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Lessons to Learn from the Characters of HBO’s Euphoria

HBO’s hit show Euphoria has exploded in popularity after being released in 2019. Beloved by a diverse and dedicated fanbase, the complex characters in this series present valuable lessons for viewers. In honour of the second season, I am recounting some of the lessons that the characters taught us in season one. 

Rue Bennett: Healing is not linear 

Rue, the protagonist of the series, struggles with a drug addiction that began when she was just a young girl. At the beginning of the season, Rue had recently graduated from her rehab program and was finally going home to her mother and sister. However, Rue is nowhere close to being healed and sober. She continues to face many hardships and relapses throughout her journey. Even if you don’t struggle with addiction, you may know the pain of abuse, heartbreak, mental illness, or other misfortunes. Remember that perfection is impossible and by accepting the ups and downs of life, you can start to find peace with your path.

Jules Vaughn: You don’t have to prove yourself to others

Starting from her childhood, Jules struggled with gender dysphoria and eventually transitioned at age 13. Jules comes across as a very confident character, expressing her individuality through her clothes, makeup and personality. But she still struggles with validating her identity in some ways. She engages in sketchy sexual encounters as a misguided form of gender affirmation, thinking, “If I can conquer men, then I can conquer femininity.” As she finds real connection with Rue, we can see that there is an alternative to this outlook and Jules can be secure in her identity without going to unhealthy extremes to prove herself.

Nate Jacobs: Everyone is facing their own struggles that you know nothing about 

When Nate was 11 years old, he discovered his father’s intense porn collection. This traumatic experience combined with the pressure his father places on his athletics, Nate develops severe anger issues and grapples with his sexuality in adolescence. To outsiders at ‘Euphoria High’, Nate is seen as the typical popular football player with his pretty girlfriend, perfect family and good looks. Meanwhile, he’s facing countless troubles below the surface. 

Cassie Howard: Romance isn’t the answer to all your problems 

Cassie heart-on-her-sleeve Howard is a serial monogamist and it quickly becomes clear to the viewer that she is afraid of being alone. After her parents got divorced, Cassie’s father, who struggled with addiction, slowly and painfully faded out of her life before disappearing altogether. This abandonment trauma causes Cassie to attach herself to a series of men who are often insensitive and manipulative. If Cassie spent time alone, she could work on healing her trauma and eventually develop healthier relationships as a result. 

Maddy Perez: Fake it till you make it 

Maddy began competing in beauty pageants as a child and was adored from a young age for her confidence and spunky personality. In high school, Maddy has an abusive relationship with Nate and yet, you would never be able to tell from her shining exterior. The point of this lesson is not to make light of Maddy’s hidden struggles, but rather to highlight one of her greatest assets. If you are confident and hold yourself with power, everyone else will recognize it.

Claire Moser

Dalhousie '25

a work in progress.
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