Paul Parzyszek
PSYC 2301 Personality
Jennifer Gaskins
24 November 2011

Beatrix Kiddo

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“When fortune smiles on something as violent and ugly as revenge, it seems proof like no other, that not only does God exist, you're doing His will.”---Beatrix Kiddo

Very little is known about the history of Beatrix Kiddo other than what is revealed by the plot of the two volumes of Kill Bill. Before the events of the movies, she was the top member of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad with the codename Black Mamba. She also undergoes training under Kung Fu master Pai Mei, who teaches her the Five-Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique. Though she is employed by her lover Bill, she decides to leave him and start a low-key suburban life with a new identity (Arlene Machiavelli) and new husband when she discovers she is pregnant. Bill and his assassins find her, kill off the entire wedding party, and put Kiddo in a four-year coma. Once she wakes up and discovers the baby to be gone (and assumed dead) she goes on a path of revenge against her former teammates. She travels to Okinawa and convinces the legendary swordsmith Hattori Hanzo to forge her a katana and proceeds to kill off O-ren Ishii and Vernita Green in Kill Bill Vol. 1. In the second movie she is captured and buried alive by Budd. Elle Driver (Kiddo’s archrival) kills Budd to take credit for his killing of Kiddo, but is herself killed off once Kiddo escapes. Once Kiddo reaches Bill’s villa, she is shocked to find her daughter, B.B., alive and living with Bill. After B.B. goes to sleep Kiddo and Bill confront eachother about the events four years ago. Kiddo is able to deal Bill the killing blow Pai Mei taught her and the two of them make amends before he dies. The next morning she takes B.B. and the two of them drive off into a new life together.

The Cognitive Perspective
According to Kurt Lewin’s Field Theory, Kiddo appears to be quite field independent: as an assassin, she can’t afford to take in irrelevant details in a situation or she risks death; she is very goal oriented and lets little distract her. This is likewise reflected in her Cognitive Style: she deals with all of her problems concretely and head on (usually by killing or escaping those who cause her problems). This also displays her Internal Locus of Control because she leaves nothing to chance and doesn’t even give “fate” a chance and wastes no time getting revenge. Her Explanatory Style is that of optimism: she has no intention of giving up (even when buried in a coffin) and is confident in her abilities to take down all who stand in her way and to eventually kill Bill. Kiddo’s confidence also explains several other cognitive mechanisms of personality. Her Self-Efficacy is very high and thus so in her Outcome Expectancy: she is confident in her skill as an assassin and expects situation to turn out in her favor. The one exception to her high Outcome Expectancy is when she secretly fled from Bill to get married and live a quiet suburban life even though she later revealed she knew this life for her would be catastrophic given her history of killing. The Reinforcement Value for this choice, however, outweighed the unfavorable Outcome Expectancy because she wanted to protect her child from a life filled with violence. She has high Self Regulation in that she plans out who she will hunt down next and how to attack them (she confronts O-Ren directly by calling her out, but surprise attacks all of her other enemies). Kiddo seems to Categorize others based on whether they have wronged her/are her enemies or if they are innocent. She is ruthless and kills off all those who attack her and only seems willing to spare Gogo (who she begs to walk away from the battle with O-Ren’s bodyguards) and the young yakuza (who she spanks with her sword and tells to run home); both cases apparently because of the young age of her opponents. To her friends or those who help her (Hattori Hanzo, Esteban Vihaio, Bill before his betrayal) she is very amiable and friendly. In this dichotomy of behavior is Kiddo’s Self System: she adjusts her behavior to deal with different individuals to get what she wants (she guilt trips Hanzo due to his association to Bill and uses flattery for the old pimp Vihaio). She has good Social Intelligence, but only to those who she allies herself with, but states “It’s mercy, compassion, and forgiveness I lack” to her enemies (despite Vernita Green’s plea on behalf of her daughter). She shows her Script for certain situations through her method of fighting, her etiquette to Pai Mei, and the steps she takes in finding Bill. She displays all of Rotter’s Six Psychological Needs: her status as most dangerous woman alive gives her Recognition/Status; Dominance is shown when she captures Sofie Fatale and uses her to tell Bill of her path of vengeance; her freedom from family and financial worries shows her Independence; she shows Protection/Dependency when saying “I was your woman. I was a killer who killed for you” to Bill; Love and Affection are shown in her fierce concern for her daughter; she derives Physical Comfort in the thrill of her dangerous profession.

