|Then let me help you!! I will do anything it takes to right the wrongs of this world!!|
|— Marlowe to Captain Levi|
Marlowe Freudenberg (マルロ・フロイデンベルク Maruro Furoidenberuku?) was a recruit (新兵 Shinpei?) of Squad Klaus within the Survey Corps and former private (二等兵 Nitōhei?) of the Military Police Brigade stationed in Stohess District until his branch change. He was a graduate of the 104th Training Corps, though he was not from the same division as Eren Yeager.
Marlowe was a young man whose black hair was in the style of a bowl cut and usually wore his Military Police Brigade uniform before joining the Survey Corps. He was rarely seen without a stoic and serious expression on his face. He was also quite tall, especially when compared to his comrades.
Marlowe was a very righteous person. While most who join the Military Police Brigade do so because they want a safe position far from the danger of the Titans, Marlowe did so because he wanted "clean up" the system. His goal was to rise to the top of the organization so he could stop the pilfering of taxes and misappropriation of land. Though steadfast in his idealism, he could make moral compromises to achieve his goal, confessing a willingness to act like 'scum' in order to move up in rank. Due to his passion towards his ideals, he has often been compared to Eren Yeager.
He initially held a belief that human beings are naturally benevolent and righteous, accompanied by something of a black-and-white view of morality. He was aware of the Military Police's corruption and had the intention of making its members feel shame for their transgressions when he rose to the top, comparing them to animals that defecated wherever they felt like. He soon came to realize that the system itself was the one that encouraged the corruption and inherent selfishness of human beings.
He later admitted that he chose the wrong regiment and unofficially entered the Survey Corps, later making his branch change official. Prior to leaving, he was seen showing excitement about the upcoming mission to reclaim Wall Maria.
Marlowe first appears as a member of the same Military Police Brigade unit as Annie Leonhart, and is assigned to guard the Survey Corps convoy transporting Eren Yeager as it passes through Stohess District. When he questions why they need to accompany the Survey Corps through town, seeing an opportunity, his superior leaves Marlowe in charge of the mission. Frustrated by the higher ranking officers' lack of morals and duties, he explains his motivation for joining the Military Police Brigade to the other recruits. He goes on a tirade about how the Military Police are no better than animals, and when he is in charge he will make them into what humans are supposed to be. This prompts Annie to speak her mind about what type of person he and the others are, implying that people like Marlowe are rare and are not considered the majority. She only wants the weak people who are trapped in the flow to be considered human too, and suggests to him that it is not the people composing the system that are corrupt but rather the system itself.
Marlowe and Hitch are assigned to patrol a forest outside of Trost, in search of Survey Corps fugitives. The two at first exchange satirical responses about being placed with one another, but the talk progresses into a discussion about the Survey Corps. Hitch blames the Corps for the destruction in Stohess District, but Marlowe points out that the Survey Corps captured one of the Titans, something no other Military branch could have done.
The conversation is cut short when they encounter Armin Arlert, who is apparently gathering water into bowls. They order him to raise his hands but are jumped by Levi and Mikasa, who take their guns and strip them of their weapons and uniforms. Marlowe and Hitch are interrogated and Marlowe is shocked to see Hitch confront them about their actions in Stohess. Upon blaming them for Annie's death, Levi reveals to Hitch and Marlowe that Annie was the Female Titan that caused significant damage to the city and that she is alive and in custody. Marlowe claims that he wants to help Levi and the others, but Levi refuses and orders that they be taken away and released.
They are led away by Jean Kirstein, who reveals that he intends to kill them both as they are a threat and can not be trusted. He trips and drops the knife, and Marlowe tells Hitch to run while he holds off Jean. As they struggle for the knife, Marlowe convinces Jean he is on their side by confessing his discontent with the Military Police, saying that he trusts the Survey Corps to lead humanity to victory. They both stop struggling, and Hitch ambushes Jean, bashing him in the head with a tree branch. She attempts to hit him again but Marlowe stops her and explains that Jean was only testing them.
Marlowe and Hitch accompany Hange to bring Squad Levi the news that the military has successfully overthrown the government, and that commander-in-chief Darius Zackly is now in charge. The two groups then travel to the Reiss family chapel. Marlowe and Hitch keep watch outside of the chapel while Hange and Levi's squad infiltrate it to rescue Eren Yeager and Historia Reiss.
Following the coup, Marlowe transfers to the Survey Corps, enthused for the upcoming mission to save Wall Maria. When asked about Hitch's reaction to his transfer, Marlowe says that Hitch berated him and tried to convince him to instead live the easy life in the Military Police. Marlowe sorrowfully notes that he had been forced to tell her that he misjudged her as a person, appalling the other soldiers.
