She wears boots, brown gloves, jeans, a black cropped tee and red denim vest, the back of which reads ‘Let Me Live’. Although this outfit reveals less of Claire’s body, it is more typical of a female. The game begins with Claire being released from her cell, though the guard informs her that she’ll ‘never make it’ off the island. Having nowhere else to go, the player leads Claire out of the underground cell and up to the graveyard above it. Here, a crashed vehicle explodes which sends Claire flying. She lands safely on the ground, and looks at the vehicle to see a body slide out. To her horror, it gets up and heads slowly toward her. At this point, more zombies rise out of the graves all around Claire, leaving her nowhere to run – the first zombie blocks the path back to the cell, the others block the rest of the path out to the main courtyard. Throughout this cut scene, we see a defenceless Claire panicking, yelling, whimpering, and cowering. Although she has been through this before, it has taken her by surprise once again. Having successfully escaped these initial monsters, Claire makes it to the courtyard and is shot at from the guard tower. Narrowly dodging the shots, Claire dives to shelter and spots a gun in the hand of what we assume to be a deceased prison officer. She takes the gun, and begins to defend herself.
What is interesting here is that unlike her previous appearance in RE 2, Claire doesn’t rely on anybody. She doesn’t ask the guard for help – only asks him what he is going to do. She takes control of the situation for herself, and uses her own initiative to do what is necessary to survive. However, upon firing back at the guard tower, a slightly younger boy – Steve – reveals himself and Claire suggests that the pair go together. Naïve, Steve refuses and runs off by himself, having made Claire aware that there is an airport somewhere on the island through which they can escape. Similarly to the remake of RE 2 however, the pair stay together in the remake of this game, which also features as another scenario in The Darkside Chronicles. Claire is still on her mission to find her missing brother, which she reveals to Steve when she finds him in a computer room in the island’s prison complex, who is looking at her brother’s profile. He informs her that Chris is under surveillance. Claire then contacts Leon who, at some point, contacts Chris who then appears much later in the game [both the original and the remake].
Chris finds Claire after she and Steve escape ‘Rockfort Island’ and make their escape. The plane they used to escape, however, was switched to autopilot and flown to an Antarctic base – their ordeal wasn’t over yet. As Chris finds Claire they share a short reunion, before Claire informs Chris that they now need to find and save Steve, who has been separated from Claire prior to Chris’ arrival. At this point, Claire once again becomes semi-dependent on Chris. However, they are separated once more and Claire is left to fend for herself until the end of the game where Chris orders her to wait in the plane while he fights Alexia – one of the main antagonists of the game. In the remake, Claire and Chris fight her together.
Claire has also made a few other appearances. Some as part of spin-off games, such as Resident Evil The Mercenaries 3D for the Nintendo 3DS, but most notably her appearances in some of the RE films. The character has appeared in the series’ first CGI film Resident Evil Degeneration, and two of the series’ live-action films Resident Evil Extinction and Resident Evil Afterlife. In RE Degeneration, Claire’s maternal instinct is displayed again as she guards young Rani. In the games and the CGI film, Claire is voice by Alyson Court. In the live action films however, she is portrayed by actress Ali Larter. In the live action films, Larter portrays Claire in a way that gives the character an entirely new dimension, taking elements that we have seen of the character before and making them a much larger part of who she is. For example, in RE Afterlife, Claire is at one point trapped in a prison shower room with a much larger, more powerful enemy than one of the zombies we’re used to seeing by this point. Having nowhere to run or hide, nobody to save or assist her, she must take charge of the situation herself. However, in previous situations like this that we have seen Claire in, she has taken some time to take control of what’s happening. In this case, she seems simply to get on with it, once more doing what she needs to, to stay alive. Despite being a very modern character, she seems to display the characteristics and elements needed to survive in horror. She has androgynous qualities, yet is still relatively feminine.
Published on Apr 9, 2014