Since Bridgerton first landed on Netflix in December 2020, it became an instant hit. According to Netflix, around 63 million households immersed themselves in this steamy historical romance. Many young viewers, especially the romance-loving girls binged the entirety of Bridgerton in just a couple of days. For those, who still don’t know about the sensational hit series, Bridgerton is a Netflix original TV series set in Regency London and follows the romantic exploits of eight Bridgerton siblings. The first season followed the love affair of Daphne Bridgeton which was based on the first book of the series by Julia Quinn, ‘The Duke and I’. While the latest second season follows the love between the eldest Bridgerton Anthony and Indian elite Kate Sharma. This season is based on the second book by Quinn, ‘The Viscount Who Loved Me.

Though Bridgerton is a romance book, its complex and diverse cast is the best. And perhaps, the most complex mixed-up character by Julia Quinn is Anthony Bridgerton. His character in the first season of the series shows a lot about his character, however, leaves lots of loopholes to fill out. It raises questions- do we like him? Or are we supposed to? Is Anthony anything better than the toxic masculinity he exudes? His emotional status is abundant yet what comes to his plate is too little. Anthony Bridgerton suffers from trauma, mental health issues, and above all his fear of untimely death. In the 19th century, when talks regarding mental health were little to none, especially for men, the book tells us a lot about how men’s struggles are relatable to many.

Anthony Bridgerton is different but also the most relatable.

“A man with charm is an entertaining thing, and a man with looks is, of course, a sight to behold, but a man with honor – ah, he is the one, dear reader, to which young ladies should flock.”

Anthony Bridgerton,Bridgerton

Before we dive any deeper into the character, let’s applaud Jonathan Bailey’s performance as Anthony. He brings out so many emotions that one couldn’t help but think about Anthony. He is anxious, proud, nervous, damaged, responsible and most of all scared. Anthony Bridgerton is consistently drowning in the miseries of his fate despite having a family that cherishes him. Perhaps the 19th century was nothing about talk or therapies. It is not just his toxic masculinity that he keeps on battling, it’s also about how Anthony never recovered from the loss of his father.

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Anthony Bridgerton was the only one with his father when he died of a bee sting in front of Anthony’s eyes. As he was the eldest, he was overnight assigned to his duties as a new viscount, leaving him with no time to deal with the trauma he had just gone through. He was now eligible to provide for his 7 young siblings and his still-grieving mother.  His duties exhaustless loom over him like watchful eyes that he can never free himself from. Due to the stigma, men do not even have any safe spaces to share their sentiments and weaknesses.  And it was because of his duties that he chooses to marry Edwina Sharma not out of love but to fulfill the role society has set for him.

Grief has impacted him immensely and the way he harbors that is dreadful, as the title he holds is enough to conceal every ounce of it. And though he crumbles internally, he remains a gentleman from the outside. Those who have read the books are aware of his fears surrounding death. As his father died at the young age of 38 that too from a bee sting, Anthony is convinced that he too would not pass that age and die untimely. And the Bailey has shown us just that in the second season of the show. He is still exploring Anthony’s morality as he experiences love for the very first time in his life. He is deeply in love with Kate Sharma, but his duties refrain him from acknowledging his own feelings for her. He struggles to understand what is more important for his family, his duties, or happiness. But again, this was never talked out, neither in the book nor in the series.

It appears that Antony’s means of tracking time are on the top of his duties, but there’s so much more to his personality than consistently looking at his father’s watch. It’s the intricate expressiveness Bailey wears on his face amidst quiet moments that shows the audience that there is something we don’t know, or we should look a little more beneath, into his skin without any source material. He is like a hidden canvas that needs to be painted consciously keeping in mind the colors hidden deep beneath.

Anthony Bridgerton,Bridgerton

Time is precious to Anthony Bridgerton but not in a way that would benefit him. He is afraid that he might not give everything to his family because he may die sooner, but things changed when he falls in love with Kate. For the very first time in his life, he gives importance to his feelings when love was an overthought to him. 

And though he could be assertive and cold, he is trying. In the chaos of his feelings and responsibility, Anthony tries to be a better person. The road toward balance is not easy but his efforts are so much visible that make him the most respected character among all. And though Anthony is not a person of power, wisdom, or love, he is an honorable man who is at least- trying to be better.

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