Originally I was going to make this post a heck of a lot more specific and in an essay format, but then I realized it might be more useful to expand it and use a quicker format so it could potentially be used as a reference, so~!
Let’s go over some positive, negative, and neutral traits of three of Portal’s characters: Chell, GLaDOS, and Wheatley. (Please let me know if I forgot anything here!)
If folks like this, maybe I’ll try to make one for other characters too! So let’s get started.
+ She never gives up. Ever. Due to her utterly insane tenacity, Chell was chosen by Doug Rattmann to take down GLaDOS. Even when faced with the most hopeless circumstance, Chell will not give up.
+ She is good at testing. Though this is related to her tenacity, of course.
+ She is resourceful. While she doesn’t plan, she’s good at figuring things out as she goes along, and it seems to work pretty well for her.
~ [I got nothing. We really don’t know a lot about Chell.]
- She is abnormally stubborn. This is both a positive and a negative trait; Chell is stubborn in situations that could get her into trouble. There are situations in which it may have been beneficial for her to speak to the robots, but she remains silent.
- Her hatred of robots keeps her silent. Chell is not mute—she can speak, but chooses not to because she does not want to give the robots the satisfaction.
+ She is incredibly smart. She’s essentially a giant computer the size of half of a state; of course she’s smart.
+ She has a motherly side. She genuinely cares about her “little killers,” even calling herself their “mommy” and talking softly to them. This sort of care could possibly extend to others depending on how close she lets herself get to them.
+ She can be humble enough to work with others. GLaDOS is not so stubborn that she’ll let herself die rather than work with an enemy.
+ She is a good singer. Though she seems to keep that to herself.
+ She has a sense of humor. “GLaDOS Emergency Shutdown and Cake Dispensary.”
~ She loves Science. GLaDOS loves Science enough to create some pretty fascinating things, like other robots. But she also loves it enough to commit atrocities in the name of it.
~ She has a fear of birds. Though perhaps she lost that after raising her little killers?
~ She is obsessed with Chell. Chell was just another test subject at first—then she was one of the first test subjects to escape. Then she was a murderer. It’s not hard to figure out why GLaDOS thinks about her a lot.
- She is amoral. GLaDOS generally doesn’t consider right and wrong—and when she does, she finds it distressing.
- She is sadistic. She enjoys inflicting pain to a rather alarming extent, even using Science as an excuse to hurt or kill others.
- She frequently jumps to murder to solve her problems. Even if that problem is as small as “I am angry and need to take out my anger on someone.”
- She is passive-aggressive. “How have you been? I’ve been really busy being dead. You know. After you murdered me?”
- She is incredibly prideful. GLaDOS will not often admit when she’s wrong—when she does, it’s usually when she’s PotatOS and isn’t really in a position to be gloating.
- She verbally abuses others. Apparently insults are great motivation for testing.
- She is a liar. So much so that it’s sometimes hard to tell when she’s telling the truth.
+ He is optimistic. Wheatley may get panicky and twitchy at times but he’s quite good at bouncing back from a bad situation and keeping a positive attitude… unless things go very, very wrong.
+ He can be selfless. Wheatley first tagged along with Chell because he wanted to use her to escape the decaying facility, but he came back to rescue her again when the facility was stabilized and he was out of danger. He had nothing to gain by rescuing her from GLaDOS—he genuinely wanted to help her escape.
+ He is creative. His ideas might not always work, but he has an endless stream of them.
+ He can be brave. While he’s afraid of a lot of things, he can sometimes face his fears when he feels he needs to.
+ He learns from mistakes. When he actually realizes he’s made a mistake, he’s quick to acknowledge it and attempts to fix it. Whether his attempts work or not is another matter.
+ He is contrite. "I am genuinely sorry. The end."
~ He has a fear of birds. Seems common with Aperture’s robots.
~ He has a fear of heights. “One… two… THREE! It’s too high! Isn’t it, really, that…”
~ He likes to talk. DO I NEED TO ELABORATE.
~ He is a bad liar. "You look terri—good. Looking good, actually, if I’m honest."
- He is frequently selfish. While he can be selfless at times, more often than not he only looks out for himself and his own interests, even if it means others have to suffer or even die for it.
- He is not empathetic. “Did you find the portal gun? Also, are you alive?” He also doesn’t seem to have that much remorse over killing 10,005 humans.
- He harbors bitterness. While he doesn’t forget about wrongs against him, he doesn’t often bring them up, either… until his emotions boil over.
- He has incredibly low self-esteem. When called a “moron,” he either reacts violently or goes to extreme measures to try to prove that he is not a moron.
- He doesn’t always think ahead. Wheatley tends to think of his immediate situation, not considering things like what he would do if he did escape the facility, or what he would do if the facility really was on the verge of exploding. And when he does plan ahead (i.e. Part Five), he doesn’t think ahead far enough.
- He is incredibly gullible. He believed that turning on his flashlight or dropping off of his rail would kill him.
- He is weak-willed. He almost instantly succumbs to the testing euphoria addiction.
- He is a coward. “Oh! I’ve just had one idea, which is that I could pretend to her that I’ve captured you, and give you over and she’ll kill you, but I could… go on living. What’s your view on that?”
- Most of his ideas are bad. While he can come up with good ideas on occasion, he’s the Intelligence Dampening Core for a reason.