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Exhibit E: Rose

 

Rose is, in a way, what makes or breaks the VR Theory. Her existence (or nonexistence, as it may happen) is the crux of the whole mystery. Because of this, we'll examine notable point about her in a numbered list:

1. Early on, Raiden can't believe that she's actually part of the mission, and he says as much to her.

2. She and "Colonel Campbell" are not only a team, but talk to each other and always agree in pressuring Raiden to continue his mission.

3. She was introduced by "Colonel" (actually G.W.) as a way of pressuring Raiden to continue his mission, and give him a personal duty to survive and finish his mission, as opposed to the professional duty he owes to the "Colonel".

4. Upon being doubted by Raiden, she says "I've made up my mind to stay with you. Whether this is real or a bad dream".

5. In response to this, Raiden says he won't let her be just a dream.

6. In Arsenal Gear, she initially seems fine, but soon chimes in with the "Colonel's" insanity, saying "You'll ruin your eyes playing so close to the TV". Later she confesses that she is a Patriot spy and that she is pregnant, but her eyes become blank and her voice distorts, indicating she too was malfunctioning A.I., like "Colonel".

7. She appears later to reveal the S3 Plan, clearly part of G.W. along with the "Colonel". Here "she" explains "her" methods of testing Raiden's capacity to deal with the truth by using "herself" as the medium.

8. Finally, she appears in person in front of Federal Hall at the end of the game, with the same appearance as the version of her we've seen in the codec; she is unconcerned about the catastrophic mayhem of Arsenal Gear's crash-landing, Solidus' death, or anything else, and apparently knows about his mission as if she were real the whole time.

 




...Even if it means going into denial.

I would like to think that anyone reasonable could see the logical conclusion of these points, but if not, here is the significance of it all:

Raiden begins doubting the reality he's being shown, but by teaming up, Colonel and Rose manage to convince him to continue the mission. The fact that she was chosen to give him a personal motivation is reasonable, but the way she dovetails with the Colonel's thoughts is troubling when we remember that he is nonexistent. She executes her role in a nagging and distracting manner, but this is one reason why she succeeds at catching Raiden off guard. She is the second voice of G.W., designed to echo the "Colonel's" thoughts, undermining any independence or rebellion he musters towards the surreal mission.

The fact that Raiden says he won't let her be a dream is a perfect summary of his dynamic with "her". He refuses to see her for what she is: a digital dream. She is a sacred thing to him, beyond questioning. This is why he takes her seriously, even when she is malfunctioning and mimicking the "Colonel" in Arsenal Gear. The implications that result from her being imaginary are too devastating for him to handle.

So what does he do instead? He puts on a front of kindness so that he doesn't have to get to the truth; not to protect her, but to protect his fragile ego from having to cope with such a massive realization...


When she goes, it all goes.

Raiden: ...OK. But... Does Rose -- exist -- ?

Snake: Don't be weird. She's your --

Raiden: What if I've never really met her... If the Colonel is something that I partly dreamt up, then... everything I remember about her could be...

Snake: Don't jump to conclusions!

Raiden: You and Otacon are the ones that say the Colonel never existed. Is this what Olga was talking about?

In case you're wondering what Olga was talking about, it was whether or not he would handle the truth! Kojima not only foreshadowed the realization that it was all an illusion, but later references the foreshadowing to ensure that we didn't miss the point! He throws it in our lap, just so he can watch whether we'll continue the farce.

Later, Rose says this:


Rose: You refused to see me for what I was. I lied to you, but I wanted to be caught. You pretended to be understanding, to be a gentleman... You never made a conscious attempt to reach out to me... The only time you did was when I gave you no choice but to do so...

Raiden: I was just trying not to...

Rose: What? "Trying not to hurt me?" Dear, the one you were trying not to hurt was yourself! Avoiding the truth under the guise of "kindness" is all that you did!

We could suppose this is referring to his reluctance to emotionally reach out to her, but considering the fact that her existence—and the implications of her existence—have been doubted from the beginning, it certainly has another level of meaning than something as trivial as their romance life. We are, after all, talking to the A.I. in our head...

Finally we have her "real life" appearance in front of Federal Hall. For many, this would prove that she was real, along with everything else; for those who believe the VR Theory, it proves the opposite. Raiden evidently is believing what he sees, but as Snake has just barely finished telling us,

Snake: There's no such thing in the world as absolute reality. Most of what they call real is actually fiction. What you think you see is only as real as your brain tells you it is.

Kojima perfectly sets up her real-life introduction by saying that a) it doesn't ultimately matter whether it was "real" or not, and b) things are only as real as our brain tells us it is. This is what finally allows Raiden—along with most players—to embrace the illusion, let go of his doubts and fears, and accept that the impossible is real, even while the ex-President of the United States dies in his robotic exoskeleton in front of the ruined remains of Federal Hall, and the futuristic floating military fortress that has finished smashing through 6 city blocks of New York lay smouldering right beside them. It's complete blissful denial, and it is the apex of the game's theme, illustrated in all of its glory for the player to deal with.

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