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|I'm sick of doing bad things and liking it and then wondering what's wrong with me. I want it to be over. I want to start again.|
|— Peter about himself in Divergent|
Peter Hayes is a central antagonist in Divergent, who was originally from Candor and is one of Tris Prior's mortal enemies. Throughout the course of the first novel, Peter is shown to be cruel, antagonistic, ill-tempered and easily jealous. He is usually seen with his two lackeys, Molly Atwood and Drew and his behavior is often unpredictable and violent.
Peter transferred from Candor to Dauntless at the beginning of the novel. During Dauntless initiation he constantly mocked Tris and her friends. He was usually second to Edward who was the only person who could beat him in fights and other Dauntless activities.
Peter is the person who stabbed Edward in the eye with a butter knife to guarantee his place as number one in rankings. In the second part of the initiation he is shown to be second to Tris with an average of 8 minutes per simulation.
Later in the novel he participates in the kidnapping and near death of Tris along with Drew and Albert. By the end of the first novel, he is encountered by Tris as one of the Dauntless members who were not brought under the simulation's control. When Tris threatens to kill him, he takes Tris' bluff but is shot in his arm. Eventually, Tris brings him along with them for information about the computers controlling the simulations, upon his request, in fear of being killed by their leaders.
Peter is brought to the Amity compound with Tris and the others upon his request, still suffering from his bullet wound on his arm, given to him by Tris in Divergent. At one point, he steals the Erudite disk from Tris' room and eventually gets beaten up by Tris for it, with Tobias Eaton (Four) taking it from him.
During their last day in the Amity compound, when the Erudite and Dauntless traitor came for them, as they were escaping, Peter would have been shot and killed, if not for Tris who pushed him out of the way. It was later revealed that he survived the rest of the way and eventually rejoined the Erudite.
When Tris surrenders herself to the Erudite for testing, Peter is assigned as her Dauntless guard. They occasionally share conversations as Peter escorts her through Erudite hallways. When Tris' death was finalized, it is soon revealed that Peter has been planning saving Tris all this time, because he feels indebted to Tris for saving him. He dyed a paralytic serum purple to match the death serum and switched them, and faked the wire connected to the heart monitor.
When everyone believed her to be dead, Peter brought Tris to Tobias and they escaped the Erudite compound together. They eventually get away and into the Abnegation part of the city where the Factionless and some of the Dauntless members are now staying. He is confronted by Edward who threatens him, and later sees Tris and Christina in Amity clothes, sneaking away from the Abnegation headquarters. He tells them that he will not be joining the others in their invasion mission. After the mission, it is learned that his father died.
Peter accompanied Tris, Tobias, Christina, Cara, Uriah Pedrad and Caleb Prior on a trip outside the city. They are picked up outside the city by the Bureau of Genetic Welfare, and stay in the compound there. They learn about the outside world and the reasons for Factions.
He eventually accompanies Tobias and a few of the others on a trip back into the city to erase the memory of either Marcus Eaton or Evelyn Johnson (thus ending the war in the city). Peter tries to steal the Memory Serum from Tobias, but once he fails to do so, Peter admits that he wants the Memory Serum because he is tired of being cruel and has given up on his ability to change. Tobias tells him he will let Peter erase his memories after the conflict is resolved.
Before erasing his memory, Tobias asked Peter what to tell him after his memory is gone, and he replies that he does not want to know anything about his past self. After that, Tobias tells him to be brave and Peter drinks the serum, erasing his memories.
Epilogue One year after Tris' death, Peter moved to Milwaukee and got a desk job. He regained some, but not all of his harsh traits, but its implied that he still is a good person over all.
When Tobias is informed about this the day Tris' friends gather to release her ashes, he thinks that while he doesn't hate him anymore, he still doesn't have to like him.
Peter is described to have angelic features despite of his rash personality. He is tall with dark shiny hair that gleams even in relative darkness. He has a wide white smile, his nose is long with a narrow bridge and his eyes are wide and dark green.
Peter is shown as being extremely cruel, jealous and ambitious. He had stabbed Edward in the eye with a butter knife during initiation in Divergent to get his place as number one in the rankings and he nearly killed Tris when he and his friend Drew threatened to throw her into the chasm. Tris' friend, Al, also helped Peter and Drew. Al did it out of fear, jealousy, desperation, clinical depression, and possibly the belief that they only intended to scare her. He is also very sarcastic, and will make a joke to mock you.
Peter's characterization grows more complex in Insurgent, when he saves Tris' life in Erudite Headquarters. He tends to follow the "eye for an eye" moral code and dislikes being indebted to someone. He also seemed to think of his own good more than anyone, by joining the Erudite and becoming a traitor, but in the end he saves Tris.
In Allegiant Peter reveals to Tobias that he wants to use the Abnegation Serum to reset his memory, and to "start over again." This shows that he feels some remorse for his cruel acts to his fellow transfers. After resetting his memory, Peter retains some of his cruel and harsh traits, but not all of them.
Aside from being utterly unlikable, Peter doesn't have many weaknesses. He is tall enough to be strong, but not so big that he's slow. He has an eye for people's soft spots. He's vicious and won't show any mercy to others. His kind and innocent appearance can be misleading.
Drew and Molly Atwood
Drew and Molly are described as being Peter's lackeys. Their true relationships are unknown, but they probably respect Peter and see him as their leader. They are also very similar to Peter because they all tend to be mean to other initiates and taunt them.
The relationship between Tris and Peter is complex, but primarily negative, as he relentlessly bullied her during their initiation into Dauntless. Despite this, they accidentally save the lives of each other on numerous occasions, and he saved her from being executed while being held at Erudite headquarters.
Peter is a Candor Transfer like Christina, Molly and Drew. They lived in the same faction but neither liked the other. Christina said to Tris that she hates their guts and they know it, because she told them. She describes him as "pure evil", explaining how he picked fights with other children back in Candor and lied about it. The Candor believed him because "Candor cannot lie".
Peter had a quarrel with Edward. At night, with the help of Drew, he stabbed him in the eye. Later he met him in the Tobias Eaton's house where Edward attacked him.