Gypo’s mental devolution in The Informer

In The Informer book and movie, Gypo Nolan betrays his friend Frankie McPhillip without much deliberation or consideration. In the book, he decides that his need for temporary shelter is worth more than his friend’s safety despite having an opportunity to secure shelter otherwise. In the movie, he decides the passage to America for him and his “girlfriend” Katie is worth more than his friend’s safety. This thinking was very short-sighted of him as he did not think of all the repercussions that could arise or perhaps he simply did not care. After informing on his friend, he becomes very paranoid, likely from overwhelming guilt, and views everyone as a threat and begins to dig his own grave. However, this paranoia does not last for long as he quickly descends into a drunken stupor where he acts utterly reckless and believes he is untouchable. When at the Court of Inquiry, he attempts to play the victim despite all evidence pointing to him, until he finally confesses and repeatedly claims that he “didn’t know why” he informed. After this, he still tries to escape his fate until he is eventually caught and killed by the Organization. It is only as he is dying that he apologizes to Frankie and his mother, who forgives him also claims that “ye didn’t know what ye were doin”(312).

My question lies in whether Gypo actually did not understand what he was doing and was going through some mental illness or knew exactly what he was doing and was just afraid to face the consequences. How could he so quickly betray a fellow comrade that did nothing to slight him? Gypo does initially state that Frankie was the more clever one who came up with all their plans but later becomes confident in his own plan of evading capture. It seems that he got in his own way because of his drunkenness. Although it is a common Irish stereotype, in this case I suspect it was because of his desire to quiet the lingering guilt about what he had done. There are many scenes of him sorrowfully remembering the bounty poster of Frankie even within his drunkenness which shows that he was conscious of his actions, despite the book stating that “he was not at all conscious of being an informer”(284). There was also no formal or informal medical diagnosis stating that he was mentally incapacitated. Gypo is given a small redemption arc at the end when at the church apologizing, but this is after karma struck. It seems that he is not genuinely sorry for what he did, just sorry that he got caught.