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- "You know something? You're right. I don't know why I do the things I do. Never did. I'm a damn mystery to me."
- —Merle talking to Rick about himself.
Merle Dixon is a major character in the TV Show The Walking Dead. Having survived along with his younger brother, Daryl, he eventually joined a group of survivors outside of Atlanta, Georgia. After being abandoned on a rooftop in Atlanta, he cut off his own hand to escape his confines, and was found by a man known as The Governor. He was then taken to Woodbury, Georgia, where he served a role as an enforcer/sheriff.
A seemingly stereotypical Southern redneck, Merle was extremely ill-tempered, racist, misogynistic, violent, volatile and quick to express his beliefs. Much like his younger brother, Merle was an expert tracker and hunter. He was deadly with firearms, and in the third season, his hand-blade attachment proved to be one of his deadliest weapons. He is an experienced brawler, showcased in the first season when he dominated T-Dog in a fist-fight, and at the same time was able to fend off Rick, Morales, and Glenn simultaneously. He also showed his fighting abilities when he took down Caesar in the brutal battle-royal event in Woodbury, and was able to fend off Michonne's sword attacks with his hand-blade. Merle was The Governor's right-hand man, all the while striving to find his brother and take vengeance on Rick and T-Dog, who left him for dead on the roof. However, he later came across Glenn and Maggie and took them back to Woodbury as prisoners, going as far as to brutally beat Glenn into revealing information about the prison. After the prison group came to the rescue of Glenn and Maggie, Merle was then branded as a traitor and a terrorist by The Governor, and became an enemy of Woodbury.
While he was staying in Woodbury, Merle read many books, including the Bible, from which he memorized verses. He also claimed that he enjoyed Woodbury's library and it was one of the few things he missed there.
While in a heated argument with his younger brother, Daryl, he knocked him down and, in the process, rips his shirt, revealing Daryl's scars, revealing that their father beat and abused them both.
After joining the Rick and his group in the prison, his personality began to change, appearing to lose some of his violent and racist tendencies. He is even shown to be searching for some forgiveness from those of the group who he had once wronged. He later attempted to fulfill the potential deal made by The Governor and Rick, which was an exchange of Michonne for peace between the two groups. However, he had a change of heart and released her, instead opting to take on the group of Woodbury soldiers who had been planning an ambush. In a final act to (presumably) attempt redemption, he defeated eight Woodbury soldiers, before being killed by The Governor. He would then reanimate, and his walker self would be downed by his own brother, Daryl.
To the end of his life, Merle was a flawed man with issues, but was never truly evil. He loved his brother and it drove him to keep fighting in a world filled with despair. His final act of courage gave his brother and the rest of the prison group a fighting chance and, perhaps for the first and only time in his life, Merle eventually found his place among others.