|"But you see it's not me|
It's not my family
In your head, in your head
They are fighting
With their tanks and their bombs
And their bombs and their guns
In your head
In your head they are dyin'
(--From "Zombie" by the Cranberries)
(This is completely and totally the opinion of the webmistress, who, while she DID take a psych class, is nothing close to being an expert.)
My friend Darkchylde mentioned something to me the other day that really got me thinking about Duo. What Darkchylde talked about was playing pretend.
So how does this apply to Duo? Duo's fifteen years old--he's still VERY, VERY young. When I was his age, I still played "pretend." Hell, I still play it now, though I give it the more sophisticated title of "Role Playing." (I mean, come on...role playing is just pretend with a fancy name and more rules!) It occured to me that perhaps Duo's entire fixation with being Shinigami is actually an elaborate sort of "pretend" that he's set up for himself.
Duo is incredibly mature for his age, both emotionally and mentally. I would actually say that other than Trowa or perhaps Wufei, his is mentally the oldest, mostly because in his short fifteen years of life, he's dealt with about forty years worth of pain, hunger, dirt, and despair. It's a testament to his strength that he can still smile, even if it is an outer mask. But still, fifteen is fifteen, and Duo is an extremely active, intelligent, and creative boy. All of those factors seem to speak to say that he probably has a very good imagination, one that he no doubt exercises on a regular basis.
Couple with it the fact that Duo is also very in touch with his emotions, and extremely empathic and sensitive when it comes to the emotions of others. I said it before in my assessment of Duo's Kiersey personality type, and I'll say it again: it must be a hard, soul-destroying thing for someone like that to not only kill, but kill constantly in order to survive. So he has to distance himself from what he does, remove himself slightly. His manic laughter is one way. Being Shinigami is another.
Shinigami is a name that can be translated interchangeably as "Death," "God of Death," and "The Devil."
Duo has built up an elaborate "pretend" where he IS Death, THE Death. That's the only way, perhaps, he can justify the killing to himself. Death is the taker of souls; all that go up against him are slated to die by default, thus removing a little of the personal burden from his already aching shoulders. It gives him a small measure of removal from what he does.
I can also see a few other reasons that Duo would call himself Shinigami.
The first is that perhaps he carries a large burden of guilt over Solo's death, and the massacre at Maxwell Church, as well as Heero's self destruct attempts (this makes more sense if you're a little Yaoi hentai like me. ^^). It is quite possible that he could have convinced himself that the deaths, and Heero's attempts at death, are somehow his fault, especially in the case of Maxwell church. To him, it might seem that every time he finds a small measure of peace or happiness, something terrible happens and people die--this could be one reason why he seems to be constantly on the move in his past. While logically, he would know that the deaths weren't his fault, emotionally, he would feel that they were. His guilt might stem from the fact that he could do nothing to prevent the deaths, or perhaps, like in the case of Maxwell Church, the trouble began because of him. Or, it could be good old survivor's guilt. Thus, by giving himself the name death, he's trying to warn anyone that could possibly want to get close to him off (as well as his enemies); he is Shinigami. Anyone that gets too near him dies.
The other reason that I think he might call himself Shinigami is even grimmer, and carries pretty much the same arguments as above. It stems fromt he third possible translation of Shinigami--The Devil. If THAT is what Duo is calling himself...well...all I can say is that our favorite braid-boy might have a few more issues than I'd originally thought. He might see his survival where others have died as not only a source of guilt, but also as some sort of proof that he is actually evil. Also, while he is not deeply religious, he probably absorbed quite a bit philosophy-wise from Father Maxwell and Sister Helen while they were alive, so he might take the view that what he is doing is morally wrong. While he can't stop killing, it's still a crime, and each death might be a sin that weighs his soul down and makes him evil. I certainly hope that this isn't the reason he calls himself Shinigami.
Or, I could just be blowing it out my ass completely with my fake psychobabble, and he just calls himself Shinigami because it sounds cool, or because he knows he can kick anyone's ass. ^^
Future generations shall decide.