Itachi Uchiha is one of the most complex characters in Naruto. He is the powerful son of a noble clan but he murders almost all of his family. This gives impetus to a huge scheme and that drives a lot of plot points in the series. His character urges us to consider a lot of questions about loyalty, patriotism, revenge, politics, and so much more.
Why did Itachi kill his family?
To understand his character, we have to know why he killed his family. Simply put, it was to save his homeland and to prevent a coup.
The Uchiha clan was one of the founding families of Konohagakure. There was still animosity between the families that ran through the generations and manifested in assigning roles in the governments.
Since the Uchiha clan did not contribute to the security of the village against a great beast, other clans grew suspicious of them and removed them from Konoha’s politics. They retreated to their part of the village and the resentment brewed within them.
Fugaku Uchiha, the clan leader, decided to plot a coup against the leadership, as a result. When the village elders became aware, they gave an ultimatum to the clan’s strongest young member – either to kill his own clan members or die with them.
Itachi killed his clan to save his little brother, Sasuke.
Danzo Shimura knew that Itachi was extremely protective of Sasuke and used it to the leadership’s advantage. He told Itachi that he would spare Sasuke if Itachi took the fall and killed his clan. Itachi, in this danger of losing his brother, fell into the trap, not knowing this is what would fuel Sasuke’s vengeance later. He didn’t know that his actions to save his brother would end up in his own death.
What happened to him later?
Itachi was loyal to his homeland and took his oath seriously. Whatever he did, he did save his brother and his homeland. He knew if he didn’t make a decision, another world war could break out if his family’s coup was successful.
At his own loss, he carried out the massacre. Even though he became a murderer, he was still loyal and gained access to Akatsuki. He remained an agent of Konoha, providing secret information to the village about the terrorists until he died at the hands of Sasuke, his own brother.