Tobias - is his real (major) failing a sort of self-willed gullibility?

First, I am new here, so apologies if this has been brought up before. I did look and did not see it asked previously.

Secondly, I might as well say from the start that while I adored Divergent and Insurgent, Allegiant drove me insane with what were IMO all its inconsistencies (and yes, absolutely despising the ending).

So here is my first thought from a list I've been making as I go through my most recent re-read:

Tobias spends a great deal of his time dealing with self doubt. In fact his insecurity is almost pathological most of the time. Understandable, given his upbringing, but also extremely hard to reconcile with his constant insistence on placing himself in positions where a lot of responsibility rests on his shoulders.

So, it always surprises me when he decides to go forward with some elaborate lunacy, based on completely *unquestioning* acceptance of things one might expect him to give serious consideration to.

One example I made note of was Evelyn's various stories (and the other stories given out) regarding her faked death. In Divergent, it is stated that she died in childbirth, and the baby minutes later. In order for this story to have been believed by anyone, Evelyn would have had to fake a pregnancy for some time (early term miscarriages are rarely fatal, and even if that had been the case, there would have been no question of the baby surviving even briefly).

At first I thought 'well, maybe he secretly knew she ran off instead' - but no, he thought she was dead until she requested their secret meeting about a year into his time with the Dauntless. So he was obviously also hoodwinked into the death story.

So when she tells him that she was going to be exiled instead, why does it not occur to him to question how it would have been possible for the Abnegation to BOTH be in the midst of exiling her for adultery (on which I agree with Tris, they simply would not), AND be looking at her theoretically pregnant form and then suddenly mourning her remarkably timely death? They are selfless, not stupid. No matter how well trusted Marcus may have been, people would have asked a LOT of questions if a woman (more or less) on trial for adultery had suddenly died. And if everyone in Abnegation had known about an adultery situation to the point of deciding to exile a member, does he really not think *someone* would have slipped up and told him (or told him out of simple malice - even in Abnegation, children can be cruel).

I have actually lost a parent (and a sister and a brother) and I can tell you in very intimate detail how, where and when they died. Tobias could not have spent a decade believing his mother perished in childbirth and then WHOOPS, it slipped his mind when she tells the lie about exile.

There are other examples, IMO, of his own wilfull self-deception, but I would rather leave it up to others to point some of them out, if any of you agree that he does engage in it.

I guess my question is this: Are we supposed to believe that Tobias is SO messed up that he is incapable of thinking straight, when he wants to believe something completely contrary to the evidence before him?

Or are his seeming lapses in coherence just deux ex machina, written in to keep the story line and (apparently, to the author's thinking, necessary) conflicts occurring between him and Tris (and with himself)?

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Tobias was not satisfied with the changes happening in Dauntless, from being a good faction to one turning more violent. He was already thinking of becoming factionless before Tris came into the picture and her presence inspired him to stay...remember,he wanted to be all things from each faction. Therefore,all the tatoos. He was able to connect with Tris in a positive way..falling in love with her strength and knowing she was Divergent as he also thought he was. I do think he was weak where his mother was concerned, he wanted and needed her love even knowing she deciieved him. He hated his father for many reason. I see him as a sad,broken man without Tris in his life. I hated VR killing Tris in Allegiant. It was so wrong in my opinion.It will be hard seeing the movie this March, knowing they will never be together in the end.

this is such an interesting take on Four. still mulling things over on what to say about this, but in the meantime, sticking this up with DFC's Spotlight threads :)

I agree with this. I also notice a distinct personality switch from the first book, starting in the second. In the beginning it isn't easy to change his mind, he isn't as insecure as he is in the second and third books. I also noticed that Veronica doesn't do a very good job of writing from a male characters point of view. I think she made him way to moody. I am sorry but tobias wasn't always like that, in divergent he was a rock, and in allegiant he is this wilting pansy with mommy daddy issues. If he has spent his entire life dealing with this on his own and refusing to talk about it he will not suddenly start expressing all of this emotion about it. I felt like it was only there to cause conflict with tris. this was all very disappointing to me because I really liked his character before this.

Tobias definitely changed from the tough image he had in Divergent. I can't understand how he did so well as a Dauntless initiate and only had four fears in his simulation but then he got increasingly weaker as the trilogy progressed. I know he had some history which would have affected him but it still doesn't quite add up for me.

It will be interesting to see how he develops in the films, especially when Theo James is so popular.

I agree with this.  Tobias was very gullible in Allegiant, and I found it very out of character for him (especially following Nita's plan).  I did not like him very much in the 3rd book.  I feel like Allegiant is definitely the weakest book of the three.  It is almost like VR didn't know how to create conflict between Tris and Tobias, so she went with whatever silliness came into her head, regardless of whether it actually made sense.  I generally felt like after he found out he wasn't divergent, it all went south from that point on.  Tris dying was the worst part of it, but by then, it was already a disappointing book on many levels. 

I agree that his character some what changes through the series and after completing the series if i read the first book again my idea has changed. however, the books are good no matter what you are saying about how his character develops though the first 2 books were better than the last because of Tris's death.

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