A Dark Fantasy

SPOILERSSS (watch squid game first please and ty<3)

What seems fantastical and ideal can actually be a scheming, deceptive nightmare.  In the hit dystopian Netflix bestseller, “Squid Game”, 456 players with hopeless amounts of debt are invited by a mysterious organization to compete against each other to the death in nostalgic childhood games for a tantalizing prize of 456 billion won (about $38 million USD).  Throughout the captivating show, the amount of prize money gradually increases as more and more players are “eliminated”, or killed off, making the players more desperate to win the prize money, forcing their animalistic instincts to come out and provide the driving force for the story’s suspense and plot. “Squid Game” incorporates real themes of human nature such as greed, teamwork, and sacrifice.

“Squid Game” serves as a grim, emotional reminder that people in desperation will act in avarice.  Debt-stricken players are compelled to win the prize of a whopping 456 billion won, but are constantly reminded of the threat of elimination, or death from losing the games.  Many of the players seem friendly and sympathetic towards each other in the show’s earlier episodes, even forming teams to protect each other from other competitors and elimination.  Eventually, as the prize gradually increases and more players start to be eliminated, people’s humanity starts to “whittle back”.  A great example of avarice would be Cho Sang-woo, a participant in the games and the deceptive, cruel, and heartless antagonist.  For example, one of the players and major characters, Sang-woo, deceives and betrays his own teammate, Ali, in a game of marbles to advance to the next game.  Park Hae-Soo, the actor of Sang-woo, noted that “someone had to die and he [Sang-woo] had to kill someone in order to live”.

Furthermore, the riveting series displays that humans naturally gravitate towards cooperation when presented in a dire situation.  As the game progresses, the other players become more worried about their slim chances of survival in the game.  They start to form teams with each other to discuss strategies to succeed and to protect each other from other potentially dangerous players (such as gang member Jang Deok-su and his allies).  In the middle of the series, as a deadly brawl breaks out at night among the players, Gi-hun and his team members were able to successfully keep each other safe and uninjured, while the other players who chose to fight against the other players met their demise.  Even the reserved, independent Kang Sae-byeok agreed to join Gi-hun’s team to avoid getting killed.  Additionally, during one of the games, “Tug-Of-War”, people had to work with and rely on their teammates to pull themselves to victory and avoid being eliminated.  In Gi-hun’s team, Oh Il-nam (a player revealed eventually to be the architect of the games) and Sang-woo offered incredible strategies for the team to succeed, Gi-hun provided amazing moral support for the team to keep on pulling, and Ali kept the back of the rope stable.  Without collaborating, Gi-hun and his team would have surely fallen to their deaths.

“Squid Game” also exhibited recurring themes of sacrifice.  There could only be one winner of the games to receive the prize money.  Therefore, many players were forced to be sacrificed in order to end the games more quickly and to reveal the real winners.  Many of the games were also designed to compel the players to eliminate other players themselves in order for the games to advance.  To illustrate, in the penultimate game, the Glass Bridge, players were forced to wait until the other player in the front moved.  With every step, there was a fifty-percent chance of falling to one’s death, as one of the tiles was real glass that could shatter beneath them.  Another game, the marbles game, forced the game participants to sacrifice another beloved player in order to succeed and advance to the next game.  One man in the show was forced to sacrifice his own wife to win the marble games.  Although heartbreaking, sacrifice was necessary to advance and win.

In summary, the fascinating, action-packed Netflix series “Squid Game” relates to viewers by incorporating motifs of greed, collaboration, and sacrifice.  “Squid Game” was an excellent depiction of human nature, as people’s true animalistic instincts are most accurately portrayed when put in circumstances of desperation.  The ugliness of people’s true colors really darkens the fantastical, beautiful images of the world held.

One thought on “A Dark Fantasy

  1. There is no way I could ever watch this show. It would make me so sad. The real villain is the various decisions and environmental factors that created this debt and hopelessness around the debt. I don’t want to live in a world where people have to prey on others to survive and people enjoy watching this death match.


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