On the night before they leave for Wall Maria, Marlowe gets into a debate with Jean over his place in the Corps formation. He does not understand why the recruits are not placed in the vanguard where they would have the most opportunity to learn. Jean informs him that if they treated their recruits like cannon fodder they would die before they have a chance to learn. That is why Marlowe is assigned to the rear.
Marlowe, along with other soldiers from the Survey Corps, take part in the operation to retake Shiganshina District. He walks on foot among two other soldiers and their horses while the rest of the soldiers use their vertical maneuvering equipment to make their way on top of the Wall. They are ambushed by the Beast Titan, who appears with an army of Titans and throws a boulder into the side of Wall Maria, causing a collapse that blocks the Survey Corps' entrance to Shiganshina, leaving Marlowe and the other soldiers unable to enter with their horses. Marlowe and his squad mates are left in charge of the corps's horses, and are ordered to defend them from any approaching Titans.
In the ensuing chaos, Marlowe quickly becomes the de facto leader of his fellow recruits, with his comrades looking to him for advice on where to tie up their horses. He is momentarily mesmerized at the sight of Titans up close, but is quickly jolted back into action, ordering his fellow recruits to move the horses while Levi defends them.
The Beast Titan begins targeting his throws at the soldiers themselves, and Levi orders the recruits to take the horses closer to the Wall, where they can use buildings for cover. Erwin joins them at the base of the wall, and informs them that, as far as he can tell, they are the only soldiers that have survived the Beast Titan's onslaught. As his fellow recruits panic, Marlowe tries to keep them in line. Floch Forster lets one of the horses get away, and Marlowe tries to chastise him, but Floch argues that there is no point in protecting the horses, as no one will survive the battle to ride them home.
As Marlowe begins to lose hope himself, Erwin addresses the recruits, informing them of his plan to defeat the Beast Titan. He and all of the recruits will mount a head on charge against the Beast Titan, drawing his attention by making themselves targets and firing signal flares. This distraction will allow Levi enough time to sneak up on the Beast Titan and slay it. Although the recruits are terrified, they are steeled by Erwin's words and take part in a suicide charge against the Beast Titan led by Erwin. Though Marlowe survives the first barrage of rocks thrown by the Beast Titan, he prepares for death when he sees the second wave coming for him. At this moment, he thinks about the enthusiasm he had for this mission, and wonders what Hitch is doing right then. He theorizes that she is probably still sleeping at that time but then stops himself and wonders why this is coming to mind at such a moment. Before he can finish his thought, a rock obliterates the right side of his head and kills him.
During the debate between Levi, Mikasa, and Eren over who should receive the Titan injection, either Erwin Smith or Armin Arlert, one of Marlowe's comrades named Floch mentions Marlowe as one of the soldiers killed by the Beast Titan's barrage of rocks.
At the ceremony commemorating the Survey Corps success, Floch speaks to Hitch about Marlowe's character. Floch praises Marlowe for his encouragement in the battle, but adds that he must have regretted ever going in the end.
In the forest, as Levi contemplates all the times he risked his life to save Eren, he recalls Marlowe's death along with his other fallen comrades.
His exact abilities were not shown, but presumably, he was skilled enough to gain entry into the Military Police Brigade. Also, he was sent with only Hitch to hunt down the rogue Survey Corps, indicating some level of trust in his abilities.
Marlowe Freudenberg's statistics :
- Hitch Dreyse - Marlowe did not expect much of a serious attitude from Hitch, since she was usually someone who was carefree and lighthearted towards Marlowe. She was extremely protective of Marlowe, however, and showed that she did care about him deeply. That is shown when Jean attacked Marlowe, and Hitch came up from behind to strike Jean with a nearby branch squarely on the head. In Marlowe's final moments, he thought of Hitch and questioned his thoughts.
- Jean Kirstein - Although not much of an in-depth relationship between the two was shown, Jean acknowledged that Marlowe acted very alike to him and they got along quite well.
- Marlowe ranked thirty-sixth in the Second Character Popularity Poll.
- When Chapter 59 was first released in Bessatsu Shōnen Magazine, his name was given as "Marlowe Sand" (マルロ・サンド Maruro Sando?). This was later changed to "Marlowe Freudenberg" (マルロ・フロイデンベルク Maruro Furoidenberuku?) in the volume 15 release, though this name change was not incorporated into Kodansha's English translation of the manga until the release of the Colossal Edition 3.
- Marlowe shares a birthday with Erwin's father and Peaure.
- Isayama revealed in a 2013 blog post that he had selected "The Choice is Yours" by Rhymester as character song for Marlowe.