No one denies the bad stuff Kefka’s done in the name of misguided excitement. But was he morally culpable for his actions?
Not too long ago, we referred to psychopaths and sociopaths as “morally insane”. This referred to abnormal emotions and behaviors in someone without intellectual impairments, delusions or hallucinations. As the name suggests, moral insanity referred to a disorder in someone with weak or no morals. As we know now, psychopaths have no discernable conscience. Sociopaths have a very weak one.
This is where we might find Kefka, a man who delights in causing destruction, pain, and terror to others.
But what if Kefka isn’t “morally insane”, but criminally insane? The insanity defense argues a defendant is not responsible for their actions due to an episodic or persistent psychiatric disease. Only at the time of the criminal act. And Kefka has committed a lot of criminal acts, war crimes even – such as poisoning the waters of an entire kingdom, killing a top military official, breaking a peace treaty, etc.
The two are mutually exclusive, as the “morally insane” are responsible for their actions.
But was he in the “right” state-of-mind at the time?
Given Kefka’s vague background, we don’t know too much about him. Well, except for a chance encounter we meet with an NPC. He makes an offhand remark about the jester in question:
Vector citizen: Here’s one for you… That guy Kefka? He was Cid’s first experimental Magitek knight. But the process wasn’t perfect yet. Something snapped in Kefka that day…
And so we have it, that he volunteered for the experiment that would later warp his mind. But we still don’t have much else to go on. We don’t have his motivations, intentions or disposition at the time of the experiment. Did he volunteer or display any empathy beforehand?
We may never know, as much as Kefka doesn’t care.