Character Of ‘The Corinthian’ In ‘The Sandman,’ Explained: What Did The Corinthian Want? Is He Dead Or Alive?


Netflix’s “The Sandman” Season 1 began with Morpheus’s major pursuit to capture a rogue nightmare of his creation, called The Corinthian, who had escaped from the dreamworld. The Corinthian was a megalomaniac who didn’t want to confine his existence to the dreamworld and wanted to rule the waking world with the powers vested in him. And hence, in order to make his presence felt, he started killing mortals in the human world. When we first saw Corinthian, he was in Berlin, Germany, taking out a man’s eye when suddenly Morpheus confronted him and tried to take him back to the dreamworld, but before he could finish the task, Morpheus was captured by Roderick Burgess and put inside a glass prison for more than 100 years. During that time period, Corinthian was free to do whatever he wanted to do, and he wanted to keep things that way forever.

Throughout Season 1, Corinthian met the various foes of Morpheus, like Roderick Burgess and Ethel Cripps, and helped them to keep Morpheus in prison forever, as he feared that as soon as the Dream Lord would come out, he would destroy Corinthian or take him back to the dreamworld. Hence, in simple words, Corinthian intended to kill Morpheus, but it was impossible to do so, so he conspired to keep him as a captive for eternity.

In the comic books, we first meet The Corinthian in “The Doll’s House.” However, in the series, he is depicted as one of the main antagonists who pulls the strings and creates conflicts in Morpheus’s path. After Morpheus successfully recovered his totems and rebuilt the dream world with the help of them, he sent his most loyal librarian, Lucienne, for an assessment of the world, where he was once again reminded that The Corinthian, along with two other arcana, Gault and Fiddler’s Green, were missing from the dream world. As a result, Morpheus resumed his quest to bring back Corinthian to the dream world.

Spoilers Ahead

What Did The Corinthian Want?

Like any other demon or super evil entity, The Corinthian, too, wanted to recreate the world in his own image, which he made explicitly clear throughout the series. Corinthian didn’t have eyeballs in his eye sockets and, in place of them, had two rows of teeth in each eye socket. The sight was quite unusual for the human world, which was why Corinthian always wore dark sunglasses that helped him hide himself in the crowd. His lack of eyeballs also explains why he used to take out his victim’s eyes and devour them as he wanted to make the world look like him, i.e., without eyeballs. During the years, it also became his signature killing style.

After Morpheus was captured and there was no one to stop Corinthian, he started influencing other human beings to kill people brutally like the way he did, and thus the world saw a large boom in the number of serial killers walking on earth at that given point of time. These serial killers created an association of their own and started calling themselves “collectors.” In the series, collectors even held a convention called “Cereal Convention” which was attended by the most vicious serial killers in America, and The Corinthian was invited as the guest of honor. However, while each serial killer was aware of Corinthian’s works and signature style, they were unaware that he was a nightmare, which is why everyone was surprised to discover that Corinthian looked so young and handsome, because dreams and nightmares do not age.

Morpheus had created Corinthian as a dark mirror that would reflect humanity’s darkest desires and dreams that they were too afraid to confront. The Corinthian, in short, was the manifestation of all those dark desires. The desire to bring chaos and anarchy was deep-rooted inside him. His purpose was to reflect on those horrors so that humanity would keep a check on its sanity and would never cross the boundaries. However, Corinthian himself didn’t believe in boundaries, which is why when he came to the human world, instead of being the mirror, he influenced people to follow their darkest desires and made them addicted to the pleasure of killing people, just like he enjoyed killing people. And he would have kept the blood and mayhem going on till eternity if Morpheus hadn’t stopped him.

Is The Corinthian Dead Or Alive?

The Corinthian knew that Rose Walker, the vortex, could destroy the dreamworld and could weaken Morpheus’s power, thereby ultimately killing him forever, and thus he hunted down Rose’s younger brother, Jed, in order to get Rose. He finally brought Rose and Jed to the Royal Empire Hotel, where the “Cereal Convention” was happening, and locked Rose and Jed in the hotel room so that she would fall asleep and enter the dreamworld. As Rose Walker grew stronger, she started to become the center of dreaming, replacing Morpheus, and the entire process made him weaker, which was why when Morpheus confronted Corinthian during the convention, he stabbed Morpheus’s hand and made him bleed.

In her sleep, Rose was bringing down the walls between the dreams of the sleepers and was eventually converting them into one single volatile dream. It was at this moment when Morpheus revealed to Rose in the dream that her single volatile dream would destroy the entire human world and would eventually kill the people she loved, hence she needed to wake up. In order to protect her brother and her friend, Rose quickly woke up from sleep, and Corinthian’s grand plan to weaken his own master went downhill. As soon as Morpheus gained back his power, he turned Corinthian into a miniature skull and took him back to the dreamworld. Morpheus had already decided to create Corinthian once again. He even declared that the next time his creation wouldn’t be so flawed. It would serve humanity instead of feeding upon it.

At the end of “The Sandman” Season 1, Morpheus recreated Gault and turned it into a dream while he gave Corinthian’s skull to Lucienne to keep it somewhere safe as he felt that the world was not ready for another Corinthian as of yet. As per the comic books, Morpheus is indeed going to create Corinthian once again, and the next time he will turn out to be a more loyal creation. However, Corinthian, being a nightmare, will always be an agent of chaos who will bring doom upon the human world if left unchecked.

See More: Character Of Johnny “John” Dee In ‘The Sandman,’ Explained

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Shikhar Agrawal
Shikhar Agrawal
I am an Onstage Dramatist and a Screenwriter. I have been working in the Indian Film Industry for the past 12 years, writing dialogues for various films and television shows.

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