To fandom, Peter’s anything and everything. He’s a psychopath, a tragic victim, an Evil Mastermind, an antihero, Tom Riddle Jr. 2.0. It seems like no one can decide what Peter is.
We could say he’s a wild card and leave it at that, or we could try to figure him out. And to do that, we need to find out what he wants. What is it that drives him? What is his motivation?
Before we can even start to delve into the mystery that is Peter Hale’s motivation (*cough* revenge *cough*), we have to first ask ourselves: What is he capable of wanting? I hear fandom most commonly refer to him as a psychopath, but what exactly is a psychopath?
No psychiatric or psychological organization has sanctioned “psychopathy” as an official diagnosis, but in common conversation and in pop culture especially, psychopathy is typically synonymous with “Antisocial Personality Disorder”, at least in the USA. (Psychiatrists and psychologists in the USA use the DSM, or the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders; meanwhile, almost everyone else in the world used the ICD, or the International Classification of Diseases. We’re gonna go with the DSM because Teen Wolf takes place in California.)
Based off the DSM, if I had, you know, an actual psych degree (disclaimer: I don’t), I could diagnose Peter with Antisocial Personality Disorder, but I wouldn’t say the diagnosis fits him very well. I don’t own a DSM; it’s pretty expensive, but I’d say the internet’s good enough in this case. Here’s an edited screenshot from mentalhealth.com:
He qualifies for at least 3 of the criteria, so we can diagnose him. Yay. However, he doesn’t fit the mold for the classical case of APD. (And he and the writers know it, too.)
The hallmarks of APD are a lack of empathy and the inability to love. Think Hannibal Lecter. Now, can Peter empathize and/or love? That’s debatable. TL;DR.