Character Identity in “The Umbrella Academy” Film

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The concept of identity has been extensively discussed in modern society. This issue is raised in numerous films, books, video games, and lectures. A self significance is unlikely to be underestimated because people’s distinctive features have influenced how they communicate and interact with each other and build their relationships with society. One of the main characters in the TV-series “The Umbrella Academy” has some identity issues because she is different from all her siblings who have superpowers. The woman, Vanya, does not possess any extra abilities; moreover, she is suppressed by her father to participate in any activities with the siblings.

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She chooses to play the violin to get distracted from the negative attitude of the family towards her. In the end, the viewers realize that she has a superpower but it is so strong that her father aimed to suppress it with sedatives. Consequently, she was lost and could not define her true self. Thus, the paper focuses on this character and explains why Dennett’s theory best accounts for the example and Locke’s theory has imperfections.

According to the TV-show, Vanya discovered that the pills she has been taking suppressed her powers, and she stops taking sedatives; thus, she assumes new features of her character. However, she has not changed in a way which can describe her as a different person. Although her new abilities put her family and the entire world in a dangerous situation of an oncoming apocalypse, the heroine still cares for her siblings. She explores her new powers during several episodes and tries to understand her father’s reasons to suppress her. This example supports Dennett’s identity theory because the character stays the same after she quits taking pills.

According to Dennett, there are no beginnings and endings of the experiences; thus, the viewers cannot say when new qualities such as confidence or determination appeared (Antony 347). The viewers cannot be certain whether these qualities start to reveal when she meet a man she likes or after her skills’ discovery. Vanya has changed her attitude towards her father, but the characteristics she had before the incident remain the same. Therefore, one can see that this heroine fits Dennett’s identity theory because he claims that the self is something illusionary. The character possesses certain features because she tells the viewers about her experiences and shares her stories of the past.

According to Locke’s approach, personal identity is based on memories and consciousness (Larson 23). However, there is a contradiction with Vanya’s self because she took sedatives for many years, which influences her mind and brain. She has not been stable since her childhood; moreover, she lost some memories from her early years because of the medicine. Thus, this example does not fit Locke’s identity theory because Vanya’s identity cannot be based entirely on the memories and consciousness.

To conclude, the concept of identity is complex and controversial sometimes, which can be seen in two different theories by Dennett and Locke. The character from “The Umbrella Academy” TV-series finds evidence in Dennett’s identity theory because the self is a fictional concept. Accidents or diseases do not change a person’s self, but rather urge to act in a particular way beneficial for the situation. Moreover, Locke’s identity theory lacks the explanations of memory functioning and intoxication when human beings’ consciousness restricts and limits retention and identifying experiences. Overall, Dennett’s approach seems to be the best account for the provided example.

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Works Cited

Antony, V. Michael. “Toward an Ontological Interpretation of Dennett’s Theory of Consciousness.” Philosophia, vol. 29, no. 1, 2002, pp. 343-369.

Larson, Ben. “Locke Against Himself: The Case for Re-evaluating the “Lockean” Concept of Personal Identity.” Macalester Journal of Philosophy, vol. 14, no. 1, 2005, pp. 22-34.

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PsychologyWriting. (2022, May 4). Character Identity in “The Umbrella Academy” Film. Retrieved from


PsychologyWriting. (2022, May 4). Character Identity in “The Umbrella Academy” Film.

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"Character Identity in “The Umbrella Academy” Film." PsychologyWriting, 4 May 2022,


PsychologyWriting. (2022) 'Character Identity in “The Umbrella Academy” Film'. 4 May.


PsychologyWriting. 2022. "Character Identity in “The Umbrella Academy” Film." May 4, 2022.

1. PsychologyWriting. "Character Identity in “The Umbrella Academy” Film." May 4, 2022.


PsychologyWriting. "Character Identity in “The Umbrella Academy” Film." May 4, 2022.