Character Analysis: Zaphod Beeblebrox from "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" by Douglas Adams


Zaphod Beeblebrox is one of the primary characters in Douglas Adams' undeniably amazing contribution to science fiction literature -- "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy." Of course, he was also a character in the original radio series and in the television series, but, given that the book is the most common and popular reference point and that there are differences in the character across the mediums, we'll stick to just the novel.

Zaphod or "The Best Bang since the Big One" is rather central to the story. He is related to Ford Prefect, one of the two most prominent characters in the series, with whom he shares three mothers. The explanation for this impossibility is rather typical Adams humor, being an accident involving a time machine and birth control. He is also Arthur Dent's competition when it comes to Trillian, another central character.

Beeblebrox's personality can only be described as unwarranted. He is self-centered, a bit of a cad and he is constantly plotting, though in a more humorous than evil way.  It can only be assumed that his brash, impulsive and thoughtless behavior stems from his over-inflated ego. However, he is not entirely unlikable. He has friends in the book and is a beloved character when it comes to readers. Despite some depictions of him, he is not entirely idiotic and does instigate many of the more entertaining parts of the novel.

Physically, Zaphod is undeserving of his sense of self-importance. I mean, the mannish thing is from Betelgeuse, has two heads, three arms and an alarming sense of style. He is the seven-time winner of the "Worst Dressed Sentient Being in the Known Universe Award." Given the creatures and people that appear in "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy," one can only assume that he has atrocious taste.

As for Zaphod Beeblebrox's head, meaning the extra one, it is never fully explained. He was likely born with it, given that the ghost of his grandfather also had two heads. The most recent film adaptation of the novel attempts to explain the head, but does so using the mechanism used to explain how, well, I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's just say that the attempt was weak and never mention that film again. As for his extra arm, well, he had it added.

One of the most important accomplishments of Zaphod Beeblebrox is his appointment as President of the Galaxy and subsequent theft of the "Heart of Gold," a spaceship central to the plot of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy." In order to manage this scheme, he had part of his brain removed so his intentions to steal the ship were not picked up on the required brain scan when he became President of the Galaxy, which is similar to the botched mechanism used by the writers of the aforementioned never to be mentioned again film to explain the extra head.

Memorable Quotes of Zaphod Beeblebrox in "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:"

"If there's anything more important than my ego around, I want it caught and shot now." 


"I'm a great and amazing guy, didn't I tell you baby, I'm Zaphod Beeblebrox." 


"Don't you try to outweird me, I get stranger things than you free with my breakfast cereal." 

Shelly Barclay

No comments:

Post a Comment