The Psychology of Bond, James Bond
He is the man with the golden gun, the spy that loved, the diamond that lives forever, and only lives forever twice. Secret service Agent James Bond appears as possessing uber Alpha male qualities and arguably crossing over to psychopathic and sociopathic behaviour. Despite Bond’s emotionless approach to womanizing and killing in cold blood, audiences are attracted to his figure for his dashing looks and his patriotism to Queen and country.
Not to mention that he is admirable in his knowledge and skill for getting out of a heated situation. Especially with all the evil villains bred by the Cold War, Bond is the exact uncaring hero that the good guys need. Someone that does not let love, morals, or too many shaken not stirred Martinis get in the way of getting the job done. In this way, Bond functions more like an instrument. He may as well be the gun that he shoots, blindly and ruthlessly killing with non-existent remorse.
Bond’s very mystique is in his mystery. Viewers crave the tiniest cracks to build sympathy for his person yet when this has been attempted, as in the brief movies of Timothy Dalton and George Lazenby, it invariably failed. Even the name, James Bond, is deceptive. On one hand it could signify the Agent’s bond to his country yet, on the other, it sounds just as anonymous as John Smith. And it seems this is the way it is supposed to be, as the character that novelist Ian Fleming developed.
In the recent Daniel Craig Bond films, however, there have been little hints sprinkled to gather some sympathy and see that Bond may have a shred of softness to shed a tear. In Casino Royale, for instance, Bond watches helplessly as his lover Vesper Lynd (played by Eva Green) drowns in a locked cage. Although, he tucks any emotional pain deep within himself by renouncing her by stating coldly “The job is done and the b**** is dead”.
This animosity is somewhat based on the feeling that Vesper has betrayed him, and as M (played by Judi Dench) says “You don’t trust anyone do you James?” and when he replied “No [I don’t]”, M coolly continues “Then you’ve learnt your lesson”. Yet in the following film, Quantum of Solace, Bond seeks revenge for her death and later discovers information that redeems Vesper for her presumed betrayal. Interestingly, M warns Bond that he is too close and bitter about the betrayal to be objective, yet Bond assures that she is no longer important.
In another film, Skyfall, there appears to be serious childhood trauma, especially when he returns to his boyhood home. Little glimpses like this help explain bits and pieces of Bond’s psyche and subsequent career path as an assigned killer.
The fact that James Bond can kill without conscious is a major part of his success as a 00 agent. If Bond did feel guilty and brewed over his sins, then he is at a greater risk of catching the bullet himself and/or failing the mission. To be emotionally detached is number one on the job description for becoming a secret agent. While it is true that Bond is an archetypal psychopath in all description, yet he is a force for good in the world rather than ill. A famous quote that has been attributed to either Winston Churchill or George Orwell states that “Good people sleep safe and sound at night because they know rough men do violence on their behalf.”
This is essentially the attitude taken toward James Bond as viewers know that there have been and forever will be spies or secret agents willing to do the dirty work for the good of their country. But psychopath aside, Bond’s character traits offer other virtuous and valuable qualities to grow successfully. The sense to be daring and adventurous, yet always have a backup plan is good advice to follow and incorporate more in daily life. Bond is also famous for his impeccable dress that suits every occasion as well as his ability to embrace new technology and use it to his advantage. He also thinks quick on his feet and is never leaves a mission incomplete. His sense of humour, albeit dark, is legendary and plays into his talent at literally not taking life too seriously. The snide quips usually follow one of his kills, such as “She should have kept her mouth shut” or “He had no head for heights” after kicking a car and man off a cliff.
The fact remains that viewers cannot get enough of James Bond. He is and always will be iconic. This is why there are countless Bond films continually chugging out as well as a number of video games on the market. Even those that use Bond as a basis for the Agent theme. For example, there are many online casino sites like Kong Casino that have Secret Agent themed slot games to enjoy. Online slots such as ‘Agent Jane Blonde’ by Microgaming, Leander Game’s ‘KGB Bears’, ‘Lake’s 5’ by Elk Studios’, and even the goofy ‘Inspector Gadget’ slot by Blueprint Gaming adopt many Bond like tropes (namely with tech devices). Unlike James Bond defusing a bomb or embarking on a complicated mission, these online slots have a very easy and engaging gameplay. The setup is often 5 reels, 3 or 4 wager rows, a certain number of paylines, and many features that offer Bonus rounds with chances to win real money. Like the Bond films, these Secret Agent slots are extremely immersive in terms of visuals and actual gameplay yet there are many other themes that players can enjoy.
While James Bond as a character maintains the same traits and is introduced with the same classic musical score, the success of the franchise lies in its creative ability to reinvent who Bond is. Even the psychology of Bond has evolved over the decades, and M as now a female, represent a maternal role for the otherwise cold and calculating spy that kills without blinking an eye. And so, audiences will continue to not blink their own eyes, eagerly going on adventurous missions with a shaken martini in hand.