The Trait/Skill Perspective
Though having a one of Allport’s Cardinal Dispositions is supposedly rare, Beatrix Kiddo seems to be characterized overwhelmingly by vigilance and determination. Even if the odds are stacked against her, she still pushes forward: she gets a katana forged from a man who swore never to create any more, she takes down five powerful assassins, she perseveres through Pai Mei’s training, and she digs her way out of a coffin. Her Central Dispositions, which are more numerous and less overarching include ruthlessness (to enemies), protectiveness (of B.B), resourcefulness (she finds the means to take her revenge), and amiability (to friends). Using the Big Five (OCEAN) Kiddo would score a five on Openness, a five on Conscientiousness, a five on Extraversion, a two on Agreeableness, and a two on Neuroticism. Kiddo’s Openness is so high due to her intelligence and culturedness: she is fluent in at least English, Japanese, and possibly also French (she understands Sofie’s insults), Spanish (she offers to speak it to Esteban Vihaio), Mandarin, and Cantonese (she understands Pai Mei). She is also quick to adhere to cultural etiquette (using chopsticks, bowing, ceremonially receiving her sword from Hanzo), is a master of Tiger/Crane Kung Fu as well as the katana. Her Conscientiousness is also very high due to her determination (in Pai Mei’s training and in killing off her opponents) and her resourcefulness (systematically locating her enemies, planning her confrontations with them, and having different weapons handy). Her extraversion is high as she is not afraid to approach strangers to get what she wants (Hanzo and Vihaio) and to engage in the dangerous, high adrenaline lifestyle of an assassin (she likes the stimulation). Her Agreeableness, however, is not very high: she rejects any compromises from Vernita Green or Hattori Hanzo and is steadfast in getting her own way. She is however quite friendly and engaging to those close to her (Bill, her El Paso friends, B.B.). Her Neuroticism isn’t too high either: she suppresses any strong feelings and keeps her cool in order to be a good killer and maintains an air of calm hatred to her enemies. The one exception to this rule would be Bill, as she dons an expression of sorrow (almost regret) after twisting her face in malice to deliver her death blow to him. Thus she has a rather high Expressive Style: her anger and contempt for her enemies is obvious in her speech and facial expressions; she laughs with Bill before he betrayed her; she falls on the floor laughing and crying the morning after killing Bill and claiming B.B. In terms of Carl Jung’s personality Typology, Kiddo would be a Sensing Extravert. Her Extroversion is obvious, but Sensing is more subtle: she makes concrete decisions, is good at analyzing her opponent’s movements and responding accordingly (like in her fight against the Crazy 88), and she is good at taking in her environment (she uses different objects in Budd’s trailer as weapons in her fight against Elle Driver). According to Murray’s concept of Motivational Needs, Kiddo is strongest in her Need for Achievement: she is a master of martial arts, is fluent in several languages, and never gives up on her goals. While her talents show how intelligent she is, she also has very high Social-Emotional Intelligence because she knows exactly what to say to make a favorable impression on others (being firm with Hanzo, flirtatious with Vihaio, and reverent with Pai Mei).

Beatrix Kiddo (played by Uma Thurman) was chosen by Empire Magazine as one of The 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time. No doubt audiences are appealed most by Kiddo’s almost superhuman skills, her ability to take down multiple opponents, and her exotic life as an assassin. Although these traits may be the most entertaining, they are only a small part of her personality, and can hardly be called “realistic”. Kiddo is humanized by her status as a mother, her desperate attempt to leave her old life behind, and her subsequent path of vengeance in the name of her daughter. Her way of expressing her emotions, her determination, and her way with words make the viewer fall in love with her personality, and not just her skills. Even despite her status as a ruthless killer (a trait often reserved for the most despicable of villains), audiences agree with Bill when he says “You're not a bad person. You're a terrific person. You're my favorite person”. We keep rooting for her throughout her journey.

Beatrix kiddo. (2011, August 31). Retrieved from
Tarantino, Q. (Director) (2003). Kill bill vol. 1 [DVD].
Tarantino, Q. (Director) (2004). Kill bill vol. 2 [DVD].

(n.d.). Image retrieved from