Don Draper: The Pisces Anti-Hero

Recently voted’s #1 Most Influential Man of 2010, fictional Don Draper has had quite a year. Played brilliantly by Pisces actor Jon Hamm, Don Draper epitomizes the best and the worst of the Pisces man.

Pisces is a water sign, and the most intuitive, sensitive, soft, creative soul in the zodiac. Like other water signs they pick up immediately on all of the cues in their environment and use this information to their advantage. As an advertising guru, Draper’s ability to instinctively understand his clients, their needs and what will appeal to their consumers is nothing less than spectacular. And it is this gift that has landed him at the top of his game despite the shadow side of his sign that haunts him.

Pisces has rulership over drugs, alcohol, institutions, self-destruction, self-deception, addiction, and illusion. The same mystical realm from whence their brilliant creative ideas spring, can often drown them. The character of Don Draper is in every way mixed up with deception and illusion as Don is in fact a false, assumed identity, one that was stolen from his commander during the Korean war. The mysteries over his murky identity have been central to his character development at work and to the eventual dissolution of his marriage to Betty, played by Capricorn January Jones.

As Season 4 progressed this fall, we see Don come face to face with a crucial turning point: the opportunity to come clean about his identity and move his life forward in a different direction. Anxiety from a government probe into his background causes a personal and professional calamity for Don and in his darkest moments he confesses his secret to his lover, Dr. Faye Miller. She is a peer of Don’s, an equal in terms of age and career, and she assures him in the following weeks that together they can solve his problems.

In the last episode of the season it becomes clear, however, that Don does not want to face his past, solve his problems and begin a new life with Faye. Instead he prefers to quickly convert his fling with his secretary, Megan, into an engagement because she is easy going, good with children and will play the part of perfect wife in his “perfect life” just like Betty before her had done. Denial, denial, denial. Anther Pisces specialty. And a coincidence that she is Canadian should he run into any more troubles with the government?

The choice between Megan and Faye is a clear indication that Don has become totally lost in his self-delusion and will go to any lengths to preserve his sense of (false) personal identity, even though it causes him a great amount of anxiety, to the extent that he is willing to marry a woman he barely knows over a woman whom he can trust and confide in. The icing on the cake is when he tells Megan during his proposal that he “finally feels like himself” around her. There may be a grain of truth in this to the extent that a tremendous amount of what Pisces value in their relationships is to be with someone who is strong and can even act as a shield or buffer between them and their need to be alone with their feelings and moods, and the harsh outside world. Don cannot handle his reality so he moves deeper into the darkness of his assumed role, stylishly and with a glass of whisky, of course.